Julien Boutter was the first player beaten by Roger Federer on the ATP Tour in a championship clash. The Frenchman lost to the Swiss in Milan on 4 February 2001. Recalling that match, speaking to France TV Info Boutter said: "There were a lot of predictions and hopes on Federer.
Everyone were saying he would be the future Pete Sampras, but he had proved nothing to me, the approach to that game, I got to that like if it was one more match. He was the world No. 20, he looked a bit stressed and tense during the final but he mostly went through ups and down, but he was focused and that's what made him win the title.
We often heard about the talent because there were not a lot of players coming from that generation who were world No. 20 at the age of 19 years. He was also a very offensive player, and after the Sampras and Agassi time, he was trying to breakthrough.
Now, to imagine back in the day that he would have had such a career, no one could have imagine to that extent." "He was able to reinvent where courts were a bit slow, balls as well, he adapted his game, he became a bit less aggressive with a big consistency and coming to the net.
And then with the age he came back to his first love with a more aggressive game. He was not afraid to make a mistake and that allowed him to win tournaments and Grand Slams. His way to reinvent himself is unbelievable."
But will Federer really beat Jimmy Connors's 109 title record? "If he decides to beat that record, he will definitely beat it. Now, winning nine titles, it will not be easy. He is one of the greatest champions in the same way as (Michael) Jordan or others because of such longevity like that one on all the surfaces in a sport that became so busy.
And this is what hits me the most: his passion for the game and the desire to go battling because the high level requires it. To stay at this level, he needs to constantly 100% be committed. His ability to reinvent himself."
The former football star Alessandro Del Piero: "Does something beyond being a legend exist? Congratulations Roger. 100 career-titles... Wow!"