On the ATP Tour, Roger Federer has lost a set 6-0 only four times in his career. The first three times in his career he lost a set 6-0 were to Vince Spadea, Pat Rafter and Byron Black in 1999. The last time he lost the set 6-0 is probably the most infamous one of his career, coming against Rafael Nadal in the 2008 French Open final.
But just a few people would know that Federer lost a match 6-0, 6-0 in August 1991, when he was just 10 years old. The Basel native was supposed to play a junior tournament, but since there were not too many players competing there, he was included in an older draw where he faced the then 13-year-old Reto Schmidli.
At the time, Reto was hoping to become a professional tennis player and he is now a police officer. The match took place at the Grüssenhölzli Tennis Center in Pratteln, a city with a population of 15,000 that is very close to Basel.
Federer was there with his mother Lynette, while Schmidli was with his father. Schmidli did not even lose one game against Federer, and at the time he did not think that the current 20-time Grand Slam winner would become a champion, as he said in an interview many years ago.
Now, speaking to Tennis Italiano, Schmidli shared different thoughts. "He already knew what to do on a tennis court, but he did not have the weapons to manage to do it yet. He was making too many unforced errors, that's why I won so easily.
But his game plan was clear." After that double bagel, Schmidli and Federer's paths were separated. ''He was chosen at the technical center, while I continued to grow but at a lower level. So I left my Arlesheim tennis club to move just to Roger's club, the Old Boys in Basel."
Schmidli was not successful there either, so he moved to Australia practicing in Pat Rafter's club. He competed in some Satellite tournaments but did not manage to make a breakthrough. "I had a good serve and a good backhand, but not the quality to become a great player," said Schmidli, who often meets Federer, including once at the Swiss Indoors.
"He said Hi to me, but we did not speak about the match. I am happy he recognized me. Success can usually make you lose your head, while he has stayed grounded. He has not changed."