In a column for Blesk, the former player Jiri Novak praised Roger Federer on winning his 100th career-title in Dubai. The Czech is impressed by the Basel native's achievement. "I had a pretty decent career. I won seven titles on the ATP Tour.
If I imagine Roger Federer reaching 100, that's an absolutely shocking number to me. I played tennis at the highest level, I know how difficult is to win a tournament. He won 100 and lost 53 finals. For me, Roger is clearly the best player in history.
I am particularly closer to him and I appreciated that I was able to face him nine times and even beat him four times. One of my nicest memories is the Gstaad tournament, where I played against Federer in the 2003 final. It came on clay in this amazing mountain area the week after winning his maiden Wimbledon.
I won in five sets. Yeah, at the time some finals were played at the best of five, as well as in Vienna where I faced Federer in the championship clash. Now players complain for how long they play, but for us having to win three sets to conquer a match was pretty normal.
We were lucky with Federer. I am six years older than him and I also faced him in his first main draw appearance at Wimbledon. It was the 1999 year, he had won the junior crown the year before and so he got a main draw wild card on the men's tour. He was just 17 years old and he gave me live some bad times."