Roger Federer was shy and serious back in 1999, says Derrien


Roger Federer was shy and serious back in 1999, says Derrien
Roger Federer was shy and serious back in 1999, says Derrien

The former Brest Challenger Tournament Director Francois Derrien recalled Roger Federer's 1999 title in the French event. "He came being targeted as the up-and-coming player. He was around world No. 60 which enabled him to be the top seed in the tournament.

He was 18 and some months old. In Brest he beat Max Mirnyi, who was nobody at the time. He was also a bit shy but already very serious. He played his matches and directly came back to the hotel often eating a crepe. He liked it." Asked if Federer's success in Brest was surprising, Derrien replied: "Yes and no.

His clearity in tennis was outstanding. He did not play like the others did, he was already much more clear. He was hitting the ball like nobody did. And yet we had already seen great players in Brest like Patrick Rafter, Richard Krajicek, Andrey Chesnokov or the Frenchmen Henri Leconte, Cédric Pioline and Sébastien Grosjean." Asked who will be the next big champion playing in Brest, Derrien replied: "It's absolutely impossible to predict it!

Who would have said, two or three years ago, when he came, that Daniil Medvedev would have gone so far? Same thing for Stefanos Tsitsipas. There are so many factors influencing a career. But Roger came to see me every day to learn about his training time, matches...

He was very very nice. Really. What hit me the most was that he was breaking rackets. He would quickly come back and win. He was so nice in the end toward me when he won the title."

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