Former player recalls when he defeated 16-year-old Roger Federer


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Former player recalls when he defeated 16-year-old Roger Federer

In an interview to El Comercio, Rodolfo Rake recalled when he defeated the current 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer on May 19 1996, in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open. 'At that moment I was ranked five or sixth in the world in juniors, I was 18 years old', said.

'Roger had turned 16 and was playing in the 18-year category, we had to play in the Italian Open quarter-finals.' He also revealed an interesting thing: 'When I had my first job interview in an important bank, the person started reviewing my curriculum and they suddenly saw the section of the CV where you put "other activities" and there he saw that he was a tennis player, that I had won Federer, Massu, Puerta.

Suddenly, who is now my boss asked me: "Did you really defeat Federer?" And I told him about history. At that moment, in 2005, Federer was the untouchable world No. 1 of tennis rankings. Then, the final sentence of my boss was: "If you won that guy, you deserve that I give you this opportunity"

If I had not won Federer, I may not have been here.' Speaking about that match in detail, he concluded: 'Almost 20 years went over, but I remember that Roger already had a super-powerful forehand like now. He had a very natural talent, a brutal slice, he moved like if he was flying on the court.

The only thing that was missing, which is the reason why I defeated him and the reason why Nadal sometimes beat him, was that I was making things complicated to him playing with a lot of spins, I hit a lot of spin on the forehand side and these heavy and deep balls made him struggle a lot.

Mentally, he was another person. When Federer was playing juniors he was crazy, was losing the calm in a very fast way. The second set was very hard and in a point on deuce he made me run, I hit a defensive shot and he hit a smash making the ball end outside the court.

He lost the focus and I won the match.' Asked if he is back to meet Federer on the professional tour, he replied: 'I think we coincided in a tournament in 2000. It would have been interesting to see him when he became a tennis legend and asking him if he remembered about me.'