In Roger Federer's words: 'I grew up on clay but I like grass more'


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In Roger Federer's words: 'I grew up on clay but I like grass more'

Roger Federer became Wimbledon junior champion at the age of 16 in 1998, showing his skills on the fastest surface and looking like the player to watch on the fastest surface in the next two decades. After a couple of mediocre years at the All England Club on the senior level, Roger defeated Pete Sampras in the fourth round in 2001 en route to the quarter-final, suffering another early loss in 2002 before heading all the way a year later to embrace tennis glory at the age of 21.

Ever since, the Swiss has been one of the most accomplished competitors on the green surface, winning 19 titles and almost 200 matches, including eight crowns and more than 100 victories at beloved Wimbledon. On the other hand, despite growing up on clay, Roger couldn't find the rhythm on the slowest surface in his first matches on the Tour, improving that in 2001 and becoming a contender at Roland Garros from 2005.

Speaking about two surfaces in Miami 2002, Roger said it is easier to play the decisive points on grass than on clay where you have to work harder to earn it, exposing your vulnerabilities to the rival and not being able to control the exchanges like you do on grass.

"I play better on grass than clay, that's for sure. Even though I grew up on clay and played on it the whole time, also during winter in a balloon. It's weird because I had a 0-11 score in my first ATP matches on clay; I was like, this is not possible.

On big points on clay, you can see more weakness of your game and make that evident to your rival. On grass, it's two shots and sometimes you can be lucky as well, you never know in such a short rally. On clay, you have to work hard to earn the point; there's no guessing there.

I was disappointed in my game on clay before but now it has gotten much better, I had some good results on it. On the other hand, I won the junior title at Wimbledon in 1998 but the results on grass were not there in the next couple of years, waiting for it for the entire season to suffer losses in the first rounds.

Then, the big thing happened when I beat Pete Sampras and now everybody considers me as the favorite. I feel good on grass; I was surprised when I defeated Sampras but not by the level I produced."