On this day twenty-three years ago, the 16-year-old Roger Federer made the first appearance on the ATP ranking lisy. Namely, the young Swiss scored 12 points at Switzerland 1 Masters Satellites in Bossonnens, finding himself ranked 803rd.
In 1996, still at 15, Roger had tried to qualify for two Satellites at home, with no success, losing in the qualifying round of the ATP event in Gstaad in July 1997, entering those Bossonnens events as his first professional tournaments in the main draw.
In four events played on outdoor clay, Roger made two semi-finals, losing against the 2nd seed Daniele Balducci and the 1st seed Agustin Garizzio. The youngster lost in the quarter-final versus Yves Allegro, with whom he later played in many ATP doubles events, including the 2004 Olympics in Athens, winning Vienna's title together in 2003.
Overall, Roger scored eight wins during that month in Bossonnens, finishing the 1997 season ranked 704th (the second-youngest player in the top-1000 after Feliciano Lopez) after one qualifying round triumph at the home event in Basel and three more at Switzerland 2 Masters.
Making substantial progress through the ATP ranking list, Roger entered the top-100 two years later and the top-20 in February 2001. The Swiss cracked the top-10 in May 2002 following the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg, becoming one of the world's leading players and missing a chance of becoming world no.
1 in the summer of 2003. That was inevitable, though, as Roger conquered the ATP throne after winning the second Major crown at the Australian Open 2004, kicking off an incredible streak of 237 consecutive weeks as world no.
1. The rest is pretty much history, with Federer breaking one ranking record after another, accumulating 310 weeks as world no. 1 and standing there for the last time in 2018 at 36.
Roger Federer made an ATP ranking debut on September 22, 1997.
Roger is the owner of the most weeks in the top-5 and top-10, staying competitive for two decades and still standing in the top-5, 23 years after his first appearance on the ranking list.
Roger has played only one tournament in 2020, advancing into the Australian Open's semi-final and losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets. The Swiss struggled with a groin injury in the last couple of matches, although there was a much bigger problem lingering over him for quite some time, feeling the right knee pain and undergoing surgery in February.
Hoping to return in June for Halle and Wimbledon, Federer had to skip that part of the season like all the other players due to the coronavirus, staying at home with his family and not feeling better after that first intervention.
Eager to play injury-free, Federer embraced the second surgery in May, withdrawing from the rest of the season and looking for a fresh start at the beginning of 2021.