It was October 14, 2000 when the nineteen year old Roger Federer, long hair in onion and pimples, lost to Tim Henman in the semifinals in Vienna for 2-6 7-6 6-3. An expected defeat against the British top 10, at the end of a tournament in which Federer, then world number 31, was able to knock out seeding number 2 Magnus Norman (world number 4) and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek.
But also painful because the Swiss, on 6-5 in the second set, had two precious match points at his disposal to reach the second final of his career after the one in Marseille the previous February, lost against his giant brother Marc Rosset.
Two double faults by Henman, hoisted Federer on 15-40, but the Swiss could not keep a straight response on the field, on a good first out of the British, who then also canceled the second chance by intercepting, with a solid volley of backhand, Federer's backhand passer.
A few seconds later Henman had caught his rival at the tie break, winning him by 7 points to 4 and then spreading to the distance in 2 hours and 9 minutes. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated the men's tour for nearly 15 years now, winning 58 Grand Slam titles between them and assembling all of the accolades the game has to offer.
Recently, World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman was incredibly complimentary of the trio, claiming they continue to learn even after the experience they have gained over the years.
Schwartzman on Roger Federer
During the course of a long interview with ESPN, Diego Schwartzman also had words of high praise for 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.
The Argentine said that you are 'at the mercy' of the Swiss maestro while playing against him and also complimented his charisma. "With Roger Federer you are at the mercy of whether he wins or loses the points. He doesn't let you do anything," the World No.
9 said. "He has charisma, class, education, goes anywhere and greets everyone." Federer did count some positives from an unsuccessful comeback campaign while adding that there was still some ground to cover to reach the desired level of fitness and form ahead of the grass-court season.
In an interaction with reporters after Thursday’s loss, the former World Number 1 said that there were moments in the two rounds he played in Qatar where he realized that he was “not at 100 percent yet”.
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