By the end of 1998, Roger Federer was already among the most promising young men in the world, winning the Wimbledon title in July and finishing the season as the best junior on the planet. The Swiss had solid professional results that pushed him into the top-300, and his goals were even higher in early 1999, even though he was still 17 years old.
The youngster opened the season with four indoor events that perfectly suited his aggressive style of play, reaching the semifinals at Heilbronn Challenger and the quarterfinals of the ATP tournaments in Marseille and Rotterdam to enter the top 130 before the Miami Masters.
. His passage through qualification could not pass smoothly, and Roger received an invitation from Swiss Davis Cup captain Claudio Mezzadri (replaced Stephane Oberer in February) to join the team for the World Group first round clash against Italy in his homeland in Neuchatel.
Roger's first of 70 Davis Cup matches came against no. 48, Davide Sanguinetti, on April 2, and the teenager scored a 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 win to put Switzerland 2-0 in front after Marc Rosset handed over the First point.
Everyone was impressed by Roger's performance, controlling the pace in the sets he won and showing no signs of nerves outside of the second set tie break in which he failed to reach Sanguinetti's level. Two days later, Roger was defeated by Gianluca Pozzi in straight sets, and this was just the beginning of his incredible Davis Cup journey, winning 52 matches in total and securing the title for his country in 2014 alongside Stan Wawrinka.
In an interview with Swiss-German daily Aargauer Zeitung, the 20-time Grand Slam champion recalled making the main draw at Basel, his home ATP event, way back in 1998.
Federer holds a career head-to-head lead of 8-3 over Agassi
“That (his first match in the Basel main draw) was against Andre Agassi, that was an incredible story for me.
I was almost a child. I clearly lost,” Roger Federer said. He said that as he got closer to his dream of reaching the main draw, he thought to himself that it could be the beginning of his career. The rest, as they say, is history.
“When I was 16 I ran out of there and thought, ‘Hmm, is this the beginning of my career? There was a lot of anticipation and nervousness,” the 39-year-old Swiss said. While the American won the first three of their head-to-head meetings, in 1998, 2001, and 2002, the Swiss has emerged victorious in all their matches since then.