In an interview to Telegramme, Roger Federer recalled his first Challenger title in Brest in 1999. The Swiss player said: “That’s the only Challenger I’ve ever won in my career. I remember it was late in the season.
I started the year around 300th and finished in the top 100. It was a great year. I remember it was a very well organized Challenger. It was nice to have played it. There was Lionel Roux, Michael Llodra, Max Mirnyi, Martin Damm. I think it was important both for me and for the media.
The media, unfortunately, is quickly forgotten, especially with all the success I had afterwards. However, we had to start playing Challengers even if Brest was a great event. When you win, it’s a great moment that stays in your mind forever.
It’s almost at the beginning of your career, you want to do well, you want to get into the top 100, you want to show who you are and how well you can play tennis. So for a young player, winning a Challenger like that is very important.”
Asked if he talked about that win with his team, Federer replied: “Rarely now. In my team, everyone knows my way. I won’t talk to them about it every day. We focus on the future. But sometimes I talk to some players who don’t know that I won in Brest.”
Asked if he remembered his doubles partner in Brest, Federer replied: “Yes, Guillaume Raoux. I remember that he was one of the best partners I’ve ever had. So he disappointed me losing in the second round. In singles against Mirnyi I remember I delivered a perfect game against a very dangerous indoor court player.
It was during Halloween.”
Paul Annacone praises Federer
In a recent interview, Paul Annacone talked about Roger Federer: “He had a great chance that year,” Annacone said. “He beat Novak in the semis, and Novak hadn’t lost the entire year going into the French Open.
Against Rafa, he was up 5-2 in the first set and had set points. Tried a drop shot which was a lot bit of a bailout shot. Lost that set and a tough four-setter.” How does an ambitious athlete get over a loss like that? With detachment and acceptance, in Federer’s case.
“When he was done he was very proud of what he had done in the tournament,” said Annacone. “He’s very good at detaching from that emotion in a natural way. Where he doesn’t deny the emotion, where he doesn’t come up with excuses for losing, where he doesn’t blame anything.
He just processes it in a really healthy way, and I think that’s why at 40 years of age he’s still playing”.