Tennis Prose



Federer’s First ATP Title Memories

By Scoop Malinowski

As told by Sander Groen, the partner of Federer at 1999 Segovia Challenger doubles: “We won Segovia Challenger (August 1999) title together. It was his first ATP title.  I was supposed to play with Christophe Rochus but he was pissed off to be scheduled on Monday for singles after coming late from another event so he said,  ‘Better look for another partner because I will tank singles.’ Right after that I saw Roger with Peter Lundgren and asked if he was set already. They said no and Peter thought it would be a great idea for Roger to play with someone with so much experience. It was in a Challenger so the draw was not really tough although we lost some sets on the way to the finals. Roger mixed playing brilliant with playing okay, quite up and down. A few weeks later we beat Safin-Ljubicic in Washington qualifying.”

This period was a slump for Federer, who turned 18 the day before the Segovia tournament started. He had just lost in Wimbledon first round 36 63 64 36 46 to world no. 59 Jiri Novak. Then after Wimbledon, Federer lost first round in Gstaad to no. 33 Younes El Aynoui 26 36. Then ranked 109 in the world, Federer lost two Davis Cup singles matches vs Belgium’s Christophe van Garsse in five sets and Xavier Malisse in four close sets. In Segovia in singles, Federer ended a six match losing streak as he defeated 520 ranked Joaquin Munoz-Hernandez 76 64 in the first round before losing to Nicolas Escude 63 16 46 in R16.

In doubles, Federer and Groen defeated…

R16 Andrew Painter/Byron Talbert 36 63 64

QF Jon Ehrlich/Lior Mor 46 67 64

SF Julian Alonso/Javier Sanchez 63 63

F Ota Fukarek/Alejandro Hernandez 64 76

This doubles win in Segovia, Spain seemed to spark Federer as he finished 1999 ranked 64 in the world.

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