On this day: Roger Federer, 17, makes victorious Davis Cup debut

At the end of 1998, Roger Federer was already among the world’s most promising youngsters, winning the Wimbledon title in July and finishing the season as the world’s best junior. The Swiss had solid pro results that pushed him inside the top-300, and the goals were even higher at the beginning of 1999, although he was still 17. The youngster opened the season with four indoor events that suited his aggressive style of play perfectly, reaching the semi-final at Heilbronn Challenger and the quarter-final of the ATP tournaments in Marseille and Rotterdam to enter the top-130 before Miami Masters.

His move through the rankings could not have passed quietly, and Roger received an invitation from the Swiss Davis Cup captain Claudio Mezzadri (he replaced Stephane Oberer in February) to join the squad for the World Group first-round clash against Italy on home soil in Neuchatel.

The 17-year-old Roger Federer made his Davis Cup debut in 1999 against Italy.

Roger’s first out of 70 Davis Cup rubbers came against world no. 48 Davide Sanguinetti on April 2, and a teenager scored a 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4 triumph to move Switzerland 2-0 in front after Marc Rosset delivered the first point. Everyone was impressed by Roger’s performance, controlling the pace in the sets he won and showing no sign of nerves outside that second set tie break where he couldn’t reach Sanguinetti’s level.

Two days later, Roger was defeated in a dead rubber against Gianluca Pozzi in straight sets, and this was only the beginning of his incredible Davis Cup journey, winning 52 matches in total and clinching the title for his country in 2014 alongside Stan Wawrinka. Roger was there to defend Switzerland’s colors for 15 years, often in World Group Play-Off, receiving the Davis Cup Commitment Award for his hard work and devotion in the most prestigious team competition in the world of tennis. Roger has won 40 out of 48 Davis Cup singles rubbers, and we remember his famous battles against Christophe Van Garsse, Vladimir Voltchkov and Lleyton Hewitt that all went into the fifth set, together with some dominant displays against various rivals.

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