In Miami 2011, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the main protagonists of the chase for the title, reaching the semi-final alongside Mardy Fish, who had no chance against a fit Djokovic. In the other semi-final, No. 1 Rafael Nadal reached another Miami final after a 6-3, 6-2 win over Roger Federer in 79 minutes, earning his 15th win in 23 games against the Swiss. The first two games between these two were in Miami in 2004 and 2005, and they set up another clash in Florida after six years. They didn’t offer the crowd what they wanted to see this time, with Rafa marching towards the second straight Masters 1000 final after losing to Djokovic at Indian Wells two weeks earlier. With 76% of the first serve, the Spaniard produced a masterclass performance on both the serve and the return, losing ten points in eight service games and avoiding the two break opportunities to increase pressure on the other side of the line. court. Federer wasn’t ready to challenge Rafa that day, he fought on both the first and second serves and missed it four times out of five opportunities Nadal created, without looking like a true contender. Roger had more winners and 35 unforced errors on his account, unable to find his rhythm and pull Nadal out of his comfort zone. Rafa had the advantage in the shorter rallies of up to four strokes and longer exchanges, spreading his rival over the baseline and sealing the deal in no time to set up Novak Djokovic’s title clash. To Roger Federer, as it is with most champions, the memories of his early years in tennis, days when he would struggle to find an autograph request, are the most treasured.
Roger Federer on his Basel clash against Andre Agassi
And it is one such memory from his fledgling years in the game that he shared in an interview with Swiss-German daily Aargauer Zeitung. Roger Federer revealed that it was eight-time Major championship winner Andre Agassi who he had to face in his first game after making the tournament draw. “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,” Federer said. 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.