After reaching the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo in 2001, young Swiss Roger Federer achieved two more victories in Rome, beating Thomas Johannson in the deciding set tiebreaker in the first round to set up the clash against No. 2, Marat Safin. It was the first official meeting between two talented youngsters, and Federer beat the US Open champion 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and 42 minutes, recovering from one set and one break to advance to the final sixteen. The Swiss won three more points than the Russian, fending off ten of 13 break opportunities and getting three successful return games out of five chances. Roger hit more winners than Marat and built a slight advantage in the longer exchanges. Safin built a 6-4, 3-2 lead before Federer regained the break immediately, surviving five deuces in the ninth game and stole serve from Marat in the next game to take the set and force a decider. They traded early breaks and served well the remainder of the set to introduce a tiebreaker that Roger secured 7-5, sealing the deal with an ace for a notable clay-court victory and progressing to the next round. “Well, Marat and I have already trained a couple of times, and we have a lot of fun rallies because we hit the ball very hard. Today, it was useful to play with each other in an official match and see what happens. Today it is very fun to play against Marat because He’s not in his best shape, yet it’s excellent for me to come out with a win against him, especially on clay.
Zverev praises Roger Federer
Despite parting ways with Team 8 in 2021, in a recent interview to Tennis Magazin, Alexander Zverev revealed that he still shares a healthy relationship with Roger Federer. He feels that the Swiss Maestro was not responsible for the termination of his deal with the company. “I have an amazing relationship with Roger, which we will probably have forever. It didn’t work that well, when I was under contract with him and Team 8. Roger himself hadn’t much to do with it. He’s still a tennis player,” said Zverev in the interview. Since Team 8 is Roger Federer’s firm, he is the face of the company and is managed by his agent, Tony Godsick. It was Godsick who made Federer crack a $300 million deal with the Japanese fashion firm, Uniqlo, in 2018.