Seventeen-Year-Old Roger Federer’s First ATP Match Victory

From the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY, it was on Sept. 30, 1998 that Roger Federer registered his first career victory on the ATP Tour. Who was his first victim who undoubtedly is a great trivia question answer at the dinner table or cocktail party? The answer is Guillaume Raoux, the spectacled Frenchman, who lost to a 17-year-old Federer in the first round of the ATP event in Toulouse, France. The following is the book excerpt from ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, that summarizes the now historic match.

Seventeen-year-old Roger Federer defeats Guillaume Raoux of France 6-2, 6-2 in the first round in Toulouse for his first ATP singles match victory. Rene Stauffer, in his book The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection, ($24.95, New Chapter Press, summarizes Federer’s achievement, “Yet, before the chase for the year-end No. 1 junior ranking reached its decisive phase, the unexpected happened. Federer achieved his first great breakthrough on the ATP Tour. With a ranking of No. 878, he traveled to Toulouse, France at the end of September and, to his own surprise, advanced through the qualifying rounds to progress into the main draw of the tournament. In only his second ATP tournament, the 17-year-old registered an upset victory over No. 45-ranked Guillaume Raoux of France—his first ATP match victory—allowing the Frenchman just four games. In the next round, Federer proved this win was not a fluke by defeating former Australian Davis Cup star Richard Fromberg 6-1, 7-6 (5). In the quarterfinals—his sixth match of the tournament including matches in the qualifying rounds—Federer lost to Jan Siemerink 7-6 (5), 6-2, with a throbbing thigh injury hampering him during the match. The Dutchman was ranked No. 20 and went on to win the tournament two days later, but Federer was also handsomely rewarded. He received a prize money check for $10,800 and passed 482 players in the world rankings in one tournament—moving to No. 396.”