September 1997 – a 16-year-old hopeful by the name of Roger Federer enters the ATP rankings for the first time. Fast forward two decades and the Swiss maestro is the sport’s all-time great.
Friday marks the anniversary of Federer gaining his first ranking points, which saw him enter the list at 803 in the world.
Since then Federer has enjoyed a remarkable career, winning 19 grand slam titles, and is widely considered the greatest male tennis player of all time.
And Federer can still remember his emotions on that day, as he sets his sights on ending the year as world number one at the age of 36.
“The ATP rankings is where it all starts for every player,” Federer said. “It’s about getting your foot on the ladder and seeing your name on the computer rankings for the first time.
“I’ll never forget that moment and the excitement I felt. It was the start of a long journey to the top for me. I think that’s the great thing about our sport; the rankings provide a really accurate barometer of where you stand compared to your peers.”
Federer has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year and he admits his longevity in the game has even come at a surprise to himself.
He added: “The computer doesn’t lie. It’s amazing to think that 20 years later I’m still in the game and still with a chance to get to year-end No.1 in 2017. I never imagined having such longevity.”