Former World No. 1 Andre Agassi discussed his early thoughts about the Swiss legend Roger Federer and recalled their earlier encounters on the ATP tour. Agassi’s initial opinion of the young Swiss was that he was attempting to emulate the game of Pete Sampras. At the time, Sampras held the Grand Slam record at 14 titles, which Federer surpassed with 17.
“I played him in Basel, Switzerland. I played two Swiss players back-to-back. Then I played Roger in the second round,” eight-time slam champion Agassi says in the book about the opponent he defeated in straight sets.
“I just never would have guessed he was in for the career he’s had. He looked like he was trying to imitate Sampras when I first played him. But he just didn’t look as good. He couldn’t quite serve as big, he looked like he was not decisive enough about if he wanted to play coming in, if he wanted to play at the baseline.”
His initial judgement was so misguided, that he even considered that Federer would not have much of a future at the top of the game. In retrospect, Agassi laughs about his judgement and admits his mistake.
“So I didn’t really give him much of a chance to be at the top. But he proved me wrong.”