Roger Federer hit his stride at the U.S. Open Championships against Novak Djokovic back in September of 2015. Upon his win, Federer’s team gathered around to watch the match, while the superstar of the sport looked down, teary eyed. This was a bond that lasted the remainder of Federer’s career, and led to many friends and fans paying tribute to the man who helped him win 17 Grand Slam titles.
So far this year, Federer has lost twice in finals to Rafael Nadal, while he is still chasing Rafael Nadal’s 19 Grand Slam title tally. Many people thought Nadal might be the one to beat Federer in the other finals held in 2017.
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, marked the anniversary of Federer’s win at the 2015 U.S. Open, and he did exactly what he had said he would not do, win a match. Federer won his first match of the U.S. Open Season, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2. Federer spoke with reporters about his emotions and how they made him emotional in 2015.
“It wasn’t hard,” Federer said. “I mean, I knew I was going to feel this way about a guy like that. But it doesn’t matter, right? I don’t think that that guy sees it that way. I don’t think that this is my main idol. Because I know and I know that he is great, and he is an idol to a lot of people. But for me, he has been a mentor.”
Tsitsipas was the youngster on the left. Tsitsipas’ game varied more than he had with Federer, which allowed Federer to pick his shots very carefully. He still has worked on his game to be able to play a younger player, but he felt comfortable again.
“I love to have the chance to be better, which brings me good feelings. For him, it doesn’t matter what he’s doing, whether it’s a great match or match where I thought he played really well. I couldn’t ask for a better opponent in the round of 16 to play.”
Federer’s match tonight will be one for all the generations that grew up with him. He met the man who showed him the ropes and also showed the same course to these later generations of players.
Watch the 2018 U.S. Open held at Flushing Meadows on FS1.