February 4, 2001

On February 4, 2001, Roger Federer finally broke through and won his first ATP singles title by beating Frenchman Julien Boutter (6-4 6-7 6-4) in the Milan Indoor final.

As documented in the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY, Federer, then relatively uncertain19-year-old struggling to live up to the heavy expectations thrust upon him, defeated Julien Boutter of France in Milan, Italy to win his maiden ATP title.

Roger Federer with trophy he won in Milan
                                     Roger Federer with trophy he won in Milan

“What a relief,”  “I’m really happy to have won my first title here in Milan. As a kid you always dream of winning your first title.” said Roger after the match.


In an another interview he said “I think I am improving and I have achieved the first goal in my career , My next goal is to break into the top 15, which is a high aim but not an impossible one”.


“To lose three finals in a row would have been a little uncomfortable mentally. But now I can look forward to the rest of the season with a little of that pressure to win an event off my shoulders,” said Federer, ranked 29th at the end of 2000.

Roger Federer Vs Julien Boutter full Match

Key Moments in the Match

The 19-year-old was one of the up-and-coming stars on the men’s tennis scene and won the first set with ease before his opponent found form in the second set.

Both players broke serve twice and unseeded Boutter, playing in his first final at 26, won the tiebreak 9-7.

But Boutter’s serve, the key to his semi-final victory over Greg Rusedski, let him down in the opening game of the deciding set and he never recovered against Federer’s forceful baseline play to lose 6-4 6-7 6-4.

Roger Federer with Trophy he won in milan
                                        Roger Federer with Trophy he won in Milan


After seven days, another vocation breakthrough was accomplished for the 19-year-old as he came back to Basel for Davis Cup obligation against the United States. There was no ceasing Federer.

He beat Todd Martin and Jan-Michael Gambill in two stunning exhibitions in singles, and in the middle of, matched with Lorenzo Manta to overcome the American group of Gambill and Justin Gimelstob in dou­bles.

With his three match triumphs in the 3-2 Swiss thrashing of the USA, he joined Raul Ramirez, Neale Fraser, Nicola Pietrangeli, Frank Sedgman, Henri Cochet and Laurie Doherty as the seventh and the most youthful player to win three live matches in a Davis Cup tie against the United States.

“It’s like a dream,” said Federer, who shed tears of bliss after his match-securing triumph over Gambill.

February would bring considerably more accomplishment for Roger. The week after his independent thrashing of the U.S. Davis Cup group, he achieved the elimination rounds in Marseille where his 10-coordinate winning streak was finished by Kafelnikov.

The following week, he achieved his fourth profession singles final, losing to Nicolas Escude of France in a third-set tie-break in the last of Rotterdam. The ATP picked him their “Player of the Month” and gushingly commended in their official press correspondence,

“The Federer Express has arrived!” A fun loving cautioning was likewise issued in the public statement expressing that Federer, “has been honored with so much ability that it nearly appears to be out of line to his rivals.”


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