A few days ago, the legendary Roger Federer retired from professional tennis and on the heels of that historic event, an incredible anecdote has come to light. In the beginning, when he was just 10 years old and played his first tournament in August 1991, Federer lost a game against Reto Schmidli, who is a police officer today.
History was made on the clay court of Grüßenholzli in Pratteln, a suburb of Basel, at a time when no one was aware that Federer would become a legend in the sport. Back then, the match took place in the first round of the junior tournament and hardly anyone paid any attention to the duel between the little Roger Federer, a boy from the TC Old Boys Basel and Reto Schmidli, a youngster from the neighboring TC Arlesheim.
Reto, who made easy work of Federer, having no problems marking a stunning 6-0 and 6-0 win, while having no clue that he was defeating one of the best players of all time in the world. There wasn’t a second time when Roger suffered such a defeat.
Reto Schmidli now works in the Basel law enforcement
Reto, who is now 43, is currently working as a police officer in Basel, is often approached about his historic domination of the 20-time Grand Slam singles champion. He, however, has a rather amicable response to his feat.
“Frankly, I never paid attention to that fact in the following years,” Reto told Marca in a recent interview, “Then a friend told me that Roger had given an interview to a student magazine in the United States, in which he was asked if he had ever lost 6-0 and 6-0. He replied that it had only happened once, in the tournament of Pratteln, against me.”
“It didn’t mean much, although I’m proud because in the end it has become a mark. Roger was playing his first tournaments, he was 10 years old -he had just turned two weeks before- and I was almost 13 [there weren’t enough tennis players his age to create his category and they moved him up to the next one]. I had never heard of him. Some said he had very good touch, good hand, but nothing more,” he added.