The other thing about him then was how easily he seemed to despair once it looked like he was losing the match. You could see the visible slump a mile off.. most times I felt like trying to slap some backbone into him... lol. I was fortunate to have followed him from the year he won Junior Wimbledon, thanks to an IRC friend who was a big tennis follower. Ironically he was, and still is, a big Pete Sampras fan, but he told me to keep an eye on this young Federer.. he really had some potential. My friend didn't know just how much that would turn out to be
The first time I heard of Federer was when McEnroe mentioned him as being a guy who could dominate if he ever got his head screwed on straight. That was during the '99 Wimbledon.
I've got a DVD of Federer and Hewit playing doubles against Rafter/Bjorkman in the 2001 Wimbledon. You could see the flashes of brilliance. You could see the ease with which he could hit his shots, the fluidness.
But what you didn't see was the professional good naturedness we see today. He was all over the map emotionally during the match. He smashed the racquet down a couple times. He seemed to essentially give up in the final set. Hewit outshined him in that match. He was hitting great shots, and trying to keep Federer in the match and focused.