5 instances where Roger Federer lost a set 0-6 on the ATP Tour
Roger Federer is among the greatest athletes tennis has ever seen, notching up several records to his name. The Swiss is second only to Jimmy Connors in both matches and titles won, but no one has won more matches in Grand Slams than him.
While he is the champion fans have known and come to love, there was a time when the 20-time Grand Slam champion was not all that. Making his debut on the ATP Tour in 1998, the World No. 43 did not win his first Grand Slam until the 2003 Wimbledon Championships.
In the five years between those two points, the 40-year-old was still finding his feet as a professional player and was subjected to all manner of disappointing losses. Believe it or not, the Swiss maestro was even bagelled back then, losing to players with more experience than him.
There have been a couple of incidents where he has lost a set 6-0 in recent years too, which is all the more surprising. Overall, Federer has lost a set five times on the main tour without getting on the scoreboard, and here’s a look at them all:
#1 1999 Monte-Carlo Masters (Vs Vincent Spadea)
The 1999 edition of the Monte-Carlo Masters marked Roger Federer’s first foray into the tournament, in what was only his second-ever Masters 1000 appearance. Coming into the tournament as a wildcard, the Swiss took on Vincent Spadea in the first round.
Although he put up a tough fight in the first set, losing it in a tiebreaker, the second set was more one-sided. Spadea broke the World No. 43’s serve thrice to notch up a 6-0 win and progressed to the second round.
The two met twice more before the American’s retirement, both of which were won by the 20-time Major winner in straight sets. Interestingly, the former World No. 1 returned the bagel to his opponent in their meeting at the 2006 US Open.
#2 1999 Roland Garros (Vs Patrick Rafter)
Roger Federer’s maiden appearance in Grand Slams did not go the way he would have wanted
The 1999 French Open marked Roger Federer’s first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam, thanks to a wildcard from the tournament organziers. Unfortunately, the draw was not as kind to the Swiss as he had to take on former World No. 1 Patrick Rafter in the very first round.
Although he took the first set 7-5, the 40-year-old capitulated in the next three without putting up much of a fight. The third set ended up being Federer’s worst of the night, as he lost without getting on the scoreboard.
The duo met two more times after that (2001 Miami and Halle), both of which were won by the Australian. This makes Rafter one of the few players in history who has a positive head-to-head record against the World No. 1 on all three surfaces.
#3 1999 Queen’s Club Championships (Vs Byron Black)
The 1999 Queen’s Club Championships was the only time Roger Federer turned up to play at the event, and ended up being one to forget. Participating as an unseeded player, the 40-year-old took on 13th seed Byron Black in the first round.
The Zimbabwean won the meeting in straight sets, serving up a bagel in their second set. It marked the only time the two ever met on the ATP Tour, leaving the former World No. 1 without the opportunity to have his revenge.
#2008 Roland Garros (Vs Rafael Nadal)
Roger Federer’s worst loss in a Major came at the 2008 Roland Garros against Rafael Nadal
The 2008 Roland Garros witnessed Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer taking on each other in the final for the third year in a row, with the Swiss having come up second-best in both previous instances.
There was no change to that result this time around either, as three-time defending champion Nadal disposed off his opponent in straight sets. After winning the first two sets 6-1, 6-3, the Spaniard took the third 6-0 to cap off a remarkable triumph.
The defeat also marked the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s worst ever loss in a Grand Slam match. Interestingly, the 40-year-old would have his revenge later in the 2011 ATP Tour Finals, serving up a bagel to the Mallorcan in the group stage. Although the World No. 43 trails their head-to-head 16-24, he leads the clash 3-1 in terms of bagels served.
#5 2021 Wimbledon (Vs Hubert Hurkacz)
Roger Federer lost in straight sets at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships to Hubert Hurkacz
Roger Federer’s most recent outing at a Grand Slam came at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, where he reached as far as the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, it ended up being one of the worst losses of his life.
An eight-time winner at the event, the Swiss took on 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz in their second ever clash on the ATP Tour. Although the World No. 43 had won their previous meeting in straight sets, he succumbed to a straight-sets loss this time around, the third of which was a disappointing 6-0 loss.
It marked the first ever time the 20-time Grand Slam champion had been bested in straight sets at SW19 since 2002 and the third bagel he had ever received in Grand Slams.