ONLY ONE man holds the rare distinction of beating Roger Federer EIGHT TIMES in a row on a tennis court – and it has earned him free beers ever since.

Federer’s greatest rivals – Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – may have won some of the big matches at the four Slams.

Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003 -- the same year that first rival Danny Schnyder moved to Mexico for work

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Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003 — the same year that first rival Danny Schnyder moved to Mexico for workCredit: EPA
Federer's wife Mirka has been by his side throughout his 20 Slam successes

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Federer’s wife Mirka has been by his side throughout his 20 Slam successesCredit: Reuters

But none of them managed to enjoy such an unbroken spell of wins over the Swiss maestro as tennis bogey Danny Schnyder.

Born six months apart in 1981, Schnyder and Federer grew up together, became friends and then clashed regularly at junior tournaments between the ages of eight and 14.

The pair often watched movies together or matches at local club Basel FC but when it came to tennis it was deadly serious.

And Schnyder – the younger brother of former pro Patty – managed to exploit Federer’s one-handed backhand in the early days.

Speaking in a new book called the ‘Roger Federer Effect’, Schnyder said: “(On court) that’s when we no longer knew of friendship.

“We were both very ambitious and that showed. It always became very emotional. I was very solid from the baseline, made few mistakes.

Federer broke down in tears when he played the last match of his professional career in September

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Federer broke down in tears when he played the last match of his professional career in SeptemberCredit: AP

“He was always the more risky player, even tried to play serve-and-volley, which didn’t pay off at such a young age.

“With his forehand, he tried to force. But he made too many mistakes and his backhand was a huge weakness.

“That’s where I nailed him. Rogi (Roger) was frustrated. He hated to lose.

Though Schnyder, now 41, won the first eight meetings, Federer eventually broke the spell, losing only once more to his teenage rival.

The pair formed a successful junior doubles partnership but then Federer’s career really took off.

In 2003, he won Wimbledon for the first time, beginning a path that saw him win eight times at SW19 and claim 20 Slams in total.

Federer, pictured with Andy Murray, retired from tennis after the Laver Cup in London

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Federer, pictured with Andy Murray, retired from tennis after the Laver Cup in LondonCredit: AFP

At the same time, Schnyder left behind tennis and pursued an academic career, emigrating to Mexico first and then the US.

A fluent speaker in English, German, Spanish and French, Schnyder is now Head of Sales for Holcim, Swiss building materials producer, in Texas.

In March 2015, the pair met at the Indian Wells tournament and Schnyder recalled: “I thought he might have 15 minutes with his packed schedule.

“But we sat together in the Players’ Garden for more than an hour, chatting about old times, our current lives and families.

“Of course, I’m proud of him for having such a great career. But even more than all the titles, I’m pleased that he’s remained the same easy-going guy he was 20-25 years ago.

“Even if I had gone full tennis, I wouldn’t have gotten further than the top 600, 700 in the world. I didn’t have the body and the talent to get any better. I lacked the absolute passion that you need.

Schnyder spoke about his junior days in a new Roger Federer book that is out now

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Schnyder spoke about his junior days in a new Roger Federer book that is out now

“He wanted to compete and win. He loved the game and he loved to win even more. His will to win was huge.”

Federer retired from tennis in September when he played for Team Europe in the Laver Cup in London.

Yet he did his old pal one final favour, recording a short video in which he confirmed that he was indeed thrashed eight consecutive times – more than what Nadal and Djokovic achieved.

Schnyder said: “When I mention I’m from Switzerland, I’m often told, ‘Ah, like Roger Federer!’

“And then I say I know him and even played against him in the past and beat him.

“This video has earned me a lot of free beers. It’s won me a lot of bets in bars.

“With certain CEOs who’re tennis fans, I immediately had a good foundation for conversation. You’re already starting on a different level.”

The Roger Federer Effect: Rivals, friends, fans and how the maestro changed their lives, is published by Pitch and out now.


https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/20276108/former-swiss-pro-free-beers-roger-federer-eight-times/