Players' first breakthroughs

i think it is interesting how the two best players in the world right now had their first big breakthrough on the surface in which they now play the worst on. Federer's first masters title came in hamburg, a clay event. Nadal made the third round of wimbledon when he was seventeen, the first player to do this since becker. It makes me think about some of the rising stars of today.

What does everybody else think?

Moose Malloy

Federer's breakthrough was either singlehandely beating the US in 'Davis Cup 01 or making the quarters at Wimbledon '01.

Nadal's breakthrough was on clay, beating Roddick in the Davis Cup Final, being named to the team despite the fact that Ferrero was ranked much higher.


Define breakthrough. Is it the performance that first alerts the world to the talent and potential of a player, is it the performance that first substantially raises their ranking, or is it the performance that really establishes in that player's mind that he or she has the ability to contend with the best?

I would say Federer's mental (and probably most important) breakthrough would be his defeat of Sampras at Wimbledon 2001.

Second would be Federer actually winning Wimbledon in 2003. After that, it was if the dam broke and Grand Slam titles kept flowing in.