“He Was My Idol”: Nikoloz Basilashvili Reminisces Win Over Roger Federer

Published 10/15/2021, 11:36 PM EDT
Roger Federer of Switzerland gestures to the spectators before hitting signed tennis balls into the stands during day two of the 2019 Hopman Cup at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)


Before the 2021 season, Georgian international Nikoloz Basilashvili had never won a main draw match at Indian Wells. However, he is now through to his first-ever ATP Masters 1000 semifinals, beating second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Statistically, it is one of the biggest wins of his career so far, but personally, he feels otherwise. For the 29-year-old, the win against Roger Federer in Doha earlier this year ranks above his triumph over Tsitsipas. The question is: Why?

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In March 2021, the Swiss maestro returned to tennis after a 13-month break. But the return was short-lived as Basilashvili defeated him in the quarterfinals. Notably, the Georgian even went on to win the ATP 250 Qatar Open title in Doha. Yet, it wasn’t the title but his admiration for Federer that made that win more valuable to him.

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Nikoloz Basilashvili ranked win against Roger Federer over Stefanos Tsitsipas

Coincidentally, both Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas were second seed when Nikoloz Basilashvili defeated them this year. Also, both the matches were tight third-set battles.

DOHA, QATAR – MARCH 11: Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during his quarter final loss to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on March 11, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mohamed Farag/Getty Images)

However, the reigning Doha champion revealed that the 20-time Grand Slam champion has always been his idol. Hence, the win over him remains extra special. “My win over Roger Federer means a lot more to me because he was my idol,” Basilashvili said.

Indeed, to look up to the tennis maestro is one thing, but to win against him is an exceptional feeling.

From here on, Basilashvili will be looking forward to winning his biggest title so far. But for that, he would have to overcome the local boy in the desert first.

Besides Basilashvili, who are the Indian Wells Masters 2021 last four?

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Notably, Basilashvili will face inspired Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells semifinals. Moreover, Fritz would also be playing his first-ever ATP Masters 1000 semifinal; he took out Brandon Nakashima, Jannik Sinner, Matteo Berrettini, and Alexander Zverev to reach the last four.

Oct 13, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Taylor Fritz (USA) celebrates as he defeated Jannik Sinner (ITA) in their fourth round match during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side, the new British No.1 Cameron Norrie will take on the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov to reach the finals. 

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All in all, sensational tennis will rain in the desert of California as the four semifinalists will try to win Indian Wells. Let’s see who sticks through and lifts the trophy on Sunday.

Watch this story: Best Underarm Serves Over the Years by Andy Murray, Nick Kyrgios, Daniil Medvedev and Others

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Purav Joshi

1349 articles

Purav Joshi is a Senior Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 1000 tennis articles.

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