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Steve Johnson rubbed shoulders with Roger Federer early in his ATP World Tour career.

ATP Firsts: Steve Johnson

The American started battling in tournaments at a very early age

First moment I realised I loved tennis
I don’t have a specific memory of when I was younger, but I’ve obviously played it my whole my life and have really enjoyed it almost every time I’ve stepped out on the court. It’s a privilege and a passion for me, so I just feel gratitude to be able to play this sport as much as I can.

First tournament I played
It was at Ridgeline Country Club in Orange, Calif. I was about five or six years old. I couldn’t tell you how I did, but I’m sure my parents could and that there’s some funny footage of it floating around their house.

First professional tennis match I ever watched
In person, I definitely went to the ATP World Tour event in Los Angeles. And then on TV, I remember watching Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi in the US Open final [in 1995].

First pinch-me moment on the ATP World Tour
Probably seeing Roger Federer those first couple of times in the locker room. I got to practise with him right after getting out of college, just having him say "Hi" to me a few times. He’s one of the nicest guys ever and just great to have as the face of our sport.

First time I flew business class
Not until after college and during this crazy life on the ATP World Tour. It’s one of the benefits of flying hundreds of thousands of miles every year. [Smiles].

First concert
I haven’t gone to too many concerts, but the first one was Jack Johnson.


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