Fifteen years ago today, Switzerland's Roger Federer appeared in the South African Airways ATP Rankings for the first time. Federer debuted at 803rd on Sept. 22, 1997 after a solid showing at a four-week satellite circuit, culminating in a semifinal appearance at the Switzerland 1 Masters in Bossonnens to earn 12 ATP points. In the first week of the Satellite, Federer lost to future contemporary Yves Allegro, a countryman and friend he would later partner to two ATP World Tour doubles titles and a round of 16 showing at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
A member of Federer's coaching team, Severin Luthi, also competed at the same satellite circuit, reaching one final to jump 374 places to equal 753rd. Luthi is the current Davis Cup captain for Switzerland.
Among the players ranked around Federer at the time of his rankings debut was future two-time Grand Slam singles champion Lleyton Hewitt, who coincidentally dropped five spots to No. 808, but held the same number of points as his rival. Other notable names near Federer included future fellow world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero (756th), Juan Ignacio Chela (762nd), Paradorn Srichaphan (769th), Bjorn Phau (830th), Xavier Malisse (854th) and Simon Aspelin (857th).
This week, however, Federer relinquishes the top spot atop the ATP World Tour Rankings, slipping to number two behind Serbia's Novak Djokovic, runner-up at this month's 2012 U.S. Open. They are followed by number three Rafael Nadal of Spain who is currently sidelined with a knee injury and number four, 2012 U.S. Open winner and 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner Andy Murray of Great Britain.