Australian Open 2003 – it’s a tournament which defines Rainer Schuettler’s  status in tennis history. The German unexpectedly reached the final; Marat Safin helped him a bit withdrawing from their third round encounter, but it would be unfair to say Schüttler was a runner-up by a fluke because he had beaten David Nalbandian and And Roddick in back-to-back matches. “During the two weeks, I didn’t think too much,” Schuettler recalled. “I was playing match-by-match, I was trying to go on court and play as well as I can. One memory that stands out is when I won match point in the semi-finals against Andy Roddick. I felt how cleanly I hit the backhand down the line to win the match. It was unbelievable during the night session, the stadium was full. The spectators were on their feet for a standing ovation.” The backhand was his best shot, he based his game on great physical fitness being a typical grinder with a never-say-die attitude. He announced his retirement in October, but the last match had played ten months before: “I played my last match in January and due to a groin injury and fitness problems I have decided to retire. I would have liked to have played in the London Olympics at Wimbledon this summer, but I will now concentrate on future projects.” Besides the Australian Open final, he enjoyed two other highlights in his 17-year career: doubles final at the Olympic games in 2004 where he squandered a quadruple match point alongside Nicolas Kiefer and Wimbledon semifinal ’08; that year he seemed finished (ranked 94 entering the tournament; having suffered the longest losing streak at the main level in 2008) but his risky game paid off – he won five matches (like at the Australian Open ’03) including a quarterfinal marathon with Arnaud Clement in which he saved a match point.
Curiosities: * won a match with the most match points saved (10) in the XXI Century by far – beating Andreas Seppi 3-6 7-6(13) 6-0 in Kitzbuhel ’04; two months later lost to Seppi from a match point up at the US Open * was involved in 1 out of 5 more than 5-hour matches at Wimbledon as he defeated Arnaud Clement * in 2009, within a week was bageled four times (!); in Düsseldorf lost to Robin Soderling (0-6 0-6) and a few days later in Paris to Marc Gicquel (0-6 0-6 4-6); he suffered a double-bagel loss also in 1998 to Jan-Michael Gambill * 3-0 record with Andy Roddick in 2003 – the year in which Roddick was the best in the world * lost 337 matches at the main level (only six players lost more in the Open era)