Roger Federer first achieved notable goals in 2002, playing in the first Masters 1000 final in Miami and winning the first title at that level in May in Hamburg, beating Marat Safin in the final. The next day, the Swiss cracked the top 10 for the first time after staying in the top 15 for months, overcoming that hurdle and expecting an impressive showing at Roland Garros and Wimbledon like a year ago.
Instead, he suffered early defeats at both Grand Slams and lost ground in the coming months, making a last ditch effort during the fall indoor season to regain positions on the ATP ranking list and secure a spot at the Masters Cup in Shanghai for first time.
In early 2003, the Swiss was unable to play at his best in Doha and Sydney after a groin injury. He lost to David Nalbandian in the fourth round of the Australian Open and missed another shot at a Major crown. Roger raised the bar for him in February, scoring two Davis Cup wins and lifting trophies in Marseille and Dubai, looking for more of the same at the season-opening Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells.
The Swiss had to work hard in the first test in the desert, beating Felix Mantilla 6-7, 6-4, 4-1 when the Spaniard retired in the decider. It was Roger’s 21st win in 2003, leading the standings in that segment and gaining confidence ahead of the next meetings in Indian Wells and Miami.
“I didn’t play for a few days after winning Dubai, and when you start again, my body hurts. It’s good to come to any tournament after lifting the trophy in the previous one; It gives me confidence, especially before an event as important as Indian Wells.”
González speaks about Federer
Former tennis player Fernando Gonzalez reckons Roger Federer might not win another Grand Slam but could win a few titles on the ATP tour. “It will be hard for him,” said Fernando Gonzalez.
“I don’t know if he is going to be able to win a Grand Slam, but in three-set tournaments, I think he will do something interesting. He will want to say goodbye at some point, but if he comes back, I think he will go for something important, with the level he has. I don’t know how he will be for five sets, but for three, he has to play a while longer.”