In 2001 and 2002, Roger Federer established himself as one of the players to beat on the ATP Tour, improving his game on every surface and scoring the first notable results at Majors and the Masters 1000 series. In 2001, Federer was the quarter-finalist at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, making his first significant steps at the All England Club following that thrilling 7-6, 5-7, 6-5, 6-7, 7-5 triumph over the seven-time champion Pete Sampras in the fourth round. A teenager prevailed after three hours and 40 minutes, enduring all the obstacles and staying focused until the very last point to cross the finish line first and reach the last eight. Roger toppled Pete with a late break and couldn’t repeat that against the home star Tim Henman, losing three tight sets after struggling with a groin injury over the previous seven days. Two months later at the US Open, Roger reached the last 16 and set the clash against another American legend Andre Agassi.
Roger Federer compared two tennis legends in Miami 2002.
The youngster couldn’t do much against the crowd’s favorite, with Agassi scoring a dominant 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 23 minutes. Andre fended off all nine break chances and delivered five breaks to sail over the finish line and advance into the quarters. In Miami 2002, Andre and Roger arranged another meeting, this time in the final, with the American prevailing in four sets to lift the trophy, despite a 4-2 deficit in set number four. Federer gave his best to stay in touch and force a decider in his first Masters 1000 final, playing well in the fourth set’s opening six games before dropping four straight games to propel his opponent over the top and stay empty-handed. Asked about Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi after the match, Federer said they are different players and can’t compare them.
“For me, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi are different players. When I was young, Pete was my favorite while Andre wasn’t. I don’t know, it was more special at Wimbledon than here in Miami, even though I like this place a lot. Wimbledon has a bigger tradition, and I can’t compare my match against Sampras there to the one I played against Agassi here,” Roger Federer said.