In 2001 and 2002, Roger Federer established himself as one of the world’s best players, improving different elements of his game and challenging the rivals on every surface. In Milan 2001, Roger claimed the first ATP title and became a player of the month that February, building momentum ahead of Roland Garros, where he reached the first quarter-final at Majors. A few weeks later, the Swiss was in the last eight at Wimbledon as well, beating Pete Sampras in the fourth round in a thriller to introduce himself to the tennis world. Due to a groin injury, Roger couldn’t stay on that level by the end of the season and fight for the place in the top-10 and at the Masters Cup, shifting those goals towards 2002.
It started with the title in Sydney before he wasted a match point against Tommy Haas at the Australian Open, returning stronger in Miami where he reached the first Masters 1000 final. Roger lost that one to Andre Agassi in four sets but there were no mistakes in the second Masters 1000 event in Hamburg, toppling Marat Safin in straight sets to crack the top-10 for the first time.
Roger Federer suffered an early loss at Roland Garros 2002.
Still feeling a bit tired, Federer lost in the first round at Roland Garros, switching attention to his beloved grass where he had high expectations ahead of Wimbledon. In Paris, Federer lost to Hicham Arazi 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in swift an hour and 35 minutes, delivering two breaks and getting broken six times to propel the rival over the top.
“I get a feeling that people are expecting me to make a breakthrough at Majors now; I’m also putting the pressure on myself. I thought I had an excellent chance in Australia to make a run and go deep. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convert that match point against Tommy Haas, losing in a tight deciding set. The French Open was a tough one for me, as Hicham Arazi played well. I was still a bit tired from Hamburg and couldn’t play at my best. Still, I’m thrilled that I have already made a breakthrough at the Masters 1000 series this year; I always thought that’s very important because they all play well at that level. I hope I can make a name for myself at Wimbledon and the US Open in the rest of the season; I’m expecting that from myself,” Roger Federer said.