Roger Federer: ‘Martina Navratilova inspired Mirka into tennis’

Ranked 6th at the beginning of the season, Roger Federer found the rhythm in February to conquer Marseille and Dubai in 2003. The Swiss didn’t play at his best in Indian Wells and Miami and found his A-game again on clay to capture Munich and reach the Rome final. Things weren’t that good in Hamburg and Roland Garros, and the Swiss turned the attention to the grass season and lifted the first ATP title on the fastest surface in Halle. Heading to Wimbledon as one of the favorites, Federer lost one set in seven encounters, producing incredible tennis against Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis to secure the first Major crown. The youngster had the opportunity to become world no. 1 in Montreal and Cincinnati, losing the semi-final in Canada to Andy Roddick and waiting until next February to grab the ATP throne.

At the US Open, Federer dropped the opening set against Jose Acasuso before bouncing back, dominating against the Argentine who had to retire at the beginning of the fourth set. In the second round, Roger stormed over Jean-Rene Lisnard 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in an hour and 17 minutes for one of his most dominant triumphs in New York. The Wimbledon champion gave away 15 points in 11 service games, fending off the only break point he faced and stealing 55% of the return points, enough for seven breaks from 14 opportunities and a place in the third round.

Roger Federer spoke about Martina Navratilova at the US Open 2003.

The first break came in the fourth game when Lisnard netted a backhand, suffering another at 1-4 when Roger landed a forehand winner, with the Swiss securing the opener in the next one. Lisnard grabbed two games in set number two, but that was all we saw from him, as Roger Federer raced towards the finish line with a bagel in the third set, moving through and setting the clash against James Blake. At the gala dinner at Wimbledon, Federer met the legend Martina Navratilova, who got his girlfriend, Mirka, into tennis. 

“You always have to stay focused in the early stages of every set, which worked fine for me today. I landed enough of the first serves in, and everything worked my way. I didn’t expect to beat him so easily. James Blake is a nice guy; it should be a good and fair match. It will be our first encounter, in front of a great crowd that should be on his side. I’m looking forward to it; it will be a much tougher one than the one I had today. Every next round will be more and more challenging, and I’m focused on Blake now. I met Martina Navratilova at the gala dinner at Wimbledon. My girlfriend knows her better, as Navratilova inspired her into tennis. It’s always nice to hear positive things from such a champion; it’s a compliment,” Roger Federer said.

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