Roger Federer: ‘I was only 17 when I met Andre Agassi in Basel’

Winning the first Major title at Wimbledon, Roger Federer was among the players to beat in 2003, securing a place at his second ATP Masters Cup. After Wimbledon, Federer lost in the final in Gstaad and the semi-final in Montreal, missing a chance to become world no. 1 and make his season even better. Roger suffered early losses to David Nalbandian in Cincinnati and the US Open, wasted a massive lead against Lleyton Hewitt in the Davis Cup semi-final and took well-deserved rest before conquering his tenth ATP title in Vienna. Unhappy with his game, Federer advanced to the semi-final in Madrid before early exits in Basel and Paris, spoiling his chances of becoming the year-end no. 1 player ahead of the ATP Masters Cup in Houston. In his first match at the elite ATP event, Federer prevailed over Andre Agassi 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. The encounter lasted for two hours and 25 minutes, and Roger saved two match points.

Roger Federer saved two match points against Andre Agassi at the Masters Cup 2003.

The Swiss dropped the opening set and fended off those two match points in the closing stages to notch the triumph. Federer led 5-3 in the decider before Andre performed a comeback, pulling the break back following the Swiss’ double fault and staying in contention in front of the home fans. A forehand winner secured the tenth game for the American, who set the tie break with an ace in game 12. A forehand winner gave Agassi the first match point at 5-5, denied by a service winner from Roger, who sprayed a forehand error to find himself 7-6 down. A brave forehand down the line winner in the 14th point kept the youngster alive, and he took another point on the return and sealed the deal with a forehand crosscourt winner. 

“Andre and I haven’t played that much. I couldn’t do much against him in Basel when I was 17, and I came close to beat him in Miami this year. It’s nice to score a win against a player of his caliber. I was missing a lot of forehands in the opening set. Agassi makes you run around the baseline, and when you have a chance to be aggressive, that’s when you overhit. I had to stay calm and wait for my forehand to start working again. The group is tough, and my record against those guys is not great. I’m happy with the way things went for me today, hoping for more of the same in the upcoming encounters. It’s never easy to stay focused in the deciding tie break; it’s always 50/50. You hope for a good start, and I wasn’t that confident after losing the first one. I had a break advantage in the opener, and he came back, playing better than me in the tie break,” Roger Federer said.

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