Young Rafael Nadal: ‘I’m famous in Switzerland; many people know me’

The 2003 season was almost a perfect one for the young guns. Five out of year-end top-8 players were younger than 24, and three Majors titles went to the first-time champions, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. Those three would finish the year at the top, battling for the throne until the last tournament in Houston. Competing at the Masters Cup for the second time, Federer went all the way to score five wins and lift the trophy, the season’s second notable one after Wimbledon. Kicking off the year ranked 6th, Federer was among the players to beat that year, winning seven titles in total and finishing second in the standings behind Andy Roddick.

Not playing at his best in Basel and Paris, Roger arrived in Houston to finish the run on a high note. His first rivals were the players whom he never beat before, Andre Agassi and David Nalbandian. Federer worked hard to topple the American veteran in that first encounter, fending off two match points and making a winning start. Federer delivered a fantastic performance in the second match versus David Nalbandian, dropping only three games and storming over Juan Carlos Ferrero to advance into the semis. In the battle for the final, Federer defeated world no. 1 Andy Roddick 7-6, 6-2 to set another clash against Agassi in the last match of the season.

Roger Federer discussed how popular he is after winning the 2003 Masters Cup.

Roger was the player to beat in the final, notching a 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 victory, never facing a break chance and securing five breaks to control the pace. Agassi grabbed 17 points in 12 return games, and it wasn’t enough to keep him safe, staying behind the rival’s pace and having to settle with the runner-up prize. On the other hand, Federer took 46% of the return points, scored one break in sets one and three and outplayed Andre in the second to claim a bagel. Answering some questions after the title match, Federer said he became famous in Switzerland, with many people recognizing him. Compared with the USA fans, Roger couldn’t tell if he is famous like in his country, which could be the case in his opinion.

“I’m famous in Switzerland; everywhere I go, people know me. We are not a big country, and I’m popular there. In America, it’s tough for me to say; I don’t read the papers too much. The longer the tournament gets, the better I play and the more famous I get. Still, that’s secondary. In Switzerland, I feel people know me, but they don’t approach me. Here in America, it’s different. I almost feel as famous here as in Switzerland,” Roger Federer said.

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