Roger Federer in early 2004: ‘I know I can win the Australian Open’

Entering the season ranked 6th, Roger Federer was among the best players in 2003, winning seven ATP titles. Two of those came at Wimbledon and the Masters Cup, with the Swiss propelling himself towards the top-tier of men’s tennis and preparing an assault on the ATP throne in early 2004. After over three years, Roger decided to part ways with Peter Lundgren, embracing the new season with no coach but high ambitions. Federer took down Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and a half in the Australian Open first round. The Swiss never lost serve, stealing the opponent’s games five times and delivering a bagel in the third to march into the next round.

There, Federer faced another player ranked outside the top-100, ousting a qualifier Jeff Morrison 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes. Roger had to work harder behind the initial shot than in the first encounter, fending off all four break chances and mounting the pressure on the American who was far from those numbers. Jeff had eight aces, but it wasn’t enough to keep him safe, offering Roger 11 break opportunities and losing serve four times to push the Swiss into the last 32. Roger secured two breaks in the opener, gathered momentum and controlled the pace with a single break in second and third to move over the top.

Roger Federer felt confident at the Australian Open 2004.

“I’m happy how I played; the conditions suit me, and I feel good. Already during the practice sessions, I felt the court was faster. Also, it’s not windy, which makes it easier for me to play at my best. I’m more aggressive on the return, something I lacked in Kooyong ahead of Melbourne. Those are my two notable improvements. I haven’t played against Todd Reid before, don’t know much about him, but I watched his match today. He’s got nothing to lose, especially after a day off tomorrow. He should be fresh for the encounter against me and shouldn’t expect long rallies; I don’t play that way.

I expect more of myself after a great last season. I know I can win the tournament. Before, I would have been happy with the quarters or the semis. Now, that result would be o.k., but not satisfying. I’m hungry for more. I know what it takes to win a Major, and I’m prepared for going all the way during these two weeks. Tim Henman won Paris and is among the favorites here too. I haven’t seen his matches, but I’m not surprised by his good tennis. I can face him in the quarters, but first, I have to beat the Aussie guy,” Roger Federer said.

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