Three years after winning the junior Wimbledon crown and finishing the season at the top, Roger Federer was ready to show his true colors on the ATP Tour. A teenager won the first ATP title in Milan in February and reached the quarter-final at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. At the All England Club, the Swiss toppled the seven-time champion Pete Sampras and introduced himself as one of the players to beat in the years to come. Roger won the first Masters 1000 title after beating Marat Safin in Hamburg in May 2002, earning enough points to find himself in the top-10 for the first time and standing as one of the favorites in Paris and London.
Instead of chasing similar results like 12 months ago, the youngster hit the exit door in the first round at both Majors, not playing well in the next couple of months but still securing his first Masters Cup berth in Shanghai. Returning stronger in 2003, Federer scored most victories on the Tour in the first couple of months after lifting crowns in Marseille, Dubai and Munich on three different surfaces, hoping for more of the same in Rome just a week after that Bavaria triumph. In the Rome second round, the Swiss ousted Mariano Zabaleta 7-6, 6-2 to extend the winning streak.
Roger Federer spoke about his goals in Rome 2003, just before his first Major title.
Federer lost serve once and converted three out of 16 chances on the return to break the rival’s resistance in set number two and march through. After the encounter, Roger expressed his desire to win Major titles in the years to come and become the world’s best player. As we all know, Federer would win his first Major at Wimbledon two months later and become world no. 1 following his second Major crown at the Australian Open in January 2004. The rest is history, and the men’s tennis saw Roger as a dominant figure in the following half a decade, earning 15 Major trophies by Wimbledon 2009 to become one of the most decorated players of all time.
“I wish and hope that I can win a Major or be the world’s leading player. It is all still far away, and hopefully, I can reach it one day,” Roger Federer said.