Roger Federer on entering top-5: ‘It wasn’t easy’

Roger Federer was one of the most significant prospects in men’s tennis in the late 90s, leading the new generation with the names like Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero. The young Swiss claimed the first ATP title in February 2001 and played well at Majors to reach the quarter-final at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, where he defeated the seven-time champion Pete Sampras in five sets. Roger cracked the top-15 after Roland Garros that year and needed more time to make an extra push and advance into the top-10 or top-5. Federer reached his first Masters 1000 final in Miami 2002 and lost it to Andre Agassi in four sets. The Swiss made an extra step in Hamburg in May, beating Marat Safin in the final to lift the most notable title in a career up to that point and crack the top-10 on the next day.

Roger Federer spoke about ranking positions in Miami 2003.

Hoping for more notable results in Paris and London in the upcoming weeks, Federer couldn’t bring his best tennis and suffered early losses at both Majors. That caused an inevitable ranking drop, but Roger finished the season in the top-6 following the Masters Cup semi-final. In 2003, the Swiss came to Miami with the most wins on the Tour, becoming the top-5 player after the Australian Open but not thinking about the ranking that much, focusing on his game and improvements. Federer suffered an early Indian Wells loss, seeking a better result in Miami, where he played in the final a year ago. 

“I think it’s a great feeling to be in the top-5 and achieve good things in 2003. It was a struggle for me last year after winning Hamburg and entering the top-10. It was challenging to lose form because I was so happy and relieved after reaching my goal. Reaching the top-5 or becoming world no. 1 is always a dream for every player, but entering the top-10 was very important too; maybe that’s why I didn’t play well after getting there. After finishing the previous year in the top-10 and getting used to that, it doesn’t matter if I’m ranked 4th or 20th,” Roger Federer said. 

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