Entering the season as one of the world’s best players, Roger Federer lifted two titles in Marseille and Dubai at the beginning of 2003 and led the standings with the most ATP victories. The Swiss played well on clay in Munich and Rome before suffering an early Roland Garros loss. With more time to prepare for the fastest surface, Roger claimed the first ATP title on grass in Halle and went to Wimbledon as one of the favorites. Showing his best tennis at the All England Club, Federer took down Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis to embrace tennis glory and earn the first Major crown at 21. Fulfilling his talent and potential, Federer was now one of the candidates for the ATP throne, playing at home in Gstaad right after Wimbledon and losing in the final to Jiri Novak in five sets.
Roger Federer became a Major champion at Wimbledon 2003.
With world no. 1 position within his reach in Montreal, Roger was a win away from becoming the world’s best player but lost the decisive match to Andy Roddick in the semis. The Swiss moved to Cincinnati and survived a scare in the first match against a qualifier Scott Draper. World no. 114 had seven match points against the Swiss before Federer prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(10) after two hours and two minutes, repeating that feat only once at the last year’s Australian Open against Tennys Sandgren. Federer fended off nine out of ten break chances but could not find the rhythm on the return, scoring one break in the second set to stay in contention and surviving those challenging moments in the decider’s closing stages to avoid an unexpected loss and make a winning start. After the match, the Swiss spoke about popularity following that Wimbledon crown, as many people praised his game and supported him.
“It seems like I have a lot of fans around the world after winning Wimbledon. Many people have told me I’m their favorite player and how they love my game, coming to the matches to support me. It was not easy for me today, struggling to find the rhythm and chasing the result. I think I have improved that segment of my game, coming from behind more often than before,” Roger Federer said.