Recognized as one of the top prospects among the new generation of players born in the early 1980s, Roger Federer became the player to watch in 2001. In February, the Swiss youngster captured the first ATP title in Milan before reach the quarterfinals. Consecutive majors in Paris and London, still at 19.
After that incredible five-set victory over Pete Sampras at the All England Club, the entire tennis world was ready to witness a new major champion from Switzerland. However, they had to wait a couple of years before Roger gathered everything to join the immortals.
Federer claimed the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg in May 2002 and cracked the top 10 in the following days with those points in his account. Rather than use that momentum at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Roger experienced a first-round loss at both Majors to pack a punch.
The Swiss did not play well in the following months due to lack of form and personal problems, struggling on the court but earning enough points to secure his first place in the Masters Cup. Coming back stronger in 2003, Federer claimed the most wins on the Tour in the first few months and lifted crowns in Marseille, Dubai and Munich on three different stages.
The Swiss expected more of the same just a week after Bavaria’s triumph in Rome. In the second round at the Foro Italico, the Swiss defeated Mariano Zabaleta in straight sets to extend the winning streak, looking good on the court and expressing his desire to win Majors and become number one in the world for years to come.
Barker comments on Federer
Former tennis player and TV presenter Sue Barker joined a long list of well-known people to pay tribute to tennis legend Roger Federer following his retirement. «We’ve had a lot of interviews over the years and he’s always very generous, isn’t he? In interviews, you sit down with him, he’s a professional, you ask him a question and he leaves.»
He’s just the most amazing person to interview and he gives so much back to the fans because he knows the interview is going to happen and he just wants to keep giving back,» Sue Barker said. «He’s an incredible role model, both on and off the court.
So haven’t we been lucky and privileged to see not only him, but also these incredible years of tennis with these great champions? It’s been a pleasure to watch,» he added.