The 28-time Masters 1000 champion, Roger Federer, played in the first final of that level in Miami 2002 at 20. Thanks to that result and already 23 wins since the start of the season, Roger was on the verge of the top-10, positioning himself as a contender for a place in the elite for a time, but failed to deliver that final push.
Roger won the title in Sydney and reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, losing to Tommy Haas after an epic battle. The Swiss was unable to defend the Milan title and had some problems in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells.
Hoping for a better turnout in Miami, Federer managed five straight sets wins to win the first Masters 1000 final and take another big step towards the top 10. In the semifinals, Roger scored the first win over no. 1, defeating Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4 after a remarkable performance and gathered momentum before the final encounter with local star Andre Agassi.
The defending champion proved too strong for the young Swiss and scored a 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win, his third and last over Roger. Eager to play well in the first Masters 1000 final, Federer claimed the third set and opened a 4-2 gap in the fourth before the American shifted to a higher gear to recite four straight games and seal the deal.
After the game, Roger said that he was disappointed not to be in the top 10, knowing that he had a chance to fight for the title after those six games of the fourth set.
Rusedski comments on Roger Federer
Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski recently gave his thoughts on Roger Federer's knee setback that forced him to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics this month.
“So the question is, will he be happy not being able to win Majors again, and that is the big question only Roger can answer," Rusedski said on the Tennis Channel. "Knowing Roger from quite a young age, around 16-17 years of age, I don’t think he will be satisfied just showing up without really believing he can win”.
After missing a majority of the 2016 season due to injury, Federer returned at the Australian Open the following year and defied the odds to win the title at the age of 35. He then went on to lift a record eighth title at Wimbledon and 19th Major overall a few months later.
“Roger Federer has defied logic, he has defied time, he created a new game in 2017,” Rusedski said. “There is not more he can create anymore because it was all based on movement, taking the ball early coming forward”.