Men's tennis was replete with an incredible young generation born in the early 1980s, with its first significant results coming in the late 1990s, thanks to Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt. While the Russian and Australian were already among the best players in the world, Roger Federer was eager to join them as soon as possible, making notable leaps up the rankings and reaching the first Major quarter-finals in 2001.
Marat and Roger were among the top 8 seeds at Miami 2003. Still, Marat could not stay in the event for long after losing to Davide Sanguinetti in the opening match. On the other hand, Roger made a winning start, beating Luis Horna 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 21 minutes.
After the match, Roger was asked to describe notable rivalries and competitions, mentioning that he had already played Pete Sampras at Wimbledon and had fulfilled one of his dreams. The teenager defeated the seven-time champion in five epic sets in the fourth round in 2001, enduring all the challenges in the final stages to secure one of the best victories of his opening career.
In addition to Pete, Roger also brought Marat Safin into the story, praising the Russian and saying that he likes to compete against him, describing Marat as a good guy off the court. Safin won his last match in Moscow in late 2002 for his first win over Roger.
The latter celebrated a close battle in Rome in 2001 and twice more in 2002, defeating the Russian in the final of the Masters 1000 in Hamburg for his first trophy at that level. "You know, I already had a game against Pete Sampras at Wimbledon; I don't need to play that one again.
Otherwise, I like to play against Marat Safin; I think he's a good guy off the court. We always have pleasant encounters. Winning many games is very important for your confidence, making you play better."
Bencic pays tribute to Roger Federer
Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic has spoken on how she feels her triumph is not just for her and her nation, but also for Swiss greats Roger Federer and Martina Hingis.
Martina Hingis’ best Olympic result came at Rio 2016 with a silver medal in the women’s doubles, while Federer has a singles silver from London 2012 and men’s doubles gold from Beijing 2008 to his name. Bencic further revealed that Federer sent her a message of good luck ahead of her singles final.
“Yes, he wrote to me. He said it was the perfect day to reach my dreams and I was really happy about that. And he was absolutely right. He is incredible in that way, he really supports all of the Swiss players. He is behind us and it’s just incredible the type of support I receive from Roger Federer, so this win is also for him”.