Roger Federer was among the best players in the world in 2003, he won his first Major crown at Wimbledon and had a chance to become number one in the world that summer. The Swiss couldn't give that extra push and grab the ATP throne in Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open, struggling a bit with injuries in upcoming events and losing a beat to Andy Roddick.
Heading into the Masters Cup with a 4-5 record against the top 10 rivals that year, Federer was the player to beat in the final event of the season. Failing to play his prime in Basel and Paris due to a back injury, Roger had to fight players he had never beaten before in Houston, facing Andre Agassi and David Nalbandian in the opening encounters.
Federer had to work hard to defeat the veteran American, fending off two match points in the deciding set tiebreaker to prevail 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 and make a winning start. In the second match, the Swiss achieved the first victory over David Nalbandian, defeating the Argentine 6-3, 6-0 and gaining confidence in the face of the following challenges.
In the last clash of all against all, Roger beat no. 2 Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-1 for a perfect score in his group and the semifinal clash against no. 1, Andy Roddick. The Swiss edged out the American 7-6, 6-2 to advance to the final and take another step after the semi-final loss at the same event in Shanghai a year ago.
Roger never faced a break point and dominated his punches very well to hit 30 winners and stay around ten unforced errors. Roddick couldn't keep up with that pace, losing in the shorter, more advanced exchanges and losing ground after the first set tiebreaker to propel Roger to the title clash.
Andy Roddick opens up on Roger Federer
Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick is the latest to comment on Roger Federer's unhappy news. Speaking to the Tennis Channel on the sidelines of the National Bank Open, Roddick claimed that a comeback following a fourth knee surgery would be an "uphill battle" for the Swiss.
Andy Roddick went on to highlight Roger Federer's commitment to his fitness, pointing out that the Swiss has never retired from a match in his long career. "Let's also face the fact that the guy has reached 40, and his body has been amazing to this point," Roddick said.
"And one other thing that needs to be mentioned, and it's one of the most amazing stats in sporting history, he has never retired from a match." Roddick believes Federer played the match out because he wanted Hurkacz to have his moment.
"We think about Hurkacz, Federer taking a beating 6-0 in the third," Roddick said. "When you have the ego of one of the all-time greats, but yet you're not going to take away that moment from someone else, that deserves respect."