Kicking off the season from outside the top-60, Roger Federer made significant progress in 2000, advancing into two ATP finals and gaining over 30 positions on the ATP list to finish inside the top-30. Representing Switzerland with Martin Hingis at the Hopman Cup, Federer claimed the title to start 2001 in a winning way, gaining a boost and reaching the quarter-final in Sydney where Sebastien Grosjean beat him in straight sets.
At the Australian Open, the Swiss embraced three more encounters against the French rivals, defeating Arnaud Di Pasquale and Nicolas Escude to advance into the third round at the second straight Major. The young Swiss needed an hour and 45 minutes to dismiss Escude 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, firing 12 aces and fending off five out of six break chances to control the scoreboard and march into the last 32.
Roger Federer was ready to face the USA in the 2001 Davis Cup in Basel.
On the other hand, he broke Nicolas five times in total, making a perfect start and standing strong in sets two and three to seal the deal in straight sets and schedule the duel against world no.
18 Arnaud Clement in round three. Despite a high number of unforced errors, Roger was pleased with the performance against Escude and the fact he sealed the deal in under two hours, preserving energy for the next match that he would lose in three tight sets.
Asked about the upcoming Davis Cup clash against the USA in Basel, Federer believed Switzerland would stand a chance in front of the home fans, especially after the withdrawal of their leading players Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
"It was a good match today; I'm happy about it. Straight sets victory is always welcomed at Majors, especially if you seal the deal in under two hours. It helps ahead of the next clash. I had a lot of unforced errors, and I have to improve that.
Otherwise, I'm happy to be through to the third round. It would have been tough to beat the USA in the Davis Cup with Sampras and Agassi. However, they are not playing, and the Americans come with Gambill, Woodruff and Martin. We will have a chance against these guys in front of our crowd in Basel," Roger Federer said.