Roger Federer recalls: 'I have improved my level, the season has been great'

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Roger Federer recalls: 'I have improved my level, the season has been great'

Speaking after the fourth-round loss at the US Open 2001, the 20-year-old Roger Federer was happy with the season up to that point. The young Swiss gained positions on the list and moved closer to the top-10. Roger kicked off the season in Sydney as the world's 30th best player, winning four matches in Australia before claiming the first ATP title under a roof in Milan in February.

With his game perfectly tailored for fast indoor surfaces, Federer grabbed three Davis Cup victories over the USA and advanced into the semi-final in Marseille and the final in Rotterdam for a player of the month award. The Swiss competed in the Miami quarter-final and set his eyes on the slowest surface, where he did not play well in the previous years.

On clay, Roger was the quarter-finalist in Monte Carlo and Roland Garros, delivering his first notable result at Majors as a teenager and repeating that at Wimbledon a couple of weeks later. At the All England Club, the junior champion from three years ago toppled the seven-time winner Pete Sampras in the fourth round in a thrilling five-setter, moving into the last eight where he lost to Tim Henman after a great battle.

Despite a groin injury experienced at Wimbledon, Roger decided to go home to Gstaad and compete on clay in the following week, taking only three games against Ivan Ljubicic and staying away from the court for six weeks.

Roger Federer almost cracked the top-10 in 2001 at 20.

Federer returned to action at the US Open and suffered a loss to world no. 2 Andre Agassi in the round of 16. The American saved all nine break points and stole his rival's serve five times to control the pace and leave Roger behind.

Federer was ranked just outside the top-10 after the US Open, staying there for the rest of the season before cracking the elite group following the Hamburg Masters crown in May 2002. "Overall, this year has been excellent for me, without consecutive bad weeks and too many early exits.

I have made great improvements, and my return works well after an injury; I hope I will keep this momentum into the indoor events in the season's closing stages," Roger Federer said.