Roger Federer already had 23 victories after the opening three months of the 2002 season, winning one title and reaching his first Masters 1000 final to move on the verge of the top-10. The young Swiss could not play at his best in the second part of 2001 due to a groin injury suffered at Wimbledon, returning stronger at the beginning of 2002 to win the title in Sydney.
Federer reached the Australian Open fourth round, where he lost after an epic battle with Tommy Haas in the decider. Roger could not defend the crown in Milan following a title clash loss before earning two singles wins over Russia in the Davis Cup on clay.
The Swiss lost ground a bit in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells, with only four wins in total. Heading to Miami where he was the quarter-finalist a year ago, Federer produced five straight-sets victories for a place in the first Masters 1000 final, making another big step towards the top-10.
Roger Federer missed a chance to crack the top-10 in Miami 2002.
In the semis, Roger scored the first victory over world no. 1, toppling Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4 before losing to the defending champion Andre Agassi in four sets.
The Swiss had the upper hand in the third set and the beginning of the fourth before the American stepped in to bring the victory home without playing a decider. After the match, Roger said he was disappointed about missing the top-10 and that he felt great on the court, doing a fantastic job in the first three months and hoping for more of the same in the upcoming weeks on clay.
"I'm thrilled I've played well again; it's been a great start to the year. I won my second title in Sydney and produced some excellent tennis on an outdoor court, unlike when I struggled a lot in the previous season.
It has been a fun and nice week. I'm disappointed I did not make the top-10 here in Miami because I had a chance, playing well from the baseline to beat a guy like Lleyton Hewitt. For a while, I dominated Andre Agassi in the final, and I'm pleased with the way I played, hoping to shift this momentum onto the clay season; I have the potential to play well on the slowest surface," Roger Federer said.