Starting the season ranked 13th, Roger Federer was eager to finally crack the top-10 in 2002, winning the title in Sydney and reaching the first Masters 1000 final in Miami. The Swiss lost it to Andre Agassi in four sets, barely missing a chance to join the elite and waiting for a couple of weeks more for that to happen after early exits in Monte Carlo and Rome.
Federer finally joined the top-10 company following the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg in May, defeating Marat Safin in the final and heading to Roland Garros as world no. 8. Hicham Arazi ousted Roger in straight sets in Paris, with the youngster switching focus to his beloved grass swing, playing Halle and s-Hertogenbosch before Wimbledon.
Nicolas Kiefer halted the Swiss in the Halle semi-final before making a winning start in s-Hertogenbosch and beating a former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek 6-2, 7-5 in under an hour. Speaking about his chances at Wimbledon, Roger said he is among the favorites after a great run in 2001 that saw him beating Pete Sampras and reaching the quarter-final.
Still, he noted there are too many great players out there who want the title as well, predicting a tight race towards the most prestigious trophy of our sport.
Roger Federer had high hopes ahead of Wimbledon 2002.
"I'm looking forward to competing at Wimbledon again; this year is special to me because I have now played my matches on the Centre Court, which was always my dream.
With the pleasant experience from last year, beating Pete Sampras and everything, I'm thrilled to come back. I'm one of the favorites, and hopefully, I can play well. Grass court is a tough surface to master; sometimes, a few big points can decade matches.
I hope to pass the first couple of rounds and find my way into the tournament. I had already played well in Halle last week and will continue this week in s-Hertogenbosch in another lead-up event for Wimbledon, trying to get as many matches as possible.
I have a good chance of winning Wimbledon, but so many other players also want the title; it will be very tough to win. I think five or even ten players can win Wimbledon this year. Patrick Rafter is not playing, so as Goran Ivanisevic, both finalists from last year. That helps other players and me; we will see who can take a chance and go all the way," Roger Federer said.