Roger Federer claimed the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg in May 2002, finally cracking the top-10 on the following day. The young Swiss could not shift that form into the upcoming events, though, losing in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and winning only one out of seven matches ahead of the US Open!
Besides an evident struggle on the court, Roger lost his dear friend and the first coach Peter Carter in early August, making things worse for one of the most promising upcoming stars. Roger found some form and results in New York, beating Xavier Malisse 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in two and 13 minutes to advance into the last 16.
The Belgian broke Roger thrice, but the Swiss responded with five successful return games to control the pace after the opener and earn another much-needed triumph after a mediocre couple of months that saw him playing below his best.
Roger Federer found some form at the US Open 2002 after a couple of poor months.
"I was not playing well at all lately. That's why I need to pass the opening rounds and get that winning feeling again. It was a difficult match for me as I did not play that well, getting a little nervous in the end.
I played on a high level versus Michael Chang, and I could feel I was on the right track despite some issues. After losing the opening set, I stayed positive and tried to make a strong comeback in the second; that worked well.
In the last couple of matches, I got my confidence back, and this is how I should play. I think I'm not far away from the level I had at the start of the season; I still think maybe I can do a few things better. I have to take one match after another as I did not play enough encounters lately.
I did not expect much from this tournament. My only focus was to win that first-round singles, play doubles and have some fun. That was missing lately, and we know the reasons for that. There's not much I was doing besides practicing.
Between Long Island and the US Open, I felt like I can not play anymore. Now I'm also starting to struggle in practice. Before, I told myself to work hard in practice, as it would come back in the match. Then I practiced well but was terrible in the match.
Then suddenly, I had terrible practice sessions and terrible encounters. I was playing my worst tennis ever. I guess it maybe helped that I played so bad in practice, having no expectations in the singles. Now suddenly, I'm playing well again, and that's just the main thing right now," Roger Federer said.