Roger Federer reached back-to-back Major quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the summer of 2001 just before his 20th birthday, making significant steps towards a place in the top-10. Still, that had to wait until May 2002 following his first Masters 1000 crown in Hamburg, with Roger joining the elite and hoping for more good results at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Instead, the Swiss left both Majors much earlier than he expected, suffering the first-round losses and dropping the points and confidence ahead of the North American hard-court swing that brought him nothing good. Roger finally won three back-to-back matches at the US Open to advance into the fourth round, beating Xavier Malisse 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in two and 13 minutes to hit the last 16.
Roger Federer did not play well between June and September 2002.
Following a slow start, Federer found the rhythm to bring the victory home and add more points to his tally, starting to feel confident again and preparing for the clash against Max Mirnyi, whom he beat in the semi-final in Hamburg.
Speaking about the previous 15 months, Roger mentioned a groin injury from the last year's Wimbledon that prevented him from playing his best tennis in the second part of the season, missing a chance to fight for a place at the Masters Cup.
Despite the Hamburg title, the first eight months of 2002 were solid but not great as well, with a lot of early exits and that emotional struggle after the death of his friend and the first coach Peter Carter less than a month before the start of the US Open.
"I suffered that groin injury at Wimbledon 2001 and did not play before the US Open, reaching the fourth round in New York but still struggling and not playing injury-free. I had to seek the form until Basel, and it went away.
That was disappointing because I still had a small chance of reaching the Masters Cup. In the end, I had no chance because I could not get my rhythm. Other things have happened outside the court this year, and I lost much confidence. Wimbledon was a tough one for me; that did not help either," Roger Federer said.