Roger Federer made a sow start in 2003 before turning into a memorable season, winning almost 80 matches and lifting seven trophies,m including Wimbledon and the Masters Cup. The Swiss lost much energy in the closing stages of 2002 and made a slow start in the following season, struggling with a leg injury in Doha and Sydney and heading to the Australian Open with only a couple of matches under his belt.
Roger was among the title favorites in Melbourne, and he kicked off the action with a hard-fought 7-6, 7-5, 6-3 triumph over the Brazilian Flavio Saretta in two hours and 48 minutes. Federer seized six out of 17 break chances and got broken three times to find himself over the top without spending more time on the court.
Saretta stayed in touch with the Swiss in the opening two sets before Roger ran away in the third, feeling better on the court but still sensing there's room for improvement if he wanted to fight for the trophy. Also, the journalists asked Federer to share his thoughts about the blood tests, and he said there's nothing wrong with them, as he had nothing to hide or be worried about.
Roger Federer made a winning start at the 2003 Australian Open.
"The leg was fine today; I'm happy about that. I had to run a lot, and it was a tough match. I'm glad that I went okay; I like how I played. The last time I played on the Centre court was against Tommy Haas in 2002.
It's a nice atmosphere, and the Australian people are friendly. It's important to find the right form in the first couple of matches, and I think I can play better in the next one. I played three or four encounters before Melbourne; I could not compete at the highest level because of my injury, but it seems it's been fine now.
I'm happy I went through in straight sets because it could have easily gone to the fourth or even the fifth. I'm delighted to sneak out of this one; now, I'm looking forward to the next challenge. I do not know if anyone is taking performance-enhancing drugs.
I hope not because everybody wants a clean sport. It gets a bit more personal with blood tests, but I do not have any problems with that as I have nothing to worry about," Roger Federer said.