Roger Federer came to Miami 2003 as one of the title favorites, scoring most victories in the season and returning as the last year's finalist. Roger took down Luis Horna 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 21 minutes in the first match, playing well in the opener and scoring a late break in set number two to seal the deal and make a winning start.
Asked about that final with Agassi from 12 months ago, Roger said it gave him much confidence, together with the title he claimed in Hamburg a couple of weeks later when he secured a top-10 spot. The Swiss praised the American who played on a very high level in the opening two sets.
Roger matched Andre's pace in sets three and four for a real battle, moving closer to force a decider after leading 4-2 in set number four. Agassi rattled off the last four to cross the finish line and defend the crown he won in 2001.
Andre prevailed 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes for the fifth Florida title, preventing Roger from becoming the youngest champion since no Agassi himself in 1990!
Roger Federer spoke about the 2002 Miami final against Andre Agassi.
"I do not remember the points at that stage, but I was up a break in the fourth set.
Still, the advantage went away quickly, with Agassi breaking me twice and sealing the deal. I think he played well from the start; I could not manage to hold on. Then I started to serve better, and it was a pity we could not go into the fifth set.
I made a breakthrough at the Masters series a year ago. I think I had two quarter-finals before Miami, and it's not easy to fight at that level, having to play against highly-ranked players from the first round. If you can beat them in the early rounds here, it would help you at Majors and other tournaments.
The semi-final against Lleyton Hewitt and the final versus Agassi in Miami last year helped me gain confidence for the rest of the season. I experienced something similar in Hamburg a few weeks later, and those two Masters tournaments were perfect for me," Roger Federer said.