On this day: Roger Federer conquers the ATP throne for the first time



by   |  VIEW 3461

On this day: Roger Federer conquers the ATP throne for the first time

The future of men's tennis looked very bright in the early 2000s. Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer were challenging the "old school" masters Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi and battled for the ATP throne.

Safin claimed the US Open crown at 20, and Hewitt became the youngest world no. 1 in history at the same age, leaving Roger Federer to burst onto the scene and make a name for himself. The super talented Swiss made slower progress but steady as a rock simultaneously, improving his game and ranking position by each month and chasing the notable titles.

Roger won his first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg 2002 and entered the top-10 the next day, never leaving that group between October 2002 and November 2016! Federer made a breakthrough season in 2003 after winning seven titles, including his first Major at Wimbledon and the Masters Cup, heading into 2004 ranked second behind Andy Roddick.

The gap between the two youngsters was not huge, and they were battling for the top spot already at the Australian Open. Marat Safin spoiled the American's plans and allowed Roger to claim the ATP throne following the semi-final victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero.

The Swiss went all the way to win his first Australian Open title after beating Safin in the final, achieving two significant honors within a day.

Roger Federer became world no. 1 following the 2004 Australian Open title.

On February 2, 2004, Federer became the dominant figure on the Tour for the following four and a half years, standing at the top of the men's tennis world with only one serious rival who would dethrone him in the summer of 2008.

With those 1000 points from Melbourne, Roger established a healthy lead over Juan Carlos Ferrero and Andy Roddick, despite not playing that well at the Masters 1000 level. Roger played 95 matches in 2003 and reduced the number to 80 in 2004, winning 11 titles (including three Masters 1000 events) from 17 tournaments and raising the bar too high for any of his followers.

Mighty relieved after gaining that world no. 1 spot as the 23rd player since 1973, Roger transformed himself into a machine that always performed at its best and picked his schedule carefully to stay miles in front of all the opponents.

The Swiss was the player to beat for 237 consecutive weeks before Nadal dethroned him, improving his game outside clay to match Roger's performance. More than 14 years after becoming the world's best player, Federer repeated that in 2018 at 36, fighting for the throne with Nadal as a decade ago and securing the ranking age records that will take some beating.