Roger Federer claimed the first Major title at Wimbledon 2003. The young Swiss dropped one set in seven encounters to lift the trophy in style. A week later, Federer lost to Jiri Novak in five sets in the Gstaad final and took some rest ahead of Montreal and Cincinnati.
Roger squandered a chance to become world no. 1 for the first time at back-to-back Masters 1000 events, losing to Andy Roddick and David Nalbandian. Federer got another opportunity to claim the ATP throne at the US Open, seeking his first notable result at the season's last Major.
Like in the previous years, Roger could not bring his A-game in New York. He beat Jose Acasuso, Jena-Rene Lisnard and James Blake before suffering a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss to David Nalbandian. The Argentine had the upper hand in their early meetings, prevailing over Federer two weeks earlier in Cincinnati in two tie breaks.
The New York encounter lasted for two hours and 52 minutes, with many extended rallies and unforced errors on both sides. Federer suffered six breaks from 16 chances offered to Nalbandian, making a good start before finding himself 5-0 down in set number two.
The Swiss erased a massive deficit but lost the tie break, missing a chance to build an enormous advantage and sending momentum to the other side. With a boost on his side, Nalbandian had the upper hand in sets three and four to seal the deal and advance into the quarters, leaving Roger empty-handed during the North American swing.
Roger Federer experienced another early US Open exit in 2003.
"I have had disappointing losses before; adding another one to that list does not change much. It was tough to give the second set away after bouncing back to reach the tie break.
Probably, that would have changed the encounter. I do not know why I'm struggling against David; otherwise, I would beat him. It's a pity for today's defeat, as I had my chances. I'm trying to figure out how to beat him; I can not tell you more than that.
He likes my game as he can play counterattack tennis, something he does exceptionally well. I never felt I had a great day against him, which has something to do with his game. I do not care about stats; I had some 90 unforced errors at Roland Garros, and soon after that, I sprayed only two.
Rallies were long today, and we both had more mistakes than winners. The rain delay did not affect my game, as it was the same for us. I had some small injuries that I took care of in the delays; they came right. I felt good in the first set, thinking I figured him out and had a game plan.
Then, he raced into a 5-0 lead in set number two before I fought back; it's weird to play against him. We know each other from the junior days, and he scored wins over me before; he knew he could do it again today," said Roger Federer.