Roger Federer recalls: 'Unlike this summer, I do not think about world no. 1 spot'

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Roger Federer recalls: 'Unlike this summer, I do not think about world no. 1 spot'

Juan Carlos Ferrer and Roger Federer battled for a place in the 2003 Madrid Masters title match. The Spaniard prevailed in the clash of the year-end no. 1 contenders, beating the Swiss 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes to remain on the title course.

The crowd's favorite won one point more than the Wimbledon champion, losing serve once and delivering two breaks to emerge at the top. The Swiss was the more aggressive player, hitting more winners and unforced errors. Federer had a slight edge in the shortest exchanges but lost the ground in the most extended ones to end on the losing side.

The Spaniard grabbed a break in the opener's fifth game and dropped two points behind the initial shot to control the scoreboard and take it 6-4. Federer took charge in set number two, serving well and earning a break at 15 in the tenth game to bring a decider and gain a boost.

Still, Ferrero played on a higher level and clinched a break after a forehand return winner in game five. The Spaniard served well in the remaining games and held after deuce at 5-4 to seal the deal and grab valuable points.

Roger Federer failed to reach the 2003 Madrid Masters final.

"I was not happy with my game today. I had some good moments, but it was full of ups and downs in the others. I controlled the match, not Juan Carlos; I took chances and made too many errors.

My return was horrible in the first set. Maybe he has improved his serve, I do not know, but it worked well for him today. I struggled with the rhythm and reading his serve. Things got better for me in sets two and three, but not enough to cross the finish line first.

I have played consistent tennis for an entire season; I needed a couple of years to reach that level and stay on a high note for three or four consecutive weeks. I never got the rhythm here in Madrid; I have been saying that from the first match.

Despite that, I have reached the semi-final and fought against world no. 1. I'm tired now, but I have to give my best in Basel next week; playing in front of the home fans motivates me. This encounter was important for the year-end no.

1 battle, and Ferrero has an advantage over me now. I will try to compete well in Basel, as in the previous three years, and then improve my Paris result. World no. 1 position is not on my mind like this summer when I was close to getting it.

I'm relaxed, and better things will come with more experience. I do not have to chase the Masters Cup spot like in 2002, and that's fine," Roger Federer said.