Competing in his second ATP Masters Cup in 2003, Roger Federer delivered his A game to capture the second notable title of the season after Wimbledon. The Swiss youngster had five top-10 wins in Houston to seal the deal and lift the trophy, finishing the season in second place behind Andy Roddick.
Working with Peter Lundgren since 2000, Roger wanted to make changes and decided to part ways with the Swede and go into the 2004 season without a manager. Federer dispatched Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3 6-4 6-0 in the first round of the Australian Open in his first official meeting.
The battle lasted an hour and a half, and Roger had the upper hand the whole time, giving up 15 points in 13 service games and never facing a break point. With the pressure on his side, Bogomolov Jr. lost nearly half of his points off the serve, suffering five breaks and vanishing off the court in the third to power Federer.
One break in each of the first two sets was enough to put Roger up two sets. He dominated the third and sealed the deal with a service winner in game six to advance to the second round. Before the tournament, former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash had criticized Federer for leaving Lundgren just before the first Major of the season, calling it "inexplicable" and drawing Roger's girlfriend Mirka into the story.
Clarey comments on King Roger
Roger Federer is one of the greatest players of all time. He is revered for his exploits on the court and the way he has conducted himself off the court. "I don't presume to know how he developed personally.
I'm not his friend, not a family member. An interview is an interview. Here he is very pleasant, very open. He hasn't changed at all in certain areas - even if he has become a billionaire in the meantime (laughs). He always asks questions.
My first conversation in 2001 was less of an interview and more of a conversation. And in 2019, the last time I spoke to him, it was the same," Clarey said. The American highlighted how the Swiss always conducts himself in a proper manner despite having so many commitments to various individuals.
"And a chameleon: It adapts to the situation it is in. With sponsors it goes one way, with his colleagues in the changing room the other, he jokes around. And towards journalists he is very thoughtful. His mother is South African, his father Swiss, he is just a very adaptable person," Clarey added.
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