The future of men's tennis was in good hands at the beginning of the new millennium. An incredible generation of young people born in the early 1980s achieved their first significant results in the late 1990s thanks to Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt.
While the Russian and Australian were already established as the best players in the world, Roger Federer was eager to join them as soon as possible. The Swiss made notable jumps up the rankings and reached the first Major quarter-final in 2001.
Marat and Roger made it into the top eight seeds at Miami 2003. However, Marat couldn't stay in the event for long after losing to Davide Sanguinetti in the first meeting. On the other hand, Roger got off to a victorious start, beating Luis Horna 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 21 minutes.
Following the match, Roger was asked to describe notable rivalries and competitions. He mentioned Pete Sampras and his match at Wimbledon, saying that he had already fulfilled one of his dreams. The teenager dropped the seven-time champion in five epic sets in the fourth round of 2001, holding off every attack in the finals to earn one of the best wins of his early career.
As well as Pete, Roger also brought Marat Safin into the story, praising the Russian, saying he liked racing him and describing Marat as a good guy off the track. Safin won his last match in Moscow, at the end of 2002, to earn his first win over Roger.
The Swiss celebrated it in a close battle in Rome 2001 and twice more in 2002. The two rivals met in the Hamburg Masters final, and Roger won it to lift the first Masters 1000 trophy and break into the top-10. the next day.
Mouratoglou on Federer's slice
Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis players ever with an arsenal full of game-winning shots, of which the wicked slice is one.
"Roger [Federer] was doing this unbelievable. All the time. He was hitting it here, so the players had to come in. There was no other option. The players were in the worst possible position on the tennis court. What do they do?" Patrick Mouratoglou says in the Instagram post.
Roger Federer underwent surgery on his right knee last year following a straight-sets loss to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. The 40-year-old has been on the sidelines since, spending time in rehab and training ahead of his return.