Roger Federer recalls: 'It was my worst tennis ever'

Tennis - Roger did not play well during the summer of 2002

by Jovica Ilic
Roger Federer recalls: 'It was my worst tennis ever'

Roger Federer claimed his first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg in May 2002, finally cracking the top-10 the following day. The young Swiss could not shift that form into the upcoming events. He lost in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and won only one out of seven matches ahead of the US Open!

Besides an evident struggle on the court, Roger lost his dear friend and first coach Peter Carter in August. Roger found some form and results in New York, beating Xavier Malisse 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in two and 13 minutes to advance into the last 16.

The Belgian broke Roger thrice. The Swiss responded with five successful return games to control the pace after the opener and earn another much-needed triumph after a mediocre couple of months that saw him playing below his best.

Roger Federer found form at the 2002 US Open after a few poor months.

"I was not playing well at all lately. That's why I need to pass the opening rounds and get that winning feeling again. It was a difficult match for me as I did not play that well, getting a little nervous in the closing stages.

I played on a high level versus Michael Chang, and I could feel I was on the right track despite some issues. After losing the opening set, I stayed positive and tried to make a strong comeback in the second; that worked well.

I got my confidence back in the last couple of matches, and this is how I should play. I think I'm not far from the level I had at the start of the season; I still believe I can do a few things better. I have to take one match after another as I did not play enough encounters lately.

I expected a little from this tournament. My only focus was winning first-round singles, playing doubles and having fun. That was missing lately, and we know the reasons for that. I was doing only a little besides practicing. Between Long Island and the US Open, I felt like I could not play anymore.

Now I'm also starting to struggle in practice. Before, I told myself to work hard in practice, as it would come back in the match. Then I practiced well but was terrible in the match. Then suddenly, I had terrible practice sessions and terrible encounters.

I was playing my worst tennis ever. It may have helped that I played so badly in practice, having no expectations in the singles. Suddenly, I'm playing well again, and that's just the main thing right now," Roger Federer said.

Roger Federer