Starting the season from the top-30, the 19-year-old Roger Federer had high hopes in 2001, seeking the first ATP title and notable results at Majors and Masters 1000 events. The Swiss lost to Sebastien Grosjean in the quarter-final in Sydney and suffered another defeat against the French player when Arnaud Clement toppled him in the third round at the Australian Open.
Returning to Europe, Roger became the player of the month in February, delivering his best tennis on the fast indoor surface and standing on the verge of the top-20 ahead of Indian Wells. In Milan, Federer conquered the first ATP title, beating Goran Ivanisevic, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Julien Boutter for a massive boost ahead of the next week's Davis Cup, with Switzerland hosting the USA in Roger's hometown of Basel.
Determined to give his 120% in front of the home fans, Federer took down Todd Martin in four sets on Friday before stepping on the court in doubles with Lorenzo Manta, delivering the second point for his country on February 10 thanks to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 triumph over Jan-Michael Gambill and Justin Gimelstob.
The Swiss pair needed an hour and 44 minutes to dismiss the Americans who hadn't played together since August 1989 when they claimed the national U12 title, creating only one break chance in the entire encounter that Federer saved with a service winner.
Justin Gimelstob lost serve once in each set and they needed much more reliable performance against the Swiss duo that barely put a foot wrong to seal the deal in straight sets and send their country 2-1 up ahead of the remaining two singles encounters.
"Yeah, of course; confidence is here. And somehow, for me, I feel where the other guy is serving more on big points; that gives me determination. I don't know; it's just a different situation when you come out of a few bad tournaments.
It's like when you ski, you stay away from the goals or - how do you say - the gates, your mind falls out of the race. You can take more risks when you have more confidence. I think I played well today, especially in the clinical points.
I took some chances, and every time it paid off, I can't complain about my doubles game today. Yesterday against Todd, when I had my opportunities, I pretty much took them. It's always great to be on the run like this; I hope it's going to last."