Super talented Swiss Roger Federer gained first significant results on Tour in 2001, reaching the quarter-final at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. At the All England Club, the youngster took down the seven-time champion Pete Sampras in five sets en route to the last eight, becoming one of the players to watch and a contender for the place in the top-20.
A year later, Roger played in the final in Miami and claimed the first Masters 1000 trophy in Hamburg following the triumph over Marat Safin, entering the elite top-10 group on the next day and heading to Roland Garros and Wimbledon with big expectations.
Instead of that, the last year's quarter-finalist had to leave both Majors much earlier than he expected, losing in the opening round in both Paris and London and struggling to find the desired level in the next couple of months as well.
Nonetheless, the title in Vienna and a couple of other good results on an indoor surface brought Federer back into the top-10, earning the place at his first Masters Cup and advancing into the semi-final there. After a slow start of the 2003 campaign due to an injury, Federer was back at his best from February, winning titles in Marseille and Dubai and earning the most victories on the entire Tour ahead of Indian Wells.
Following the win over Felix Mantilla in the second round, Roger said he wants to reach the Masters Cup again that year, eager to raise his level at Roland Garros and Wimbledon where he doesn't have points to defend and hoping to play with no pressure in the upcoming Majors due to that fact.
"Australia was a disappointment; I could have done better there. I made a scary start with a little bit of groin trouble, not knowing if everything would be fine at the Australian Open. Luckily, it went fine. I have to say that I was able to make a good start of the season for the last couple of years; I won the Hopman Cup, it was Sydney last year and now Marseille and Dubai.
I think it's essential and it always carries me through; it gives me confidence and puts the pressure off my back to do well and stay at the top of the ATP Race. My goal is to reach the Masters Cup again and I'm off to a good start.
I have to play better than last year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon; those were my significant failures in 2002. I will go there with no pressure of defending points; that also helps sometimes."
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