Recognized as one of the biggest prospects among the new generation of players born in the early 80s, Roger Federer became the one to watch in 2001 after winning the first ATP title and reaching the quarter-final at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon at the age of 19.
After that incredible win over Pete Sampras at the All England Club, the entire tennis world was ready to witness a new Major champion from Switzerland, although they had to wait for a couple of years before Roger pulled everything together to join the immortals on that list.
Roger won the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg a year later, earning enough points to finally crack the top-10 and standing as one of the favorites in Paris and London. Instead of that, the youngster hit the exit door at both Majors in the first round, not playing well in the next couple of months but still securing his first Masters Cup berth in Shanghai.
Returning stronger in 2003, Federer had most victories on the Tour in the first couple of months, lifting crowns in Marseille, Dubai and Munich in three different environments and hoping for more of the same just a week after that Bavaria triumph in Rome.
In the second round, the Swiss ousted Mariano Zabaleta in straight sets to extend the winning streak, looking good on the court and expressing his desire to win Majors in the future and become world no. 1. "I don't want to become a sports athlete of the year in Switzerland by playing like I've been playing the last few years just because other guys haven't been playing.
It's going very well at the moment in sports in Switzerland but I want more. I wish and hope that I can win a Grand Slam or be No. 1 in the world. It is all still far away, and hopefully, I can reach it one day."