Roger Federer made a name for himself in 2002, winning the first Masters 1000 title and finishing the season inside the top-6. A year later, the Swiss went a step further, conquering his first Major crown at Wimbledon and closing the year on a high note with the ATP Masters Cup trophy.
With those five top-10 wins, Federer finished second behind Andy Roddick, preparing to attack the no. 1 spot in the early stages of 2004. Becoming one of the world's leading players under Peter Lundgren, Federer had decided to carry on without the Swede from 2004, seeking the new coach in the upcoming weeks or months.
In his first official match with no trainer in his box, Federer made a winning start at the Australian Open thanks to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 triumph over Alex Bogolomov Jr. The encounter lasted for an hour and a half, with the Swiss having the upper hand from start to finish.
Roger lost 15 points in 13 service games, facing no break points and mounting the pressure on the other side of the net. The American fought bravely in the first two sets, unable to create damage on the return and getting broken only twice.
With a massive lead on his side, Federer started to play even better in the third, delivering a bagel and sealing the deal with a service winner in game six to march into the second round. Twelve months earlier, Federer was among the title favorites in Melbourne but he lost to David Nalbandian in five sets in the fourth round.
The Swiss was ready to chase much higher goals in 2004, feeling confident about his game and hoping for a deep run. Asked about his idols, Roger mentioned the one-handed backhand legends Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker as his favorite players while growing up, with Pete Sampras taking their place during the 90s.
"I'm happy to have started well. You need straight-sets triumphs in the early rounds.
I'm satisfied with my performance once I found the rhythm; my serve and volley worked well. A lot of upsets can happen in Melbourne because some players are not at 100%.
Still, the Australian Open is equally essential as the other three Majors; I'm ready for it, regardless of the place in the calendar. I have always admired players with one-handed backhand. Stefan Edberg was my first idol, and Boris Becker came after him.
Later on, my favorite player was Pete Sampras but I never tried to copy anyone. I think the kids should know that and follow their own path," Roger Federer said.