Starting the season ranked 13th, Roger Federer was eager to finally crack the top-10 in 2002, winning the Sydney title and reaching the first Masters 1000 final in Miami. He lost that one to Andre Agassi in four sets, barely missing a chance to join the elite and having to wait for a couple of weeks more for that to happen after early exits in Monte Carlo and Rome.
The Swiss star became the top-10 player following the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg, defeating Marat Safin in the final and heading to Roland Garros as world no. 8. Hicham Arazi ousted Roger in straight sets in Paris, with the youngster switching focus to his beloved grass swing and playing Halle and s-Hertogenbosch before Wimbledon.
Nicolas Kiefer halted the Swiss in the Halle semi-final before Roger made a winning start in s-Hertogenbosch, beating a former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek 6-2, 7-5 in under an hour. Speaking about his Wimbledon chances, Roger said he is among the favorites after a great run in 2001 that saw him beating Pete Sampras and reaching the quarter-final.
Still, he noted there are too many great players out there who want the title as well, predicting a tight race towards our sport's most prestigious trophy.
Roger Federer spoke about his chances at Wimbledon 2002 after notable run a year ago.
"I'm looking forward to competing at Wimbledon again; this year is special to me because I have now played my matches on the Centre Court, which was always my dream.
With the last year's pleasant experience, beating Pete Sampras and everything, I'm thrilled to come back. I'm one of the favorites, and hopefully, I can play well. Grass court is a tough surface to master; a few big points can decade matches sometimes.
I hope that I can pass the first couple of rounds and find my way into the tournament. I already played well in Halle last week and will continue this week in s-Hertogenbosch in another Wimbledon lead-up event, trying to get as many matches as possible.
I feel like I have a good chance of winning Wimbledon, but many other players also want the title; it will be very tough to go all the way. I think five or even ten players can celebrate at Wimbledon this year. The last year's finalists Patrick Rafter and Goran Ivanisevic are not in the draw. That helps other players and me; we will see who can take a chance and go all the way," Roger Federer said.