Roger Federer was the player with the most triumphs on the Tour in the first couple of months of 2003, winning titles in Marseille and Dubai and reaching the Australian Open fourth round. The Swiss didn't enjoy the best runs in Indian Wells and Miami, losing tight encounters against Gustavo Kuerten and Alberto Costa.
After the American swing, the Swiss defended the national colors in the Davis Cup against France, scoring two wins and deciding to take some time off before returning at the end of April in Munich. Roger was the player to beat in Bavaria, storming over all five rivals in under five hours and winning the seventh ATP crown for a strong boost ahead of the Masters 1000 event in Rome.
Roger Federer made a great start of the clay season in 2003.
In the final, Roger toppled his good friend Jarkko Nieminen to seal the deal and complete a perfect week ahead of more serious challenges at Foro Italico. In the Italian capital, Federer defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round and Mariano Zabaleta in the second, prevailing in the first set tie break and dominating in the second to deliver the seventh straight-sets triumph on clay and set the clash against Tommy Robredo.
Speaking after the match, Roger was very pleased with that streak, knowing it wouldn't last for too long but enjoying every moment of it and his tennis in general since the beginning of 2002. "The last two weeks have given me a lot of confidence.
It's always a surprise when you don't lose sets over seven matches, especially against good players. Also, I just started the clay-court season and won every set so far. Still, I could have lost a couple of those, and I don't expect the streak to continue and last for very long.
I will try to stay focused and prepare for the next match. I'm more mature now, that's for sure. I feel much better on the court than before, and I have found my inner self. I had some rough moments on and off the court in the last year and a half, but I feel that I have played very well since the beginning of 2002, which makes me happy. I'm consistent, and that's a big step for me," Roger Federer said.