Roger Federer made a name for himself after reaching the quarter-final at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2001, still at 19. At the All England Club, the young Swiss dethroned the seven-time champion Pete Sampras in five thrilling sets before losing to Tim Henman in another tight encounter.
Those two deep runs in Paris and London made a teenager a Major contender in the years to come, regardless of the surface. Still, the results were not that good in the next couple of the most notable events, as Federer lost before the quarters at every Major between the US Open 2001 - Roland Garros 2003!
For some reason, Roger failed to produce his best tennis on the most significant scene and repeat the level he was already presenting at the Masters 1000 level.
Roger Federer spoke about Major tournaments in Rome 2003.
The Swiss made a winning start in Rome 2003, ousting Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 27 minutes in the first round.
Federer grabbed five breaks that carried him score after surviving a scare in set number two. Asked about the upcoming Major tournaments, Federer admitted it is hard to pick Wimbledon favorites. The youngster picked a couple of players who should do well and ten others ready to surprise them.
Also, he thought back then that the Majors are a bit overrated, offering too many points and prize money and devaluating the importance of other events. Ironically, Roger would claim his first Major title two months later at Wimbledon.
"It is complicated to pick Wimbledon favorites. I don't know how the Spaniards would perform, especially Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya. Marat Safin is always dangerous; you never know with him. Andy Roddick too, with his big serve; they are all dangerous.
Tim Henman is a threat in front of the home fans every year, but I don't know how his shoulder is doing. There are always ten guys who could win, alongside the favorites. You can expect surprises, like Voltchkov at Wimbledon a couple of years ago or Thomas Johannson in Australia.
I sometimes feel Majors are overrated, with that many points and money involved. It's all about those tournaments, and that shouldn't be the case," Roger Federer said.