Following the first big success at Wimbledon in July, Roger Federer became the contender to beat for the remainder of the 2003 season. The Swiss had it all in his hands that summer, leaving one ATP throne win in Montreal, just to suffer a thrilling loss to Andy Roddick in the semi-final.
David Nalbandian defeated Roger at Cincinnati and the US Open, taking many points away from him, with the Swiss hoping for a better turnout during the indoor season. Winning the title in Vienna, Federer went to Madrid as one of the favorites, playing well in the first two rounds to reach the quarterfinals.
The Swiss defeated Alex Corretja 6-4, 6-3 in 70 minutes in the opening match. Federer lost 11 points in ten service games, breaking once at the worst time. That happened while he was serving for the first set, which is never a good sign, he got his game back instantly to secure the set with another break.
Roger was the best player in set number two, taking it with a single break to advance to the next round. He defeated Mardy Fish 6-3, 7-6 in one hour and 32 minutes to secure the spot in the quarters. Serving just 50%, Roger hit four aces and five double faults, facing three break opportunities and erasing two of them to limit the damage.
On the other hand, Fish couldn't keep up with that pace, struggling with the second serve and breaking twice to propel the Swiss to the finish line. Asked about the # 1 end of the year. One of the favorites, Roger chose Andy Roddick over himself, saying that he would do anything to catch up with the American during the indoor season and claim the honor.
Thiem opens up on Roger Federer
Author of a very good recovery in Madrid (only beaten by the future winner Zverev in the semi-finals), Dominic Thiem appeared at a press conference in Rome on the occasion of the media day.
Asked about Roger Federer's long absence and his upcoming return to the circuit (in Geneva and then Roland Garros), the Austrian is really looking forward to seeing the man with 20 Grand Slam titles again. “I think everyone misses Roger Federer when he's not with us on the tour, if only because of his style, because of the way he plays.
Overall, he's a great guy, and it's always amazing to be around him. I look forward to Roland Garros and Wimbledon to see him again. He's so good, he has such unreal abilities that not playing so much doesn't seem like a real problem for him (laughs). If he's 100% physically, I guess he will be able to advance quite far in the tables" - Dominic Thiem explained.