Roger Federer made a name for himself in 2002, conquering the first Masters 1000 title and finishing the season just outside the top-5. The best was yet to come a year later when the Swiss went a step further, winning his first Major crown at Wimbledon and closing the season on a high note with the Masters Cup trophy in his hands.
With those five top-10 wins in Houston, Federer finished second behind Andy Roddick on the ATP ranking list, 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 and traveling to Melbourne with no one in his box.
In his first official match with no trainer, Federer made a winning start at the Australian Open thanks to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 triumph over Alex Bogolomov Jr.
Roger Federer raced into the Australian Open fourth round in 2004.
The encounter lasted for an hour and a half, and Roger had the upper hand from start to finish, losing only 15 points in his games and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.
Competing against another rival from outside the top-100, Federer toppled Jeff Morrison 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes to advance into the third round. Roger erased all four break chances and delivered four breaks to move over the top in no time and remain on the title course.
The third round brought another lower-ranked rival, and Federer had no troubles in a swift 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 victory over Todd Reid. It was all over in 74 minutes, with the Swiss player getting broken once and earning no less than eight breaks, outplaying the Aussie completely on the return to march over the finish line and set the clash against Lleyton Hewitt.
After the encounter, Federer said he feels good on the court, gathering a lot of confidence following that Wimbledon crown and chasing more deep runs at Majors. "I had to react once I got broken in the first set; I'm never happy when I lose serve.
I won 14 straight games, and that's nice; that' doesn't happen every day. It was a good match, and I'm happy. It wasn't easy initially; I didn't serve well, and my shots lacked power. After that, I relaxed, and things got better.
It was difficult for Reid, coming after a long match and facing a completely different rival. I read the game well; I can see where he prefers to place his strokes after some time. It got easier after that, and he got frustrated after not being able to impose long rallies.
I'm more confident after winning Wimbledon, having higher expectations. I'm not pleased with the fourth round or quarters anymore; I want to get further. That's the most significant change," Roger Federer said.