After reaching two Major finals in 2001, Roger Federer was ready to seek a top-10 berth and a spot in the ATP Finals in 2002. The Swiss began the aforementioned season with the Sydney crown and fourth round of the Australian Open, staying on the edge of the elite group and hoping to find himself there soon.
Roger failed to defend the title in Milan before scoring wins over Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin in the Russian Davis Cup on clay. The Swiss did not perform well in the next three events, suffering early defeats in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells and leaving with just four wins.
In his return to Miami after the quarterfinals a year ago, Federer disposed of Jeff Morrison in the first match to open with victory. He edged out world number 25 Albert Portas and world number 6 Tim Henman to repeat the 2001 result and meet in the round of 16.
Henman had to retire after the first set, and Roger had more than enough time to prepare for the quarterfinal clash against Andrei Pavel. The Swiss defeated the Romanian 6-1, 6-1 in less than an hour after one of his best performances of the season up to that point.
Roger was satisfied with his performance. He remained focused from start to finish and dominated the serve and return to set up the clash against Lleyton Hewitt or Marat Safin, other young super talents born in the early 80s.
Roger was confident going into the next match, feeling very good on court and confident in his chances against Hewitt or Safin as he searched for his first Masters 1000 final. Federer had a negative balance with Hewitt, since he had only beaten him once and he hoped to improve that in Miami.
On the other hand, he knew how to play against Marat, defeating him in both meetings before Florida. “I’ve had a lot of great matches against Lleyton Hewitt. I’ve played him about five times, lost four and beaten him once.
We’ve always had tough battles that lasted three or four sets. I feel like I can beat him; I’ve got the game and I know the tactics and strategy to play against him.”
Tsitsipas on King Roger
Roger Federer is a highly respected figure in the tennis world and many players look up to him in admiration, with Stefanos Tsitsipas being one of them.
“Roger’s best years, you know, he was kind of unstoppable. It seemed so going forwards,” Tsitsipas said. “He said, I remember, many years ago that ‘if you don’t improve and if you don’t change something in a positive way, the opponents are gonna kind of find out what you are doing and what you’ve been doing is not anymore as efficient as it was before.
So, you always got to think forward, you always gotta be progressive in your mindset.’ And that’s what he has been doing so well for so many years,” he said.
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