Roger Federer achieved notable goals for the first time in 2002, playing in the first Masters 1000 final in Miami and winning the first title at that level in May in Hamburg, beating Marat Safin in the final. The next day, the Swiss cracked the top-10 for the first time after staying in the top-15 for months, passing that obstacle and hoping for an impressive run at Roland Garros and Wimbledon like a year ago. Instead, he suffered early losses at both Majors and lost the ground in the next couple of months, making one last push during the fall indoor season to regain positions on the ATP ranking list and secure a place at the Masters Cup in Shanghai for the first time.
Roger Federer played well in February 2003.
At the beginning of 2003, the Swiss could not play at his best in Doha and Sydney after a groin injury. He lost to David Nalbandian in the Australian Open fourth round and missed another chance to fight for a Major crown. Roger raised his level in February, scoring two Davis Cup wins and lifting trophies in Marseille and Dubai, looking for more of the same at the first Masters 1000 event of the season in Indian Wells. The Swiss had to work hard in the opening test in the desert, beating Felix Mantilla 6-7, 6-4, 4-1 when the Spaniard retired in the decider. It was Roger’s 21st triumph in 2003, leading the standings in that segment and gaining confidence ahead of the upcoming encounters in Indian Wells and Miami.
“I did not play for a few days after winning Dubai, and when you start again, the body hurts. It’s nice to come to any tournament after lifting the trophy at the previous one; it gives me confidence, especially ahead of such a big event like Indian Wells. It helps when you know you are the leader of the season in terms of the number of victories. Physically, maybe not so much, but I said I like to play in February. I would rather have this problem of winning too many matches than not winning enough. I feel good, and I’m looking forward to my next clashes here and in Miami; those are very nice events. It would be great if I can play well at least at one of them,” Roger Federer said.