After lifting the first Wimbledon crown in 2003, Roger Federer had a chance to become world number one that summer. The Swiss came within a victory of the ATP throne in Montreal, denied by Andy Roddick in the semi-final and missing more chances after first losses in Cincinnati and the US Open.
Federer finished the season in second place after winning the first Masters Cup title, preparing to attack the ATP throne in 2004. Traveling to Australia without Peter Lundgren or any other coach, Federer proved to be the player to beat in the first three.
rounds, using a favorable draw to reach the knockout stages in style. Facing more dangerous opponents, Federer beat local star Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian to meet in the semi-finals for the first time. Roger had a negative score against both rivals at the time, losing a set but controlling the pace in those encounters for his best result at Melbourne Park.
One triumph from reaching the final and becoming world number one, Roger defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and a half, advancing to the second final of the Major and conquering the ATP ranking at 22 years old.
Federer defended all four break opportunities and earned his fourth win over Juan Carlos, who couldn’t match Roger’s numbers, suffering four breaks to power the Swiss. The servers marched through the first six service games, with Federer experiencing early trouble at 3-3.
The Swiss repelled four break points in his only weak service game, staying on the positive side of the scoreboard and delivering a scoreless break in the 10th game to take the first set 6-4. Roger took another break in the second game of the second set and won another at 4-1 before sealing it with a winning serve that brought him closer to the finish line.
At 3-3 in the third set, Federer moved to the front with the fourth and final service break, emerging at the top with a winning serve in the 10th game to become no. 1 for the first time and challenge Marat Safin in the title clash.
When asked about the fact that he came to Melbourne without a coach, Roger explained that he is grateful to all of them for all that they had done. Still, it was he who had to go out and compete, feeling proud to become the best player in the world.
Roger Federer on the importance of staying happy on the Tour
In an interview with GQ Magazine, eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer opened up on how he has had to reset his goals time and again to stay motivated in the sport.
“…you see this happening very often in sports, where you finally achieve your dream, and then the question is, can you keep pushing further? You become number five in the world, now do you want to be number three? And then number one? Do you want to stay world number one?” Federer said.
The Swiss ace underlined the importance of staying “happy on the Tour” as “there is a lot at stake for points and money and fame and social media. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go through all that (early in his career). I’m glad that my upbringing on the Tour was a bit more of a normal one,” Federer said.