Roger Federer took the first significant steps on the professional Tour in 1998, reaching the quarterfinals at the ATP tournament in Toulouse to reach the top-400 at 17 years old. With remarkable results on the Satellite Tour, Roger finished the season just outside the top 300, with many more in 1999 when he claimed 13 ATP victories and a Challenger title at Brest, becoming the force to be reckoned with on the Tour.
The super talented Swiss found a way to break into the top 30 in 2000 after 36 wins at the main level and two ATP finals, building confidence and feeling ready to give the final push and reach the top 10 sometime in 2001.
Federer claimed 49 wins that season and found himself in the top 15 in June before missing all the action between Gstaad and the US Open due to a groin injury, unable to earn more points and continue his progress. Nonetheless, Federer was closing the gap in the first half of 2002, losing the Miami Open final to Andre Agassi and conquering the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg, gaining 500 points and debuting in the top 10 on May 20, still with 20 years.
After early outings in Monte Carlo and Rome, the Swiss played at a high level in Hamburg, defeating Gustavo Kuerten in the quarterfinals and beating his good friend Max Mirnyi to secure his place in the title match against Marat.
Safin. Roger pulled off a 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 victory in just over two hours to take home those 500 points and find himself in the elite group for the first time after spending nearly a year between the 11th and 15th position.
Annacone reflects on Roger Federer
In that context, Roger Federer’s former coach and TV analyst Paul Annacone recently claimed that the 39-year-old’s comeback this year is unlikely to be the same as the one he made four years ago.
Annacone did add, however, that Federer’s confidence levels at Wimbledon remain as high as ever. “I think Paris is going to be really challenging for him,” Annacone said. “But if the body sustains itself and maintains good health and he gets enough reps, Roger’s not going to go into the grass season not thinking he can win Wimbledon.
He’ll say all the right stuff, but in his heart of hearts, he knows he can win that tournament. The less dominant you are, the more that aura of invincibility starts to dissipate just a tad,” Annacone said. “And it only needs to dissipate a tad to make a difference. The locker room antenna is up.”