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In Roger Federer’s words: ‘The fact you are a Grand Slam champion doesn’t..’

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Entering the season ranked 6th, Roger Federer was ready to rumble in 2003 and show his full potential on the biggest scene. The Swiss claimed the first Masters 1000 crown in Hamburg 2002, preparing to fight for notable results at Majors a year later, although they didn’t come at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

Following the first-round loss in Paris, Federer had enough time to arrange everything for the grass-court assault, conquering the first ATP title on the fastest surface in Halle and heading to Wimbledon as one of the favorites.

In London, Roger produced a marvelous performance despite an injury scare to lift the first Major crown at 21 and start his incredible journey at four most prominent tennis events.

Roger Federer Open Day

Squandering a chance to become world no.

1 in Montreal and Cincinnati, Roger traveled to New York for the fourth Major of the season, seeking his first notable result at the US Open. In the first round, Federer lost the first set against Jose Acasuso before scoring a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, 2-0 victory in just over two hours, with the Argentine retiring with a lower-back injury.

“Even though I lost the first set, I thought I was serving well, just missing a few shots in the game I got broken. What worries me was that first game of the second set, hitting a couple of double faults and playing a little impatient.

I bounced back but will have to work hard to avoid things like that in the future. Once you walk on the court, the fact you are a Grand Slam champion doesn’t change anything. I’m the 2nd seed but there are no significant differences compared to the previous tournaments I played.

Like everyone else, I’m taking one match at a time. I served well today and I’m not concerned when my game is right. I have been here for ten days and it was o.k to play the first match on Wednesday, having more time to prepare.

I thought Acasuso was playing very loose at the end of the third set, the ninth game when I broke him for the second time. I saw he wasn’t interested but I didn’t think about an injury. When he took that medical timeout, we all saw something was wrong with him.

Some big names are retiring right now and we have the change of the guard in men’s tennis. I always thought we have a good group of youngsters and we have proved that by winning Grand Slams. Still, with Agassi and other experienced players around, we have a great mixture.”

Acasuso scored a late break in the opener to move in front, having an early lead in set number two before Roger Federer bounced back to take the upper hand and control the scoreboard. Struggling with that injury more and more, Acasuso had to retire after the second game of the fourth set, propelling the Swiss into the second round where he would face another player from outside the top-70, Jean-Lennard Lisnard.

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