Roger Federer recalls: ‘I’m a natural clay-courter’

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Roger Federer won the first Major title at Wimbledon 2003, becoming a contender for the ATP throne that summer. The Swiss had the opportunity to become world no. 1 in Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open. He wasted them and had to wait until February next year and his second Major crown at the Australian Open to become the world’s leading player.

Roddick prevailed over Federer in the Montreal semi-final, and the Swiss then lost early in Cincinnati and New York to David Nalbandian. Federer sought another chance to become the world’s leading player during the indoor season.

Roger claimed the title in Vienna and stood as one of the favorites a week later in Madrid. The Swiss made a winning start following a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Alex Corretja in 70 minutes. Federer lost 11 points in ten service games and got broken once.

That happened at the worst moment while serving for the opener, and the youngster recovered his game instantly to secure the set with another break. The Swiss had the upper hand in set number two and sealed the deal to move into the second round.

Speaking about his year-end no. 1 chances, Roger wished for a good run at the remaining events and a strong performance at the Masters Cup. Also, the Swiss mentioned clay and the fact he grew up on it, moving naturally on the slowest surface.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer spoke about growing up on clay in Madrid 2003.
“I was happy to get off to a good start. I did well after getting broken, earning another return game to close the opener. The second set was not that hard too, and I was happy with my performance today.

The court is quicker than in Vienna last week, and I’m not risking much in the opening rounds. Mardy Fish and I played once at Wimbledon, and I beat him in four sets. He has improved, and he is a dangerous rival, performing well in Cincinnati.

He has a big game and a massive serve, and he takes chances on the return. I’m happy to be in contention for world no. 1 position. It’s a pity I missed my opportunity in Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open. For me, the important thing is to play a good, solid indoor season; the last year was good, but I want an even better one now.

I made a perfect start in Vienna, and Madrid and Paris could be essential in that battle. There are also Basel and the Masters Cup, and I will try to win them all. I’m relaxed and confident, ready to play for a couple of weeks in a row.

I feel better than last year; the race to Shanghai was killing me in 2002. I have more experience now, and I’m a better player. Like other European players, I’m used to playing on both clay and indoor courts. I grew up as a clay-courter; my movement feels natural on the slowest surface,” Roger Federer said.

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