Former champion: “Roger Federer’s personality made me more…”

During Roger Federer‘s 2003 clay court tour, he started off with a bang by claiming his seventh ATP title in dominant fashion in Munich. There was no time for the 21-year-old to celebrate because he had to head south to compete in the Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, a city in which he has historically struggled.

Things started looking up for Roger after he defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu, Mariano Zabaleta, Tommy Robredo, Filippo Volandri, and Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Swiss player lost one set on his way to his third Masters 1000 final and second in a row on clay, following his victory in Hamburg in 2002.

Federer lost to Felix Mantilla in three sets, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6, after two hours and forty-one minutes on the slower surface. Having suffered his first defeat since Miami, Roger now plans to concentrate on defending his title in Hamburg.

Mantilla saved 14 of 17 break points, kept his cool when it counted most, and won in straight sets to earn his 10th and final ATP title and first at the Masters 1000 level. The Spaniard only edged out the Swiss by seven points, but he dominated the shorter and intermediate rallies.

Federer did have the upper hand in the later rallies, but not by enough to win a set. Roger blew a 5-6 lead in the first set and then lost the break point. In the second set, he took a two-game lead before losing the next eight games and falling behind Mantilla, 7-5, 6-2, 2-0.

After falling behind 2-1 in the third set, Federer won four straight games to take a 4-2 lead. However, he squandered two set points while serving at 5-4, allowing Felix to come back and tie the score at 5-5. In the eleventh game, the Spaniard saved seven break points and forced a tie break.

Roger Federer is lauded by Andy Roddick.

Earlier this month, former world No. 1 Andy Roddick spoke highly of current No. 1 Roger Federer in a podcast interview. Isn’t it because of how simple he is to use? To quote Roddick: “I’d play a practice match and stay out there for two hours if I could do what he does.

When I would walk by Roger’s court, he would be joking and laughing as I played exactly as I planned to play three days later in the first run of a slam. And now he is calm. And that’s where my envy came in: in how he seemed to always be in a good mood despite his many obligations off the court, to the annoyance of the rest of us gloomy people “It was then that he added.