It was really a pity that I didn't catch Roger earlier enough, but still it was not late.
TMC 02 was when I saw Roger for the first time. Guess what I thought on seeing him at first sight: hey this guy must be about 28 or sth and must be some fluke participant of TMC
I was surprised about his real profile, 21 of age was the most surprising thing
, before I saw him play. After I saw him play, I was not surprised any more. I was thinking like OK, it did make sense that he was called the next Sampras (I was once a Pete fan and dumped tennis after I had to live at school and at the same time when Pete was going down his way). So watching his semi against Hewitt knowing exactly how the match went on made me a bit frustrated and pissed off. TMC 02 marked the start of my love with Roger and his game. Then I followed him more and more closely.
There came 03 AO. The only match I caught was 4th round against Nalbandian. I was staying up late into the midnight only to find him lose in a 5 setter. But I was really optimistic and encouraged, thinking that if he could keep his level of play up to that of the 4th set, then he was almost unbeatable.
Before FO, I rarely had chance to watch any tennis coz I had to stick to school. Only some news from time to time. And then one day I came back home, turning on the TV right on stepping in my house, only to hear that 'The 5th (or 6th? don't remember clearly) seed Roger Federer from Switzerland knocked out in the first round by surprise, other top players through'. I was like, oh well, guy, how could you treat me like this, you know, I came back home just for your FO action
Almost no more FO for me any more.
Wimbledon semi was really a story for everyone I think, coz it was the best ever tennis I've ever seen. Things were really not optimistic before the semi. I was eagerly waiting for Roger's match live on TV every day, and the only one time they gave me the favor of covering his match live finally, there came the rain, and after some time of waiting, the live coverage was cut off. I was going crazy
Before the semi happened, I thought maybe the semi would be the only time I got to watch Roger in this Wimbledon
I had much doubt if Roger could beat the media fav and at-that-moment-highly-hyped Andy. And we all knew what happened next. There came the perfect, without any foretoken.
Afterwards, my love for Roger and his tennis was taken to another realm
and it only grew deeper and deeper with time passing by.
Not to mention the disappointing US summer hard court season, the outstanding nerve-wrecking staring at the sb in the middle of the night with turns of sleep to waking up sitting in front of my pc plus some tormenting rain break during the Nalby match, with the final loss in my morning and the disastrous mood, just want to mention the milestone match, TMC RR against Agassi. I was really not expecting much from Roger in TMC considering his poor form and mental condition going into TMC. This one was STH. This match included every major factor that counts in a tennis match. The quality, the nerve, the rivalry, the mistake, the bad call, and above all the WIN. I still highly doubt that if Roger hadn't won this match, he would have been the same Roger now. Probably not. This match was definitely the remarkable turningpoint of his career. I think any word to describe my feelings at that moment is not enough.
His smooth move this year began right from the start though he showed poor form again before AO. I didn't at all expect him to win AO now that he had just split his coach and with the monsterous draw. Actually no idea about his decision to tour alone. That Hewitt match was big, but the Nalbandian match was even bigger. I always think he has much of the ability to beat Hewitt but not that with Nalbandian. The fact was that the Nalby match was pretty even and I somehow thought Roger went through with some kind of luck and of course big play in big points. Really not much difference between the loser and the winner. So despite that he had the best match of his AO run with the Hewitt one, the Nalbandian one did count. After he climbed the two huge mountains especially consecutively, I at last felt some relief and conviction: the title probably was his. And after the final win and finally clinching the World No.1 ranking, I remember my commentator said sth impressive, now that Roger climbed the World No.1 position, he would be glad to see who will pull him off that position and when. I didn't dare to have that thinking back then, but now I am thinking the same. I'd love to find it out too.