I first noticed him in Marseilles, I think it was in 2000 or 2001 (can't remember) when he played Rosset in the final there. At first I didn't think all that much about him coz he had a quick temper and was very erratic.
But then, his greatest victory in his early years was also one of the most painful for me- his win over Sampras at Wimbledon 2001. At the time I was really dissappointed, but after I got over the loss and learned to appreciate the achievement, I thought to myself "this guy could really be awesome if he only pulled himself together on a consistent basis".
I was still a Sampras fan till the day that Pete retired, but from that Wimbledon 2001 and on I kept my eye firmly on Roger, waiting for him to tap his amazing potential.
During TMC 2002 when he really pushed Hewitt hard in their semifinal meeting but lost, that was more confirmation that he really had the ability to beat the world's best, but just had to find a way to toughen up mentally.
Then I was happy that he started winning tournaments on a consistent basis during the early 2003 season, but was still so annoyed that he didn't play the tennis I knew he was capable of during the grand slams.
When he lost to Horna in RG 2003, I was sooooo pissed off
Seeing him win in Halle re-ignited that spark of hope for Wimbledon, but I must admit at the time I was highly skeptical.
But he worked his way through the draw, and when he beat Schalken to make his first appearance in a grand slam semi I thought to myself "here we go! Finally a new personal best result in a slam". I was really happy and was hoping for him to go as far as possible. But in my wildest dreams I didn't imagine he would have such unbelievable performances against Roddick and Philippoussis. I was so ecstatic after the final, I almost cried too. I finally thought "this is it!!!!!! This is the moment I've been waiting for!!!". I was so thrilled.
But then his hard court swing revived a bit of those old doubts- those matches he should never have blown against Roddick in Montreal and Nalbandian in USO
Towards the end of the year, after his abysmal performances in the TMS fall events all I was hoping for was for him to rest and be fresh for 2004. But then he showed up in TMC and again, when I least expected it, played some of the most incredible tennis I had ever seen. When he whipped Andre in the final, I KNEW he had finally validated himself, and that Wimbledon victory was no fluke.
Then, at the AO at the beginning of the year, he totally erased any doubts I had left about him, especially the Hewitt and Nalbandian matches- two players who really had him baffled and he beat them both at the highest tier, I knew at that moment that he had turned the page. And when he won the final against Marat, I knew winning a 2nd GS title proved he was no one-slam wonder, he was the real thing!
From that moment on, it was one huge party all year long, and I hope it doesn't stop