Looking back, Federer-Haas was one of the best matches of the decade. Sometimes I still watch pre-2004 Fed matches because his technique was so lively back then. Tough to deal with his hair though
Obviously a mug vulture slam, but there were so many young, exciting prospects. Not just Roger but Gonzalez, Haas, Lapentti, Hewitt, Roddick, Safin and a whole generation that played differently than the 90s generation. Even though the winner was a mug, the prospects for the future were bright. Sadly, Haas was out for most of 2002, Safin was out for most of 2003, Ferrero out for 2004, and pretty much all the future prospects from that 2002 AO except for Roger suffered injuries or disappointing careers.
Not to say Roger played in a subpar era, at his best he was untouchable, by far the best player to ever play the game. More that tennis never recovered from that, and the big hole left by the lack of a pre-Nadull/Fakervic/Mugray era as well as the lack of young prospects like existed back in those days means there's no excitement left in tennis. Until 2011 RG the top 4 seeds had only made the semis of a slam 11 times IN HISTORY. It now happens almost every slam. The consecutive slam semi record looks like this: Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl, Novak Djokovic
, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal (5+) Andy Mugray is above Rod Laver, John Mcenroe, Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe, Pete Sampras, Bjorn borg, Jimmy Connors, etc.
This is what we mean by tennis being dead, and looking back 2002 was maybe the last time tennis was really alive.