Twenty Years Later: The Rise Of The Dominant Roger Federer To His First Title At Indian Wells

Roger Federer is one of the greatest players to have ever played on the ATP Tour, and his remarkable record of five BNP Paribas Open titles seems fitting in retrospect.

Entering the 2004 ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells, however, there was no guarantee that Federer would be able to overcome the desert conditions. The 22-year-old, who had already won the Nitto ATP Finals, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon, had a respectable 3-3 record in Tennis Paradise going into his first-round match against Andrei Pavel.

But for the first time, Federer was taking the court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as the top player in the PIF ATP Rankings; he had risen to that position a month earlier following his victory in Melbourne in his second major championship. Federer showed off his recently acquired status in six matches that week in southern California, dropping just one set en route to winning his second Masters 1000 title, his first on hard courts, and the first of three straight titles in Indian Wells.

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