Hi!This forum has been one of the only links I have had to the tennis world over the past year or so.Therefore before I contribute I would like to thank you all especially for the live match threads.I have posted this on another forum and thought I should do it here as well. I'm not as good an expert at analysing the sport as many people here are, but this is my attempt at understanding the game of one of the greatest greatest who has played it. Long post ahead!!! I Understand that all my views are not facts and I respect if people chose to disagree Roger Federer through the years: Gamewise,when it comes to big 3,I have always considered him first among equals and not head and shoulders above the others. During his best years ,beginning in 2004 ,Federer began to do things that nobody had imagined.However as time passed people began to overrate him and consider him better than he actually was.When Nadal and Djokovic reached his level people were in denial first .Maybe because they could not accept that the peerless Federer actually had two rivals. Now as years progressed from the early 2010 Djokovic and Nadal showed the world that they were quite exceptional as well. This lead to a COUNTER PROCESS in which the player(Federer) I thought was the most overrated started to become UNDERRATED by most. Federer is not one of my favourite players.However the perception about him and his game has been an interesting showcase of how nostalgia and recency bias actually affect our view about the past. Therefore it is interesting to look back at his Origins and how he became what he is today.This is part 1 of planned 3. General overview: The Federer game has had a lot of changes over the years,since his career has been so long it's easy to forget that over the years there have been several marked transitions in his overall approach. Early 2000s On court analysis:If we break down his game between between 1998 to 2002,His play shows a mixture of the 90s serve and volley approach and the modern baseline approach.His movement was quite good for his age,with good defense and his forehand though not as potent as it would become later, was still more than a competent shot, in fact it was very good during strecthes.It was flatter and though he did have variety on it he lacked the confidence.He was quite an effective forecourt player with exceptional backhand volley, his reaction time was exceptional and his net coverage was decent( relative to the Giants of the 90s). However his back hand was a weakness or at least not as improved as it would become. It was just an average shot (but with a wicked slice.) However what was interesting that in some matches he did try to hit it flatter and hence there was a hint of 2017 backhand even then. He was quick, tennis intelligent,athletic but mentally lacking in a big way.Generally his game was more flashy than power based but he had the ability to blow people off the court on the days he was in the zone with his forehand for example the final of Hamburg open 2002. This all sounds like a making of a true Grand Slam champion. so why didn't he actually Set the World on fire during those years? Because I mentioned only the good pieces of his game,and yes they were just that,only pieces. Fragmented segments of what was supposed to be an integrated whole and yet no matter how hard he tried it wouldn't come together. There were gaping holes in his game as well which people like Nal bandian and Hewitt exposed frequently.He was mentally weak and lacked consistency and wasn't capable of dealing with the pressure and expectations. In key moments his strokes sometimes deserted him. The potential to be decent top player was visible but had not been proven on paper accept the hamburg title which he followed by a loss in Wimbledon. But the fragments did come together, the crowning of a champion did happen at Wimbledon 2003. From here onwards there was change in his game.His forehand had come into its own,It was a shot to be afraid of, if previous hints were not enough,the semi final against Roddick proved that.His game became more power based, the fore court prominence decreased and his shot making skills finally found expression in meaningful baseline exploits,he became more stable mentally and was more prepared for longer battles,slowly he was realising how good he could be. The birth of the myth :Federer starts his climb On court analysis: Late 2003 and 2004: The forehand became more stable and as his confidence grew,more brutal. He became a player with too many options to hurt the opposition with.He was a decent defender,quite capable of mixing up pace and introducing variety,could also bully his opponents with his forehand and now with improved fitness could even go the distance and grind his opponent. The backhand had improved in stability and the movement had become more precise and efficient. There was a marked improvement in his hard Court movement.However his net play became sidelined somewhat and he still hadn't figured out how to play on clay. From the early days he had developed a tendency of trying to blow people off the court on clay. It had it's rewards,it had resulted in good wins like safin in 2002 and Hewitt and Coria in 2004 Hamburg. But during the clay Slam it backfired a little bit. The years spanning from the late 2003 to 2005,in my opinion are the most misunderstood years of Federer. People forget one of the most important aspect of his approach was athleticism and power .He was not only capable but also willing to use pure power to get past his opponents and this was one of the most important dimension of his play. People are so caught up in the post 2006 flashy and elegant Federer that they forget that the Federer forehand was a weapon of BOTH power and Precision.Federer during the late 2003 started to use both sides quite well. Well that is part 1 of 3 . Edited the para as it was distracting the discussion.