Back in 1998, the 16-year-old Roger Federer had won Wimbledon junior title before making a senior debut a year later, losing to Jiri Novak in five sets. Roger was already ranked inside the top-40 in 2000 although he still had to wait for his first Wimbledon victory, losing to Yevgeny Kafelnikov in three close sets for another early exit at his favorite tournament.
That all changed in 2001 when the Swiss arrived at Wimbledon as the top-15 player (he was seventh in the ATP Race after excellent results in the first part of the season), beating Christophe Rochus 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and six minutes for the first win at Wimbledon that led to the quarter-final.
It was a fantastic performance from the upcoming star, storming over the brother of his junior partner and a friend Olivier to notch a quick victory, dropping 14 points on serve and stealing half of the return points to march into the second round.
Rochus did break Roger once in the second set although that gave him nothing, serving at only 49% and getting broken twice in each set to propel the rival over the finish line. Federer landed 77% of the first serve in and fired 18 aces and much more unreturned serves, keeping the points on his racquet and dominating at the net with his clinical volleys that left Christopher with no answer.
Pumped and motivated, Roger went on to beat another Belgian Xavier Malisse and then Jonas Bjorkman to set up the clash with Pete Sampras in the fourth round, prevailing over the seven-time champion in five sets to reach his first Wimbledon quarter-final and the second in a row at Slams after playing in the last eight in Paris as well.
There, Roger was beaten by home favorite Tim Henman in a mighty close encounter that lasted three hours and 13 minutes, missing a chance to play in Wimbledon semi-final after winning the first match ever at the tournament that year.
In 2002, Mario Ancic halted Federer in the first round and the best was yet to come for the Swiss from 2003, conquering the first out of five consecutive titles at the All England Club.