Roger Federer recalls: 'I felt terrible from the baseline'

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Roger Federer recalls: 'I felt terrible from the baseline'

Roger Federer won the junior Wimbledon title in 1998. However, he had to wait until 2001 to claim the first victory on the professional level at the All England Club, beating Christophe Rochus in straight sets to arrange the clash against another Belgian Xavier Malisse.

On June 27, 2001, Roger prevailed 6-3, 7-5, 3-6 4-6, 6-3 in two and a half hours of fast and fluid tennis on both sides. Malisse won ten points more than Federer, but it was not to be for him after converting only four out of 26 break chances and suffering five breaks from eight opportunities offered to the Swiss.

Despite winning the opening two sets, Roger was unhappy about his game, struggling behind the initial shot and offering his rival too many break chances. Malisse started to convert those in sets three and four, erasing a massive deficit and moving in front in the decider.

Still, the Swiss found a way to impose his strokes again and move into the next round.

Roger Federer advanced into the third round at Wimbledon 2001 in five sets.

"I was a bit lucky in the first set. I do not know how many break chances there were, but it was a lot.

He had a chance to win the second set, and I was still unhappy with my game even after forging a massive advantage. I can play much better than I did today. It was a battle in the end, and I fought my way out. I served pretty well, especially in the opening two sets when I had to play against those break chances.

Otherwise, I missed many volleys and easy shots that I usually do not miss. I was not happy with my game and was a kind of irritated all match long. I do not know why; maybe a bit of pressure. I'm thrilled to be through because I felt terrible when I was down a break in the fifth set.

I was scared; you can say that because The Championships was almost over for me. I'm pleased to give myself a chance now in the third round. I felt like I was not focused in my service games, and Xavier was always there to win the first point or two.

I often found myself at 15-40, playing against break points. In the first two sets, I thought I was serving well. I came up with service winners when I had to. That did not happen anymore. Then the wind came, and the toss was going a bit everywhere.

I tried to vary my serve, going with a kick, slice or wide, a little bit of everything. He was giving himself some time by standing back a bit, and I could not get my serve right. My volleys after the serve were not great, and he always had a chance to pass me.

I felt terrible from the baseline in sets three and four. I could not return his serve anymore, and he started to serve better. I was worried, with some panic reactions as well, was going for too much," Roger Federer said.