Wimbledon 2002 was one of the most bizarre ones in the Open era, with only a couple of top-15 seeds surviving until the quarters and two baseliners reaching the title match. Alongside many other favorites, Roger Federer had to pack his bags much earlier than he expected after suffering a 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 loss in the first round to an 18-year-old qualifier Mario Ancic, who had no ATP wins before Wimbledon!
Twelve months earlier, Federer took down the seven-time champion Pete Sampras en route to the quarter-final and hoped for more of the same in 2002 while dreaming about winning the title. That could not happen, though, following a mediocre performance against Ancic, as he never found the desired rhythm on serve and allowed Mario to control the points and have the upper hand.
There were many stories about the speed of the surface that year, and Federer had no doubts it was much slower than in 2001, barely hitting aces and not being able to use the initial shot as a weapon. Mighty disappointed, Federer could not find the way to describe defeat during the press conference, saying he has to work hard for the upcoming North American swing after early exits at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Roger Federer suffered a shocking loss to Mario Ancic at Wimbledon 2002.
"Mario deserves to be through because I just could not come up with the right shots at the right moment. That hurts, especially in a Major over five sets, where I think I'm the better player.
Today it was just too bad. I could not figure out his serve, struggling to read the toss. He returned pretty well. I felt my serve was not there right from the beginning; I tried to bring as many first serves in as possible, but it would not come in as soon as I wanted to go harder and hit an ace.
The conditions are much slower in comparison to the last year. I have not looked at the stats, but I think I hit one ace. It's a joke, as I had around 25 against Pete last year. I do not know what went wrong today, but my serve was not there.
I was looking forward a lot to this tournament, especially when I heard we would play on the Centre Court; it's a special place out there, and I love playing on it. After those matches against Pete Sampras and Tim Henman last year, it's a shocker to lose like this today; I'm very disappointed. I will have to work hard and come back stronger for the American hard swing," Roger Federer said.