After reaching the quarter-final in 2001, Roger Federer experienced a tough Wimbledon loss to Mario Ancic in the first round a year later. The Swiss clinched the first ATP title on grass in Halle in June 2003 and headed to Wimbledon as one of the title favorites.
Roger kicked off the campaign with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Hyung-Taik Lee after struggling a bit in the third set. Federer won the opening set in swift 24 minutes and had to work harder in the third, still doing enough to set the second-round clash against his friend Stefan Koubek on Centre Court.
The Austrian fought bravely in the first set and forged a 5-2 advantage before Federer used a rain delay to recover his game. Once they returned, the Swiss was the only player on the court, rattling off 17 of the last 19 games to sprint past the opponent 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 in 77 minutes.
Competing in the third round at Wimbledon for the second time in three years, Roger Federer ousted Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in two hours to find himself in the second week at the All England Club. Roger preserved energy for the American, who took a set out from the Swiss before losing ground in the fourth to propel Federer through.
Roger fended off five out of six break chances, suffered that one break that cost him the third set and dominated others to seal the deal just before dark after two rain delays.
Roger Federer beat Mardy Fish in four sets at Wimbledon 2003.
The Swiss claimed the opening two sets in no time before losing momentum on the return in the third.
Mardy broke Roger once to take it 6-4 and improve his chances. Still, the American faded from the court in the fourth, losing serve twice to propel the Swiss over the finish line. Serving for the triumph at 5-1 and rushing to seal the deal, Roger almost suffered a break, staying calm and moving over the top in the final moments before the darkness.
"I'm happy to finish the match in one day after so many stops; it got dark in the end. I grabbed the second break and served for the victory, almost dropping that service game as I wanted to finish as quickly as possible.
I think I played a good match today. I'm thrilled to be in the second week, passing three tough early rounds and focusing on the next rival after taking a couple of days off. Still, I do not want to look further than my next opponent; there's no room for that, and I do not want to make a mistake.
I want to keep the same attitude I had throughout the first week and hope I can carry it into the second week," Roger Federer said.