Gaining a massive boost of confidence in Halle a few weeks earlier, Roger Federer was one of the players to beat at Wimbledon 2003. The Swiss reached the quarter-final at the All England Club two years ago and was eager to leave that short campaign from twelve months ago behind him.
When Ivo Karlovic stunned the defending champion Lleyton Hewitt at the beginning of the event, Roger remained the highest seed in that part of the draw. The Swiss played well in the first couple of rounds and earned a place in the second week for the second time in three years at the All England Club.
In the first round, Federer stormed over Hyung-Taik Lee, ousted Stefan Koubek in the second match and toppled Mardy Fish in two hours and four sets to enter the second week. His next rival was Feliciano Lopez, and Federer won that one 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 to advance into the last eight despite a scare on the practice court.
Roger Federer struggled with a back injury against Feliciano Lopez at Wimbledon 2003.
Roger felt a sharp pain in his back during regular practice and called for a trainer, never experiencing anything similar in a career and hoping for a miracle.
Barely moving, Federer trailed in the opening set against Lopez. Things could have been over for him had the Spaniard seized any of three set points in the tenth game, wasting his opportunities and allowing the Swiss to bounce back and somehow win the set in the tie break.
With his body getting warmer, Federer maintained a high level in sets two and three, sealing the deal and hoping to recover for the encounter against Sjeng Schalken in a couple of days. "The injury occurred in the warm-up, and I can not explain what happened.
I could not move anymore and had to call the trainer and hope for a wonder. It was very tough for me, and I do not know how I won today as this had never happened before. It bothered me while serving, and my back was blocked entirely; I was always under much pain.
It got a bit better as the match went on because the body gets warm and you get into it, trying to forget about the issues. I did not think I would sit here as a winner today after this shock I had. I have to try to take this lucky match and get rid of the pain ahead of the quarters.
I have a great opportunity and will try to use it. I'm a bit exhausted after everything that happened," Roger Federer said.