Roger Federer recalls the injury that almost cost him the first Major title

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Roger Federer recalls the injury that almost cost him the first Major title

Roger Federer claimed his first Major title at Wimbledon 2003, losing only one set in seven encounters and adding his name to the list of memorable champions in the cathedral of tennis. The Swiss had the upper hand against every rival, dropping a set against Mardy Fish in the third round and standing strong when it mattered the most to become a deserved winner at 21.

Roger's most challenging obstacle en route to the crown was not his rivals but a severe back injury experienced before the fourth-round clash against Feliciano Lopez. Feeling sharp pain once the match started, Federer called for the trainer after only two games, struggling to match the rival's pace and thinking about retirement.

After painkillers and massage, the Swiss started to move and serve better, erasing the deficit and fending off a set point to take the opener in the tie break. With a boost on his side, Federer dominated sets two and three to emerge at the top and earn his place in the quarters.

Beating an injured Sjeng Schalken, Roger advanced to his first Major semi-final, and there was no one to stop him there.

Roger Federer claimed the first Major crown at Wimbledon 2003.

He toppled Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis in straight sets to earn the first Major crown in grand style.

In the title match, Roger never faced a break point against Mark, winning two tie breaks and standing above the opponent in the second set to seal the deal in under two hours and join other legends on the list of champions.

"I had a significant pain during that Feliciano Lopez match, struggling to serve and return. I could not even sit down because I was hurting so much. I called the trainer after two games, receiving painkillers and a massage on my back with warm cream.

I told myself, 'If this continues for a few more games, it's not worth playing.' Somehow, I stayed in the match, and it got a bit better. I stole the first set, which was essential for the overall score. People were asking me at which Major I had the best chances to go all the way.

After Wimbledon last year, I was thinking about the US Open or the Australian Open, but it still came at the All England Club. It's the best one for me, and I'm thrilled to win here," Roger Federer said.