Roger Federer last lost a first round Grand Slam match in 2003 French Open against Horna. What's the secret behind the Basel native's consistency in Majors in his debut? Federer replied: "It's interesting.
Because it left a lasting impact on me, that loss actually against Horna, because I came into the tournament maybe No. 6 in the world, and I thought I had a good season, you know, until the French Open, and then felt like maybe I could win the French Open, you know, like any top 10 or top 6 guys would think.
I don't want to say I underestimated him because I knew him from the juniors and I knew he was a good clay-courter, but after losing the first set it was, like, looking at a massive mountain to climb. All of a sudden I realized it was such a long way back in this match.
And instead of having that point-for-point mentality, all I saw was an impossible task and it suffocated me in that moment, and I tried, I fought, I think I lost second set maybe in a breaker or the third, I don't remember.
But I had maybe some minor chances, but never really believed I could actually come back in the match. And if I did, I knew I was not going to win the French Open, because I felt like my game wasn't there. For some reason, even though now I would look at it totally different and maybe it was just a bad first set, maybe it was just a moment in time.
And the second round will be much easier, different opponent. Things would have worked out. Who knows? Good thing about it is that I learned from it, and moved on to Wimbledon with loads of pressure and was able to handle it there, because I think I also lost here in 2002 first round against Arazi on the old Court 2.
Yeah, I had my fair share of tough losses early on in my career in slams. So I'm happy it never happened again and that I have been consistent, you know, throughout since."