In Roger Federer's words: 'I can play much better than I did today'



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In Roger Federer's words: 'I can play much better than I did today'

Roger Federer won junior Wimbledon title in 1998 but had to wait until 2001 to claim the first victory on the main level, beating Christophe Rochus in straight sets to arrange the clash against another Belgian Xavier Malisse.

On June 27, 2001, Roger prevailed 6-3, 7-5, 3-6 4-6, 6-3 in two and a half hours of fast and fluid tennis on both sides. Malisse won ten points more than Federer but it wasn't to be for him, converting only four out of 26 break chances and suffering five breaks from eight opportunities offered to the Swiss who managed to start all over in the decider and advance into the third round.

Despite winning the opening two sets, Roger wasn't happy about his game, facing too many break chances and losing ground from the baseline completely in sets three and four to bring Xavier back into contention. Still, the Swiss found the way to impose his strokes again in the final set, moving into the next round where he faced Jonas Bjorkman.

"First of all, I think I was a little bit lucky in the first set after saving a lot of break points; I don't know how many, but I know it was a lot. He had the chance to win the second set and I still wasn't happy with my game even after forging a massive advantage.

I think I can play much better than I did today; it was a battle in the end and I just fought my way out. I served pretty well, especially in the opening two sets when I had to play against those break chances. Otherwise, I missed a lot of volleys and easy shots that I usually don't miss.

I was not happy with my game, kind of irritated all match long; I don't know why; maybe a little bit of pressure. I'm thrilled to be through because I felt terrible when I was down a break in the fifth set. I was scared; you can say that because The Championships was almost over for me.

I'm pleased to give myself a chance now in the third round. I don't know, it looks like it's going to be Jonas Bjorkman. It's going to be tough but first of all, I have to take it a little bit easy now and get a massage.

I felt like I wasn't focused in my service games. He was always there to win the first point or two. I often found myself at 15-40, saving break points. In the first two sets, I really thought I was serving well. I came up with service winners when I had to.

That really didn't happen anymore. Then the wind came and the toss was going a little bit everywhere. I tried to vary my serve, going with a kick, slice or wide, a little bit of everything. He was giving himself some time by standing back a little bit and I just couldn't get my serve right.

My volleys after the serve were not great, so he always had a chance to pass me. I felt terrible from the baseline in sets three and four. I couldn't return his serve anymore and he started to serve better. I was worried, with some panic reactions as well, was going for too much."