In 2001, Roger Federer made a name for himself at Wimbledon, defeating the legendary Pete Sampras in five sets en route to the quarter-final at the All England Club. A year later, Mario Ancic stunned Federer in straight sets in the first match, with the Swiss eager to bounce back in 2003, especially after winning the first ATP title on grass in Halle.
In the first round, Roger ousted Hyung-Taik Lee 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 on Court 2, moving to the Centre Court in the next encounter and toppling his good friend Stefan Koubek 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 in swift an hour and 17 minutes. Losing 22 points in 13 service games, Federer needed some time to find the rhythm in the opener before storming over the Austrian, dominating in sets two and three and earning seven breaks in total while offering only three opportunities to Stefan.
Koubek made a promising start, opening a 5-2 advantage with a single break he scored before Roger bounced back, rattling off the last five games and fending off a set point on serve at 3-5, gaining a massive boost and securing 17 of the final 19 games to race into the last 32.
There was a rain delay in the opener and Federer used it nicely to recover his game and have the upper hand once they returned, leaving the opponent miles behind and setting the clash against Mardy Fish. "It's a significant change from playing on Court 2 and suddenly on the Centre Court.
It's maybe the best court on the planet right now; it's exceptional to go out there with my friend Stefan Koubek by me. In the first set, I needed some time to get used to the bigger court. After the rain delay, I came back, played more aggressive tennis, served better and changed a few things that Peter and I worked on during the break.
In the beginning, Stefan was hitting the ball very hard and it was tough for me to have the upper hand in the rallies. I almost lost the first set and I'm pleased to go through in straights."