After that first-round loss to Mario Ancic at Wimbledon 2002, a former quarter-finalist Roger Federer was ready to shine again in the cathedral of tennis, scoring two straight sets triumphs for a strong start of the 2003 campaign.
Against Hyung-Taik Lee, Federer won the opening set in swift 24 minutes, struggling a little bit in the third but still doing enough to move to the Centre Court against his friend Stefan Koubek. The Austrian was there to fight in the first set of the second round encounter, forging a 5-2 advantage before Federer used a rain delay to recover his game, rattling off 17 of the last 19 games to sprint past his rival in 77 minutes.
Roger served well, dropping 22 points in 13 service games and standing way above Stefan once he found his A-game to bring the victory home in no time at all in sets two and three. Koubek made a great start, opening a 5-2 advantage with a single break before Federer bounced back, fending off a set point and taking five straight games to steal the set, gaining a massive boost and racing towards the finish after conquering 17 of the final 19 games.
Roger fell twice, explaining it doesn't help when you think about tricky moving on grass all the time and that you have to leave it behind and carry on with your game. "The grass is quite slippery and you have to watch out; I felt twice and could have earned injury.
It doesn't help if you always think about falling; it affects your movement. You often don't know why you slipped and that makes you a little worried. It's important to forget that and carry on. I can always improve my serve & volley game, but it worked well today, so as my return since the first practice runs here.
My next rival has a powerful serve and we will see what will happen. I'm not thinking about the match with Mardy yet. I know he is a dangerous rival; he likes to play on fast surfaces and has a solid all-round game. I have to watch out and make the best preparation for that one."