Suffering an unexpected first-round exit at Wimbledon in 2002, Roger Federer returned as one of the title favorites a year later, conquering the first ATP title on grass in Halle a few weeks earlier and hoping for more of the same at the All England Club.
Roger made a promising start against Hyung-Taik Lee, falling twice against Stefan Koubek before prevailing in straight sets to find himself in the third round. Federer grabbed 17 of the last 19 games versus the Austrian and was ready for another fine performance against Mardy Fish, beating the American 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in two hours to find himself in the second week at the All England Club for the second time.
Fish managed to win a set after converting that one break chances, unable to repeat that in other sets and pushing Federer through after suffering six breaks. Dominating in sets one and two, Roger moved closer to the finish line when Mardy raised his level to stay competitive in the third, extending the duel but having nothing left in the tank in the fourth.
Besides his opponent, Federer had to battle against the darkness, scoring the second break in the last set and barely managing to seal the deal in time after a shaky final service game of the encounter. Asked about his emotions, Roger said he had been able to control them on the court in the last couple of years, not revealing much to his opponents and staying composed even after loose shots.
"I do keep emotions aside. I'm happy when I hit a good shot but there are some moments of disappointment when I miss. I'm at a point where I don't need to express that on the court, keeping my emotions under control.
I have a feeling that it might hurt in the next match if I show too much. It makes me feel good to leave emotions aside and I like the way I behave; that's the most important. I'm probably showing more emotions in the Davis Cup, especially if we play at home. Still, my Davis Cup matches are usually straightforward and I don't need to pump the fists."