Gaining a massive boost of confidence in Halle, Roger Federer was one of the players to beat at Wimbledon 2003, reaching the quarter-final two years ago and eager to leave that short campaign from twelve months ago behind him.
When Ivo Karlovic stunned the defending champion Lleyton Hewitt at the beginning of the event, Roger remained the highest seed in that part of the draw, playing well in the first couple of rounds and earning a place in the second week for the second time in three years at the All England Club.
In the first round, Federer stormed over Hyung-Taik Lee, ousting Stefan Koubek in the second match and toppling Mardy Fish in two hours and four sets to enter the second week. His next rival was Feliciano Lopez and Federer won that one 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 for the place in the last eight, experiencing a scare on the practice court and still winning in straight sets.
During a regular practice, Roger felt a sharp pain in his back and called a trainer, hoping for wonder, as he never experienced anything similar in a career. Barely moving, Federer trailed in the opening set and things could have been over for him had Lopez converted any of three set points in the tenth game, wasting his opportunities and allowing the Swiss to bounce back and somehow win the set in the tie break.
With his body getting warmer and warmer, Federer was able to stay on a high level in sets two and three, quickly sealing the deal and hoping to recover for the next encounter against Sjeng Schalken. "The injury occurred in the warm-up and I can't explain what happened.
I couldn't move anymore and had to call the trainer and hope for a wonder. It was very tough for me and I don't know how I won today as this never happened to me before. It bothered me while serving and my back was blocked entirely; I was always under a lot of pain.
It got a little better as the match went on because the body gets warm and you get into it, trying to forget about the problems. I didn't think I would sit here as a winner today after this shock I had today. I have to try to take this lucky match and get rid of the pain ahead of the quarters. I have a great opportunity and will try to use it. I'm a little bit exhausted after everything that happened."