In Roger Federer's words: 'The last time I played at this level was against..'



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In Roger Federer's words: 'The last time I played at this level was against..'

Mario Ancic stunned Roger Federer in the first round at Wimbledon 2002, with the Swiss bouncing back a year later to revive his run from 2001 and make himself a title contender again. Roger spent five hours on the court in the opening three matches of Wimbledon 2003.

He gathered a boost and survived a massive scare in the fourth round against Feliciano Lopez when he had severe back problems that required treatment and pain killers. In the quarters, Federer toppled injured Sjeng Schalken to advance into the first Major semi-final where he met another young gun Andy Roddick.

They were the players to beat in their half once Lleyton Hewitt bowed out but there was only one player on the court that day, with Federer scoring a 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 43 minutes for a career-best result at Majors.

It was a mind-blowing performance from the Swiss, hitting more than 70 winners and staying on 35 errors to have the upper hand and sail into the title match against Mark Philippoussis. Roddick stayed in touch in the opener, fending off one break point and opening a 6-5 lead in the tie break, only to miss a routine forehand that would have given him the first set and a massive boost.

Instead of that, Federer claimed the last three points of the breaker, never looking back and stealing Andy's serve three times in sets two and three to find himself over the top. After the match, Roger said it was his best performance since Hamburg final a year ago against Marat Safin on clay, hitting some marvelous shots and drawing confidence from them ahead of the final.

"It's not easy to control the match against Andy Roddick. You have to focus on your serve and hope not to offer him too many chances. There's always a threat out there, especially in such important encounters.

It was crucial to stay focused, as I felt the danger all the time; I had to keep the advantage on my side of the court. I hit some unbelievable shots today; it's always nice to have those in big matches. Last time I felt that was probably against Safin in Hamburg last year, also scoring straight-sets triumph.

It's a great atmosphere on the Centre Court and it always helps when you can pull off strokes that would bring the crowd to their feet."