After that first-round loss to Mario Ancic at Wimbledon 2002, a former quarter-finalist Roger Federer was ready to shine again in the tennis cathedral, scoring two straight sets triumphs for a strong start. Federer claimed the opening set in 24 minutes against Hyung-Tail Lee and struggled slightly in the third that he won in the tie break to set the Centre Court encounter against his friend Stefan Koubek.
The Austrian was there to fight in the first set, 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 in sets two and three.
Roger Federer beat Stefan Koubek at Wimbledon 2003 despite falling twice.
Koubek made a great start, opening a 5-2 advantage with a single break before Federer bounced back, fending off a set point on serve and taking five straight games to steal the set, gain a massive boost and race towards the finish after that superb finish.
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. In the third round, Roger would face the hard-hitting American Mardy Fish.
"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," Roger Federer said.