Roger Federer made his professional debut at Wimbledon in 1999 and scored two early losses in his first trips to London. That all changed in 2001 when the Swiss ousted Christophe Rochus in the first round and celebrated the first victory in the cathedral of tennis.
In the second round, Roger toppled another Belgian Xavier Malisse, having to dig deep in a 6-3, 7-5, 3-6 4-6, 6-3 win after two and a half hours of fast and fluid tennis. Malisse won ten points more than Federer, but it wasn't to be for him after converting only four out of massive 26 break chances.
On the other hand, Roger stole his serve five breaks from eight opportunities and started all over in the decider to advance into the next round. Despite winning the opening two sets, Roger wasn't happy about his game, facing too many break chances and losing ground from the baseline completely in sets three and four to bring Xavier back into contention.
Still, Federer discovered how to impose his strokes again in the decider from a break down to move into the next round. "I think I was a bit lucky in the first set after saving a lot of break points; I don't know how many, but I know it was a lot.
He had a chance to win the second set, and I wasn't happy with my game even after forging a massive advantage. I think I can play much better than I did today; it was a battle in the end, and I just fought my way out. I served pretty well, especially in the opening two sets when I had to play against those break chances.
Roger Federer battled past Xavier Malisse in the second round at Wimbledon 2001.
Otherwise, I missed many volleys and easy shots that I usually don't. I wasn't happy with my game; it irritated me all match long. I don't know why; maybe a bit of pressure.
I'm thrilled to be through because I felt terrible when I was down a break in the fifth set. I was scared; you can say that because the Championships was almost over for me. I'm pleased to give myself a chance now in the third round.
It will be tough against Bjorkman, but I have to take it a bit easy now and get a massage. I felt like I lacked focus in my service games. He was always there to win the first point or two; I often found myself at 15-40, saving break chances.
In the first two sets, I thought I was serving well. I came up with service winners when I had to, but that didn't happen anymore. Then the wind came, and the toss was going a bit everywhere. I tried to vary my serve, going with a kick, slice or wide, a bit of everything.
He was giving himself some time by standing back, and I couldn't get my serve right. My volleys after the serve were not great, and he always had a chance to pass me. I felt terrible from the baseline in sets three and four.
I couldn't return his serve anymore, and he started to serve better. I was worried, with some panic reactions as well, was going for too much," Roger Federer said.