At 19, Roger Federer stunned the seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras in five sets in the cathedral of tennis in 2001 to reach the quarter-final and become the one to watch at the most prestigious tennis event. Federer had a short trip to London a year later, losing in straight sets to Mario Ancic in the first round and returning as one of the favorites in 2003 after conquering the first ATP title in Halle a few weeks earlier.
In the first round at Wimbledon, the Swiss defeated world no. 55 Hyung-Taik Lee 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 45 minutes, fending off seven out of nine break chances and delivering five breaks from 11 opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets and make a winning start.
Federer stormed over the Korean in the first set, taking it in 24 minutes and rattling off five consecutive games in set number two from 3-1 down to open a massive advantage ahead of the third that saw incredible battle.
Roger wasted no less than seven match points and allowed Lee to bounce back and stay in touch until the tie break that the Swiss won 7-2 to move over the top and seal the deal in straight sets. It was Roger's fifth Wimbledon triumph, feeling good on the court and not thinking about Lleyton Hewitt's early exit, still having to win five encounters to find himself in the final.
Roger Federer made a winning start at Wimbledon 2003 against Hyung-Taik Lee.
"The first round is always difficult, but I felt good on the court today. I'm happy to have sealed the deal in straight sets because it got tight in the end.
Lleyton Hewitt may be out, but that doesn't change much from my perspective; I still have to beat five players from my half to reach the final. More than enough guys can beat anyone; I couldn't think about the semi-final clash with Hewitt.
It is essential to find the right feeling at the start of the tournament. I'm trying to hit my second serve harder than usual, but it is not easy to rush to the net after it, with so many great returners around. It was a pleasant experience from the baseline as well.
I have an outside chance to win Wimbledon but can't focus on that; the road is too long. Andre Agassi is still among the favorites, and we will see what will happen," Roger Federer said.