Roger Federer made a name for himself at Wimbledon 2001 after defeating the legendary Pete Sampras in five sets en route to the last eight at the All England Club. A year later, Mario Ancic stunned Federer in straight sets in the first round, and the Swiss looked eager to bounce back in 2003, especially after winning the first ATP title on grass in Halle a few weeks earlier.
In the first round, Roger ousted Hyung-Taik Lee 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 on Court 2 and moved to the Centre Court for the following encounter against his good friend Stefan Koubek, whom he beat 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 in swift an hour and 17 minutes.
Dropping 22 points in 13 service games, Federer needed some time to find the rhythm in the first set before storming over the Austrian, dominating in sets two and three and clinching seven breaks in total while offering only three opportunities to Stefan.
Koubek made a promising start and created a 5-2 advantage with a single break before Roger bounced back. The Swiss rattled off the last five games and fended off a set point on serve at 3-5 to earn a massive boost that led him towards 17 of the final 19 games and a place into the last 32.
There was a rain delay in the opening set, and Roger used it nicely to recover his game and have the upper hand once they returned, leaving the opponent miles behind and setting the clash against Mardy Fish.
Roger Federer defeated Stefan Koubek in the third round at Wimbledon 2003.
"It's a significant change from playing on Court 2 and suddenly on the Centre Court.
It's maybe the best court on the planet right now; it's exceptional to go out there alongside my friend Stefan Koubek. In the first set, I needed some time to get used to the bigger court. After the rain delay, I came back, played more aggressive tennis, served better and changed a few things that Peter and I had worked on during the break.
In the beginning, Stefan was hitting the ball very hard, and it was tough for me to have the upper hand in the rallies. I almost lost the first set, and I'm pleased to go through in straights. 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-around game. I have to watch out and make the best preparation for that one," Roger Federer said.