Gaining a massive boost of confidence in Halle, Roger Federer was one of the players to beat at Wimbledon 2003, reaching the quarter-final in 2001 and hoping to leave that short campaign from a year ago behind him. When Ivo Karlovic stunned the defending champion Lleyton Hewitt at the beginning of the tournament, Roger remained the highest seed in that part of the draw, playing well and earning a place in the second week for the second time in three years at the All England Club.
Federer stormed over Hyung-Taik Lee in the first round, ousted Stefan Koubek in the second match, and beat Mardy Fish in two hours and four sets to enter the last 16. His next rival was Feliciano Lopez, and Federer won that one 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 for the third quarter-final at Majors despite a massive scare on the practice court.
Roger Federer took down Feliciano Lopez to reach the quarter-final at Wimbledon 2003.
During a regular training session, Roger felt a sharp pain in his back. He called for a trainer after just two games, hoping for wonder as he never experienced anything similar before.
Barely moving and struggling to find the rhythm, Federer trailed in the opening set and things could have been over for him had Lopez converted any of three set points in the tenth game. The Spaniard wasted his opportunities and allowed the Swiss to bounce back and somehow win the set in the tie break.
With his body getting warmer and warmer, Roger Federer was able to stay on a high level in the following two sets and seal the deal, hoping for more of the same against Sjeng Schalken and chasing his first Major semi-final.
"The injury occurred in the warm-up, and I can't explain what happened. I couldn't move anymore and had to call the trainer and hope for a wonder. It was very tough for me, and I don't know how I won today as this never happened to me before.
It bothered me while serving, and my back was blocked entirely; I was always under a lot of pain. It got a little better as the match went on because the body gets warm, and you get into it, trying to forget about the problems.
I didn't think I would sit here as a winner today after this shock I had today. I have to try to take this lucky match and get rid of the pain ahead of the quarters. I have a great opportunity and will try to use it. I'm a little bit exhausted after everything that happened," Roger Federer said.