Roger Federer made a name for himself at Wimbledon 2001 after defeating the legendary Pete Sampras in five sets on his way 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 seemed eager to bounce back in 2003, especially after winning the first ATP grass-court title in Halle a few weeks earlier.
In the first round, Roger beat Hyung-Taik Lee 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 on court 2 and moved to center court for the next match against his good friend Stefan Koubek, whom he beat 7- 5, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 17 minutes. With 22 points from 13 service games, Federer needed some time to find his rhythm in the first set before dominating the Austrian, dominating in sets two and three and securing seven breaks in total while giving Stefan just three chances.
Koubek got off to a promising start and created a 5-2 lead with a single break before Roger rallied. The Swiss recovered the last five games and defended himself from a set point on serve at 3-5 to gain a huge momentum that took him to 17 of the last 19 games and one place in the last 32.
There was a rain delay in the first set, and Roger used it very well to regain his game and have the upper hand once they got back, leaving the opponent miles away and setting up the clash against Mardy Fish. "It's a significant change from playing on court 2 and suddenly on center court.
Maybe it's the best court on the planet right now, it's exceptional to go out together with my friend Stefan Koubek. In the first set, it took me some time to get used to the bigger court. After the rain delay, I went back, played more aggressive tennis, served better, and changed a few things that Peter and I had worked on during the break.
At the beginning, Stefan was hitting the ball very hard, and it was difficult for me to have the advantage in the rallies. I almost lost the first set and am happy to pass. The grass is quite slippery and you have to be careful."
Steve Flink reflects on Roger Federer
Recently, the Hall of Famer and renowned journalist Steve Flink reflected on the Swiss maestro’s upcoming campaign. In essence, he revealed two scenarios with Roger Federer that would surprise him the most.
“‘Can he get to the 16s, quarters, could he squeeze into the semis, does he really have it to get to the final,” Flink remarked. Also, he added that he’s having a hard time seeing the seven matches given how little tennis he’s played this year.
Above all, it is one of the most anticipating feats of the year. And with the full crowd coming to Wimbledon, it could indeed better his chances to win. The Championships start on June 28 and will conclude on July 12, 2021. Can Federer go the distance and lift his 21st Grand Slam at Wimbledon this year?