Roger Federer, who reached consecutive major league quarterfinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2001, failed to maintain the same level on the biggest scene for the next two years. The Swiss fell in the early rounds and suffered a major blow at Wimbledon 2002 when qualifier Mario Ancic defeated him in straight sets in the first round.
Ready to recover, Federer won the title at Halle in June 2003 for the best preparation before Wimbledon. He played at a high level at the All England Club, beating the top three rivals and doing the same against Feliciano Lopez despite a serious back injury during training.
Returning to the All England Club quarterfinals, Federer defeated Sjeng Schalken in three sets to book the semi-final match against Andy Roddick, with both seeking the first Major final. Determined to show his best tennis, Federer forged a 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in one hour and 43 minutes, leaving Roddick far behind and staying on the title field at the tennis cathedral.
Refusing two break opportunities early in the second set, Federer gave up just 17 points in 15 service games, increasing the pressure on the other side of the court and moving over the top with three service breaks on his account.
. Andy was there to fight in the opener, saving a break point and creating a set point at 6-5 in the tie break, only to spray a massive forehand error and ruin his chances for a more favorable outcome. With 74 winners and 35 errors, Federer was the ruler of the court, dominating in sets two and three to find himself in the first Major final at 21.
Federer is being considered as the second favorite at Wimbledon this year
Roger Federer is being considered by some as the second favorite at Wimbledon this year, right behind Novak Djokovic. But Federer is yet to prove his consistency since coming back from double knee surgery, and has suffered a few surprising defeats this year.
"His fitness is fine but he's lacking match play," Todd Woodbridge said. "That time away from the game is not easy and in Halle, in his lead-in tournament, went out to Felix Auger-Aliassime, the young Canadian.
He'll be disappointed not getting more matches under his belt on the grass. The hardest part about Halle, absolutely zero crowds, and that's not good for Roger," the Aussie added. "He feeds off that and I think when he's playing against opponents, they also feel that the crowd goes for him."