Shocked by a qualifier Mario Ancic in the first round in 2002, Roger Federer made sure not to repeat the same mistake at Wimbledon, winning the first Major crown at the All England Club a year later. It all started in Halle a few weeks earlier, where the Swiss grabbed the first ATP title on the fastest surface and gathered a boost ahead of Wimbledon, where he lifted the trophy to establish himself as the player to beat on grass.
Roger would stay undefeated on the green surface until the 2008 Wimbledon final, dominating Halle and Wimbledon between 2003-07 for the longest winning streak on grass in the Open era. Federer grabbed the 36th consecutive victory in the final at Wimbledon 2005, moving closer to Bjorn Borg's ultimate record and preparing to attack it in 2006.
Rafael Nadal toppled Roger in his first Roland Garros final that season and the Swiss bounced back on grass to clinch the fourth straight trophy in Halle thanks to a hard-fought win over Tomas Berdych in the final. It was the Swiss' 41st consecutive triumph on grass, matching Borg's record achieved between 1976-81.
In Halle, Roger had to work hard against Richard Gasquet, prevailing in three sets and facing the Frenchman again at the All England Club. Leaving the pressure and records in the locker room, Federer toppled Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in 74 minutes, racing into the second round and becoming the first player in the Open era with 42 straight wins on grass!
Roger Federer beat Richard Gasquet to claim a massive record at Wimbledon 2006.
The defending champion dropped 15 points in 13 service games, offering Richard one break chance and erasing it to keep the initial shot intact and mount the pressure on the other side of the net.
Gasquet served at 78%, and that gave him nothing after dropping 45% of the points in his games and getting broken five times from seven opportunities earned by Federer. Staying below ten winners and spraying over 50 errors, Richard was never a contender against the man on the mission, with Roger hitting more winners than unforced errors and having a clear advantage in the shortest and more extended exchanges.
Federer held at love in the first game and secured a break a few minutes later before moving 3-0 in front with a hold at love to settle in a great rhythm. Both players served well in the rest of the set, and Federer closed it with an ace at 5-3, moving two sets away from the record streak.
Gasquet delivered two great holds at the beginning of the second set and created a break chance in the fourth game. He wasted it and lost ground to allow Federer to clinch a break at 15 in game five and move 3-2 up. The Swiss grabbed another break at 4-2 and wrapped up the set with a comfortable hold.
Marching towards the top, Roger repeated breaks in games five and seven in set number three to advance into the next round and add a massive record to his already impressive tally.