Mario Ancic stunned Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon 2002 and the Swiss bounced back a year later to revive his 2001 run and return to title contention. Roger spent five hours on court in the first three matches of Wimbledon 2003.
He got a boost and survived a massive fourth round scare against Feliciano Lopez when he had serious back problems that required treatment and painkillers. In the quarterfinals, Federer beat the injured Sjeng Schalken to advance to the first major semifinal, where he met another young gun, Andy Roddick.
They were the players to beat on their half once Lleyton Hewitt retired, but there was only one player on court that day, with Federer recording a 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 43 minutes. for better professional results in the majors.
It was a stunning performance from the Swiss, hitting over 70 winners and holding 35 unforced errors to take the lead and sail into the title match against Mark Philippoussis. Roddick stayed in touch in the opening game, fending off a break point to open up a 6-5 lead in the tie break, only to miss a routine forehand that would have given him the opening set and a massive boost.
Instead, Federer won the final three points of the breaker, never looking back and stealing Andy’s serve three times in sets two and three to find himself on top. After the match, Roger said it was his best performance since the Hamburg final a year ago against Marat Safin on clay, he played some wonderful shots and gained confidence from them before the final.
“It’s not easy to control a match against Andy Roddick. You have to focus on your serve and hope you don’t give him too many chances. The threat is always there, especially in such important matches.”
Annacone on Roger Federer
Paul Annacone recently appeared on a podcast where he spoke at length about his former protégé Roger Federer.
“Roger was amazing from the start,” said Paul Annacone. “The first day we went to the court in Zurich, he was hitting balls and after 10 minutes he said, ‘Okay, what do you want to do?’ and I said, ‘It’s that simple, I just tell you what to do and you do it?’ He says, “Well, maybe it’s not that simple, because if it’s something I don’t believe in, then I’m going to ask you why.”
I will ask you why; when i was a kid i was called “why man” because i always wanted to know why we do something. But if it makes sense, yes, we will.”