After losing to Andy Roddick and David Nalbandian at Montreal, Cincinnati, and the US Open, Roger Federer missed the chance to overtake Andy Roddick as the world’s top player in the summer of 2003. Federer accepted a lengthy flight to Melbourne, Australia, from New York to represent his nation against Australia in the Davis Cup World Group semifinal.
Roger had a great Wimbledon run and won his first Major that year, and he also had a great Davis Cup season, winning the opening two singles matches against the Netherlands in Arnhem. Federer and his compatriots defeated France in Toulouse at the beginning of April in another road match.
For his nation and the September matchup in Melbourne versus Australia, Roger scored three points. Federer attempted to be ready for the action at Rod Laver Arena by travelling from one region of the world to another in the hopes of guiding Switzerland to the championship match.
Before the spectacular doubles match, which he and Marc Rosset lost to Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge in five gruelling sets, Roger, like at Wimbledon, defeated Mark Philippoussis. Lleyton Hewitt defeated Roger 5-7, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the third singles rubber to earn the home nation’s third point and advance them.
Federer claimed he had never before blown such a sizable lead, making it one of his most devastating defeats in his career. The Swiss player kept the points on his racquet with more victories than unforced errors but faded from the court after a close fourth set.
In the 2003 Davis Cup semifinal match against Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer blew a 2-0 lead.
At 5-6 in the first game, Lleyton blew a game point and was broken, giving Roger the early lead. After the score was tied at 2-2 in the second set, Federer won five straight games to take a 7-5, 6-2, 1-0 lead and move closer to the victory.
Federer broke when serving for the victory at 5-3, allowing Hewitt to remain in contention. In the fourth set, the Australian gained the upper hand 5-2 after seizing the initiative and winning the tie break. Federer made one final effort to get back to 5-5 before running out of gas and losing eight of the remaining nine games to give Lleyton the victory.
“One of the toughest losses of my career was the one in the Davis Cup against Lleyton Hewitt. After winning the first two sets and serving for the victory, I don’t believe I have ever lost a match. I played well in the first two sets and had the advantage.
In the fourth set, I managed to regain a break before dropping it 7-5. Despite the fact that I was a little worn out after the doubles match, I have to give Lleyton great credit for not missing much of the third set. He was attempting to close the deal, whilst I was attempting to tie the game at 2-2. It was simple to put that game behind you “said Roger Federer.