The situation was so unfamiliar to Roger Federer, so "uncomfortable," to use his term. On a surface he rules, at a tournament he owns, against an opponent he dominates, Federer found himself in serious trouble on Monday.
He dropped the first two sets against 60th-ranked Alejandro Falla of Colombia, then was a mere three points from losing in the first round of Wimbledon.
"I had Federer against the ropes," Falla would say later. Eventually, the unheralded Falla succumbed to some jitters, and six-time Wimbledon champion Federer called upon his experience, summoned his customary excellence, overcame the daunting deficit and pulled away to win 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0 in the event's opening Centre Court match.
"You definitely feel, you know, uncomfortable, because if you're used to being down the whole time, your whole life, it's something that's kind of normal. For me, it's not normal to be down two-sets-to-love, especially at Wimbledon and early on in Grand Slams. It's something I'm not quite used to," said the top-seeded Federer, who hampered himself with seven double-faults. "But still, I was able to find a way. That's most important right now. Doesn't matter how I felt out there. Didn't feel great, that's for sure." Had Falla finished off Federer, it would have been one of the most stunning upsets in the history of tennis - perhaps THE most stunning, taking into account the participants, the setting and the round.
Not sure? Consider the players' resumes entering the day: - Federer was 92-13 for his career on grass, including 76-2 since 2003; Falla was 7-11.