In the summer of 2001, 20-year-old Roger Federer had not yet won a match on Wimbledon grass. In that edition, however, the Basel player first defeated Christophe Rochus, Xavier Malisse, Jonas Bjorkman and finally Pete Sampras to reach his second quarter-finals in a Grand Slam tournament.
Federer defeated the then 13-time American Grand Slam winner with a score of 7-6 5-7 6-4 6-7 7-5, in a very tough, exciting and symbolic match, the winner of which would then dominate the tournament for years to come. Roger said that time: “Physically, I feel much better this year.
I was able to show great tennis in the important moments and to defend the many break opportunities that Pete had. My service has improved; now I can serve & volley, something I was not capable of before. Some players, some coaches, my friends and myself all believed that I could beat him.
I knew I had a chance but I wasn’t 100% sure, he was always the man to beat on the grass. I think this match will give me a lot of confidence in myself, it’s my biggest career victory. Now I’m going to play against Tim Henman or Todd Martin, if I’m not mistaken.
I’ve faced them before, even though I’ve never beaten Henman. After defeating Pete, maybe I even have a chance to take the trophy. I do not know!”