Roger Federer after first Major final: ‘I put skeptics in the corners’

In 2001, Roger Federer reached the quarter-finalist at Roland Garros and Wimbledon at 19, becoming a contender for the most notable titles in the upcoming years. The Swiss lost steam at Majors in the next couple of seasons, making no further steps in the next two years. Following a tough loss at the All England Club to Mario Ancic in the first round in 2002, Federer returned stronger to reach his first Major semi-final a year later. In the fourth round, the Swiss overcame back problems against Feliciano Lopez and won in straight sets to advance into the last eight. In the quarters, Roger beat Sjeng Schalken in straight sets to move into his first semi-final at this level, battling against Andy Roddick for the title match.

Roger Federer reached the first Wimbledon final in 2003.

In one of his best performances before his dominant years, Roger scored a 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 43 minutes, moving one win away from tennis glory. Andy gave his best in the opening set, but that wasn’t enough to take it, spraying a terrible forehand error at 6-5 in the tie break that would have sent him in front. Instead of that, Federer grabbed the last three points of the breaker to gain a massive boost, repelling two break chances at the beginning of the second set and never looking back. He scored three breaks to control the scoreboard, hitting 74 winners and 35 errors to leave Roddick far behind and earning another notable Wimbledon victory after that famous one over Pete Sampras two years ago.  

“For me, it’s always tricky to compare matches to the one I played against Pete Sampras. I believe it will be hard to top that encounter because he was my favorite player, facing him on the Centre Court at 19 and battling for five sets. The emotions were so high, and I could not believe it. Now, I almost always play on the main courts, and I’m more used to those big matches. Following that victory over Pete, I still would not think about Major finals in the next couple of years, even though people predicted that. I’m happy to achieve that and finally put those who did not trust my game in the corners,” Roger Federer said.