The 2003 edition of Wimbledon felt a little bit empty without the seven-time champion Pete Sampras around the courts at the All England Club, with the American staying away from the court after winning the US Open crown last September.
Three unseeded players reached the quarter-final that year and it was a chance for the young guns Roger Federer and Andy Roddick to chase the first Major crown, battling against each other in the semi-final. Earlier, the 17-year-old Rafael Nadal reached the third round on Major debut, losing to world no.
11 Paradorn Srichaphan 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 after becoming one of the youngest players in the last 32 in Wimbledon history. Nadal had the opportunity to prolong the opening set and also led 4-2, 30-0 in the second before losing ground, taking only two games by the end of the match to end his campaign.
Speaking about the favorites, Rafa mentioned Federer and Roddick and was quite right, with the Swiss beating the American in the semi-final en route to his first major crown, toppling Mark Philippoussis in the title match to embrace tennis glory at the age of 21.
"I don't know if Srichaphan could go all the way. I think some players have better chances to win this tournament, like Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. I don't see him as one of the top favorites. The most important thing for young players like me is to get better in those areas where you need to improve your game.
If I want to win more matches, I have to work on my serve and develop that weapon. If I had the same serve as some of the players from the top, I would have won more matches. It's been quite some time since I last played juniors, I really don't know much about the upcoming talents.
Still, there are a lot of youngsters in Spain at the moment, like Roberto Bautista Agut from Valencia and Tomeu Salva, who is my age."
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