For the first time since 1973 and the famous boycott, there were no former champions in the quarter-final at Wimbledon 2003, with a chance for the remaining eight players to go all the way and earn glory. In 2001, Roger Federer was the quarter-finalist following that stunning win over Pete Sampras in five sets.
The Swiss returned to the All England Club two years later as one of the favorites and dropped one set in seven encounters to become a Major champion at 21. In the semis, Federer took down Andy Roddick 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 in under two hours, dominating in sets two and three to find himself in the first Major final, with Mark Philippoussis standing between him and the trophy.
World no. 48 gave his best against the Swiss but it wasn't enough at least for a set, as Federer earned a 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 triumph in an hour and 56 minutes for the most significant moment of his young career. Holding his nerves, Federer never faced a break chance, standing strong in both tie breaks and firing 73 winners and only nine unforced errors to leave Mark behind and secure his place in the record books.
The Aussie gave his best to stay in touch, blasting 50 service winners and fending off three out of five break chances. Roger grabbed two breaks in set number two and controlled the pace in others to lift the trophy. Federer had the upper hand in the more extended exchanges, winning 19 out of 27 points in that segment and taking ten points more in the quickest range up to four strokes (89-79).
Roger Federer defeated Mark Philippoussis to claim the 2003 Wimbledon crown.
The Swiss made a promising start, dropping six points in the opener's six service games and waiting for a chance on the return patiently. Mark was there to follow that pace, taking four straight points from 30-0 down in the 12th game to set the tie break that Federer won 7-5 following his rival's double fault in the tenth point.
Philippoussis had no winners from the court in set number two, struggling on the second serve and getting broken at 15 in games one and three to propel Roger in front. The Swiss kept everything under control in his games, giving away six points and sealing the set with a service winner at 5-2 to forge a massive advantage ahead of the third.
There, Mark fended off three break chances to survive until the tie break, where all the pressure was on him. The Aussie couldn't endure it, spraying four unforced errors in the first seven points to push Federer 6-1 in front before the Swiss sealed the deal after a service winner at 6-3.
Thus, Roger became the youngest Wimbledon champion since 1989 and the fourth player in the Open era with Wimbledon crowns in both juniors and seniors.