Roger Federer admits: 'I was a bit unknown, and then I beat Pete Sampras'

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Roger Federer admits: 'I was a bit unknown, and then I beat Pete Sampras'

Following an early exit at Roland Garros 2002, Roger Federer was preparing for another impressive run at Wimbledon after reaching the quarter-final as a teenager 12 months earlier. The young Swiss defeated the seven-time champion Pete Sampras in the fourth round in a thriller, prevailing in five sets with a late break in the decider and moving into the last eight at the second consecutive Major.

Meeting the press in s-Hertogenbosch after the first-round victory over Richard Krajicek in 2002, Federer admitted he was a bit unknown outside Europe before that stunning victory over Pete at the All England Club, despite being ranked in the top-15.

The Swiss labeled that success as a significant springboard for him and the one that gave him much confidence and made him one of the world's most recognized players. Before that memorable Wimbledon run, Federer claimed the first ATP title in Milan in February, scored three wins over the USA in the Davis Cup and became the Player of the Month.

His first Major quarter-final came at Roland Garros. However, the entire tennis world started to speak about him following that massive triumph over Sampras in five sets at Wimbledon, overcoming an injury and the seven-time champion to find himself in the last eight where Tim Henman beat him in four tight sets.

Roger Federer defeated Pete Sampras at Wimbledon 2001.

"I was a little bit unknown before that match against Pete Sampras at Wimbledon last year. I was quite known in Europe because I had notable results before the Championships.

Still, that triumph over Pete gave me an international breakthrough, which was huge for my confidence. Unluckily, I was injured right after that match or during it. The injury was there even before Wimbledon, but I played with painkillers and had to sit out for like a month before the US Open.

When I came to New York, I already felt that I was more known, especially in the United States, because I also scored wins over them in the Davis Cup before that triumph over Sampras. It helped me a lot with the press and the fact that everyone knows me better now," Roger Federer said.