After that epic victory over Pete Sampras in 2001, Roger Federer became one of the players to beat Wimbledon for the next decade or so, which he showed in 2003 when he advanced to his first major final at the All England Club.
Eager to make a much deeper run after an early exit a year ago, Federer dropped just one set en route to his first Majors semi-final, beating Sjeng Schalken in the quarters and setting up the clash against Andy Roddick, with two youngsters.
fighting for the place in the first final at the highest level. Federer delivered one of the most excellent performances of his young tennis journey, ousting Roddick 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 43 minutes for the best result of his career at Majors.
The Swiss was on another level that day, losing 17 points in 15 service games and avoiding the two break opportunities offered to the American to increase the pressure on him all the time. Andy fought well in the opener, missing a routine forehand on set point at 6-5 in the tie break and never recovering from that loose shot, suffering three breaks in the rest of the encounter to propel the Swiss down the line.
"The first set was significant; I felt like I was playing well and kept everything under control, even in the tie breaks. Still, Andy played at a high level too and I'm happy he missed that forehand; maybe it would have changed."
Annacone on King Roger
Former American player Paul Annacone, who coached Roger Federer from 2010 to 2013, has revealed in a podcast with the Double Bagel that the Swiss maestro has a unique way of dealing with failure.
“He had a great chance that year (in 2011)," Annacone said. "He beat Novak in the semis, and Novak hadn’t lost the entire year going into the French Open. Against Rafa, he was up 5-2 in the first set and had set points.
Tried a drop shot which was a lot bit of a bailout shot. Lost that set and a tough four-setter." How does an ambitious athlete get over a loss like that? With detachment and acceptance, in Federer's case. “When he was done he was very proud of what he had done in the tournament," said Annacone.
"He’s very good at detaching from that emotion in a natural way. Where he doesn’t deny the emotion, where he doesn’t come up with excuses for losing, where he doesn’t blame anything. He just processes it in a really healthy way, and I think that’s why at 40 years of age he’s still playing”.