Roger Federer reveals his 'dream come true match'

Roger Federer picked his most favorite win in the recent podcast

by Jovica Ilic
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Roger Federer reveals his 'dream come true match'
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Roger Federer played professional tennis for almost 25 years. The proud winner of 20 Major titles embraced incredible duels with opponents from various generations, producing some of the most unforgettable memories of our sport.

Still, only one match made Roger's dream come true, and it came at Wimbledon 2001. The former junior Wimbledon champion delivered his first notable run at the All England Club that year, toppling a seven-time champion Pete Sampras in the fourth round.

Roger stunned his idol Pete 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in three hours and 41 minutes on Centre Court, fulfilling his dreams and moving into the last eight at 19. Federer came to London after reaching his first Major quarter-final in Paris.

On the other hand, Sampras did not play well in the first half of the season. However, he was always dangerous at Wimbledon, winning 31 consecutive matches and seeking the fifth title in a row.

Roger Federer & Pete Sampras, Wimbledon 2001© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Roger ended Pete's streak, delivering his earliest Wimbledon defeat since 1991.

Also, Federer produced Sampras' first five-set loss at Wimbledon, making his victory even more impressive. Roger claimed ten points more than Pete, fending off nine out of 11 break points and seizing four out of 14 return chances.

It was a great serving display from two attacking players on the fast grass, with 174 unreturned serves in 370 points, 89 for Roger and 85 for Pete! Thus, there was no rally in 47% of the points. They landed 325 points in the shortest area up to four strokes, with Federer building a decisive 170-155 advantage.

Sampras had a 24-19 lead in the mid-range exchanges, and they embraced only two rallies with nine or more shots! Roger made a reliable start, firing four booming serves in the first game of the encounter before Pete mirrored that in game two for 1-1.

Federer moved 2-1 in front and created three break chances in game four following Sampras' mistakes. A seven-time champion erased them with winners, firing five in a row and avoiding an early setback. A teenager fired four winners in the fifth game, and his rival responded in style in the next one for 3-3.

The Swiss experienced the first issues behind the initial shot in the seventh game after the American's backhand winner. Roger denied it with a powerful serve and held to remain on the positive side. Pete landed four service winners in the eighth game and reached a deuce in the next one before Roger landed two winners for 5-4.

They fired nine unreturned serves in the following three games, arranging a tie break. Sampras bounced back from 1-3 and created a set point with a service winner at 5-5. Federer denied it with a powerful serve and landed another at 6-6 for his set point.

Pete saved it but lost a point on serve, offering Roger a set point and losing the opener after an unforced error.

Roger Federer & Pete Sampras, Wimbledon 2001© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Roger Federer stunned Pete Sampras in the 2001 Wimbledon fourth round.

The second set saw 11 break points, as they lost the ground behind the initial shot a bit.

Federer hit a double fault in the fourth game, facing a break point and erasing it with a service winner. The young gun landed a return winner in the next one, earning two break chances. The legend stayed calm, firing four winners and denying them in style.

Federer fired a forehand winner in the seventh game, generating three break points. Sampras saved them with winners and defended another for a hold and a 4-3 lead. They served well in the next four games, and Roger had to repeat that while serving to stay in the set at 5-6.

The youngster sprayed a forehand mistake and offered his rival three set points. He denied them and reached deuce before committing two more errors, which handed the set to Sampras and locked the overall score to one set apiece.

Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2001© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Roger made a fresh start in the third set, taking almost half of the return points and turning them into a couple of breaks from four opportunities.

Pete hit a couple of double faults in the third game, and Roger broke him with a return winner that sent him 2-1 in front. Sampras bounced back in the next one, landing a forehand winner for a break chance and converting it after Federer's backhand mistake, locking the result at 2-2.

The Swiss landed four service winners in game eight for 4-4 and grabbed four straight points on the return in the next one, earning a break after the American's smash error and serving for the set at 5-4. Roger landed four powerful serves, wrapping up the set 6-4 and moving closer to the finish line.

Pete faced no break points in the fourth set, keeping the pressure on the other side and missing two opportunities to steal Roger's serve. They started the game with seven comfortable holds before Federer experienced issues at 3-4.

The Swiss played against two break points and denied them with winners, closing the game with unreturned serves and remaining in touch. The returners had no chances in the final four games, as the rivals introduced a tie break.

Pete grabbed a mini-break in the third point and placed two powerful serves for 4-1. The American clinched another mini-break and won two points on serve at 5-2 to seal the set and introduce a decider. The youngster stayed composed and lost only six points in his games.

However, he faced two break points in the ninth game, standing on the verge of the exit door but surviving and prolonging his chances.

Pete Sampras & Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2001© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The returners stole only seven points in the opening eight games before Roger faced those issues at 4-4.

The Swiss saved two break points with a winner and a forced error, showing his mental strength and holding after the American's forehand mistake. Pete landed four service winners in the tenth game and needed more while serving to stay in the match at 5-6.

However, the legend felt the pressure and faced match points after Roger's return winner and his unforced errors. Federer landed that famous forehand down the line return winner on the first, falling to the ground and wrapping up an incredible victory over his idol.

"I was the junior Wimbledon champion from a couple of years ago, facing Pete Sampras. It was our only duel and a dream come true for me. That could be my favorite match, playing against my hero on the Wimbledon Centre Court. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to play against Pete before he retired," Roger Federer said.

Roger Federer
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