Roger Federer: 'I could not believe I was facing Pete Sampras in 2001'

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Roger Federer: 'I could not believe I was facing Pete Sampras in 2001'

Roger Federer recalled when he faced Pete Sampras in 2001 Wimbledon fourth round match. The Swiss prevailed in four sets, reaching the Grand Slam quarter-finals for the first time in his career. Federer admitted he was struggling to believe that he was facing his childhood idol on the big stage.

"I was warming up and I looked across the net and I couldn't believe it was Sampras. That's the only time it really happened. I had some when the draw came out in Basel back in '99, I couldn't believe I was going to play Agassi", said Federer, adding that he wished to play against Sampras more.

Federer will have his pre-season training, like in the last two decades, in Dubai starting on 11 December when he will have fitness sessions with his trainer Pierre Paganini. Explaning why he loves living in the United Arab Emirates, the Basel native said: "Never rains, which is a good thing, because I can practice on a hard court.

In Switzerland we struggle with outdoor hard courts. You never know when the rain. Yeah, what else? I can really concentrate on tennis over there. I have no distractions, whereas in Switzerland maybe I still have so many friends, families, I want to do things. I'm maybe not there to really focus on tennis, whereas in Dubai it's totally different", he concluded.