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 all 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, returning to the All England Club two years later as one of the favorites and dropping 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 less than 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, with Federer earning 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 point, 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.
"This is the best! It was the most important match of my life, with the semi-final standing there as well. I didn't lose a set in those two matches and kept my level up; it's an absolute dream. To lift the trophy is something you don't expect; when it happens, it brings a lot of emotions.
I have cried a few times on big occasions. In the first moment, I don't think I will but couldn't keep it. This tournament means a lot to me and I had a great experience in 1998 when I won junior title and again in 2001 after beating Pete Sampras.
I want to thank everybody who has helped me through my career but this is my victory after all and I'm thrilled for it. I knew I had the game for the big titles; I already had smaller titles and a lot of wins and will enjoy the Wimbledon crown now.
Peter Carter is there as one of the most influential persons in my career. We would have had a big party together if he was still here."