After an early exit at Roland Garros 2002, Roger Federer was preparing for another impressive run on beloved grass at Wimbledon. The young Swiss reached the All England Club quarter-final at 19 a year ago after defeating the seven-time champion Pete Sampras in a thrilling fourth round.
Meeting the press in s-Hertogenbosch after the first-round victory over Richard Krajicek, Federer admitted he was a bit unknown outside Europe before that stunning victory over Pete at the All England Club, despite being in the top-15.
The Swiss said that success was a significant springboard for him, giving him a lot of confidence and making him one of the world's most recognized players.
Roger Federer felt more known after beating Pete Sampras at Wimbledon 2001.
Before that, Federer claimed the first ATP title in Milan in February, scored three wins over the USA in the Davis Cup and earned the Player of the Month title.
Roger's first Major quarter-final came at Roland Garros that spring, finally finding his A-game on clay. Still, 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.
Dealing with a groin injury for a couple of matches, Federer endured all the efforts against Sampras to prevail with a late break in the decider, securing one of his most notable triumphs and presenting his abilities on the fastest surface.
"I was a bit unknown before that match against Pete Sampras at Wimbledon last year. I was quite known in Europe because I had some 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, having to sit out for like a month ahead of the US Open. When I came to New York, I already felt more known, especially in the United States, because I also scored wins over them in the Davis Cup before that Sampras triumph. It helped me a lot with the press and the fact everyone knows me better now," Roger Federer said.