Wimbledon 2003 brought all the drama and excitement you can imagine, with the defending champion losing in the first round and eight players remaining in the title chase who had never won a Major title. In the end, Roger Federer claimed the most important trophy in our sport, claiming his first Grand Slam crown at age 21 after a 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 win over No.
48, Mark Philippoussis in less than two hours. The Australian claimed just 19 points on the return, creating no break point opportunities and dealing with a lot of pressure in both tiebreaks, having to win them to stay in contention against such a strong opponent.
Plus, Mark won 50 of 87 points on his serve alone, struggling to match Roger Federer's pace on the longest rallies and hitting just 16 winners from the court. On the other hand, Federer featured over 70 winners in total, reducing the number of unforced errors and sealing the deal with a 6-3 serve winner in the third set tie break for his first Major title.
“When it was all over, I couldn't believe the first point. That went through my mind when I sat in my chair, before the flashback and the golden trophy. When you look at it and hold it, it's something you've always dreamed of, wondering if it's real.
I have shown everyone that I can pursue notable titles. There was pressure from all sides and it's a relief for me. I always wanted to do better in Slams, but you need a little luck, like in the fourth round clash when I fought with a back injury.
At the time, I never thought of winning the title. Less than a week later, the crown is in my hands and I still have a hard time believing it. He was very nervous when he walked the court, with strong emotions to control. I'm exhausted now, with all the tension out there.
After winning the second set, I expected to finish the work in sets often," said Roger Federer. Veteran tennis coach Paul Annacone has weighed in on his former disciple Roger Federer’s biggest strength, saying his love for the sport has helped him be one of the leading lights of contemporary men’s tennis even as in the twilight of his career.
Paul Annacone talks about Roger Federer
“I think Roger Federer's greatest strength as a player and a person is his perspective. I mean, I think he really understands life and because he understands life and the ability to prioritize things and pragmatism with which he approaches stuff has allowed him to do what he loves for this long,” Paul Annacone said.
He added that combined with his other virtues, what has helped Federer be at his best or close to his best, even at 39 is his undying “love” and passion for the game. “He just loves tennis and that’s why, at 39, he’s still out there,” the coach said.
“He doesn’t have the emotional drain at 39 that Pete had at 29 or 30,” Annacone said, adding that while it doesn’t make one better than the other, it does speak volumes about the contrasting personalities of the two tennis greats.