In 2003, we had a chaotic Wimbledon from the first round, with defending champion Lleyton Hewitt staying in the opening match against Ivo Karlovic. Eight players reached the quarterfinals without winning Wimbledon earlier, setting the stage that had not been seen since 1973 and leaving the door open for all.
One name would be above all in the end, with Roger Federer beating Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis in the semi-finals and final to claim his first Major crown at age 21. Federer was the quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2001, beating seven-time champion Pete Sampras in five exciting sets before losing a close battle to Tim Henman.
Two years later, Federer was among the favorites for the title, overcame a back injury in the fourth round against Feliciano Lopez and never looked back for his first of 20 Major crowns. In the final, Federer defeated Mark Philippoussis 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 in one hour and 56 minutes, never facing a break point and doing everything right in both tie-breaks to lift the trophy.
The Swiss lost just 19 points on serve, increasing the pressure on the other side of the net and playing at a higher level when leaving the Australian behind mattered most. Serbia Open runner-up Aslan Karatsev recently spoke with Championat, where he disclosed that he used to idolize Roger Federer in his initial years.
Karatseve lavished praise on Federer's unique game, and also expressed his eagerness to play against the Swiss legend some time in the future.
Karatsev on Roger Federer
"I like Agassi, Sampras," Aslan Karatsev said.
"When they left, I watched Roger Federer. The game that he shows, I think, cannot be compared with anything. It's not that he remains an idol," Karatsev said. "But I would like to play with him. I have looked at him since childhood, as he performed.
So I'm interested in playing with him myself." The Russian also claimed he had no idea how Federer had managed to keep himself in good enough shape to compete actively with the younger players on the tour. "It's phenomenal (that he's playing till the age of 39), I would say," Karatsev added.
"And in the form in which he keeps himself, this is a rarity. I don't know how he can keep himself in such physical shape. He moves great. Move like that at 40! This is phenomenal, I think so." Roger Federer is not playing in Madrid or Rome this season. He’ll just be playing in Geneva to get some practice on clay before playing at the French Open 2021.