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Roger Federer's success story is a very special one. To date, no one has won more Grand Slam tournaments than the Swiss, who set the standard with his 20 titles. The "Maestro" is worshiped like no other around the world, especially in his "living room" Wimbledon. There he is considered a record winner with eight titles, even surpassing Pete Sampras (seven wins), who once dominated this major.
But even a Federer started out small - and how! Before he was allowed to raise the trophy on Church Road for the first time on July 6, 2003, he had to make a few attempts. What many no longer know today: the Swiss even had a grand slam blockade in the years before his breakthrough. At major tournaments, he was often inhibited in the early years of his career. Federer, who gained his first major experience in 1999, initially did not seem to be able to unpack his entire repertoire.
Federer delivered only one set in Wimbledon in 2003
Since Wimbledon 2003, however, there can be no question of a Federer blockade at Grand Slams. With the move to the quarter-finals at the latest (after a smooth three-set win over Feliciano Lopez) Federer was on the winning road after missing the league in the last eight in seven consecutive Grand Slams.
At the beginning of the second week of the tournament, the Confederation benefited from the longer rain breaks, which helped him to cure back problems. Whether the Dutchman Sjeng Schalken in the quarterfinals, Andy Roddick in the semifinals or Mark Philippoussis in the final: Nobody could stop Federer, let alone take a sentence from him. In any case, in Wimbledon 2003 only the American Mardy Fish managed to force Federer into a fourth set in the third round.
At the age of 21 on the Wimbledon throne for the first time
Especially in the final, the then 21-year-old exuded pure dominance. In terms of service, he was in no way inferior to the Australian, who was known for his good service. On the contrary: the premium rate of the later "Maestros" was even better than that of the more experienced Philippoussis. As in the semi-final against Roddick, when Federer only produced twelve forced errors, he made hardly any mistakes in the endgame. Although his opponent managed to force him into a tie-break twice, he ultimately couldn't stop Federer on his way to the first Swiss Grand Slam title.
Without a single breakball against him, Roger Federer won in less than two hours in the final with 7: 6 (5), 6: 2, 7: 6 (3). The Federer critics fell silent at the latest after this triumph. A new superstar was born, who was to follow seven more titles on the sacred lawn of Wimbledon in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2017.
(Image © imago images / Kosecki)
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