Federer takes Wimbledon title

Roger Federer celebrates his first grand slam title Keystone

Switzerland’s tennis star, Roger Federer, has become the first Swiss man to win the Wimbledon tennis championships.

This content was published on July 6, 2003 - 17:40

The 21-year-old from Basel took just under two hours to defeat Australia's Mark Philippoussis in straight sets 7-6, 6-2, 7-6.

Tennis experts described Federer’s playing on Sunday in the men’s prestigious final as “flawless”, “concentrated”, “patient and sure of himself”, while one former Wimbledon winner claimed “he doesn’t make any mistakes.”

Federer, now the world’s number three, sailed through the first two sets, although his Australian opponent put up much resistance, including the game’s longest rally of 15 strokes in the first set.

Philippoussis tried to come back in the third set, but could not match Federer’s steady hand and strategic shots which were often only millimetres inside the lines.

Sports commentators said the neck on neck game was "some of the best tennis seen at Wimbledon".

During Friday’s semi-final at Wimbledon, Federer had also played in his trademark self-controlled and cool manner, beating the American Andy Roddick, 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 in just one hour and 43 minutes.

Post-match celebration

The young player from Bottmingen will turn 22 in four weeks' time; but having four years less tennis experience than the 26-year-old Greek-Australian did not make a difference in the end.

During the whole game, Federer showed little emotion, executing his returns with remarkable certainty and strength.

However when he won, he broke down in tears, smiling at the crowd and describing the match as the best of his career.

“It’s incredible, I don’t know how I did it,” said Federer, as he held the coveted Wimbledon trophy.

“It’s an absolute dream for me – I was always joking about it as a boy, now I have it,” he added.

In front of the elated Wimbledon crowd, Philippoussis commended the playing of his Swiss rival, who he said had “used all his chances” to defeat him.

“It was really his day,” admitted the visibly disappointed Australian.

Winning streak

The Basel-born Federer has been viewed as a potential Wimbledon champion since he took the Wimbledon junior title in 1998.

The only other time a Swiss male tennis player won this title was in 1976, when Heinz Günthardt took the cup.

Expectations rose even higher when he ended Pete Sampras's 31-match winning streak by defeating the American player in the fourth round at the All England Club two years ago.

However, Federer’s mental strength had been questioned, after he suffered several early defeats in Grand Slams, including a first round exit at Wimbledon last year and at the French Open in May.

This is the fifth time Federer has competed in Wimbledon and he is only the second Swiss man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final, after Marc Rosset competed in the semi-final at the French Open in 1996.

After his victory on Sunday, Federer has climbed up in the ATP ranking and is now number three in the world. He has so far won eight singles titles.

This season he won titles in Marseille, Dubai, Munich and Halle and was runner-up in Rome.

swissinfo, Tania Peitzker and Billi Bierling with agencies

Key facts

Roger Federer was born in Basel on August 8, 1981.
He is the first Swiss male to have reached the final round of Wimbledon.
Federer won the Wimbledon Junior title in 1998.

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