Throwback: Teenage Roger Federer speaks about incredible win over “idol” Pete Sampras


Roger Federer is the winner of a record-20 Grand Slam titles

Roger Federer has been one of the most consistent tennis players in the history of the game.

To date, he has a record-20 Grand Slam crowns to his name and has also held on to the ATP World No.1 ranking for a record 310 weeks.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer at the Wimbledon Championships last year. (Getty Images)

However, it is no big wonder Federer went on to become one of the greatest of all time in tennis. Signs of his greatness were clearly evident from a very young age itself.

The Swiss maestro shocked the world back in 2001 by overthrowing defending champion and seven-time winner Pete Sampras in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

Aged 19, it was a major breakthrough in the career of Federer, who had entered the Major event with a lot of promise and just one ATP singles title to his credit.

Pete Sampras
Former World No.1 Pete Sampras (extreme right) along with Swiss maestro Roger Federer during a charity match. (Getty Images)

Federer, after his win against Sampras, spoke about his idols in a video interview with Trans World Sport back in July 2001.

In the interview, he talks about his incredible win over Sampras and lists Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and former as his idols while growing up.

“It was incredible that I was able to win, especially on Centre Court. He used to be one of my idols, together with Edberg (Stefan), and Becker (Boris),” Federer said.

Federer’s idols are all former World No.1’s and legends of the game. Swede Edberg and German Becker won six-Grand Slam singles titles each while American Sampras had 14-Grand Slam titles to his credit.

“To beat him was an incredible moment for me”

Later in the interview, a young Federer adds that playing against his idol Sampras and beating him was an incredible moment for him.

“So, to be able to play against him (Sampras) and to beat him was an incredible moment for me, especially at Wimbledon, my favourite tournament,” he recollected.

Roger Federer schedule
Roger Federer playing his classic forehand shot during the 2020 Australian Open. (Getty Images)

The Swiss stayed true to his word of Wimbledon being his favourite tournament.

Fedex made the grass courts his happy hunting ground by winning eight titles there. He surpassed Sampras’ record of seven Majors by winning his eighth title back in 2017.

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