Roger Federer had by then established himself as a promising talent in world tennis, only awaiting for that one big career-changing result. But none including Federer himself had anticipated that it would come against his childhood idol Pete Sampras at the venue that later in his career became synonymous with his name.
On Monday, 19 years back, Federer had defeated seven-time champion, Sampras, in what was hailed as a 'Change of Guard' victory, at the SW19 in the fourth round of the tournament. The 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5 marked the then 19-year-old's first Centre Court win.
Federer had been the boy's singles champion three years before the game at Wimbledon but was yet to win a professional singles match at the tournament before the start of that fortnight.
Remembering the epic clash, ATP shared pictures from the tie on Twitter while writing, "A star is born In 2001, @rogerfederer beat seven-time @Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras for his first win on Centre Court."
Reacting to the post on Tuesday, Federer wrote, "What a moment that was for me, first time on center court at Wimbledon. Only time vs Pete my hero I miss the Pistol."
What a moment that was for me,— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) July 7, 2020
first time on center court at Wimbledon.
Only time vs Pete my hero
I miss the Pistol 🙌 https://t.co/XJH5j3Bhcf
"A lot of friends had told me, 'I think you can beat him this year,’” Federer said after the match. “I'd played a great year - better than him. I knew I had a chance. But it was not 100 per cent. I mean, he's the man on grass.”
The Swiss-born tennis player eventually lost in the quarterfinals to Tim Henman and failed to emulate the result in the next to editions of Wimbledon before bagging his first in 2003. Federer now has eight to his name, the most by any tennis player.