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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 July, 2003, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Relieved Federer fulfils dream
Roger Federer
Federer was overcome with emotion after his win
Roger Federer admitted he was relieved to have finally won a Grand Slam title after clinching the Wimbledon trophy with a straight sets triumph over Mark Philippoussis.

The new champion had long been tipped as a winner of major titles, but until this year's Championships had never got past the quarter-finals in any Grand Slam.

"I proved it to everybody and it was a big relief because there was pressure from all sides, especially from myself, to do better in Slams," he said.

"There is no guarantee of anything, but I knew I had the game and I have always believed in myself.

"I kept my level up here in the semi-finals and the final and to lift the trophy is an absolute dream."

The 21-year-old added that the back injury he sustained in the fourth round against Feliciano Lopez had left him doubtful that he would make it through the tournament.

"You need a little luck like I had with my back when I struggled through that match," he said.

"I was in big pain - I was struggling to serve, to return, even to sit down. I called the trainer and he gave me some painkillers but I thought if this continues, it's not worth playing.

"Somehow I stayed in but at that point I didn't think I would ever hold the trophy."

Federer dedicated his win to his circle of friends and family, including former coach Peter Carter, who was killed in a car accident last year.

"Peter was one of the most important people in my career," he said. "I guess we would have had a big party if he had been here. I hope he saw it from somewhere."

Federer added that he was looking forward to going to Wimbledon's official dinner, after missing out in 1998 when he won the junior title.

"I had my first wild card in an ATP tournament in Gstaad," he explained. "So Peter (Carter) and I decided that I had to return to Switzerland to prepare well. So I'm excited about going this year."

Roger Federer cries tears of joy
I'm definitely going to hold that trophy up before I retire
Mark Philippoussis

Philippoussis, who has now lost in two Grand Slam finals after his defeat to fellow Australian Pat Rafter at the 1998 US Open, conceded that Federer had outplayed him in a surprisingly one-sided final.

"He definitely played better than me on the day," he said.

"The first tiebreak was huge to get the momentum going. At 4-3, I missed a forehand and double-faulted and that cost me.

"Whoever won that first set was going to go on a roll and that's what happened."

But the 26-year-old denied that he had allowed the tiebreak to play on his mind.

"I can't really say that I did much wrong - he came up with some great passing shots, running forehand, backhand returns. What can you do?" he said.

Philippoussis, who has spent long periods out of the game with a serious knee injury, insisted he would be back to win the title.

"The final will definitely help me in the future. Goran (Ivanisevic) was in the final three times before he won it so I am never going to give up," he said.

"There's a lot of positive things to take away and I'm definitely going to hold that trophy up before I retire. That's for sure."



Links to more Wimbledon 2003 stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
Roger Federer
"The semi and final were perhaps the best two games of my career"


Mark Philippoussis
"This was definitely Roger's day"


VOTE RESULTS
Which is the most 'memorable' Centre Court moment?
Federer's tears of joy
 23.76% 
Ivanisevic's celebrations
 45.57% 
Novotna breaking down
 12.88% 
Cash clambering over fans
 17.80% 
4466 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

WIMBLEDON 2003

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Federer plays crying game
07 Jul 03  |  Fun and Games

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