The seven-time Wimbledon champion met Federer, 19, on Centre Court at Wimbledon—marking the debut of the man from Switzerland on these esteemed grounds during the fourth round in 2001. The Swiss youngster has been considered a potential Grand Slam champion since winning the Wimbledon juniors title three years ago.
Coming into Wimbledon, Sampras had won 31 consecutive matches on the green lawns at the All England Club and had lost only one of his last 57. Sampras symbolized Wimbledon—it was his home court. The court where he felt his most invincible and could deliver the best his game had to offer.
Federer showed his former idol the door in a stunning upset Monday, winning 7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5. The fourth-round thriller ended Sampras’ remarkable reign — at least for the moment.
“You know something so great isn’t going to last forever,” Sampras said. “Today I just came up a little bit short.”
“It was his moment,” Sampras said. “It’s grass-court tennis. One minute you feel like you have it, the next minute you’re walking off the court.”