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Reliving the Wimbledon Classic: Roger Federer Vs. Pete Sampras 2001 6

Posted on July 01, 2010 by JA Allen

Winners are not those who never fail but those who never quit––Edwin Louis Cole

Wimbledon 2001 Federer defeats Sampras in the 4th round. It marked Sampras' earliest exit from the tournament.

If you were lucky, you were there at the inception, when the first moments of brilliance blossomed.  The teenage phenom from Switzerland sporting a bandanna, his long hair swept back in a ponytail, bit at his lower lip, serving, dancing along the baseline on Centre Court.

The young challenger waited, seeing the ball as if in slow motion––coiled, poised on the balls of his feet, ready to move forward if the grizzled champion on the other side of the net returned the ball short.

Roger Federer’s main worry centered on containing his own anxiety, of staying in the moment, the point at hand and living each shot as it happened,  He could not afford to anticipate beyond the slight movement to the left or the right of the champion, Pete Sampras, who waited on the other side of the net.

From time to time the champion’s serve cracked, blasting through the court, ricocheting off service lines, often beyond the teenager’s ability to lay a racket on it.  All the while Sampras sent  an unmistakable message that he did not intend to go “gentle into that good night,” as urged by Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet.

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