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Wimbledon icon: Roger Federer

Many tennis greats have won the Wimbledon title but perhaps none are more synonymous with the tournament than Roger Federer.

The Swiss maestro made Centre Court his own in the early part of the 21st century and continued to win singles titles into his mid-30s.

Generally considered to be one of the most graceful players ever to hold a racquet, Federer won eight Wimbledon titles from 2003 to 2017 - a men's singles record - as he established himself as one of the true legends of the sport.

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Swiss teen shocks all-conquering Sampras

Federer offered a glimpse of what was to come as a 16-year-old, claiming the boys' singles title at Wimbledon in 1998, but he needed some time to make his mark at senior level, suffering first-round exits in both 1999 and 2000.

After reaching the quarter-finals of the 2001 French Open, Federer came to the attention of the wider sporting public at Wimbledon, where he defeated defending champion Pete Sampras in the fourth round.

Sporting a ponytail and his now trademark bandana, the young Federer saw off Sampras in five sets, finishing with a stylish forehand winner and ending the dominance of Sampras, who had won seven titles in eight years at the All England Club.

Tim Henman curtailed Federer's 2001 run at the quarter-final stage but the Swiss returned in 2003 to claim Wimbledon glory for the first time, beating Mark Philippoussis in his first Grand Slam final.

Making it three with back-to-back wins over Roddick 

A first Wimbledon victory opened the floodgates for Federer, who won the 2004 Australian Open at the beginning of 2004 and then returned to Wimbledon to successfully defend his title, defeating US Open champion Andy Roddick in four sets in the final.

Blessed with a precise serve and a flowing, rapier-like forehand, Federer would go on to take the US Open title in 2004 and he came back to Wimbledon to haunt Roddick in the 2005 Wimbledon final, running out a comfortable 6-2 7-6 6-4 winner.

While Federer versus Roddick had been billed as a rivalry, the Swiss would almost always prove too strong for the American and it wasn't until 2005, and the emergence of Rafael Nadal, that Federer had a foe who could push him all the way.

Dethroned by Nadal in epic 2008 final 

Nadal had proved to be Federer's kryptonite away from Wimbledon, winning six of their first seven meetings before the pair clashed for the first time on grass in the 2006 final.

Federer, the top seed and still the undisputed grass-court king, came out all guns blazing, winning the first set 6-0 as part of a 6-0 7-6 6-7 6-3 triumph over the Majorcan.

Nadal would come closer the following season, again meeting Federer in the final and this time pushing the Swiss all the way to a deciding set which Federer won 6-2, claiming his fifth consecutive Wimbledon crown, matching Bjorn Borg's Open Era men's singles record.

Federer won 12 of his 20 Grand Slam singles titles from 2003 to 2007 but Nadal would end the Swiss's golden SW19 run in a match regarded by many as the greatest of them all.

In the 2008 final, Nadal began like a Spanish bull, establishing a two-set lead before Federer battled back to win tiebreaks in the third and fourth sets, forcing a decider as the light began to fade on Centre Court due to earlier rain delays.

Federer came within two points of a sixth Wimbledon title but Nadal broke in the 15th game of the deciding set before serving out a match which totalled four hours and 48 minutes and ended at 21:15 local time.

More titles and a record-breaking last hurrah

With Nadal sidelined with a knee injury, Federer regained his Wimbledon crown the following season in another five-set marathon, this time against Roddick.

In a contest in which the server dictated throughout, Roddick won the opening set 7-5 and Federer won the next two, both in tiebreaks. Roddick levelled by winning the fourth 3-1 and the pair traded blows in a 95-minute fifth-set slugfest which Federer would win 16-14.

Federer suffered back-to-back quarter-final defeats at Wimbledon in 2010 and 2011 but he roared back in 2012, beating Britain's Andy Murray 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 in the final and tying Sampras on seven Wimbledon victories.

After a shock second-round loss to Sergiy Stahkovsky in 2013, he would reach consecutive finals over the next two seasons, losing out on each occasion to another Wimbledon icon, Novak Djokovic. 

Having enjoyed a largely injury-free career to this point, 2016 brought with it both back and knee problems. But Federer was not done. 

He would win a surprise 18th Slam at the Australian Open in 2017, fittingly after another epic final against Nadal, and by the time he arrived at Wimbledon he was among the favourites to win the title for a record-breaking eighth time.

What followed was the most serene Wimbledon fortnight of Federer's career, the Swiss waltzing through the draw without dropping a set, including when defeating Marin Cilic 6-3 6-1 6-4 in the final.

As age began to catch up with him, there would be time for one last dance with Nadal, who he beat in the 2019 semi-finals, and he would come agonisingly close to a ninth Wimbledon title in the final, spurning two Championship points before losing 13-12 in the fifth against Djokovic.

Federer would make one more Wimbledon appearance, bowing out against Hubert Hurkacz in the 2021 quarter-finals. Overall, he claimed eight singles titles and won 105 of his 119 matches at the All England Club. 

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