Tue, Jul 08, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Federer gets emotional

WIMBLEDON FINALS Roger Federer sat crying in his chair after he overcame Mark Philippoussis 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 to win one of the most coveted titles in pro tennis

AP , WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND

Roger Federer returns to Mark Philippoussis in their men's singles final match on centre court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

The mask of indifference disappeared the moment Roger Federer won Wimbledon.

At last he shed the burden of promise unfulfilled and let loose the emotions he had kept buried, crying in his chair, crying again as he spoke with a cracked voice to the crowd, and once more as he posed with the golden trophy he had long dreamed of holding.

Federer had gone from an ebullient ballboy to a bratty adolescent, throwing rackets and McEnroe-type tantrums. He had traveled the path of Wimbledon junior champion at 16 to upset victor over seven-time Wimbledon men's champ Pete Sampras at 19.

And he had lapsed from a cocky teen to a young man filled with doubts, hiding his emotions on court as if afraid they would get in his way.

"I was very nervous when I walked on the court," Federer said, though he showed not a hint of it in his face or his play.

"You have strong emotions, but you don't want to get too overexcited. My body's totally flat now. I cannot move anymore. I'm totally exhausted, just because of the tension out there."

He told the crowd how he had joked around as a boy that he was going to win this someday and how thrilled he was to have played the two best matches of his career, beating American Andy Roddick in the semis and Australian Mark Philippoussis in the final, both in straight sets.

He looked up in the stands toward his coach, the former player Peter Lundgren, who had tears in his own eyes, and girlfriend Miroslava Vavrinec, also a player, who knew the struggles he had gone through. Less than a year ago, Federer's former coach and friend Peter Carter died in a car accident.

Just a week ago, Federer said, he didn't even know if he could keep playing after he hurt his back in a match.

"I thought I had to throw in the white towel," he said. "But my back got better, my game got better, now here I am."

Women's doubles

Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama picked up the women's doubles title Sunday, defeating Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-4, 6-4.

The pair won the French Open title last month, also beating Suarez and Ruano Pascual in the championship match.

It was a sweet victory for the Belgian-Japanese duo on Centre Court. They lost the Wimbledon doubles final two years ago, and Sugiyama lost the Wimbledon doubles final in 2000 when she was playing with Julie Halard-Decugis.

Clijsters and Sugiyama have now won four of five matches against Suarez of Argentina and Ruano Pascual of Spain.

"So far I don't think we've played a bad match in both of the Grand Slams we've played," said Clijsters, who was beaten in the singles semifinal by Venus Williams.

"Winning the French Open final against these two girls -- and they're clay court specialists -- to win there definitely gave us a little motivation to win today."

"It's a big thing in itself. To be a Wimbledon champion in doubles is great. I was disappointed after the Venus match, but it's a different tournament, singles and doubles. So I'm definitely very, very excited about this win."

Sugiyama lost in the fourth round to her doubles partner 6-3, 6-2.

The loss was the second straight in the Wimbledon doubles final for the Argentine-Spanish pair, falling a year ago to Serena and Venus Williams.

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