Switzerland celebrates Federer's win
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Switzerland celebrates Federer's win

Switzerland got itself a new tennis hero on Sunday ? and this time it's a man.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2003 23:00 IST

Switzerland got itself a new tennis hero on Sunday -- and this time it's a man.

Level-headed Roger Federer became the first Swiss player to win the Wimbledon men's title with a 7-6 6-2 7-6 victory against Australian Mark Philippoussis, six years after his compatriot Martina Hingis kick-started her career with the women's trophy.

Marc Rosset won the Olympic title in 1992 but Federer's success, the first in any grand slam event for a Swiss man, was rightly celebrated as a far greater achievement.

Friends and fans celebrated his win at the Old Boys' tennis club in Federer's home town of Basel in northern Switzerland, where the champagne flowed at the end of the match and the bar announced beers on the house for everyone.

"Roger showed some tears at the prize ceremony and I must say that I have tears too," a visibly-moved Seppli Kacovsky, Federer's first coach, told Swiss television.

"I think its fantastic not just for Roger but for the Old Boys' Club and tennis as a whole in Switzerland," he added, brandishing a bottle of bubbly.

"This is unique what he has done. I thought he could win it from the quarter-finals and I am so pleased," he said.

Niklaus von Vary, president of the Old Boys' club where Federer has been a member since childhood, said the club wanted to build a new court and name it after the 21-year-old, who they made their youngest-ever honorary member in 2001.

"I didn't think it was possible but with Roger everything is possible and I think it will only continue," von Vary said.

Swiss media have taken Federer to heart during the two-week grand slam in London, hailing the long-haired player as an everyday hero who likes to keep his feet on the ground.

The SonntagsBlick newspaper said the secret to his success was the tight-knit team who look after him, headed by Swedish trainer Peter Lundgren and physio Pavel Kovac.

Swiss media have also made much of the role played by Federer's girlfriend, 25-year-old Miroslava Vavrinec, who acts as sponsorship agent and press officer.

The SonntagsBlick said that a 20-strong team of friends and family had flown to London to watch the final including his mother and godparents.

Swiss Sport Minister Samuel Schmid also travelled to Wimbledon for the showdown.

However, Federer's father Robert remained at the family home in the Basel region, telling the SonntagsBlick: "I have to keep an eye on the house."

First Published: Jul 06, 2003 23:00 IST