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Coming into the 2001 Championships, Pete Sampras was a seven times Wimbledon champion. He had dominated the Centre Court for almost a decade and his powerful, athletic tennis had lifted the sport into new realms.
The twenty nine year old American was no longer at the peak of his game though, ranked six, he was still the favorite to win an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon title. But, in the round of sixteen, he met a nineteen year old Swiss who had ambitions of his own.
Roger Federer was a Junior Wimbledon champion. His two subsequent main draw performances had ended in first round defeat. On 2nd July 2001, the fourth round match was not only Federer's Centre Court debut, but it was his first meeting with Sampras who had been beaten only once before on the most famous tennis court in the world.
The match was a five set epic lasting three hours and forty one minutes. Federer was the eventual victor 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5. The upset ended Sampras's thirty one match winning streak at Wimbledon. Federer went on to lose in the next round to Britain's Tim Henman but two years later he would win the first of his Wimbledon crowns.
The program features exclusive contributions from both Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as they recall a match that would prove to be one of the most significant in recent tennis history. Sampras acknowledges his opponent's incredible talent and admits that Federer's success was a sign of things to come. There are also contributions from Boris Becker and Martina Navratilova.
The Changing of the Guard is an enthralling account of an historical encounter featuring arguably two of the greatest champions of them all.