Swiss hail their new champion's 'symphony'

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The Swiss have long believed in the potential of Roger Federer, and yesterday they were proved right.

"It was a historic day for Swiss sport and, of course, for tennis," said the Swiss Sports Minister, Samuel Schmid, who congratulated Federer in person. "I hope this will have a wide effect and many youngsters will want to emulate him. He has proved that you can be top of the world at 21."

The Swiss Davis Cup coach, Georges Deniau, said: "It was very moving to see his triumph. It was a fantastic day for me." Swiss television commentators compared Federer to the composer Mozart and described his winning match as "a symphony".

The Swiss Tennis Federation also congratulated Federer, who started attending the national tennis academy at the age of 12.

Even before the match, Sunday's edition of the daily Le Matin newspaper was predicting an outbreak of "Federermania," while the mass circulation SonntagsBlick devoted 11 pages to charting Federer's route to the final.

Federer's victory was the second major Swiss sporting success of the year. In March, the yacht Alinghi took the America's Cup away from holders Team New Zealand.