Another day of limited play due to rain saw only eight matches completed at Wimbledon, where Brit teaching pro Marcus Willis had his day in the (semi-) sun before being dispatched 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 by No. 3 seed Roger Federer.
Federer kept himself entertained during the beatdown by pondering the historic significance of the match.
“As I was playing, I was thinking, ‘This is definitely one of the matches I’ll remember,’” Federer said afterwards. “I’ll remember most of the Centre Court matches here at Wimbledon, but this one will stand out because it’s that special and probably not going to happen again for me to play against a guy 770 in the world. That’s what stands out the most for me — the support he got, the great points he played. This story is gold.”
Willis said he had earned himself a beer after making it through the pre-qualifying, qualifying, and then a main draw match before facing Federer.
“I was so nervous. I played OK. He’s class,” Willis said. “Came out firing, put me under the cosh. He’s tough. He makes you feel like you’ve got no time. It was all just a blur. I did enjoy myself even though I was getting duffed up. I loved every bit of it — not the duffing bit. I loved getting stuck in, fighting hard.”
The pudgy 25-year-old is now left to ponder his future in the game, getting in shape, perhaps being thrown a few wildcards and we’ll check back in around the US Open.
Taking second stage Wednesday was world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who navigated a tricky meeting with fluent grasscourt Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5).
Mannarino, even before the match, was blunt in summing-up his chances against the world No. 1. “There is no chance. There is no solution.”
Djokovic now awaits the winner of Sam Querrey and Thomaz Bellucci.
Top 10ers finally completing first-round matches on Wednesday were No. 8 Dominic Thiem working past German Florian Mayer 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 10 Tomas Berdych avoiding a five-setter with Croat Ivan Dodig 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(2).
Thiem’s win was revenge for earlier this month in the semifinals of Halle where Mayer bested him.
“I had a lot of respect from him,” Thiem said of the match. “I was really, really happy when I made the match point, because he won a 500 [tournament] on grass. Beat five really good players on the way. It was for sure one of the toughest draws in the first round for me.”
Thiem will next face Jiri Vesely, and Berdych will battle Benjamin Becker.
In lower-seeded first-round matches completed, No. 19 Bernard Tomic topped Fernando “Mild Sauce” Verdasco in five 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, and No. 24 Alexander Zverev straight-setted France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Tomic’s match was a carry-over from a rain delay the previous day, which made him happy.
“I was a bit tired in the fourth set and was happy to get the chance to stop,” he said. “But it also makes it tough because you have to go to sleep with one set to go and then you need to come out playing well.”
Highlights of Thursday’s schedule at the All England Club include (2) Andy Murray vs. Yen-Hsun Lu, (16) Gilles Simon vs. Grigor Dimitrov, (18) John Isner vs. Marcos Baghdatis, and (13) David Ferrer v. Nicolas Mahut.
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