The defending champion comfortably breezed past Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 on Centre Court.
Blue skies, hot temperatures, and freshly picked strawberries smothered with cool cream…that can only mean one thing; Wimbledon 2018 is finally upon us.
All of the courts looked like seas of emeralds on day one. The grass, which has been finely kept under maintenance over the last year, looked immaculate ahead of the opening matches. The crowds flocked in, with many heading to Centre Court to see the one man that has lit up the tennis scene over the past two decades.
Roger Federer – a man that has such a great affiliation with this tournament – will once again be the favourite to lift the trophy in two weeks’ time. This is his 20th appearance at Wimbledon since winning the Boy’s Singles in 1998, and he will be looking to match Martina Navratilova’s record of nine single’s titles. The defending champion suffered a shock defeat in the Halle Open Final as part of his preparations for this Grand Slam, but he is too experienced and too wise to let that affect his confidence.
It has now been 10 years since that infamous final against Rafael Nadal; the man that many predict will provide the biggest threat to the Swiss. Both have won the last six Grand Slams between them (Federer: Australian Open 2017, 2018 and Wimbledon 2017. Nadal: French Open 2017, 2018 and US Open 2017) and both are the current world number one and two.
With the Spaniard not on court until tomorrow, it was down to Federer to throw down the gauntlet.
He began his title defence against Serbian Dusan Lajovic, the world number 58 in the world rankings. The two also met in last year’s competition, with the Swiss comfortably coming through on that occasion in straight sets.
This match was almost a carbon copy. It took Federer only a short amount of time to find his rhythm and ranges before securing a double-break on Lajovic. The Swiss was relaxed, comfortable and always in command of the court, and won six games on the bounce to take the opening set 6-1 in just 20 minutes.
Federer continued his dominant performance in the second set. The variety of serves and shots he produced were just too good for his Serbian opponent – as it began to look like a practice match. Lajovic had lost nine games in a row to the Swiss, but did manage to end the rot halfway through the second set. By that point Federer was in cruise control anyway, and served out the second set 6-3.
The third set lacked intensity. Federer had reserved his energy knowing his job was pretty much done. Lajovic offered nothing in reply. He stuck by it but ultimately got himself into the match at too late a stage to scare the number one seed. Federer served out the match, which he’d won in just 79 minutes.
It may have ended up being a Monday afternoon stroll in the summer sun for the Swiss, but Federer will be expecting tougher tests to come. This was however another warning shot to his rivals – showing them all that even at 36, he is still as hungry to win as ever.