Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00
REUTERS: Short, sweet and exquisitely stylish, holder Roger Federer’s first round win at Wimbledon lit the touch-paper on the grass court championships on Monday and mocked the long odds on him winning a record eighth crown.
The 17-times grand slam champion, seeded third, was detained a mere 68 minutes in polishing off 48th ranked Romanian Victor Hanescu whose role on court was reduced to that of a human ball machine.
Under cloudy skies and temperatures more suited to hot chocolate than Pimms, Federer, as he has done so many times in his previous 14 Wimbledon appearances, topped the bill on a mouth-watering open day at the All England Club.
Victoria Azarenka’s challenge seemed set for a painful and premature end, when she slipped awkwardly on the lush Court One carpet while leading easily against Portugal’s Maria Joao Koehler.
The Belarussian needed lengthy treatment on her right knee while leading 1-0 in the second set and went through the full range of grimaces as she gingerly continued.
Despite not moving freely she completed a 6-1 6-2 win.
Federer’s first entrance on Centre Court has become a regular feature of the British summer since he made his debut at the tournament 15 years ago. More often than not since then, eight times in fact, Federer has been first to walk out on to the historic Centre Court; a stage truly fit for the king of men’s tennis.