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Fed Express delivers in under two hours

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:36

Roger Federer coasted through his first round match at Wimbledon at a canter, beating Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei 7-5 6-3 6-2.

The five-time champion, given the honour of playing the opening match on Centre Court in the absence of defending champ Rafael Nadal, arrived on court in a gold-accented military theme outfit – complete with surprise waistcoat – and enjoyed a rapturous reception from the stands.

There were shaky moments early on for the world No.2 as Lu played some inspired gung-ho tennis in the first set, but Federer rarely looked in any danger of losing face to a man who last reached the second round of the tournament back in 2005.

“It might look easy, but it’s not”

The world No.65 broke first in game five of the first set but could not hold to consolidate the break and once Federer had recovered it was not long until he was dominating proceedings, not dropping a point on serve for the remainder of the set.

Lu continued to hit out and rush the net at every opportunity, but could not sustain any serious threat with his unforced error count stacking up. The match was over inside 1 hour and 45 minutes, but had ended as a contest long before that.

Reporters missed their chance to ask Federer about his pre-match attire, but the Swiss did reveal the special place that Wimbledon still holds in his heart, despite last year’s heartbreaking final defeat.

“You lose, you leave,” was all Federer had to say about his last visit to the press conference suite, but he admitted it was a thrill to step out first on Centre Court again this year, and felt sorry that Nadal had missed such an opportunity.

“It gets your heart beating, that’s for sure,” said the tournament’s top seed. “It’s a very special moment. The atmosphere is so different to Paris.

“It’s fun playing in front of a crowd that is so respectful,” he added. “If it’s an error, you know, they don’t like to really applause it too much. If it’s a great point, then they really come out.

“Every country has different cultures, so it means different atmosphere, different people sitting there. If every single tournament had the same atmosphere, it would be really boring.”

And while he admitted that he was always nervous on his arrival in south-west London each year, he denied ever feeling able to take such matches lightly during his career.

“Maybe there was a time in 2006, 2007 where people just thought everything’s easy, but it never is,” he explained. “It might look easy, but it’s not.”

Up next for Federer is Guillermo Garcia Lopez, who made it look even easier against Argentine Agustin Calleri, winning 6-2 6-3 6-2.

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