Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Federer puts on performance fit for a prince
By Paul Majendie
LONDON (Reuters) - Royalty reigned supreme on Wimbledon's Centre Court on Wednesday as Roger Federer produced a majestic performance for the watching Prince Charles.
Federer bowed to the heir to the throne before his match and Charles and his wife Camilla gave the Swiss maestro a standing ovation after he thrashed Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1 6-3 6-2 to reach the third round.
"We are thrilled for the tennis family that they came to watch today," Federer said after his imperious display.
Two years ago, Queen Elizabeth paid her first visit to Wimbledon since 1977, prompting women's champion Serena Williams to put in some serious practice on her curtseying technique.
As six-times champion, Federer was well aware of what the royal etiquette is on the world's most famous tennis court.
"They do brief you beforehand so that you don't do anything stupid," Federer said. "We were asked to bow which obviously is no problem."
But Federer did take time in the tunnel leading to Centre Court to explain the procedure to Fognini. They both bowed in perfect union to Prince Charles, who had in turn received his own standing ovation from fans when he appeared in the royal box above the court.
The match itself was a royal procession for Federer who never once looked in any danger.
His glorious groundstrokes and lightning fast movement across the court were greeted with unbridled admiration from the crowd. The graceful genius was at the peak of his form - except at the very start.
He drew gasps of incredulity when he lost the first two points of the match on his serve but normal service was promptly restored when he fired down two aces.
The Italian became so disheartened at the end of the first set that he did not even bother to try and chase down yet another stinging forehand from Federer. He just walked back to his chair, shoulders slumped.
Federer lost just four points on his serve in the second set and was swift to complete his clinical execution of Fognini in the third.
It was a routine day at the office but the third seed has shown he is still very much a contender after dropping just nine games in his first two matches at the tournament he so dearly loves.
"I really tried to focus hard and make sure I played a clean match, "Federer said. "I served 13 aces out there today. I felt it was pretty fast."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)