The center court crowd was sure to have a blast for the past two days as two legendary tennis players, Andy Murray and Roger Federer, showed off their survival skills on court to advance to the second round of the 2021 Wimbledon Championship.
As Murray won a four-set battle against Nikoloz Basilashvili yesterday, it was Federer's turn to produce magic on one of his favorite courts. But things were not looking good for the Swiss master, as he was two sets to one down when a determined Adrian Mannarino took command of the match.
The crowd, on the other hand, was thoroughly entertained and encouraged for the Swiss star to take the fourth set. After surviving an eight minute long service game, Federer was absolutely thrilled and went on to win the next three games.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion had a quick 4-1 lead in the fourth set. But, his opponent, he didn't seem to give up as he kept up his service game to stay close in the competition. Just as the fans were preparing for a fascinating fifth set between the two players, a nasty fall from Mannarino on the court changed the dimensions completely.
The Frenchman was unable to continue competing as he allowed Federer to win the fourth set and withdrew after finishing a game in the fifth. It was strange to witness how the match ended as anything could have happened in the final set.
Speaking about the match on the court, Roger Federer sympathized with his opponent for that unfortunate fall. “Yes, it is horrible. He shows that one shot can change the outcome of a game, a season, a career. I wish him all the best and he is recovering quickly so that we can see him again on the slopes”.
The Swiss master also admitted that Adrian Mannarino was the best player of the match. Like the showdown, even Federer's on-court interview had its own variations. However, it ended on a happy note when the Swiss star brought out the funny side of him to cheer up the crowd.
The interviewer quoted a famous saying "Absence makes love grow" and asked Federer if that was the case with him and center court. "Sorry, I didn't get it. I heard something 'absence' and, I don't know, my mind went blank.
I don't understand that saying. My English is not good enough, ”Federer laughed as the crowd in the center cheered loudly. "This would have been an absolute killer."
Federer will next face Richard Gasquet
Speaking to the media after the result, Roger Federer, who will next face Richard Gasquet, said he felt "very bad" seeing Mannarino suffer a knee problem, considering his own struggles with similar injuries.
"The ending is terrible, something that nobody likes to see," Federer said. "I felt very bad seeing him, especially because of what I went through with my knee." Federer, when informed about Williams' fate during his press conference, could not contain his shock.
"Come on....This is obviously terrible that it’s back-to-back matches and it hits Serena as well," he added. "Oh, my God, I can’t believe it." When asked for his thoughts on the surface on Center Court, Federer pointed out that Wimbledon's grass has always been slippery in the initial rounds.
"Under the circumstances, those first two matches are always extremely difficult," Federer said. "But it’s always been like this. I feel for a lot of players it’s super key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery, it is more soft. As the tournament progresses, usually it gets harder and easier to move on."