Wimbledon favorites cruise
By Steven Wine
WIMBLEDON, England ó Wimbledon began with a few surprises Monday. There was lots of sunshine, Serena Williams wore a raincoat anyway, and Roger Federerís changeover routine was interrupted by a friendly visit from his opponent.
The tennis went mostly as expected. Federer, Williams and new womenís No. 1 Ana Ivanovic won in straight sets. Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic also eased into the second round, while American men went 1-4.
The top-ranked Federer began his bid for a sixth consecutive Wimbledon title by winning the first match on Centre Court. Sporting a classy cardigan, he stepped onto the fresh grass promptly at 1 p.m. and looked eager to dispel the notion heís in decline, winning the first 11 points and beating former doubles partner Dominik Hrbaty 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
During a changeover one game from the finish, the
30-year-old Hrbaty broke with protocol by wandering over to the seated Federer.
iI looked over and there he was,î Federer said. iHe asked if I could sit next to me. I said, ëSure. Thereís no problem. Thereís an extra seat.í We go way back. … He said it might be his last Wimbledon, so it was almost a little bit emotional.î
Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 60 matches, including 35 at the All England Club, and yet his continuing domination is in doubt because he struggled the first half of the year.
That might help explain his prematch jitters.
iI did feel all of a sudden a little pressure about two minutes before I went on court,î Federer said. iI felt like, ëWow, OK, here we go. Letís try to get off to a good start.í I did.î
He looked as regal as ever in his warmup outfit, highlighted by a beige, four-button sweater with gold trim and a stylized F on the left breast.
But judging from postmatch interviews, Federer was upstaged on the fashion front ó perhaps a further sign heís in decline. His apparel inspired only one question, while Williams fielded five queries about the stylish white trench coat she wore onto court before beating Kaia Kanepi 7-5, 6-3.