ROGER Federer has begun his eighth defence of the Wimbledon title with a “one-shirt change kind of match”, to coin a phrase used by the man himself.
The 36-year-old Swiss celebrated his first appearance wearing the strip of new kit sponsors Uniqlo without, it seems, breaking too much sweat.
I'm very happy. I felt good from the start, which was not the case against him last year. I felt at home. Roger Federer
The top seed cruised home 6-1 6-3 6-4 against Dusan Lajovic, the Serbian he beat on route to his record eighth All England crown last summer without dropping a set.
The end of Federer’s ten-year shirt deal with Nike, worth £7.5m a year, left him unable to wear the swoosh logo worn by many of his adoring Centre Court public.
He had gone in unbeaten in the first round of a Grand Slam since 2003.
And was not about to let any of his followers down.
It was an ideal start with the Fed Express on the right track from the start.
His Serbian opponent offered little resistance as the sun beat down over the most iconic tennis court in the world and most of the 15,000 roared their approval.
There was a flashing backhand reminiscent of Federer himself from Lajovic on the first point as the Swiss served for the match.
But order was almost immediately restored as Federer took the first of two match points as the Serbian was forced to hit a return high and long.
Federer, 37 in August, rested up during the claycourt season and returned on the grass, taking the Stuttgart title and reaching the final at Halle.
But Wimbledon is where he feels most comfortable as he continues to defy the ageing process.
He said: “I’m very happy. I felt good from the start, which was not the case against him last year. I felt at home.”
Three-times Wimbledon champion Boris Becker said on the BBC:”There are matches where you know you have to bring your A game. And there are matches where you practice and bring your C game, maybe even D game. That is what this looked like.”
Federer added: “I was excited to wear Uniqlo today. I must tell you, it’s been a long time coming. I felt very good out there. It’s also crucial to play well.
“The RF logo is with Nike at the moment, but it will come to me at some point.”
He was delighted both his sets of twins watched him.
Federer said: “They know I play a lot of tennis, but I’m not sure if they know that — I don’t know. They won’t know what my ranking would be. They wouldn’t know what I’m actually maybe trying to do really.
“They know that there is a trophy involved at some point if I do play well, because they get most excited about the trophies.
“I think probably it would be helpful a few more years for the boys to really remember. The girls, they will always remember at this point, of course. I’m not sure about the boys.
“It was nice to see them there today walking out, walking off, seeing them there. It means the world to me, also to my wife. Yeah, it’s definitely a special day today in my life again.