Roger Federer hit early bumps in his Wimbledon second round match against Dusan Lajovic but he quickly recovered to sweep the match 7-6 (7-0) 6-3 6-2 at Centre Court and go through to the next round.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion admitted “feeling nerves for some reason” before the match, getting broken in his first service game and losing the first seven points.
But what sets this 17-time Grand Slam winner apart from commoners who feel nervous before games? He has championship-winning composure to come back from bad starts.
Down 0-2 in the first set, Federer calmed himself enough to break back and dominated the tie-break, then went to his usual business of sweeping through his opponent in the last two sets.
“I was able to come back in the set, breaking at 2-0. I think it was big for me,” said Federer. “Then I played a great breaker. I think from then on I never looked back.”
The Swiss claimed it was normal for him to be nervous in any round in any tournament, and he’s happy it did not happen in the later rounds, or even in the final.
“I think in the third round I will feel better again,” added Federer. “It’s weird home sometimes you can be way more nervous for a second round than, say, for a final, believe it or not.”
In the next round, Federer will face Mischa Zverev of Germany, who scraped past Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-1 6-2 2-6 3-6 6-4.
This will be the third time this season, and fifth in their careers, that the 30th-ranked Zverev will face Nadal, who is 4-0 against the German. Nadal met Zverev on grass at the Gerry Weber Open, and the Swiss slightly struggled but still handily beat the German 7-6(4) 6-4 en route to his eighth Halle championship.
“I have played him on several occasions now, and he’s played me different every time,” said Nadal of Zverev. “In Australia, he played me really close on the second serve and would try to attack me, everything that he saw that was short he would come [in on]. Whereas in Halle when I played him, he played from way back, which is highly unusual on the grass.”
“I guess I don’t know quite what to expect in the match on Saturday,” added Federer. “But because he serves and volleys, points are played differently. Tomorrow and the next day I will train and warm up with left-handed players.
I think that’s always the biggest switch when you play against an opponent who is left-handed, that whole swinging serve, kicking serve, especially getting used to the returning is most important.”