As is customary for champions at the event, Roger Federer kicks off play on Centre Court to begin his hunt for a record ninth Wimbledon. The Swiss is the favourite to notch up another slam and can regain the No.1 spot if he wins the title and Rafael Nadal loses in week 1. Federer opens against the Serbian Dusan Lajovic in what should be a fairly routine match.
Lajovic is far more at home on the clay with little success on grass throughout his career. He holds a 4-16 record on the surface while having never won a qualifying match in seven attempts. He has had more luck in recent years, winning the opening round match at his last three tournaments – Eastbourne 2017, Wimbledon 2017 and Antalya this year.
Federer was criticised in some quarters for his absence from the clay swing for the second year running but there is no doubt he feels there are major benefits to not competing on the surface. “I’m feeling good. I was tired at the beginning of the week because of the nine matches I played in 12 days in Stuttgart and Halle, I think the three months did me, again, a world of good, that I didn’t play during the clay-court season. We had a great time, vacation, family time, practice, fitness, tennis. Everything worked very well.” he said. He won the title in Stuttgart before finally running out of steam in Halle. He was strongly favoured to pick up a 10th title but lost to Borna Coric in the final in three sets.
Federer and Lajovic actually met last year in the second round of Wimbledon. It was a routine win for Federer, whose 7-6 6-3 6-2 win made up 3 of the 19 consecutive complete sets that he won on his way to the title. A Coric rematch is slated in round four but until then, there seems little to worry about for the top seed.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets