July 1, 2021
Roger Federer against improving Brit Cameron Norrie in round three at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Could the first week of The Championships possibly get any better than this crunch match?
And Federer added spice to the build-up by insisting that Norrie needs to be knocked out now!
It was light-hearted stuff after his straight-sets victory over Richard Gasquet.
But Roger was already appealing to the big Centre Court crowd to support him instead of their own player.
Arms in the air and receiving a standing ovation in his twenty-second year at the All England Club, Federer was very relaxed.
His performance was even better than we saw in his opener on Tuesday.
After a few early unforced errors, he simply blew Gasquet away with brilliant spontaneity in the middle of the match.
The first-set tie-break was key, when Federer summoned a higher level to seize momentum.
Eventually he strolled through 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, 6-4 and seems to have found his true rhythm.
It’s hardly surprising because Wimbledon’s Centre Court is Federer’s spiritual home.
Federer said: ‘The roof is pulled back and the atmosphere is even better! It’s just a nicer look.
‘I know Richard really well and it’s always a pleasure playing against him. He has the most wonderful backhand.
‘He inspired me and in the end I got on a roll and I was just a little better in the third so I’m very happy of course.’
Perfectionist Federer insists he still hasn’t played his very best tennis yet this year. But he doesn’t think that matters.
He added: ‘I don’t know. It’s not the most important that you’re at your best in the first and second round. I’m not there but I’m in the third round and my level today was quite special so I’m very happy about that.
‘This year it’s nice that I made it. I tried everything I could to be here at Wimbledon this year and something decent has come out of it.’
Now Federer is hoping the Wimbledon crowd will support him and not Cameron Norrie, who beat Australian Alex Bolt in straight sets too.
Roger smiled and said: ‘I hope so. I hope the crowd is going to get into it regardless of who they cheer for.
‘If it’s for me it will be because of the last twenty years and all the great matches I’ve played here.
‘Cameron is a good guy and I’m pleased for him that it’s going well but enough now, he needs to go out.’
How the Centre Court crowd laughed at Federer’s honesty!
Cam will probably laugh too – then go all out to beat the Swiss legend.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be an incredible occasion. It always is when Roger Federer is centre stage!
Meanwhile “Coco Mania” is also building after the 17-year-old sensation breezed past Elena Vesnina with some suprb serving.
Gauff charmed the crowd once more with her post-match interview. Coco revealed that Centre Court makes her more nervous than any court in the world – but Wimbledon still feels like home.
We know that intimate feeling Coco!
How lucky are we as we look ahead to the rest of the fortnight?
Roger Federer, Cameron Norrie, Andy Murray and Coco Gauff are all still in the tournament.
Do you want to be there for the big matches to come? We can make your dream come true.