Grand SlamsRoger FedererWimbledon

Federer Overcomes First Set Blip To Progress at Wimbledon

The Swiss overcame a slow start to defeat Lloyd Harris and Move into Round 2

Roger Federer is through to Round 2 at Wimbledon Championships, overcoming a rocky start to recover and see off Wimbledon debutant Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

It was only the second time since 2002 the Swiss has lost a set in his first-round match and Harris was able to compete hard in the opening exchanges before Federer seized control and won his 17 consecutive first round match at the All England Club.

Roger will next face British Wildcard Jay Clarke after he defeated qualifier Noah Rubin in four sets over on Court 8.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Harris SW19

After some confusion about the shot clock and the time allowed, Roger won the toss and elected to receive. 

Harris then kicked off with a hold, overcoming a slight wobble after a double fault at 30-15 to get on the board.

Roger quickly levelled but the South African was soon into his stride, striking the ball crisply from the baseline to hold to fifteen for 2-1 and 3-2.

In game six, Roger played a poorly executed and wrongly timed drop shot to slip to 0-30, he recovered to make thirty all but Harris won the next two points to break for 4-2.

The Swiss saw a half chance come his way in the next game at thirty all but Harris held for 5-2 and although Roger did get a break back chance in game nine, he played a passive looking slice as Harris saved it en route to taking the set 6-3.

Coming from a set down at Wimbledon in the first round is relatively uncharted territory for Federer but he didn't panic. After holding from 15-30 in the opening game he was able to raise his level.

Harris who had been in the zone for the majority of set one let his level drop, especially on the forehand and Roger, took charge, breaking for 3-1 before running away with the set 6-1.

That put momentum back on Federer's side and he was soon up a break in set three, consolidating for 3-1. The South African was then broken for the second time for 5-2 and during the changeover, he was massaging his calf that he'd been stretching out on the baseline in the game previous.

After dropping the set he took a medical timeout and in the third he wasn't able to really compete as hard, dropping serve in game three and game seven as Roger took the fourth 6-2 to move into the round of 64.

Match Stats

  L. Harris R. Federer
Aces 5 9
Double Faults 3 1
First Serve % In 59/99 (60%) 44/78 (56%)
Win % On 1st Serve 37/59 (63%) 35/44 (80%)
Win % On 2nd Serve 18/40 (45%) 27/34 (79%)
Net Points Won 8/21 (38%) 29/31 (94%)
Break Points Won 1/1 (100%) 6/12 (50%)
Receiving Points Won 16/78 (21%) 44/99 (44%)
Winners 17 42
Unforced Errors 27 14
Total Points Won 71 106
Distance Covered 1986.5 m 1947.1 m
Distance Covered/pt. 11.2 m 11.0 m

Press Conference

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Wimbledon 19 1R

I struggled early on, I felt a bit frozen, my legs weren't going. I felt it was heavy out there, the ball wasn't going when I was hitting it and he was hitting it big. Federer on the opening set

An interesting opener here and it's rare to see Roger not progress in straight sets during the early rounds at SW19 but he got off to a sluggish start and paid the price.

After the South African kicked off with a confidence-boosting hold he was able to relax and he had the beating of Federer from the baseline with his shots possessing far more sting. Roger's ground game looked off with his timing not quite there and he was a little late on the ball which stopped his forehand being able to do much damage. Couple that with only winning 53% behind his first serve and Harris returning aggressively it was easy to see how he dropped the opener.

Fortunately, he regrouped pretty fast and found more success when coming forward which put Harris under pressure. As a result, a few more errors crept into the Cape Town native's game and Roger began to strike the ball much cleaner. 

From there it was about maintaining his level after Harris's dropped and when he pulled up lame in the third set with a calf problem it was plain sailing for Federer into Round 2.

Final thoughts are he definitely needs to serve better as even though he dropped just five games in three sets, it was still hard work to win points out there from the baseline, this court looks slow and it's not a slick playing surface as you'd expect from a grass court so there's going to be a lot of long rallies over these two weeks just like the other 48 of the year 🙁

Predictions vs. Jay Clarke

Next up is Jay Clarke who pulled a decent win in four sets against Noah Rubin. This is the first win at SW19 for the Brit after losing in the first round at his first Wimbledon last year and he's set up easily the biggest match of his career.

The two have never met and I'm guessing Roger will now very little about him and to my knowledge they have never practised together before.

I've only seen Clarke play a couple of times and he'll play a lot like Harris with a fairly big first serve and solid from the baseline. No real x-factor or big-time shots to cause problems but he should be able to make it competitive in front of a home crowd.  


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. Insane talent to get us sweating more than him in the first round against a nobody 🙁
    Lost the only break point he faced but I hope that’s the last one he loses this tournamet :). Should be straight sets next round.
    Too bad about the nextgen and Thiem. These guys need to want to win more if they are to win at least one title before the big 3 decide to quit. Hoping for FAA to break through and lose in the finals against Roger 🙂

    1. Yeah poor losses for them all. They are all flat track bullies. No game on a slightly different surface. Even though grass isn’t as different as it used to be, it still requires some adaptation and many of them have zero clue.

  2. Couldn’t watch the match,that first set was worrying only checking scores,but I guess a combination of the slow court!! and a big serve were the cause.
    Still upwards and onwards.A bit of a let down with Thiem,Tsitsy,Shapavalov,Zrerev out.☹️

  3. DANG.

    Slow court and old Roger does not bode well for #9.

    That this kid could out muscle him from the get-go is not a coincidence.

    Apart from the draw opening up by taking Novak and Rafa out early – I think he’s sadly going home without the title.

  4. Court looked slow for the short time I got to see Federer (the 3rd set and a bit of the 4th). I couldn’t see the scores so was quite shocked when I saw he was down a set.

    Are the conditions at least low bouncing and slow, or slow AND high bouncing 🙁 ? Then that’s a bad combination.

    I did see parts of the Kyrgios match and was very unimpressed. The guy hit an underarm serve on a set point, got broken , then wins in a tiebreaker after hitting random forehand slices and other strange shots. Then loses the 4th set 6-1 . There is something very much off with this buy, much more than a Monfils clowning around and having fun. I hoped he could give Nadal a challenge, but his mental game has regressed so much since 2014 when he beat Nadal here…the only hope is he regains his Acapulco form.

    1. Don’t worry….he’ll come to play against Nadal, you can be sure of that. He always brings his best against the big guys.

    2. Court looks slow but still grass in terms of bounce I think. But it’s rock hard to not exactly low. Fed says the balls are fairly heavy though so spin harder to impart.

  5. Dude what in the hell are those shoes that Nike made for Roger??? They look like a prototype and the sign looks like it was painted with a felt pen…

    1. yeah.. saw that.. I don’t know if that was intentional design but I like the goof ball. just dont like the swoosh logo that look like painted with a felt pen…

      1. Well, at least they’re not as bad as Rafa’s at RG – I was relieved that W’s dress code wouldn’t allow that!

  6. So temps were reasonable but humidity was very high at 72-77% during Roger’s match. “the court was so slow, my legs were not moving” – um rog? lol. I think he meant it as two separate things, but it comes off sounding like a cause/effect line. Glad he was able to figure out, if indeed that’s what it was. (As I write 6 hours later or so, humidity is down around 54% – huge drop.)

    Interesting quote from Becker about best of 5 gives a player a chance to find their game if they’re having a bad day: also that younger players haven’t learned how to do this, and they let matches slip away quickly after a bad first set (quote from @burtonad, who was presumably paraphrasing Boris). Worth noting too that Fed himself lost 3 of his first 4 Wimbledons in R1, the exception of course being the amazing run & win over Sampras in 2001. FAA doing very well indeed, but no reason to think Sascha & Stef won’t also figure it out eventually. Not sure what the deal is with Shapo.

    Another first encounter next round; wonder if Fed was his idol too? Have to go see if I can find some Harris & Clarke quotes.

    1. Harris : “It kind of steamrolled”.

      Clarke: “ He won junior Wimbledon the year I was born”


    2. Also – in one of the pix of the kids, YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE AN RF embroidered on his shirt pocket. One of the ones where he’s covering his face in dismay.

  7. Loved Maestro Roger at the net! The court will speed up, right?
    Harris can sit around the fire in his rocking chair and tell his grandchildren that he took a set off Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
    Thanks again for the post, Jonathan but I strongly disagree that Clarke has hometown advantage. 🙂

  8. It seems both Rafa and the Joker had a wobble in their first sets … Apart from the first set loss and Roger’s first serve % being somewhat low, I thought his net play was excellent. Go Roger!

  9. Go Roger

    I wish the court wasn’t so slow. There’s enough other surfaces that give a lot of baseline rallies without turning Wimbledon into some sort of similar show. Wimbledon is mainly my favourite time of the year.

    1. Yeah no difference between any of the surfaces. I get why they did slow it down a bit with the strings making a difference but it’s gone too far.

  10. Fed said the balls don’t zip through the court unless it’s a really hot day. I don’t know if the grass is slower this year or if it’s that the balls are heavier. Maybe both, but heavier balls have a bigger impact than people think.

    1. Balls are the same as always though I think. Slazengers. To me it looks slow and I think it’s also because of how people are playing on grass these days.

  11. The court usually starts off green and sappy and then speeds up I believe.That is probably why there are so many
    upsets early on,especially with younger players not used to the conditions who draw a tricky opponent.
    The behaviour of both Kyrgios and Tomic is getting beyond a joke.
    Fed really needs to improve that first serve percentage but I have a feeling that he will.

    1. It’s normally slick and slippy early doors, doesn’t seem that way so far, must be the heat.

      I watched Kyrgios against Thompson. Kyrgios plays an unbelievable point then tries to hit a tweener to finish it. It’s moronic play tbh. I like the odd trick shot but it has to be when you don’t have many other options. He’s going for them off regulation balls.

      If Kyrgios can become like Ronnie O’Sullivan and keep that maverick game but actually back it up with results and knuckle down when required then he’ll be great to watch.

  12. A bit slow start but played a handful of brilliant shots. That leaping smash volley wow 🙂 . Somewhat, Roger’s back looked stiff in he 1st set and as if he did not want to bend. This might explain why he had such low 1st serve %. Agreed that his serve % will need to improve. Next round could be slightly easier. So far so good. This year is a bit weird with 5th, 6th and 7th seeds going out in round one.
    Allez Rog!

    1. Hm can’t say I thought his back looked stiff. I thought he moved sluggishly though like he’d eaten a meal minutes before walking on court.

      1. Or like the humidity was over 70%. Cough cough. Although if that’s it, then what did he do to compensate in the following sets?

      2. He told he was nervous 😬 (can make anyone move sluggishly and stiffbacked)

    1. I agree. These last couple of years are being very similar to those of the Weak Era but with one substantial difference, Roger now has to deal with 2 of the top 3 greatest players of all time (that is a big difference xD).

      1. The other two “greatest” aren’t that great. They happened to end up showing together at the right time and the right place with a weak rest of the field for nearly a decade now and kept splitting titles mostly between them with one of them going after clay like hyenas go after leftover meat, with courts slowing down to snails pace and all surfaces feeling the same. Thank goodness they sped up AO for since 2017 and leveled the field a bit.

        This conversation is definitely headed in the right direction and everyone knows how it will end. I’d suggest let’s drop it.

      2. Yeah, that Roger who is being coached by his peer and who is closing in on what, 38 years of age now, and still holding fort and consistently at No.3? And the inconsistent Wawrinka. who still hasn’t figured out how to play on grass. And Murray, who spends more time giving anatomy lessons on the court than hitting balls. And that forehand from Tandil who went bat shit crazy in one slam final and left his wrist in the body shop since.

        I don’t exact;l;y and consistently see three of those four you mentioned lurking around in slams. I wonder why.

      3. so the 10-3 in GS happened against an old Federer, right? There is no logical way to defend The Weak Era vs The Big Four Era but you can try. It’s funny.

      4. Do you even realize how stupid you sound when you throw those numbers around? The epitome of delusion, is what you are.

        Old Federer doesn’t make up all of the weak era, you pollo loco. Think about what I am saying.

        And one guy wins a slam 12 times, with a 93-2 win rate. Yeah…the force is strong with the weak era, particularly on clay. 🙂

        Go suck some Spanish cojone, Pablo. Pretty sure a lot of it is in offer for you.

  13. Even though it was 4 sets Roger completed the match in 1 hour and 50 minutes. Nadal in 3 sets was timed at 2 hours 10 minutes. I know I know 30 of those minutes are Nadal doing is OCD motions before every serve. Can someone explain that thing he does with his bottles aligns them a certain way. Has Nadal been tested for BI-Polar disorder? He is very strange. I am happy that I am a fan of what I think is the most talented but also the most normal tennis player. No Grunts, No OCD, No Bi-Polar. The grunts alone make me uninterested in watching Nadal play but I do want to see Nick kick his butt. Sorry England the USA women’s Soccer team is going to back to back wins. GO USA LADIES! The men’s team sucks always has and always will.

    1. Nobody cares about women’s soccer and yes the men’s team is an absolut joke. They should focus less on those weird sports in the US.

    2. Finally, something Pablo and I can agree upon.

      Paul, I don’t know how and where to start dismantling your comment because it truly is land of opportunity. The men/s team suck because of two reasons, (a) The rest of the world is too far ahead and evolved and has a solid infrastructure, (b) The American sport industry does not want football, baseball and basket ball to lose out.

      Sometime in the 90’s, the American women’s soccer figured out the rest of the world is too weak and is far from invested into it. It was an opportunity to dominate the sport for a really long time. But not for too long. This world cup and maybe, maybe, the next. After that, it’s open season. The world will have more than caught up. Right now, there just aren’t any quality challengers. The American women act like bullies. Anyone noticed the celebrations against Thailand? Once they win the world cup, man, the feminists will be out in full throttle, as if they aren’t already. Stories will be told as inspiration to little girls about how the poor and oppressed and under paid women’s team defied all odds to win the world cup, yet again. The men’s team has it really stacked up against them.

      1. They aren’t being oppressed by the evil white matriarchy, there just isn’t enough room for them with the three other big sports dominating as well as the rest of the world way, way, ahead. Nobody gives a fuck about men’s soccer here, yet when it comes time to criticize, them, and compare them to their female counterparts, they jump all over them and are shown how bad they are. Unfortunately, they do not get a Thai team to pummel.

      2. I agree, the American women act like bullies. We have a decent team here. There is a great rivalry between US and Canadian women’s hockey.

      3. There is no such thing as a decent rivalry with an American sports team, national, or at a franchise level.

    3. Nadal has some funny superstitions. I like how he always checks the roof height when he jumps before walking on the court after that Muller match when he banged his head 😆

  14. Rog is the best. Loved today’s ‘comeback’, finding his feet after the first set and I’m confident Round 2 will be smoother. Lovely family in the crowd. The brown trim on the UNIQLO looks ok too! The Vogue 73 questions … so cute 😍

  15. Glad that first match is over, it’s rare to watch Roger losing first set at Wimbledon. Maybe nerves maybe Harris played hell of a set. I am happy Roger manage to regroup and literally schooled his opponent in the next 3 sets. Apart from low first serves, rest of his game are good especially his volleys and som extend his movement. On to the next round, cmon Rog….

  16. Roger played a pretty good match after the hiccup that gave away the first set. It was better that he started sluggish and then improved rather than the reverse, which is what we frequently saw last year.

    Yes, the courts are disappointingly slow; repeatedly we are seeing players running down shots that should have finished the point. It totally suits Nadope and Djuicervic of course. The French is now being played on grass at Wimbledon. McEnroe, Becker, Edberg and Sampras wouldn’t have stood much of a chance on today’s surface.

    1. I don’t know about McEnroe, Becker or Edberg (the sport is too different now) but I’m sure Sampras in his prime would have been the favourite or one of the 2 main favourites (very close with prime Roger).

    2. It is a shame to see all the courts slow. Of course, it always looks like sour grapes from Fed fans as they know he can play well on faster surfaces but as a tennis fan as well there needs to be some variety.

      1. * Kyrgios also confirmed the courts are slower
        * M. Zverev said the match courts play totally different from the training courts. He said serve & volley is impossible on the match courts as the ball almost stops…

      2. They are maybe slower but still the game is completely different on grass. Look at all those seeded players loosing that early, that is sth really difficult to happen in any other surface (even in the USO being faster according to Fed).

  17. Rog’s hair looks a bit fuller after this latest cut. I think he might be folically enhancing up top.

    1. So he had a hair transplant after Halle on Sunday, the scars healed in time for his arrival in London on Tuesday 😆 you are a pudding!

  18. I think I’ve written in a comment to an earlier post here, that I don’t think it matters who Roger gets in the 5-8 seeding.
    Was right. Only Nishikori stands, and I’ll be stunned if he beats Roger in QF (and slightly surprised if he gets there).

    Does anyone know why the surface is slower from year to year? Technically speaking.
    Is the grass dry comparing to other years, thus less slippery? Is the turf different?

  19. After that first set I think roger had a snap and he came back as roger that we know when it comes to wimbledon. decent match for roger. great forehand and slice. 4 set in 1 hour and 44 minutes was a decent time for me. great job. and we move on for the next match..

    PS. Dont forget to watch his interview for Vogue. The 73 questions for him… 🙂

  20. Came across an interesting match on Court 2 on the Red Button a while ago: Wawrinka v. Buzarnescu 🙂

  21. I cannot believe they have chosen Nishikori Vs Norrie for centre court ahead of Roger Vs Clarke. Surely Fed Vs a Brit trumps Nishikori Vs a Brit?
    Roger out on Court 1 and we know what happened last time…..

    Also I notice Wimbledon have started having 3 womens and 3 mens matches across the 2 show courts. It was always 4 mens, 2 womens for the most part but political correctness has spoken over bums on seats.

    1. They obviously move in mysterious ways their wonders to perform.😊
      Perhaps it is good for Fed to get his Number One performance out of the way pretty early on.
      I can’t see him losing to Clarke.

    2. They don’t want Serena, all the moms of the world, Djokovic and Nadal complaining. Didn’t Fed ALWAYS play on CC in the past?
      So sorry for those who have tickets for CC. But maybe you’ll see NK knock out Rafa.

    3. It seems stupid that he even needs to have a Court 1 appearance to get out of the way. Stuff political correctness and display who the ticket holders want to see. If I had a centre court ticket for today, I’d be wild. Guess you’ve got to buy both to be sure!
      Wasn’t last year the first time in a long time on court 1?

    4. I’d hardly call it being PC, more like a split down the middle to keep it fair. Why shouldn’t women be able to play show courts? I went on Tuesday and enjoyed 2 women’s matches on court 1 with Rafa Nadal to finish off with. It’s so hard to get centre court tickets as it is so it’s only fair to spread the top seeds out onto court one to give everyone a chance to see their favourites. Still yet to see Federer though, maybe next year.
      Anyway, the real reason will likely be that if they put more mens on then the chances of the play over running are bigger. Womens matches don’t last as long so it stops the congestion the following day.

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