In the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Switzerland's own version of royalty, Roger Federer, chose Centre Court to offer a regal exhibition of how tennis should be played as he destroyed Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-1,6-3, 6-2 in just 74 minutes. So Federer, six times a Wimbledon champion and this year seeded third, has reached the third round of the 2012 Championships having dropped just nine games.
Fognini, aged 25 and ranked 68 in the world, never really recovered from dropping the first three games in almost as many minutes and it was perhaps no surprise that, considering his facial resemblance to the British comedian Russell Brand, he resorted to bouts of clowning and public relations to keep the spectators interested and amused as Federer went about his work of destruction.
The first set was over in 23 minutes, once Federer had captured the Italian serve for a second time, and though Fognini made a much better match of it in the second set, it lasted a mere four minutes longer. In the third set Fognini contrived the occasional outrageous winner, particularly on cross-court angles, but Federer bided his time, held serve without trouble and then pounced when the opportunity arose.
His third-set break did not come until the sixth game but he simply accelerated away, capturing the final two games of the match at a cost of just two points and leaving the comedy to Fognini as he contrived a collision with, and embrace of, a male linesman.
As John McEnroe told the BBC's viewers, "Perhaps Prince Charles told [Federer] he had an appointment and that he was in a hurry." Though it turned out to be a chastening Centre Court debut for Fognini, he was given - and had earned - a special cheer as he headed for the dressing room.
Federer's chilling statistics were that he delivered 13 aces to Fognini's one and converted six of the eight break point opportunities with which he was presented. Afterwards Federer said he thought Fognini had "tried hard, to be quite honest", pointing out, "I was serving well and you're not going to get many chances against me when I'm serving like that.
"You have to be extremely patient and really focus on your own service games, focus on what you can control. I don't consider [Fognini] a clay court player but on clay, if you do play well, you will get your chances whereas on grass it's not automatically the case. So I really tried to focus hard and make sure I played a clean match, which I was able to do again today."
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all