LONDON (Reuters) - Roger Federer caused a stir when he began his quest for a ninth Wimbledon title with a new logo on his chest but everything else looked familiar as he crushed Dusan Lajovic 6-1 6-3 6-4 in glorious Center Court sunshine on Monday.
The 36-year-old’s whites were missing the usual swish and the familiar RF emblem was not on his headband after the 20-times Grand Slam champion’s long-term deal with American apparel and equipment company Nike ended in March.
Japan’s casual wear company Uniqlo have signed Federer up in reported $30 million per year deal and might have hoped for a longer debut than the one hour 19 minutes it took their man to demolish Lajovic.
Federer sauntered on to court to a huge ovation and treated his army of fans to a masterclass in a first set that lasted a mere 20 minutes.
Lajovic shook off his early nerves to at least give Federer some practice in the second and third sets but the Serbian could do no better than last year when he also suffered a straight-sets defeat by the Swiss, that time in the second round.
Federer, contesting his 20th consecutive Wimbledon, is bidding to become only the second player to win nine singles titles on the London lawns after Martina Navratilova.
He could not have wished for a better start as he wasted no energy in the hot conditions which are set to continue all week.
Among the 15,000 people on Center Court were his two sets of twins. While daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, now eight, are old enough to understand exactly how good their father is at his job, four-year-olds Lenny and Leo still don’t get it.
That is another reason the 36-year-old Federer shows absolutely no sign of winding down his glittering career.
“They know I play a lot of tennis, but they won’t know what my ranking would be,” Federer told a news conference.
“They wouldn’t know what I’m actually maybe trying to do really. They know that there is a trophy involved at some point if I do play well, because they get most excited about the trophies.
“I think probably it would be a few more years for the boys to really remember. The girls, they will always remember at this point, of course.”
Top seed Federer admitted before the match that he can still get nervous walking out on to Center Court but he was at his free-flowing best against Lajovic who was little more than a prop in Federer’s magic show.
Federer hit 35 winners and offered up not a single break point as he took his streak to 24 consecutive sets won at the All England Club, having waltzed to the title last year.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond