As expected, Willis steals the show as Federer wins the match

It was unofficial Marcus Willis Day at Wimbledon, if not throughout all of London. The Cinderella story who has captivated the British sporting world this week may not have found the win column on Wednesday, but he will always be able to say that he played against Roger Federer on Centre Court at the All-England Club.

And he even offered an impressive account of himself–well, at least after the first seven games.

Willis watched Federer surge to a 6-0, 1-0 advantage before the overwhelming underdog finally held serve in this improbable second-round contest. From there Willis dabbled into the realm of competitiveness before ultimately falling to the 17-time Grand Slam champion 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 25 minutes.
Using a vast array of serve-and-volley tactics, unorthodox backhand slices, and lob after lob after lob, Willis treated an enthralled crowd to consistent entertainment throughout the second and third sets. The only time he got broken in the second, at 2-3, Willis extended Federer to three deuces and had one game point. He also earned a break point to go up 4-3 in the third but could not convert.

“It was all just a blur,” the 25-year-old explained. “It was amazing. I did enjoy myself even though I was getting duffed up. I loved every bit of it; not the duffing bit. I loved getting [into the match and] fighting hard. Just the whole experience was incredible.”

A lot more incredible, it has to be said, than teaching tennis lessons. That’s what Willis had been doing at a local club before being forced to postpone some of those lessons by virtue of his miracle run through pre-qualifying, the main portion of qualifying, and round one of the main draw (defeated Ricardas Berankis in straight sets).

“I was quite a bit intrigued even before he was in my section of the draw,” Federer said of the 772nd-ranked Brit.” After he qualified, I was reading a lot about his story.  And then next thing you know, he’s like one match away from me if I win. Of course, then it happened. More and more stories build up. I felt very well prepared. I enjoyed it. I thought he played very well.”

“I’ll remember most of the Centre Court matches (I’ve played) here at Wimbledon, but this one will stand out because it’s that special and probably not going to happen again for me to play against a guy 770 in the world. That’s what stands out the most for me: the support he got, the great points he played.”

Speaking of standing out, Willis sported a Nike shirt with Federer’s RF logo on one of the sleeves. That’s right; Willis was wearing a shirt with his opponent’s logo on it; not something you see every day.

And what took place on Centre Court today is something you may not see ever again.

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