Marcus Willis had never played an ATP match before Monday. Yesterday he played on Centre Court at Wimbledon against the greatest player of all time, Roger Federer. A couple of days ago I explained the significance of the world 772nd ranked player playing Federer, but in general this is what sports are all about. The unheralded doing the impossible, earning the right to play on the same court as a legend.
Walking out to play, Willis could not stop smiling, and rightly so. It’s not every day you get to take to Centre Court.
Centre Court. Playing Roger Federer.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2016
Willis could have worn anything on Wednesday but he decided to make Federer feel like he was looking in a mirror the whole match by decking out in Nike Roger Federer gear. Don’t know if that was intentional but hilarious nonetheless.
— ESPN (@espn) June 29, 2016
Anyone would have been nervous straight out of the gate and sure enough Willis couldn’t in a game in the first set. That isn’t to say however, that the match wasn’t entertaining. The crowd was electric and Willis made Federer come to the net quite a bit, drop-shotting and lobbing his way through the match. After winning his first Game, Willis had his Gladiator moment and stretched his arms out to the crowd as if to say “Are you not entertained?” They were. We all were.
In the end, Federer understandably was too much for Willis, and Willis acknowledged Federer’s “class” at his press conference. He was still all smiles exclaiming, “Not my standard Wednesday that”.
As Willis said, Federer as usual was all class. He clearly enjoyed himself as well and praised Willis and the enrgy and excitment he brought with him to Centre Court.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) June 30, 2016
Overall, it’ll be tough to top the pure joy and unique excitement of this match. Even though the outcome was never in doubt, it was a match that sparked the imagination. Hopefully this match will propel the rest of the tournament.
Here are some of the other stories that got our attention and are worth keeping an eye on going forward…
- Five Americans, (27) Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, (18) John Isner and (28) Sam Querry are all still alive vying for a spot in the second weekend. It’s been a while since an American even sniffed the quarterfinal so hopefully this is the year we can get excited about a deep run.