LONDON (Reuters) - With seven Wimbledon trophies, 15 titles on grass and 136 victories on the lush green surface, there is not much that fazes Roger Federer when he turns up at the All England Club.
The same could not be said of his first-round opponent on Tuesday.
Bosnian journeyman Damir Dzumhur arrived to face the most celebrated of Wimbledon champions without ever having played a match on grass.
Just how ill-prepared Dzumhur was for his grasscourt baptism was clear for all to see as Federer began his 63rd consecutive grand slam event with a regal 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory that was all over in 68 majestic minutes.
The man who has contested nine All England Club finals, and 25 overall at the majors, was certainly feeling the love from 15,000 Centre Court spectators who stood to attention as he sauntered in to begin his pursuit of a record eighth Wimbledon trophy.
“Roger, I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu” boomed a male voice as Federer kicked off his 83rd match at the home of grasscourt tennis with an unreturnable serve
The cheers from the RF appreciation society grew louder with every Federer winner, be it a blazing backhand, a flashy forehand or a razzle-dazzle volley.
Those spellbinding shots flowing out of the Federer racket earned him five breaks of serve before he finished off Wimbledon debutant Dzumhur with a love service game to chalk up his 74th victory at Wimbledon.
Dzumhur, who was just 11 when Federer won the first of his record 17 grand slam titles here in 2003, had to make do with the consolation of winning seven games against his childhood idol.
While nerves would have played a part in Dzumhur’s capitulation, the Swiss second seed made a surprising admission when asked what it felt like walking on to a court that might be considered his second home.
“It’s nerves,” the 33-year-old father of four told reporters after walking off drenched in sweat.
“It’s exciting. But after all, it’s a privilege to be there. I was trying to think how many times I’ve played there now. I don’t know. I know it’s been often. Still every time it feels like it’s a special occasion, for sure.”
With the mercury hitting a sweltering 30 degrees Celsius, 23-year-old Dzumhur spent the changeovers with his head buried under a cool towel but as far as his rival was concerned, the conditions could not have been better.
“It was not hot. It was totally fine,” added the world number two who will next face big-serving American Sam Querrey.
“It was perfect conditions, to be honest. It was nice. No clouds whatsoever. So it was just perfect playing conditions, to be honest. It was wonderful.”
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Lovell