London: Marcus Willis’s brief flirtation with Wimbledon fame was ended by Roger Federer as Novak Djokovic racked-up an Open era record of 30 successive Grand Slam wins on a day when torrential rain caused more havoc to the schedule.
Willis, the world number 772 who had already played seven matches just to make a dream second round clash on Centre Court, went down 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.
“It sounds funny but I am disappointed to lose,” admitted the Englishman.
“It’s daunting. I was playing alright at first, I settled into the match. I was enjoying it. If I was playing well and competing with Roger for a couple of sets I was doing well. I’ve earned myself a beer now.”
Only Federer and Djokovic managed to complete their second round matches on Wednesday after just 90 minutes of action was possible on the rain-lashed outside courts. Only 18 of the 62 ties scheduled for the day were completed.
Willis, who makes his living coaching children and senior citizens at a rowing club in the English midlands, has provided the feelgood factor of a wet, cold week in south-west London.
Having never played a tour match before Wimbledon, the sturdily-built left-hander, dubbed ‘Cartman’ after a portly character from cartoon series South Park, found himself facing a man who had won 79 matches more than him at the All England Club.
In an indication of the two different worlds they inhabit, Federer has career earnings just shy of $100 million while Willis had banked just $200 this year and still lives with his parents.
But the $63,000 he earned for his magical run will ease the burden of a player who took to the court even wearing a shirt bearing Federer’s ‘RG’ monogram.
Willis was far from embarrassed by Federer despite shipping the first set in just 24 minutes.
Roared on by his friends, who unleashed a series of adapted pop songs for his benefit, as well as his beauty queen-turned-dentist in the players box, Willis got on the scoreboard in the second game of the second set.
The 25-year-old left-hander had cheekily lobbed the seven-time Wimbledon champion earlier in the match.
But Federer, the holder of a record 17 majors, was never in trouble, facing just two break points in the 84-minute match and he took victory when Willis went long with an approach.
“Marcus brought some unbelievable energy to the court with the fans, his play and his personality as well,” said 34-year-old Federer who next faces either Dan Evans of Britain or Alexander Dolgopolov of Ukraine.
“It was very refreshing.”
– Very pleasing -Defending champion Djokovic brushed aside Adrian Mannarino, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) to reach the third round.
The top seed, bidding for a third consecutive title at the All England Club and fourth in all, will face either American 28th seed Sam Querrey or Thomaz Bellucci for a place in the last 16.
It was Djokovic’s 30th successive win at Grand Slams, beating the modern day mark of Rod Laver and putting him just seven behind the 37 of Don Budge set in 1938.
“The record that I managed to break today is one of the better ones because as a professional tennis player, you always aim to play your best in Grand Slams,” said Djokovic who holds all four Grand Slam titles.
“Knowing that I won 30 in a row, it’s very pleasing. I want to keep on going. Let’s see where it takes me.”
Also under the Centre Court roof, Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska reached the last 64 with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova to preserve her record of having never lost in the first round at Wimbledon.
Radwanska, the 2012 runner-up, will next face Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych, the runner-up in 2010, just had enough time to complete his first round tie held over from Tuesday.
He defeated Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) and next faces Germany’s Benjamin Becker.
There were also wins for promising Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem who beat Halle champion Florian Mayer 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 while German teenager Alexander Zverev, seeded 24, saw off French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Two-time women’s champion Petra Kvitova, the 10th seeded Czech, brushed aside Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-4 after needing just 15 minutes to take the first set.