We all know who Roger Federer is…
But who is Adrian Mannarino?
The Frenchman is world No.41 and reached a career high of 22 in early 2019. He has a good record on grass and his unorthodox style ensures he is never a straightforward opponent to face. But he doesn’t have the weapons to worry the Swiss.
Prediction? If pushed, Federer in four (not saying straight sets as that will jinx it…)
Adrian Mannarino’s last appearance on a grass court in London
Came just two weeks ago when the Frenchman played at Queen’s. He lost in the second round to none other than British No.1 Dan Evans.
He did, however, get the to last four at Mallorca last week before being beaten by Sam Querry,
Alexander Zverev is through to the second round
Fed’s feeling happy back at Wimbledon
Federer easily has the beating of Mannarino
Going on past meetings, at least…
The Swiss has met the French world No. 41 six times and come out on top in every single match.
Two of those meetings have come at Wimbledon, in 2011 and 2018, and won both in straight sets. In fact Mannarino has only taken one set off Federer.
Some brilliant pre-match reading
As I’ve written below Federer and Wimbledon go together like the All England Club and strawberries, pigeons perched on the net and howls of laughter from the easily pleased crowd, and Nick Kyrgios and well-placed jibes at Novak Djokovic.
Here’s a lovely (longish) read on the Swiss’ love affair with Wimbledon.
One of the greatest love affairs in modern sport had an inauspicious beginning. When a 16-year-old Roger Federer arrived at Wimbledon, ready to compete in the 1998 junior event, he walked out on court and found the whole experience so overwhelming that the net looked six foot high.
The return of the king
The last time Roger Federer played at Wimbledon he lost to Novak Djokovic in of one of the greatest finals ever – it was the first 12-12 final-set tie-break at the tournament and the longest final in SW19 history.
That day he came so agonisingly close to a ninth title at the All England Club, and a 21st grand slam, that perhaps it’s a bit of a shock, even with the combination of advancing age and the Covid pandemic, he’s only appeared in one final since (Basel in October 2019).
He arrives today still the undisputed King of Centre Court but with several question marks hanging over him, in much the same way as Andy Murray did yesterday. The Swiss Sensation has played only a handful of tournaments over the past 18 months because of knee surgery, and comes into his favourite tournament off a defeat to Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime at Halle last week – a venue where he has won 10 titles.
But while there are many valid worries about his form Federer is heading into Wimbledon with only only thing on his mind – challenging for the his ninth SW19 title.
“I know if I get rolling, I get into the second week, which is the goal here right now, that I get stronger and stronger as every match goes by, I believe it’s very much possible,” the 20-time grand slam champion said.
It may seem stupid to rule Federer out but the defeat at Halle doesn’t bode well, speaking of the defeat the Swiss said: “I don’t know what it was, to be honest. But I think I’ve got to take the positives out of these last few weeks, that I’m actually here at Wimbledon right now and I have a chance.
“The good thing now looking back is I know it will not happen here because I’m ready, I’m excited, I’m pumped up. I know I can do so much better.”
When you’ve won as much and are as good as Federer it must be hard to admit you are not the force you once were. But if he can summon up the brilliance of the past anywhere then it’s at Centre Court.
Yesterday, Murray turned back the clock to remind people there’s life in the old dog yet, today it’s Federer’s chance to do exactly the same thing.
His match against Adrian Mannarino is second up on Centre Court, stay here for the pre-match build-up and all the action.