Brown’s brilliance doesn’t continue, as Nadal breaks. But Brown’s still smiling, that’s the way he is on court. Nadal then consolidates the break, despite some more unpredictability at the net from Brown, the highlight an improvised volley which loops off his racket and drops just inside the baseline. Nadal leads 3-1.
Bedene loses out in the opening set, 6-4 to Troicki, as his serve falls apart and Troicki settles matters with a smash. Bedene endeared himself to his new home crowd with his fightback and attitude when he came from behind in the opening round – can he do the same here?
Meanwhile, on Centre, there couldn’t be more of a contrast between Brown, who rattles through the points at breakneck speed, barely pausing for breath before serving, and Nadal, who is, of course, well known for his slow play. Brown shows what he’s all about in the opening game, pulling off a staggering drop volley from just inside the service line. Brown holds serve. And then Nadal squeaks through his serve to level up at 1-1.
Next up for Federer is Sam Groth of Australia, the world No69. He’s another big man – I know, because I almost fell over him in Wimbledon Village the other day, all 6ft 4in of him – with an equally big serve. Still, you’d imagine Federer will be in good shape for that after seeing off Querrey. “He’s a good serve-and-volley player, he’s got an amazing serve that he can really clock,” says Federer of Groth. “So I’m looking forward to another match like today”. I should imagine he is. Especially if he plays like that. For now, though, that’s it. Thanks for reading, thanks for your emails, and – if you’re watching Wimbledon live – enjoy Rafa, who’s next up on Centre Court.
Of that extraordinary lob through the legs, Federer says: “It was the perfect shot, it just felt like I had the time. But if you don’t win the point then you look a little bit silly. I had to work hard – Sam’s a good player and he had a good run on the grass last week. The first break was crucial, and then I had a good 10 minutes.” Ah, was that all? Sounds easy, this tennis lark, doesn’t it?