"I thought Marcus brought some unbelievable energy to the match with the crowd and his play. It was very refreshing to play someone like this," said Federer. "I knew it was going to be a different match than anything I’d ever played before at Wimbledon. It was a pleasure for me to play against him."
Federer quickly picked up on Willis’ vintage grass-court game that included plenty of slices and timely trips to the net, shutting out his opponent in the first set. Serving at 0-1 in the second set, Willis got on the board with a forehand winner and wryly raised his arms in celebration as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Although Willis began to impose himself more in the baseline rallies, Federer grabbed the lone break of the set to lead 4-2 and eventually took a commanding two-sets lead. The seven-time champion broke Willis to love at 4-4 in the third set and wrapped up the match in the next game after one hour and 24 minutes of play.
Federer was nearly flawless throughout the match, hitting nine aces and no double faults, while also striking 37 winners to 14 errors. He also enjoyed great success with his volleys, converting on 29 of 40 net points.
"I expected something like this, especially under the roof. He was going to have some supporters and they were going to have chants. I felt very well prepared. I enjoyed it," said Federer. "I thought he played very well. My approach going into the match was that I was playing a Top 50-ranked guy because that's how he is playing now.
"As I was playing, I was thinking, 'This is definitely one of the matches I'll remember'. I'll remember most of the Centre Court matches here at Wimbledon, but this one will stand out because it's that special and probably not going to happen again for me to play against a guy ranked 770 in the world. That's what stands out the most for me - the support he got, the great points he played. I enjoyed it as much as I possibly could."
Federer graciously allowed Willis to lead the way as the duo walked out to rapturous applause, and also stood back as his opponent soaked up a warm ovation after the final point.
The third seed explained: "I wanted the cooler experience for him. I thought it was cool that he got out first because it's his moment, in my opinion. I wanted him to have a great time."
With the win, Federer moves into the third round at Wimbledon for the 14th time. Next up for him is the winner of the match between No. 30 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine and Daniel Evans of Great Britain. Federer hasn't played Evans before, leads his ATP Head to Head with Dolgopolov 3-0, including a straight-sets victory in the second round of this year’s Australian Open.
Date: 29 June 2016, Source: ATP, OmniSport and Wimbledon