The nine best things about Marcus Willis’s match with Roger Federer
On Wednesday, Roger Federer and Marcus Willis played one of the most entertaining 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 matches you will ever see.
Seven–time Wimbledon champion Federer advanced past Willis, who playing just his second ATP tour event, to reach to the third round. But while Willis was no match for perhaps the greatest tennis player ever, the World No. 772’s incredible run to the second round of the tournament—after nearly quitting professional tennis earlier this year and improbably advancing through multiple qualification rounds—had its share of delightful moments.
To truly understand the Marcus Willis phenomenon, read about his improbable journey to Wimbledon. Despite the result, the match will certainly go down as one of the best of the tournament. Here’s a look what made Wednesday’s match on Centre Court so great.
Marcus Willis wore a Roger Federer shirt
So, Marcus Willis showed up to play Roger Federer wearing a Roger Federer shirt from a few years ago.
Willis also donned a headband in the style of Federer, which I guess is the tennis version of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
An ESPN graphic eviscerated Marcus Willis’s life
John Oliver could only dream of this level of evisceration. Check out this ESPN graphic that compared, among other things, the number of homes each player owns.
Wow. SI’s Rohan Nadkarni questioned why Federer even owns three homes:
“Also, what is Federer doing with three homes? Why doesn’t he build a clay court and practice instead?”
The atmosphere was incredible
Roger Federer rarely plays in front of a crowd that isn’t wholeheartedly pulling for him. Wednesday’s crowd certainly wasn’t hostile by any means, but it was clear that the Centre Court fans were cheering for the English underdog. They roared every time he won a point, and they gave him an ovation when he won his first game of the match.
After the match, Federer said it was probably the least crowd support he has had at Wimbledon since he was a wild card in 1999—a telling statement, considering he has played Scotsman Andy Murray in a Wimbledon final and semifinal.
Even better were the Marcus Willis ultras, who resembled English football fans more than patrons of the All England Club.
Willis hit this awesome lob winner
This beautiful lob was Federer-esque.
Willis finally won a game and it was great
After Federer bageled Willis in the first set, the World No. 772 finally won a game early in the second set. His reaction to getting a game off the best player in history on the most famous court in tennis was, well, exactly what you might expect.
Here’s what the crowd reaction looked like.
Curious about how the moment looked from a 45–degree angle? Laura Robson has you covered.
Willis should have collapsed on the grass as if he just won the tournament.
The third set was semi–competitive
Federer breezed through the first set and more or less cruised through the second set as well. But in the third set, Willis didn’t just roll over. Federer finally broke Willis at 4–4 before holding serve to take the third set, 6–4.
“I thought Marcus brought some unbelievable energy to the court,” Federer said after the match. “It was very refreshing.”
Willis fist–pumped a lot
Take a look at these.
One thing is for sure: Fist–pumping is a much better mid–match habit than eating candy and drinking RC Cola.
Willis received a big standing ovation
As both players exited the court, they received a massive standing ovation—and I can assure you the ovation wasn’t solely for the guy who just won.
Willis explained what it was like to play Federer
Not a bad Wimbledon debut, Marcus. Not bad at all.