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Federer on Willis match: 'This story is gold'

OmnisportOmnisport 30/06/2016 Christopher Devine

A meeting on Centre Court with Roger Federer will undoubtedly live long in the memory of rank outsider Marcus Willis, but the seven-time Wimbledon champion says he will also look back fondly on the contest.

World number 772 Willis came through six qualifying ties and a first-round clash against Ricardas Berankis to secure the match of a lifetime at the All England Club on Wednesday.

Although he went on to lose the first seven games against Federer in a 6-0 6-3 6-4 defeat, the British underdog earned plenty of plaudits for a flamboyant performance studded with moments of brilliance.

And in a post-match news conference, 17-time grand slam winner Federer said: "As I was playing, I was thinking, 'This is definitely one of the matches I'll remember'."

The Swiss added: "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 770 in the world.

"That's what stands out the most for me - the support he got, the great points he played. This story is gold."

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.

Marcus Willis Roger Federer - cropped: Marcus Willis and Roger Federer following their match on Centre Court © Provided by Omnisport Marcus Willis and Roger Federer following their match on Centre Court 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."

Federer praised the performance of Willis, who hit 24 winners in a performance that belied his lowly ranking.

"What I like about his game is he reads it well. He knows when you're coming in," said Federer.

"He can slice easily, he chips it really well, cross court and down the line. He sees when it's short and he steps into the court and he goes for it. Then he has a nice serve - I struggled reading it, especially on the ad side. He was doing a great job of mixing that up.

"I had to put my head down and focus really hard to get the lead in the first set, and I was relieved when I got the break in the third. I must tell you, it's not easy for him to come and play a decent match. He handled it great. He can make great strides."

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