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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Federer starts defence in style
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer
Federer is going for his third successive Wimbledon title
Roger Federer began the defence of his Wimbledon title with a straight-sets win over Paul-Henri Mathieu.

In keeping with tradition, the reigning men's champion opened play on Centre Court, but he had a difficult start.

The pair swapped early breaks of serve before two superb backhands helped Federer go 4-2 up and take the set.

After a tight start to the second the decisive break went Federer's way in game five, and he eased through for a 6-4 6-2 6-4 victory.

"I feel relieved after this start and I'm into the tournament now," said Federer.

The Swiss admitted that last year he had been too focused on beating Briton Alex Bogdanovic to enjoy his opening match.

This time Federer was determined to enjoy the feeling of stepping back on to Centre Court as the defending champion.

"I thought it was great applause - it was definitely a nice welcome," he said.

"I didn't really enjoy it last year but I did this time."


And he felt his serve was back on track after losing to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open.

"Definitely the serve let me down in the Nadal match and I'm happy it's back for now," he added.

Federer goes on to face Ivo Minar, who beat fellow Czech Michal Tabara 6-4 6-4 6-4.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: Wimbledon day one


Interview: Defending champion Roger Federer



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