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Page last updated at 18:56 GMT, Monday, 21 June 2010 19:56 UK

Wimbledon 2010: Tim Henman on Roger Federer

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
Live on BBC One and Two, HD, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary online and on mobile phones. Full details of BBC coverage

Roger Federer
Federer survived a huge scare before seeing off world number 60 Falla

By Tim Henman
Former British number one

To see Roger Federer on the brink of an opening day exit from Wimbledon left everyone in shock.

The defending champion and greatest player of all time needing to come from two sets down to beat Alejandro Falla - who would've predicted that?

It just goes to show what can happen in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament if you're not quite on your game.

On five of my 14 appearances at Wimbledon I started with matches that went the distance, and I can assure you it's not an easy situation to navigate.

The grass is very green and slippery - it looked to me like Federer was struggling with his footing - and if your opponent attacks from the outset like Falla did, you immediately find yourself defending, which is awfully difficult on this surface.


A lot of people said Federer didn't look his normal self, that there might have been something up, but I don't buy into any of that.

Falla was simply the better player and deserves a lot of credit because he was the one dictating so many of the rallies in the first four sets.

Clearly Federer was not quite on his game but as the great champions do, he found a way to win when he wasn't playing well.

As I said to Sue Barker on court before the match, you can't win the tournament in the first week but you can certainly lose it. So it will be a huge, huge relief for Federer to have come through this test.

The result will have been noted with interest in the locker room. A lot of guys would have been willing Falla to win because Federer's the best player in history and if someone else can do the job of beating him then all the better for them.

They can look at it both ways. On the one hand Federer perhaps isn't playing as well as we've come to expect but, on the other, it highlights how ready you've got to be from the first round.

The bottom line is that he won three sets. We can analyse his game until the cows come home but he's in round two and that's mission accomplished

Tim Henman

If you're not quite on song, the depth in the men's game is so good that even Roger Federer can find himself in serious danger.

The Swiss legend hasn't been quite as dominant this year as in previous years but back at Wimbledon, where he's reached the final in each of the last seven years, not many people would be turning down his record.

And now that he's through to round two, I can see him getting better and better.

The relief at surviving a major scare will probably relax him a little and he'll have a good practice session on Tuesday. He'll go away and work on his footwork and his groundstrokes to ensure that against Ilija Bozoljac, his next opponent, he plays more offensive tennis with greater aggression.

The bottom line is that he won three sets. People like us can analyse his game until the cows come home but he's in round two and that's mission accomplished.

Tim Henman was speaking to BBC Sport's David Ornstein. Henman is part of the BBC's commentary team for Wimbledon 2010.

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see also
Federer escapes first-round shock
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Federer v Falla as it happened
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon - day one photos
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Henman on Murray
17 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Federer win breaks Sampras record
05 Jul 09 |  Tennis

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