Roger Federer admits he got lucky after Adrian Mannarino was forced to retire from their first-round match at Wimbledon with a knee injury.
Eight-times champion Federer advanced to the second round on Tuesday when his French opponent retired with a knee injury after slipping on court.
The Centre Court match was poised at 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 3-6 6-2 with Federer forcing a fifth set before Mannarino, on his 33rd birthday, decided he could not continue.
“It’s awful,” sixth-seeded Federer said in his on-court interview.
“It shows that one shot can change the outcome of a match, a season, a career…
“He could have won the match at the end.
“Obviously, he was the better player, so I definitely got a bit lucky.”
Federer was serving with a 4-2 lead in the fourth set when the 41st-ranked Mannarino slipped while attempting a return and twisted his right knee.
He received medical attention on Centre Court and limped back to complete the set before shaking hands with Federer, who now has a 7-0 head-to-head record against him.
“You don’t get many walkovers throughout a career and you try also not to have it happen to yourself,” the 39-year-old Federer said.
“It’s a reminder how quickly it goes.
“But of course, I’m obviously happy I can get another chance for another match here… “
The 20-times grand slam winner will face French veteran Richard Gasquet for a spot in the third round.
Alexander Zverev served strongly to overpower Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor 6-3 6-4 6-1.
US Open finalist Zverev had lost to qualifiers on his past two visits to the grasscourt grand slam but the 124th-ranked Griekspoor, making his Wimbledon main-draw debut, did not have the game to challenge the German fourth seed.
Canadian 10th seed Denis Shapovalov battled past experienced German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 while 14th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz eased to a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 victory over Lorenzo Musetti.
Dan Evans was the sole British winner on another rain-affected day at Wimbledon with the 22nd seed snapping a four-match grand slam losing streak with an impressive 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-5 victory over Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez.
The first man to represent China in the main draw at Wimbledon during the Open era was eliminated in the opening round.
The 175th-ranked Zhang Zhizhen lost to Antoine Hoang of France 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2 but found consolation in getting a chance to play on tennis’ grandest stage.
“I’m really happy to be a Chinese man here, especially this year, a very tough year,” Zhang said.