Federer, Serena lead Wimbledon against World Cup

Roger Federer and Serena Williams bring the curtain up on Wimbledon today with the All England Club confident their tournament can comfortably capture the imagination of a public distracted by the World Cup.

Federer, the record eight-time champion, opens proceedings on Centre Court against Serbia's Dusan Lajovic.

Williams, meanwhile, has been shunted off to Court One where she tackles Dutch outsider Arantxa Rus.

The American returns to the tournament for the first time since claiming a seventh title in 2016 having missed last year to give birth to her daughter.

"I think it remains a little bit nerve-wracking. It's a big deal," said Federer on returning to Centre Court and who is marking the 15th anniversary of his first Wimbledon title in 2003.

"Besides the history and the mythical place that it is, you cannot also practice on it.

"The entire atmosphere changes at Wimbledon, and you realise the eyes are on you."

World number 57 Lajovic will know what to expect — the Serb was beaten by Federer in straight sets in the second round of Wimbledon in 2017.

Federer is the overwhelming favourite to lift a ninth title and 21st career major especially with old rival Rafael Nadal, fresh from an 11th French Open, not having played a grass court warm-up event.

The 36-year-old Swiss star's odds also improved when two-time champion Andy Murray withdrew on Sunday with injury.

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