Roger Federer pointed to a little ring rust rather than the joys of becoming a new dad after beating Frederic Niemeyer 7-6, 6-4 on Tuesday to reach the third round of the Montreal Masters.
In his first match since lifting a record 15th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, much has changed in a few weeks for Federer, who arrived in Montreal with his wife, Mirka, new-born twin daughters, Charlene Riva and Myla Rose, and a nanny in tow.
Ranked 487th, Canadian Niemeyer had hoped a few sleepless nights would help level the odds against the world No 1.
But an opponent on diaper duty and the backing of a center-court crowd of 11,000 could not save the 33-year-old in his final appearance at the tournament before retiring.
"I was happy with that performance today," Federer said after launching his hardcourt campaign with his 20th straight win. "After five, six weeks without a match you're just a little bit slow on your reactions, your returns.
"Mirka is great, she handles it all well. Me too, I'm quite laid back and hands on (with the kids). It seems to be working so far."
The Swiss said: "Today all-in-all I thought it was okay. I wish I could have gotten some more balls back on the return but that again was due to him serving (well)."
Third seed Andy Murray and No 4 Serb Novak Djokovic, also back in action for the first time since Wimbledon, advanced smoothly.
Spain's Rafael Nadal prepared to open his title defence yesterday by playing doubles for the second consecutive day.
(Reuters via China Daily August 13, 2009)