In the gentlemanly way that makes him a popular winner, Roger Federer didn’t mind Novak Djokovic getting first use of Centre Court at Wimbledon on day three.

The five-time champion had some advice for the up-and-coming Serbian star after going through the formality of the first match on opening day, telling Djokovic how good the freshly manicured lawn courts looked at the All England Club in a brief chat between their first-round matches.


In the gentlemanly way that makes him a popular winner, Roger Federer didn’t mind Novak Djokovic getting first use of Centre Court at Wimbledon on day three.

The five-time champion had some advice for the up-and-coming Serbian star after going through the formality of the first match on opening day, telling Djokovic how good the freshly manicured lawn courts looked at the All England Club in a brief chat between their first-round matches.

There was no followup conversation Wednesday, when Djokovic crashed out in straight sets to No. 75-ranked Marat Safin — a dangerous floater in the draw as a two-time Grand Slam title winner — and Federer advanced in straight sets over Robin Soderling, his 61st consecutive win on grass.

“He was doing his thing. I was doing really mine. Once he lost, he left,” Federer said. “So I didn’t really ... no, we didn’t get to chat at all.

“It’s not the right moment to do that kind of talk. We’ll do that some other time.”

The 12-time Grand Slam title winner warmed up for a while and then watched the second and third sets of the Safin-Djokovic match, when the mercurial Russian showed glimpses of the forehand and court coverage that took him to titles at the U.S. Open in 2000 and an Australian title in ’05.

“Marat played a great match, so deserved to win in the end,” Federer said, preferring to focus on what remains in front of him rather than the absence of the third-ranked Djokovic. “That Novak lost doesn’t make my day any better, but my match counts.

“You know, I did well. Beat a quality player. I’m through to the third round, so that’s really what I’m focusing on. It’s true, it’s a big upset. But I’m anyway concentrating on my section.”

Soderling broke Federer’s serve in the sixth game of the third set, and then led 5-3 before the Swiss star rallied to force a tiebreaker. It was the first time in seven matches since losing to Rafael Nadal in the final at Roland Garros, his most lopsided Grand Slam defeat, that Federer had lost a service game.

“I was actually on a similar streak a few years ago when I didn’t get broken from the quarters on in ’03, I think, until all the way to the quarters of ’04 or something like that,” he said. “It was starting to get a burden because people start to remind me of it. So it was good to get it out of the way against Lleyton (Hewitt) there, I remember.”

Hewitt, the only other Wimbledon champion in the draw, advanced in straight sets over Albert Montanes of Spain and looms as a fourth-round match for Federer. Hewitt won here in 2002, before Federer’s streak started in ’03. Federer has beaten Nadal in the last two finals and, with the potential impediment of Djokovic removed, another No. 1 vs. No. 2 final is looming.

Nadal was scheduled to play Thursday on the opposite side of the draw against Ernests Gulbis of Latvia. Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake were hoping to take their second steps toward a possible fourth-round meeting.

Women’s champion Venus Williams was to continue her campaign for a fifth Wimbledon title with a second-round match against Britain’s Anne Keothavong. Third-seeded Maria Sharapova — the 2004 champion — was to play fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva.

Venus and her sister, Serena, were to play doubles Thursday in the second round, aiming to add to their combined nine Grand Slam doubles titles and hoping to sharpen up for the Olympics.

Serena Williams advanced to the third round Wednesday, surviving the “Graveyard of Champions” on Court 2, in her 6-4, 6-4 win over Urszula Radwanska.

Ana Ivanovic used up her fair share of luck in her first tough match since winning her first major at the French Open and gaining the No. 1 ranking, getting the better of the net chords and the umpiring calls as she saved two match points en route to a 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 10-8 win over 97th-ranked Nathalie Dechy.

One bad match here and she could lose the No. 1 ranking quickly to Sharapova or fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic.

With Djokovic out of the way, only Nadal can challenge Federer’s grip on the No. 1 position he’s held since February 2004. Not that Federer usually looks at who is coming behind him.

“You look at the rankings, not particularly because of your own ranking, but just see who’s moving around a little bit,” he said. “But I wouldn’t know now how much my lead is, for instance, or what it takes. This is up to other people.

“As long as I’m No. 1, I don’t really look at my ranking very much.”