GSTAAD (Switzerland): A glass of champagne and a two-van police escort greeted newly-crowned Wimbledon winner Roger Federer when he touched down in a private jet in the heart of the Alps on Monday a day after the biggest win of his tennis career.
The down-to-earth Grand Slam champion is set to open play as top seed at the 550,000-euro Swiss Open, where he takes on a Spanish qualifier 48 hours after tearfully hoisting the golden trophy at the All England club.
Federer and his girlfriend Miroslava Vavrinec arrived on a flight from London, landing on the single runway often used by Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, who owns a hotel in the village.
The 21-year-old was all smiles as he stepped off the white, unmarked corporate jet, holding up a tiny replica trophy of the one he accepted after Sunday's three-set victory over Mark Philippoussis.
The solid Swiss knows he will have to get back to work soon – even if his life has changed forever.
He takes on Marc Lopez on a court named after another Wimbledon winner, Roy Emerson, in the centre of this elite alpine village.
After a celebratory glass of champagne with tournament and local officials, he and his girlfriend were escorted by local police down to the top-class Bellevue hotel just steps from the tournament site.
Federer, now third in the ATP rankings and topping the season points race, spent Monday morning in London recalling his day of glory on the lawns.
“I'm more famous now, and things will be a different,” he admitted.
While Federer travelled over in style, others in the field of the high-altitude clay event got down to business, with former champion Jiri Novak advancing over Armenian Sargis Sargsian 6-3, 6-3.
Fourth seeded Argentine Gaston Gaudio beat Belgian Kristof Vliegen 6-3, 6-4 while another Argentine Juan Chela ousted Brazilian Andre Sa 6-0, 6-2.
But Frenchman Anthony Dupuis posted the day's lone upset, knocking out Estoril champion Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-3).
Two Swiss hopes crashed out, unable to capitalise on the Federer effect.
If Federer gets by Lopez, he'll next face France's Jean-Rene Lisnard, who came back to defeat Switzerland's French Open junior champion Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Belgian Christophe Rochus accounted for local wild card Michael Lammer 6-3, 7-5. – AFP