Federer serves notice in Lacko lesson

By Ian Ransom

With 16 grand slams and a stack of records in his suitcase, the 29-year-old Federer has little to left to prove on the circuit and off it has thrown himself into bigger pursuits as a U.N. ambassador for various humanitarian missions.

Federer inspired players last year to raise funds for victims of the Haiti earthquake before last year's tournament and was instrumental in bringing them together again on Sunday to raise funds as Australia battles to clean up after lethal floods across eastern states.

At the end of the 84-minute lesson, Lacko was licking his wounds after an 6-1 6-1 6-3 thrashing and Federer was marching into his second round match against either Frenchman Gilles Simon or Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun.

"I'm sure he enjoyed it somewhat," Federer said without a trace of irony under overcast skies at Rod Laver Arena.

"I'm sure he's going to learn a lot from it and come back a better player.

"I thought it was a good match. I don't think he played too bad himself. I saw some talent in him, too, and that's why I think I was really happy I chose that tactics early on to pressure him."

TOP BILLING

Federer took the first point with an improbable backhand drop volley and fired another 36 winners across all angles of the court.

The masterclass appeared to bewitch even the line judges at times, and hapless Lacko had to plead for a TV review twice to prise a service break, Federer's only conceded, at 3-0 down in the second set when the Swiss hit just long twice.

Lacko rallied hard in the third but was stone-walled by Federer, who absorbed the pressure and fired it back with interest to continue his flawless first-round record in 11 campaigns at Melbourne Park.

After a barren run in the last three grand slam, the Swiss responded to fears his aura of invincibility might be fading with an emphatic win at the season-ending World Tour Finals, where he defeated Nadal in the final.

(Editing by John O'Brien)