Roger Federer cried when he won Wimbledon for the first time, cried when he equalled Bjorn Borg's five successive All England Club titles, cried when he received the Australian Open trophy from Rod Laver and cried when he lost to Rafael Nadal in Melbourne three months ago. It was no surprise, therefore, when he admitted yesterday to shedding "a few tears" at his wedding.
"I got very emotional yet again," the former world No 1 said here on his first public appearance since marrying Mirka Vavrinec, his girlfriend of the last nine years, in Basel on Saturday. "It was just nice to know that she loves me so much and that I love her so much. It was just a very nice day. We had a perfect sky, perfect weather."
On a similar day here on the Côte d'Azur – Andy Murray, a straight-sets winner over Victor Hanescu, was among those who thrived in the conditions at the Monte Carlo Masters – Federer talked about how much his life had changed even since the weekend.
"It definitely changes your mindset," he said. "I didn't think it was going to make that big a change for me, but it does feel great. It's nice to be calling Mirka my wife and not my girlfriend. That's just a big change for me and maybe takes a bit of getting used to. It's good. I'm here, introducing her, 'This is my wife.' It just sounds so much better."
Federer, who was not wearing a ring, would not reveal where the marriage had taken place and said he had asked the small number of guests – "I didn't want a huge wedding" – to keep the occasion secret. "If you want to get married in private, you have to go to Switzerland," he said. "They actually want to give you peace and privacy. That's why I love being a Swiss and living in Switzerland."
Asked how Mirka felt about his playing again so soon after the wedding, Federer said: "She was completely relaxed about whatever decision I took. I feel like I've been on honeymoon for the last few years, so I don't feel necessarily I need to go somewhere, to a special place, to celebrate with her."
Federer plays his first match against Andreas Seppi today, but Murray is already through to face Marin Cilic or Fabio Fognini tomorrow thanks to an emphatic 6-3, 6-2 victory over Hanescu, the world No 35.
After an uncertain start, in which the first four games went against serve, Murray was soon looking more comfortable in his first match on clay for 10 months.
Murray's backhand and returns looked in especially good shape. While admitting he had moved in the first few games as if still playing on a hard court, he was soon sliding more confidently into his shots.
Murray said he expected to be playing more naturally on clay after a few more matches and practice sessions. "You need to be patient and not expect too much too soon," he said yesterday.
The 21-year-old Scot is close to taking the No 3 slot in the world rankings from Novak Djokovic, who conceded only three games in beating Spain's Oscar Hernandez. Murray is also closing in on Federer at No 2 and is already thinking beyond being the world's second best player.
"The clay season is very important for me because if I have a very good season then there's no reason why I can't get closeish to Rafa and closer to Roger," he said. "There's a lot of points up for grabs in the next few weeks."