Andy Roddick sprinted forward to scoop up a ball near the net, then backpedaled for another shot, leaping, stretching and swinging in one desperate motion. He hit the ball into a camera bay.
So it went Tuesday for Roddick, outclassed by Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Olympics at Wimbledon, 6-2, 6-1.
"I hit the ball fine," Roddick said. "He was just too good from the baseline. He was seeing it like a basketball."
Djokovic also praised his performance.
"It was a perfect match in every sense," the Serb said.
Even so, the drubbing was a dismal result for Roddick, whose declining fortunes in recent months have left him fending off questions about retirement.
Playing under the Centre Court roof, Djokovic closed out the victory with consecutive aces. Roddick then quickly left the court where he lost three Wimbledon finals, and was noncommittal about the possibility he won't be back.
"It's not close to my mind right now," he said. "That's not something that I'm going to talk about."
Like Djokovic, Venus Williams charged into the third round. She won 15 of 16 points when she reached the net and beating Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-1, 6-3.
Back on her favorite stage - Centre Court - Williams dominated with her aggressiveness, which is what makes her so dangerous on grass. Of the points she has won through two rounds, nearly one-third have come when she moved forward.
Williams is also serving well and ripping returns. She broke Wozniak six times in eight games.
"Every day I'm just concentrating on trying to bring my best tennis out," Williams said. "And honestly, if there's a time to do it, it's now."
Williams won her most recent tournament title 2½ years ago, and she took a long layoff after being diagnosed in 2011 with an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue. But at 32, she seems rejuvenated by the chance at a record fourth gold medal in Olympic tennis.
"Much improvement in the last few weeks," US coach Mary Joe Fernandez said. "And this is where she feels at home. It's great to be back on the grass."
Williams has won five of her seven major titles at the All England Club, most recently in 2008. Her opponent Wednesday will be No. 7 Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat Timea Babos of Hungary 6-1, 6-1.
British hopeful Andy Murray, seeded third, advanced by beating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-2, 6-4. Nieminen won cheers for his scrappy play, including a tumble into the first row in pursuit of a shot.
Djokovic-Roddick stirred considerable anticipation as second-round matches go, and the crowd was near capacity when they took the court, with both players wearing red, white and blue. For the first time in the tournament, even the Royal Box was almost full.
Roddick started well enough, holding his first two service games, but from there the match quickly slipped away. His big serve was negated as a weapon against the game's best returner, and in baseline rallies Roddick was no match for Djokovic, who deployed his extensive arsenal of slices, drop shots and rocket-like groundstrokes.