Roger Federer said on Sunday he hopes to play Wimbledon “once again”, despite being sidelined for a year with a knee injury. “I hope I can come back again. I missed it here,” said the eight-time champion as he attended a special ceremony to mark Center Court’s 100th anniversary. The 40-year-old winner of 20 Grand Slam titles has been eliminated since a quarter-final loss at the tournament in 2021 before undergoing another knee surgery.
He plans to return to action in September at the Laver Cup in London and then participate in his home tournament in Basel.
“I knew I walked out of here last year, it was going to be a difficult year,” said Federer, who received a standing ovation as he entered the court.
“Maybe I didn’t think it would take so long to get back — the knee was hard on me.”
Federer, dressed in a dark suit, was one of many Wimbledon champions at the ceremony leading up to the mid-Sunday match schedule, which has been scheduled as a regular feature from this year on.
The Swiss star broke through at Wimbledon in 2001 with his famous win over Pete Sampras before taking the first of his eight titles two years later.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of games on this field,” he added.
“It feels uncomfortable to be here in a different kind of role today, but great to be here with all the other champions.
“This court has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses.”
Federer was joined at the ceremony by two men responsible for some of those highs and lows: six-time champion Novak Djokovic and two-time winner Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic defeated Federer in the 2019 final, the longest ever at the tournament, spanning five sets and nearly five hours.
“I feel more nervous now than when I play,” said Djokovic, who will be back on Center Court later Sunday for his last-16 draw against Tim van Rijthoven.
“This job has been really special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I’ve seen, when I was four or five years old, I saw Pete Sampras win his first Wimbledon.
“This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the pinnacle of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step on this pitch I relive these memories. Truly an honour.”
Other past champions have included Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Petra Kvitova, Martina Hingis, Chris Evert and Venus Williams.
The men’s winners were John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Andy Murray and Goran Ivanisevic.
However, nine-time champion Martina Navratilova was unable to participate in the parade due to a positive test for COVID-19.
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