Roger Federer drew a standing ovation on Sunday as the eight-time champion appeared on Centre Court with other Wimbledon winners to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the most iconic court in tennis.
The 40-year-old besuited Swiss who has been rehabbing a knee injury for more than a year, walked onto the grass to thunderous applause and said he felt “awkward” to be standing without a racquet at the venue.
“It feels awkward to be her in a different type of role,” the player who won his first Wimbledon in 2003 over Mark Philippoussis said.
“This court has given me some of my biggest wins and my biggest losses.”
The Swiss said his highlight was probably walking onto Centre in 2001 to play Pete Sampras.
He added: “I hope I can come back (to play) one more time.
“I’ve missed being here, I would have to be here playing. But I knew last year (he lost in the quarter-finals to Hubert Hurkacz) that this would be a tough year.
“I didn’t think it would take this long to come back, but the knee has been rough on me,”
The father of four with 20 Grand Slam singles titles said he has been happy spending time at home near Zurich.
“It’s been a good year, regardless of missing the tennis. I didn’t know if I should make this trip but I’m happy standing here right now.”
Federer was in good company during the ceremony, also attended by former champions and current champions including Billie Jean King, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg with John McEnroe as MC for the BBC telecast.