via Associated Press
TENNIS – The king of grass was back on his land. This Sunday, July 3, the London public was surprised to see Roger Federer strolling through the aisles of the Grand Slam tournament.
Passing through Wimbledon, the eight-time winner of the British tournament did not go unnoticed. And for good reason, he was not registered for this 135th edition. In reality, the Swiss was on the occasion of a prestigious ceremony organized for the 100th anniversary of the legendary Center Court, the scene of some of the greatest matches in the history of tennis.
When he entered, Roger Federer received a special ovation from the large crowd gathered on the center court of Wimbledon.
“I hope I can come back once again” to Wimbledon, said Roger Federer, who has not played in competition since his elimination last year in the quarterfinals of the London Grand Slam because of his injured knee.
“I miss Wimbledon. I knew when I left the court last year that the coming year would be tough”, added the 40-year-old Swiss, eight-time winner of the Major on grass and who remains to this day the most successful tennis player in London.
“I didn’t think it would take so long to get back on the circuit. The knee has not been kind to me,” he added.
Prestigious meeting of the “Big Four”
At his side this Sunday, on the most legendary of tennis courts, stood twenty-three other winners of the most prestigious of tennis tournaments, from Stan Smith (winner in 1972) to Novak Djokovic (in search of a 7th trophy) , via Stefan Edberg (1988, 1990).
The record holder of 24 Grand Slam titles Margaret Court (1963, 1965, 1970), Chris Evert (1974, 1976, 1981), John McEnroe (1981, 1983, 1984), Rod Laver (1961, 1962, 1968, 1969 ), Björn Borg (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980) or Billie Jean King (1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1975) were also present. All that was missing was the record holder of nine Wimbledon titles, Czechoslovak-born American Martina Navratilova.
On the other hand, during this summit meeting, the four members of the “Big Four” were reunited. A rare opportunity to (re)see the quartet that has dominated the international men’s circuit since the end of the 2000s.
So Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were together for a big family photo, alongside other sports legends.
“It is an absolute honor and privilege to stand alongside legends of our sport, who have paved the way for me and many generations. I’m more nervous than when I play”, confided “Djoko” who was to play his round of 16 later in the afternoon on this same court.
“My first image of tennis is when I was 4-5 years old and I saw Pete Sampras win his fourth Wimbledon. From there, I dreamed of playing here. And the dream came true,” he said.
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