WIMBLEDON, England (AP) —
Roger Federer did make his way to
Wimbledon this year, after all — not to compete, mind you, but to take part in a ceremony marking the
centenary of Centre Court on Sunday — and declared his intention to try to return in 2023 with a racket in hand.
"Just tried to be successful here and represent the sport well. I hope I did that," said Federer, who won a men's-record eight of his 20 Grand Slam titles at the All England Club and was greeted with a standing ovation. "And I hope I can come back ... one more time."
Instead of the mandatory all-white playing uniform, Federer wore a dark suit and tie, his purple Wimbledon member's badge pinned to a jacket lapel. The Swiss star, who
turns 41 on Aug. 8 and has been sidelined for a year by knee problems, was among more than two dozen winners of singles championships at the grass-court tournament who appeared in the main stadium during a 35-minute tribute to a stadium that opened in 1922.
"I've been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court. Feels awkward to be here today in a different type of role," said Federer, who had participated in every Wimbledon since his main-draw debut in 1999. "But it's great to be here with ... all the other champions. This court has given me my biggest wins, my biggest losses."
His last match anywhere came on July 7, 2021, when he lost at Centre Court in the quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-0. Soon after, Federer had surgery to repair damage to his meniscus and cartilage in his right knee — his third operation on that knee in a span of 1 1/2 years.