The King of Wimbledon: Tribute to Roger Federer
Roger Federer and Wimbledon have always had a very special relationship. The Swiss player has won the title eight times and continues to be loved even beyond his retirement from the sport.
As Roger Federer entered the Royal Box on the legendary Centre Court of Wimbledon at half past one local time, minutes of jubilation erupted. Under the closed roof due to the typical English rain, the noise was almost as loud as if the 41-year-old Swiss had just won the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world for the ninth time.
However, Federer was only there as a spectator, watching the match between defending champion Jelena Rybakina from Kazakhstan and American player Shelby Rogers from the stands.
"Today, we honor one of the greatest in our sport," welcomed the stadium announcer. In his cream-colored suit, the longtime former world number one took his place in the front row between Duchess Kate and his wife Mirka. Visibly moved, Federer received the ovation from the approximately 15,000 spectators.
Federer has won the Wimbledon title eight times, with his first triumph taking place 20 years ago at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. "Wimbledon has always been a very special place for me," Federer recently said in Halle, Germany. To this day, he holds the record for the most victories on Church Road, even though Novak Djokovic can catch up with him this year.
Federer's first Wimbledon victory was like a fairy tale
In an interview with the British broadcaster BBC, Federer described his first victory in 2003 as a fairy tale. "People said that I was just a talent without much substance," recalled the winner of 20 Grand Slam tournaments. "When I managed to do it, I fell to my knees. It was incredibly special to hold the trophy in my hands for the first time."
He last won the title six years ago. Last year, Federer retired from his career due to a knee injury. His final sporting wish, to be able to play in Wimbledon one more time, did not come true. "I hope I can come back one more time," Federer said during the ceremony for the 100th anniversary of the Centre Court last year.
However, the knee pain was too great, and Federer ended his impressive career last autumn during the Laver Cup in London. The image of Federer sitting next to Rafael Nadal on the player's bench, both of them in tears, was one of the most impressive sports photos of the past year.
The decision to retire did not weigh heavily on Federer, who had been repeatedly hampered by knee injuries towards the end of his career. He had to undergo three knee surgeries, and his body is still not completely recovered.
Do you enjoy playing tennis?
"Of course, you might want to experience it once again. But as long as you know that your body can't perform at that level, you don't have the desire to be out on the court," said Federer, who currently does not feel ready even for an exhibition match. However, even in the role of a spectator, Federer is celebrated more than some active players.