Roger Federer admits ‘crushing feeling’ at Wimbledon after returning to SW19

Kate Middleton plays tennis with Roger Federer at Wimbledon

Roger Federer claims that he did not want to be on Centre Court in 2022, when he appeared as part of the venue’s 100th anniversary celebrations. The Swiss again returned to Wimbledon earlier this year as a spectator, although the visit took on an entirely different feel following his retirement from professional tennis.

Federer was still technically an active player when he was invited to take part in a star-studded Centre Court ceremony last year. The Swiss had been battling injury issues for some time, but it was not until the Laver Cup that September that he formally bid farewell to competitive action.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the likes of Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver and Venus Williams were introduced by Sue Barker to rapturous applause from the Centre Court crowd. And while Federer acknowledges that his appearance was never in doubt, he admitted that it was not particularly easy.

“When there was the 100th-year celebration of Centre Court, I felt that I maybe didn’t want to be there,” the 42-year-old told the Wall Street Journal.

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“It was important for me to be there, but it was a crushing feeling I had, a twisted feeling I had.” After calling time on his career, Federer returned to Centre Court again in 2023, which he claims was a much more pleasant experience.

“My dad leaned over and asked me, ‘Wouldn’t you want to be on the court right now instead of just sitting here?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, no. I’m so happy sitting here.’ I felt very content and at peace, sitting and not playing,” he added.

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“This year, I was very happy to be back there. And the people were happy to see me happy.” Wimbledon was Federer’s favourite hunting ground during his glittering career, which brought him a staggering 20 Grand Slam titles to leave him third on the men’s all-time list.

Eight of those titles came at SW19, with the most recent triumph occurring in 2017. Federer’s last Grand Slam tournament appearance came at Wimbledon in 2021, when he lost to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals.

On his life post-retirement, Federer explained: “I don’t play much tennis anymore, other than with the kids. As a former player, to book a court and get someone to hit with you is a process, so you end up not doing it.

“On vacation, I just played with our friends in the Hamptons. I’m not super competitive. It’s just nice to be out there and then sit on the terrace and let the sweat go a bit.”

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