Legendary tennis champion Roger Federer made an appearance at Wimbledon Tuesday. Shortly after the eight-time Wimbledon winner entered the Royal Box at Centre Court, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Princess Kate Middleton was one of the notable spectators who stood and applauded the tennis star. Federer was being celebrated for his impressive career and his men’s record eight singles championships at Wimbledon.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner wore a cream-colored suit with his All England Club member’s pin attached to a lapel. Federer stood with his wife, Mirka, above one of the baselines in the tournament’s main stadium.
Federer waved, repeatedly saying, “Thank you,” as the applause and roars cascaded under the closed retractable roof on a rainy second day at the grass court event he once dominated.
Before the start of play at Centre Court, an announcer explained that Federer was being honored for “his contributions to tennis — and, particularly, to these very special lawns.”
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After multiple knee operations last year, Federer decided to retire from the sport.
The ceremony Tuesday included a video highlight reel that showed clips of Federer playing, winning and speaking at Wimbledon, where he won the first of his 20 career Grand Slam titles in 2003. That was the start of a run of five in a row that stretched through 2007, followed by additional championships there in 2009, 2012 and 2017.
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, a seven-time Wimbledon winner, advanced to the second round Monday. Djokovic has won the last four Wimbledon men’s singles titles. A win in London this year will give Djokovic an eighth tournament title, which would tie Federer.
Martina Navratilova, who won the women’s singles title nine times, holds the overall record at the tournament.
“When I stop, the tournament still lives on. The tournament is bigger than any player who’s ever lived,” a younger Federer said in an interview shown during the film Tuesday. “I really look forward to the day where I retire, and I can come back and just have tea time, you know, on the terrace.”
The video included shots of various players speaking glowingly of Federer.
“Roger is legend. He makes every shot look easy,” 2022 Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur said.
Alex de Minaur spoke of Federer’s “masterful elegance on a tennis court.”
Taylor Fritz called Federer an “inspiration,” Coco Gauff used the word “icon” and current women’s No. 1 Iga Swiatek labeled Federer a “really special player.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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