Federer avoids Centre Court to keep spotlight on Murray's Wimbledon farewell

Friday, 05 July 2024 at 22:00
Roger Federer decided not to be on Centre Court during Andy Murray's farewell at Wimbledon to avoid overshadowing the event. Tournament director Jamie Baker detailed that Federer spoke with the British hero before his doubles match on Thursday.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion visited the All England Club and sat in the Royal Box on Centre Court to watch Murray's match. However, unlike other former players like Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe, the Swiss Maestro chose not to be on Centre Court.

"They had a good chat," said tournament director Jamie Baker

The emotional tribute to Murray included a video with messages from his great rivals Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer, as well as 7-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams. Several tennis players and former players joined on Centre Court, watching the tribute from the court and later greeting Murray before he left the court.
Present on the court were Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Lleyton Hewitt, Conchita Martinez, Tim Henman, Novak Djokovic, Holger Rune, Iga Swiatek, Jack Draper, Cam Norrie, and Dan Evans. As the attendees were announced, even Federer, who had been a spectator of the match, was named, but the Swiss star stayed behind the scenes during the tribute: “Yeah, he went and saw Andy before the match,” said tournament director Jamie Baker.
"They had a good chat. The player thing was the most fluid part of our plan obviously with matches going on and the weather we didn’t know how that was going to work out so we made a last-minute decision to get some of those players on the court which I think actually made quite a nice addition to the celebration. I think Andy really appreciated that as well.”
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Baker was asked if Federer would attend Murray's mixed doubles match, which will feature Raducanu and could be Murray's last match at SW19: “I don’t know, I’m not sure how long Roger is staying for,” Baker said.
Before the tournament, a farewell for Murray at Wimbledon was announced, although the organization was waiting for Murray's confirmation. Back in 2019, the Australian Open played a video tribute, assuming Murray was close to retirement: “It was always being driven by the decisions he was making and if this was going to be his last Wimbledon or not.”
“We are speaking to his team all the time but on Tuesday when he withdrew from the singles, at that point when he did it he confirmed this would be his last Wimbledon so that was the most certain point. There was no way we were letting this guy go without a tribute because he deserves it.”
The tournament director also discussed the scheduling of the mixed doubles match on Saturday, July 6. Murray will return to the court with 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who is already in the fourth round of the singles draw, to face the specialist pair Marcelo Arevalo and Shuai Zhang.
“There’s quite a lot of uncertainty around mixed doubles with people playing multiple events and the scheduling is quite a lot harder,” added the tournament director. “We were very committed to wanting to do the celebration on Centre Court, obviously, and as the days go on we’ve got big singles matches and with them being in the doubles we wanted it to happen on Centre Court,” Baker added.
Murray won his third Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2016.
"So, there were a few different things, and also a lot of variables. They could have won three matches or four matches and equally with the mixed doubles, Emma is still in singles and we don’t quite know how that schedule is going to pan out so that was some of our thinking. I’m really delighted we could give Andy the send-off on Centre Court like we did last night.
"The schedule for the mixed doubles is fluid and I think it’s a bonus that wherever they are playing he’s clearly going, the British public, are going to give him a great send-off. We’ll see how the next few days play out,” he concluded.

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