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Wimbledon: Roger Federer and former champions celebrate 100 years of Centre Court

Roger Federer (l) and John McEnroe (r)
Roger Federer, pictured with John McEnroe, was given a rapturous reception when he walked out on Centre Court. This year is the first time he has not played at Wimbledon since 1997
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Wimbledon marked 100 years of its Centre Court on Sunday with a musical celebration and a parade of former champions.

Eight-time men’s champion Roger Federer, who is not playing this year because of a knee injury, said he hoped to play at the famous arena “one more time” in the future.

“It is great to be here with all the other champions,” 40-year-old Federer said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court.

“It has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses, and I hope I can come back here one more time.”

Wimbledon stalwart Sir Cliff Richard and British singer Freya Ridings performed to the crowd, on the first scheduled middle Sunday of the tournament, and there were guest appearances from a host of famous faces.

Martina Navratilova, who holds the Wimbledon record with nine singles titles, tweeted she was “gutted” that she had to miss the celebration after contracting Covid-19.

Also present at Wimbledon on Sunday were Covid heroes in the NHS and social care, along with refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria who have settled in Merton and Wandsworth.

The Championships moved to its present site on Church Road in 1922, the same year Centre Court was opened.

Built in just nine months, it is now the sixth-largest tennis-specific stadium in the world, with a capacity of 14,979.

John McEnroe and Sue Barker
Sunday’s special ceremony was hosted by BBC broadcasters Sue Barker, John McEnroe and Clare Balding. McEnroe paid tribute to Barker, who is stepping down from her presenter duties after this year’s tournament
Sir Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard serenaded Centre Court with an A capella version of Summer Holiday, recreating his singalong when the rain was falling during the 1996 tournament
Des Lynam
Former BBC presenter Des Lynam was among the famous faces to attend
Venus Williams (l) and Billie Jean King (r)
Venus Williams and Billie Jean King were among the many former champions present – they have 11 Wimbledon singles titles between them
Novak Djokovic (l) and Roger Federer (r)
The tennis legends just kept on coming. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer boast a total of 14 Wimbledon singles titles
Freya Ridings
British singer Freya Ridings brought the ceremony to a close

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