Roger Federer waves during a 100 years of Centre Court celebration on day seven of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London on Sunday. AP
"I hope I can come back one more time. I've missed it here," said the eight-time champion as he attended a special ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Centre Court.
The 40-year-old winner of 20 Grand Slam titles has been out of action since a quarter-final loss at the tournament in 2021 before undergoing another bout of knee surgery.
Weeks later he announced he had to undergo yet another operation on his knee and having already celebrated his 40th birthday, there were fears that fans would never again see Federer's silky racket skills in a competitive arena.
He plans to return to action at the Laver Cup in London in September and then take part in his home tournament at Basel. "I knew walking out here last year, it was going to be a tough year ahead," said Federer, who received a standing ovation when he entered the court. "I maybe didn't think it was going to take this long to come back — the knee has been rough on me."
Federer, dressed in a dark suit, was one of a host of Wimbledon champions at the ceremony that preceded the programme of matches on middle Sunday, established from this year as a permanent feature.
The Swiss star broke through at Wimbledon in 2001 with his famous win over Pete Sampras before lifting the first of his eight titles two years later.
"I've been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court," he added. "It feels awkward to be here today in a different type of role but great to be here with all the other champions. "This court has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses."
Federer was joined at the ceremony by two men responsible for some of those highs and lows — six-time champion Novak Djokovic and two-time winner Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic defeated Federer in the 2019 final, the longest ever at the tournament, which stretched over five sets and almost five hours.
"I feel more nervous now than when I'm playing," said Djokovic, who will be back on Centre Court later Sunday for his last-16 tie against Tim van Rijthoven.
"This court has been truly special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I've seen, when I was four or five years old I saw Pete Sampras wining his first Wimbledon.
"This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the highlight of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step out on this court I relive these memories. Truly an honour."
When barbecue buddies Ons Jabeur and Tatjana Maria step on to Centre Court for their Wimbledon semi-final on Thursday, the loyalties of an eight-year-old German girl who will be sitting in the players' box will be severely tested.
Nadal emerged triumphant that day, winning in five sets in a four-hour 48-minute epic of fluctuating fortunes that stretched out over seven hours because of constant, momentum-shifting rain interruptions.
Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer reached the last-32 of a Grand Slam for the 70th time as he disposed of British wild card Jay Clarke 6-1, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in the second round at Wimbledon on Thursday.
Speaking about her plans to open a tennis academy in Dubai, she added: "My new project is about opening a tennis academy here in Dubai for local Emirati tennis player to become a champion and one day have the chance to play in Wimbledon and elsewhere..."
Her victory in the Women's singles badminton at the Commonwealth took her to completing a hat-trick of medals at the Games with a win over Michelle Li of Canada in the women's singles final in Birmingham.
She picked up her first victory since the 2021 French Open on Monday, beating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4 at the women’s National Bank Open.
The six-time defending champions showed their opponents no mercy in sweltering conditions on the final day of sporting action in Birmingham.