Roger Federer hopes he can grace Centre Court at Wimbledon one last time as he bids to return from the knee injury he suffered last year.

The 20-time grand slam champion has not played since undergoing knee surgery after a straight-sets defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals at SW19 last July, having also missed much of the 2020 season with a similar injury.

But Federer, an eight-time Wimbledon champion, has repeatedly ruled out retiring and said last month he intends to make an ATP tour comeback in 2023.

Speaking alongside a swathe of former Wimbledon champions at a ceremony marking 100 years since the opening of Centre Court, the 40-year-old said he hopes to extend his long association with the tournament when he returns.

"I've been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court, it feels awkward to be here today in a different type of role, but it's great to be here with all the other champions," he said.

"This court has given me my biggest wins, my biggest losses, one of my highlights of course was in 2001, walking out here with Pete Sampras [for a memorable fourth-round match], who inspired a lot of us to play, to try to be successful and represent the sport well, I hope I did that.

"I hope I can come back like you said, one more time."

Federer's injury woes have reduced him to featuring at just three of the last 10 grand slams, and he revealed his recovery had taken longer than he anticipated. 

"Of course, I've missed being here, I would have loved to be here," he added.

"I knew walking out here last year [after his exit] it was going to be a tough year ahead. 

"Maybe I didn't think it was going to take me this long to come back, but the knee has been rough on me.

"But I've been happy, it's been a good year, regardless of tennis."

Nick Kyrgios labelled Stefanos Tsitsipas "soft" and defended his on-court antics after the Greek called him a "bully" in the aftermath of their ill-tempered Wimbledon clash.

Kyrgios recovered from one set down to post an impressive 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) win over the fourth seed, setting up a last-16 tie with Brandon Nakashima with a scintillating performance on No. 1 Court.

But the contest was not without controversy, with Kyrgios frustrating Tsitsipas by calling for him to be defaulted after the Greek narrowly missed a spectator when firing a ball into the crowd at the end of the second set.

The Australian then labelled the umpire a "disgrace" during an extraordinary outburst, and his antics seemed to get under the skin of Tsitsipas, who was deducted a point for sending another ball towards the spectators before appearing to hit a couple of shots directly at Kyrgios.

While Kyrgios praised his opponent – with whom he played doubles at Wimbledon three years ago, as "a hell of a player" in his post-match interview, neither player was in the mood for niceties in their respective news conferences.

First up was Tsitsipas, who accused Kyrgios of "constant bullying".

"That's what he does," the world number five said of his rival. "He bullies the opponents. He was probably a bully at school himself.

"I don't like bullies. I don't like people that put other people down.

"He has some good traits in his character, as well. But he also has a very evil side to him, which, if it's exposed, it can really do a lot of harm and bad to the people around him."

Kyrgios, who has now claimed four wins in five career meetings with Tsitsipas, responded to that criticism shortly thereafter, alleging the Greek was not popular in the locker room and saying his inability to handle such matches would hold him back.

"He's that soft, to come in here and say I bullied him? That's just soft," Kyrgios said. 

"We're not cut from the same cloth. If he's affected by that today, then that’s what's holding him back, because someone can just do that and that's going to throw him off his game like that. I just think it's soft.

"I don't know what to say. I'm not sure how I bullied him.

"He was the one hitting balls at me, he was the one that hit a spectator, he was the one that smacked it out of the stadium.

"I didn't do anything. I was actually like… apart from me just going back and forth to the umpire for a bit, I did nothing towards Stefanos today that was disrespectful, I don't think. I was not drilling him with balls.

"I feel great, the circus was all him today. I think if he's making that match about me, he's got some serious issues, I'm good in the locker room, I've got many friends, I'm actually one of the most liked [players]. I'm set.

"He's not liked, let's just put that there. I'm good, I feel good."

Kyrgios is just one win away from matching his best run at Wimbledon, having reached the quarter-finals in 2014 with a win over Rafael Nadal before being beaten by Milos Raonic.

Nick Kyrgios acknowledged having his "own tactics" after overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas in a dramatic, ill-tempered affair to reach Wimbledon's last 16.

Kyrgios produced an outstanding display to rally after losing the first set on No. 1 Court, eventually prevailing 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in an incident-filled match.

The enigmatic star set the tone with an incredible outburst after a frustrated Tsitsipas struck a ball into the crowd at the end of the second set, narrowly missing a spectator.

The Australian immediately called for his opponent to be defaulted, recalling Novak Djokovic's contentious exit from the 2020 US Open after he had accidentally hit a line judge in frustration after dropping a game.

Kyrgios could be heard calling the umpire a "disgrace", and then, after Tsitsipas had been let off with a warning, the unseeded talent asked: "Are you dumb?"

He then hit out at the umpire, yelling: "What are you talking about? Novak hit someone, it is the same, it happened right there. 

"Bring out more supervisors, I'm not done. You can bring them all out, I don't care. I'm not playing until we get to the bottom of it. 

"What happened to Novak when he hit the ball into a girl? She was injured. You can't hit a ball into the crowd and hit someone and not get defaulted."

But the drama was far from done as Tsitsipas flew into a rage of his own early in the third, having been hit with a point deduction for wildly firing another ball towards the crowd – but hitting the scoreboard instead – after Kyrgios produced a mischievous underarm serve when holding to love.

The fourth seed's frustration was evident as he then appeared to hit a couple of shots right at Kyrgios to boos from spectators, who vociferously cheered every point for the Australian.

But after producing some outstanding tennis to end the aggravated Tsitsipas' hopes of winning a first grand slam title, Kyrgios said he had no problems with the Greek, whom he played doubles with at Wimbledon in 2019.

"Honestly, it was a hell of an atmosphere, an amazing match, I honestly felt like the favourite coming in; I played him a couple of weeks ago, but I knew it was going to be a tough match," he said.

"He's a hell of a player, I had my own tactics out there – he knows how to play me, he's beaten me once, and obviously I've had success, so it was a hell of a match.

"I'm just super happy to be through, he was getting frustrated at times and it's a frustrating sport, that's for sure. I know you all think you can play, but it's very frustrating, whatever happens on the court, I love him."

Kyrgios now holds a 4-1 head-to-head lead over Tsitsipas, having also got the better of the world number five on the grass at the Halle Open earlier this month.

The 27-year-old also previously courted controversy during his run to the fourth round when he spat in the direction of a "disrespectful" fan during his first-round win over Paul Jubb.

But Kyrgios claimed his antics serve to drive interest in the sport, adding: "It's amazing, everywhere I go I seem to have full stadiums.

"The media loves to write that I'm bad for the sport, but clearly not."

Rafael Nadal was quick to apologise for appearing to upset opponent Lorenzo Sonego when he called him in for a word late in a dominant Wimbledon win.

Nadal saw off Sonego in straight sets and was in complete control for much of the third-round match, only briefly losing his composure when the Centre Court roof was closed following a lengthy plea from the 27th seed.

When the contest resumed, Nadal – who had not faced a break point until that stage – was broken to love in a game in which he took issue with a noise Sonego made as he approached the ball.

Nadal appealed to the umpire for some form of discipline immediately after the point and then took the matter into his own hands following the game.

The Spaniard called over a bemused Sonego and seemed to admonish him, leaving the Italian clearly frustrated and engaging in a prolonged discussion with the umpire.

Nadal then broke back and quickly wrapped up a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory, before the pair met again at the net.

The 22-time major champion first attempted to explain his actions to Sonego, then to the umpire and finally to the Centre Court crowd.

After a highly respectful first answer in his on-court interview – acknowledging his "best match" of the championships so far against "a great player", "the most difficult player I've faced" in this run – Nadal discussed the confrontation.

It was suggested the encounter had been "spicy", but Nadal interrupted: "Sorry, not spicy at all. From the bottom of my heart, I didn't mean it in a negative way.

"I feel very sorry if I bothered him – I just wanted to tell him something. I did it in a nice way, and I feel now really bad if I bothered him. I'm sorry for that.

"That's it. I was talking to him, and now I'm going to talk to him, but this was not a problem, I don't think, at all."

Rafael Nadal enjoyed serene progress into round four at Wimbledon with a stylish 6-1 6-2 6-4 defeat of Lorenzo Sonego on Saturday.

For the first time at SW19 this week, there was little evidence of Nadal's recent fitness problems as he completely outclassed his Italian opponent.

And on this form, the calendar Grand Slam appears a genuine possibility for the Australian Open and French Open champion.

Indeed, it was hard not to feel sorry for Sonego – and he did appear to have the sympathy of the Centre Court crowd – as Nadal's strokes painted pretty patterns around him.

The Spaniard remarkably dropped only two points on his own serve in the first set – both to double-faults. It was a similar story in Sonego's service games, too, as he held at the first attempt but then lost the next nine in succession.

Such was Nadal's superiority a relieved Sonego lifted his arms to salute the crowd as he finally held serve in the fifth game of the second and was given a generous cheer.

That small victory scarcely slowed Nadal, who wrapped up the second on his own serve and then blasted Sonego away in the opening game of the third to break once again.

Sonego soon found a more effective way to hold up his opponent, however, appealing at length for the Centre Court roof to be closed and eventually succeeding after a brave hold and a handful of points on Nadal's serve informed officials he was capable of dragging the contest out under fading light.

So it briefly proved, as Nadal – perhaps irked by the delay – lost his composure and was broken to love after Sonego made a noise as he approached the ball; Nadal deemed the umpire an unnecessary middle man and called Sonego over for a word, clearly upsetting the Italian.

A fired-up Nadal immediately broke back, and after finally delivering a little drama, the match – and Sonego's campaign – was over.

Data Slam: Rafa ramping up

This was Sonego's first meeting with Nadal, and he might have picked a better time to face this fiercely focused great. The 22-time major champion has now won 10 third-round Wimbledon matches in a row, including the past four without dropping a set. Sonego had a hard enough time merely winning a game for much of the match.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 24/17
Sonego – 19/17

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 2/4
Sonego – 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/8
Sonego – 1/1

Another big-serving display from John Isner at Wimbledon means he now has the most ATP Tour aces on record.

Ivo Karlovic – one of only two tennis stars taller than the giant Isner – had set the benchmark with 13,728 across his career, the most since aces were first tracked in 1991.

But Isner has chipped away at that total over the course of this week at the All England Club.

The American's 54 aces in five sets against Enzo Couacaud in the first round made him the first player to pass 50 in a grand slam match since he had last done so versus Steven Johnson at the 2020 US Open.

And there were a further 36 in an epic second-round win over Andy Murray, leaving Isner just four short of matching Karlovic and five away from passing him.

Against Jannik Sinner, in Friday's third round, Isner raced past his target, tallying 12 aces in the first set alone.

It is a record Isner is likely to own for some time, with 43-year-old Karlovic absent from the ATP Tour this year and playing only six main-draw matches in 2021.

Roger Federer is third on the list, way back on 11,478.

Andy Murray's Wimbledon journey has ended in the second round despite a spirited fightback against John Isner in a four-set thriller.

The three-time grand slam champion - two of which have come at SW19 - will not add a fourth to his collection after he was downed by the big-serving American 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 on Centre Court on Wednesday.

Yet the 35-year-old did not go down quietly against the number 20 seed, forcing a tie-break in the third set to prevent a straight-sets win for his opponent before ultimately fading in the fourth.

For Murray, it marks the earliest exit of his Wimbledon career, having previously always reached the third round at senior level.

Despite never dropping more than two games behind Isner across the contest, the Scot was crucially never able to break serve. 

Isner sent down a stunning 36 aces, including three in succession in the final game of the match to put him on the brink of victory, before a neat backhand over the net sealed the deal.

Novak Djokovic says he will support his former coach Boris Becker and the German's family in any way he can during his time in prison.

Becker was jailed for two-and-half years at the end of April after being found guilty of concealing £2.5million of assets to avoid paying money he owed after his bankruptcy.

The six-time grand slam champion's girlfriend, Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro, and his son, Noah, were in Djokovic's box on Centre Court for his first and second-round matches at Wimbledon.

Djokovic had Becker in his corner for three years as his coach until the end of 2016.

The legendary Serbian has not been in direct contact with Becker, but vowed after outclassing Thanasi Kokkinakis at SW19 on Wednesday that he will always be there for the 54-year-old and his relatives.

He said during a media conference at the All England Club: "I haven't been communicating directly with him, but I've been communicating to him through them [Becker's family] and I was really glad to have hosted his girlfriend and his son Noah for my first round and now today second-round match.

"Noah and his younger brother, Elias, are going to visit Boris I think in the next few days for the first time since he went to prison and I've been just trying to give support to people around him, his closest people, his family members because I consider Boris as a family member. He's someone that I greatly appreciate, respect and care about.

"We've been through a lot together and during those three years of collaboration and our relationship dates back even before that. After we finished our professional relationship we always stayed close; him with my team, my agents and my family.

"It breaks my heart to see what is happening to him, so this is a little gesture of friendship to invite them. He knows and they now they can always count on me for whatever support or help I can provide."

Defending champion Novak Djokovic outclassed Thanasi Kokkinakis in a domineering straight-sets victory to march into the third round at Wimbledon.

The top seed moved majestically as he made a statement on Centre Court, winning 6-1 6-4 6-2 in just two hours on Wednesday.

Djokovic breezed into a 3-0 lead in an opening set he served out to love after breaking for a second time, returning majestically as he dominated the Australian.

The 20-time grand slam champion needed just the one early break in the second set as he served superbly and was ruthless at the net, while also bossing rallies from the back of the court.

World number three Djokovic was relentless as he broke twice in a one-sided third set before ending the match with a hold after saving the only break point he faced.

Six-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic will face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in round three at the All England Club.

Data slam: Djokovic near flawless as he extends winning run to 23

That is 23 wins in a row at the grass-court grand slam for three-time defending champion Djokovic.

The tournament favourite dropped a set in his win over Kwon Soon-woo on Monday, but barely put a foot wrong two days later.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 29/14
Kokkinakis – 31/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 1/3
Kokkinakis – 11/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 5/13
Kokkinakis – 0/1

Nick Kyrgios emerged victorious from an opening-round five-setter against British wildcard Paul Jubb at Wimbledon on Tuesday but controversy again followed, with the Australian blasting the "disrespect" he feels he receives.

The 27-year-old defeated Jubb 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 and hit 67 winners but after a drama-filled three hours and five minutes, his prompting of a line judge to speak to the chair umpire and demands for some fans to be removed were punctuated by spitting towards a section of the crowd upon victory.

Earlier this month, tournament organisers in Stuttgart investigated when Kyrgios claimed he was racially abused by sections of the crowd during a match.

At his post-match news conference, Kyrgios jousted with journalists on the capacity of older line judges to make accurate calls, but primarily focused on the perceived normality of on and off-court abuse.

"A lot of disrespect was being thrown today from the crowds," he said. "I’m just starting to think that it’s normal when it’s really not.

"I didn’t say anything to the crowd until they started just every time I came down to the far end, people just going. It’s just I don’t know if it’s normal or not.

"Just pure disrespect, just anything. Someone just yelled out I was s**t in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. I just don’t understand why it’s happening over and over again.

"Have you ever gone to a supermarket and just started berating someone scanning the groceries? No. So why do they do it when I’m at Wimbledon? Why is that?"

In a testy news conference, Kyrgios was himself accused of lacking respect, but he lamented over not being able to respond to the abuse he receives on the court without some kind of punishment.

The world number 40 insisted he has no regrets on spitting towards an unruly fan after his win.

"Today, as soon as I won the match, I turned to him," Kyrgios said. "I’ve been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don’t feel like I owed that person anything.

"Like, he literally came to the match to literally just, like, not even support anyone really. It was more just to, like, stir up and disrespect. That’s fine. But if I give it back to you, then that’s just how it is.

"There’s a fence there and I physically can’t do anything or say anything because I’ll get in trouble. They’re able to say anything they want."

 

Alize Cornet claims several players contracted COVID-19 at last month's French Open, but kept the outbreak quiet in order to avoid mass withdrawals from the tournament.

Wimbledon has already been rocked by two high-profile male players withdrawing after testing positive for the virus, with last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic both pulling out ahead of scheduled first-round matches on Tuesday.

Now Cornet, who equalled Ai Sugiyama's all-time record of 62 consecutive grand slam main-draw appearances in a win over Yulia Putintseva on day two, claims there were cases at Roland Garros that did not come to light.

"At Roland Garros, there was a Covid epidemic, no one talked about it. In the locker room, everyone got it and we said nothing," she told L'Equipe.

"When it comes out in the press, with big players, it will start to set fire to the lake everywhere and that worries me a little.

"[2021 French Open winner Barbora] Krejcikova withdrew saying she had Covid, and the whole locker room was sick. 

"At some point, we all might have had the flu. The thing is, we have the symptoms, itchy throat… we play and everything is fine, it's fine. 

"At Roland, I think there have been a few cases and it's a tacit agreement between us. We are not going to self-test to get into trouble! 

"Afterwards, I saw girls wearing masks, maybe because they knew and didn't want to pass it on. You also have to have a civic spirit."

Rafael Nadal was delighted to pass an "important test" against Francisco Cerundolo in his Wimbledon opener and refused to blame his foot injury after dropping the third set against the Argentine.

Nadal was made to work on Centre Court on Tuesday, requiring three hours and 33 minutes to wrap up a 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-4 win over Cerundolo.

The 22-time grand slam champion made 41 unforced errors but regained his composure to move into the second round, winning 11 consecutive points as he fought back from a break down in the fourth set to ensure he will face Ricardas Berankis.

The Spaniard says his lack of action on grass was always going to ensure it would not be plain sailing at SW19.

"I'm going to be talking about my foot today and not anymore, if it's fine for you guys," said the second seed, who is in the hunt for a calendar Grand Slam.

"We cannot be talking about my foot every single day. If not, we forget the most important thing: that is tennis.

"All credit to Fran, he started to play great and he has been a very tough opponent.

"Grass is not a surface we play very often and especially in my case, for different reasons, the last three years I didn't put a foot on the grass.

"It always takes a while – this has been my first match and every day is a test and today has been one of those important tests.

"At the beginning of the tournament, especially under the circumstances that I arrived here, the victory is the most important thing because that gives me the chance to practice tomorrow again and to have another match in two days, and I'm happy for that, without a doubt."

Nadal played his first grass-court match in three years just last week when facing Stan Wawrinka in an exhibition contest, and is participating at the All England Club for the first time since a run to the semi-finals in 2019.

Rafael Nadal was forced to work for a first-round victory over Francisco Cerundolo on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

The world number two overcame a scare to secure a 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-4 win at SW19 despite making 41 unforced errors as he eyes a first calendar Grand Slam.

Second seed Nadal, who won his first grass-court match in three years in an exhibition match against Stan Wawrinka last week, secured a break in the fourth game but Argentine Cerundolo immediately responded, finishing with a strong overhead volley after the Spaniard lost his footing after his service.

Cerundolo was certainly not fazed by his all-conquering opponent, with the pair exchanging thrilling rallies and both displaying an array of brilliant shots in a first set that Nadal won by breaking for a second time.

The 22-time major champion made a scrappy start to the second set, but a solitary break in the sixth game put him one set away from round two.

In the third, Cerundolo continued to battle as he broke Nadal back immediately to peg him back at 2-2 and edged in front at 5-3 before serving out the set to raise hopes he could pull off a huge shock.

The world number 42 continued to excel as he opened up a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, but Nadal roared back and won 11 consecutive points, breaking twice to seal his spot in the second round without being taken the distance.

He will face Ricardas Berankis in the second round at the All England Club.

Data slam: Nadal matches Navratilova record

Nadal's victory saw him equal the great Martina Navratilova's record of 306 grand slam wins in his career.

That puts him joint-fourth on the all-time list, behind only Roger Federer (369), Serena Williams (365) and Novak Djokovic (328)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 23/41
Cerundolo – 30/46

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 5/3
Cerundolo – 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/14
Cerundolo – 4/18

Feliciano Lopez equalled Roger Federer's record of 81 main-draw appearances at grand slam events in the Open era but he was beaten in the first round at Wimbledon.

The 40-year-old made his grand slam debut at the 2001 French Open and had appeared in every major since the 2002 event in Paris until he failed to progress through qualifying at Roland Garros this year.

Spaniard Lopez went down in straight sets to Botic van de Zandschulp at SW19 on Tuesday.

Ranked 214 in the world, Lopez is a three-time quarter-finalist at the All England Club, while he also reached the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2015.

Since then, the veteran has never progressed further than the third round at a grand slam.

Fabrice Santoro is third on the list behind Federer and Lopez with 70 main-draw appearances at majors, with Mikhail Youzhny and Fernando Verdasco on 69.

Nick Kyrgios hit out at a "rowdy" Wimbledon crowd after coming through a five-set thriller with Brit Paul Jubb in the first round.

The Australian was forced to come from behind to avoid a surprise exit, ultimately prevailing 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 on No.3 Court on Tuesday.

In a typically tempestuous performance, the world number 40 was frustrated by certain members of a partisan home crowd.

Kyrgios also accused a line judge of being a "snitch" as he aimed his grievances at the chair umpire, also calling for vocal spectators to be ejected.

The 27-year-old let his feelings be known after wrapping up his victory in just over three hours and paid tribute to his opponent.

"It was tough, he's a local wildcard, had nothing to lose and he played exceptional tennis at times," he stated. "He's going to be a good player for sure, I'm just happy to get through.

"The crowd was pretty rowdy. A couple of people were not shy in criticising me so that one is for you, you know who you are.

"Playing here is a lot of fun, Wimbledon over the last couple of years has been strange. We had bubbles last year and no ranking points this year, but it's special.

"It would've been a tough loss to take and I'm happy to get through. I just talk a lot on the court but off the court I'm not too bad."

Kyrgios will face either Serbia's Filip Krajinovic or the Czech Republic's Jiri Lehecka in the second round on Thursday.

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