“More to Come”: Roger Federer Welcomes Capacity Crowds at Wimbledon Championships 2021 But Wary of Future

Published 07/07/2021, 10:30 PM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates winning his fourth round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego REUTERS/Paul Childs


Roger Federer has opened up on the Centre Court going back to hundred percent capacity starting with the men’s quarter-final fixtures on Wednesday.

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Speaking to reporters ahead of his last-eight clash with in-form Pole Hubert Hurkacz, the eight-time Wimbledon champion said while he welcomes the return of capacity crowds at the Centre Court, he fears that it may still be a while before normality in terms of breaking away from tournament bubbles is restored to tennis.

The quarter-final fixtures, which also features Novak Djokovic against Marton Fucsovics, Karen Khachanov against Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini versus Felix Auger-Aliassime will mark the first time since the pandemic struck that an outdoor sports event in the UK will be capacity crowds.

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“Still not 100% convinced we’re on the other side”: Roger Federer on pandemic restrictions

However Federer, though enthused with the return of familiar sights and sounds around the hallowed lawn, doesn’t see it replicated elsewhere on the Tour just yet.

Asked if the return of capacity crowds to the Centre Court is a sign of the sport emerging from the pandemic and its fallout, the Swiss said, “You would hope so that that’s the case, I am still not a hundred percent convinced that we are on the other side.”

The 39-year-old added that even last year, things looked promising in the summer with cases plateauing across Europe but it wasn’t long before fresh surges came to be reported.

“I still think there is more to come. Last year, (in) the summer, we also felt the same way, super positives, having a few cases here and there, it looked very promising. Then everything changed again later on in the year,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion said.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his fourth round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego REUTERS/Paul Childs

He added that those living in Europe, especially, have to avoid a false sense of security or complacency vis-a-vis Covid-19 as the convention for people there is to gather and mingle socially at pubs and restaurants.

Fans at Wimbledon make players feel special: Federer

“For us in Europe, it gets tricky because if you want to see people it has been indoors, restaurants and bars and all that stuff. So we’ll see how it turns out,” Federer said.

In a word of praise for the spectators at Wimbledon, the 2019 runner-up said they are always in good voice and seldom, if ever, make it seem as though they are less than capacity. 

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“The fans here at Wimbledon do such a nice job to make us feel so special, us players and the championships. Hundred percent crowds are going to be incredible after playing night sessions in Paris, (with) five people. The difference is immense,” the champion said.

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Federer had earlier said it was tough staying in the bubble as the best he could do is to check in on his loved ones on the phone thrice a day.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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