Retired Swiss great Roger Federer made a surprise appearance on his favourite stage to the delight of Centre Court ticket holders at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

Federer, whose 20 Grand Slam singles titles include a record eight at Wimbledon and who many regard as the greatest player of all time, retired last year at the age of 41.

With his long-time rival Rafa Nadal also absent this year as he tries to regain his fitness and Serena Williams also retired, Wimbledon is missing some of its favourite players.

But even without his racket, Federer had the Centre Court crowd drooling during a short video presentation played on the scoreboards before defending women’s favourite Elena Rybakina took to the court for her opening match.

The film captured Federer’s glittering Wimbledon career, from his first title in 2003 to his last in 2017.

Federer, wearing a cream blazer, took his seat in the Royal Box alongside his wife Mirka and the Princess of Wales as the 15,000 capacity crowd gave him a standing ovation that lasted several minutes. (Reuters/NAN)