Roger Federer's fears over confronting scenes at Wimbledon

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·Sports Reporter
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Roger Federer has welcomed the return of fans at Wimbledon, but has cautioned against incidentally prompting another wave of coronavirus infections. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Roger Federer has welcomed the return of fans at Wimbledon, but has cautioned against incidentally prompting another wave of coronavirus infections. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Roger Federer has welcomed the return of capacity crowds at Wimbledon with a sense of caution as the 39-year-old fan favourite mounts a determined All England challenge.

As the Swiss superstar was awaiting the conclusion of the rain-delayed round of 16 match between Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz, a major Wimbledon change was unveiled.

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The All England club announced they had been given permission to forego the 50 per cent crowd limit in place for the earlier rounds of the tournament.

The cap was part of an agreement to allow fans to attend as the country comes slowly out of the Covid-19 pandemic which in 2020 caused Wimbledon to be cancelled for the first time since the Second World War.

While Federer was keen to see the return of fans at the famous tournament, he cautioned that world tennis was not yet done with the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm still not a hundred percent convinced we are on the other side. I still think there is more to come," said Federer of his fears of another wave.

"Last year in the summer we also felt the same way, super positive, having a few cases here and there.

"It looked very promising, then everything changed again later on in the year."

With the caps now dropped, Centre Court can host the full complement of 15,000 spectators, while Court One will see just over 12,000 fans hosted for the semi-finals.

After playing in front of near-empty arenas during the French Open, thanks to government-imposed 9pm curfews for spectators, Federer said having fans back in full voice would make a massive difference.

"We'll see how it turns out to be now that we have a hundred percent capacity. I mean, it already almost felt like a hundred percent, to be quite honest, because the fans here at Wimbledon, they do such a nice job to make us feel so special," added Federer.

"A hundred percent crowd is going to be incredible. Playing the night session in Paris it was five people. The difference is immense.

"I hope it stays this way. I hope that this tournament or the Euro (football championship) or whatever events are going to keep on happening in the future also are not going to create more burden on more families and more people.

"So let's enjoy it for what it is now. I feel safe as it's outdoors, a big space. But, yes, it's also very new for me because I haven't played much on the tour yet, so I'm still very, very careful, especially with close contact."

Djokovic, Federer loom large at Wimbledon

Poland's Hubert Hurkacz was the last to book his place and will face his hero, Federer in the semis.

He came from two sets to one down to win his rain-interrupted fourth-round match against Daniil Medvedev 2-6 7-6 (2) 3-6 6-3 6-3 after it finally resumed on Tuesday.

Swiss maestro Federer, nearing his 40th birthday, reached this stage for the 18th time on Monday.

World No.1 Djokovic also cruised into the quarter-finals for the 12th time on Monday as he seeks the sixth Wimbledon title that would equal Federer and Rafael Nadal's 20 grand slam titles.

Few would bet against them continuing their compelling rivalry with a 51st career clash in Sunday's final, having contested three others, including two years ago when Djokovic saved match points to beat Federer in a cliffhanger.

Roger Federer celebrates his win against Lorenzo Sonego on centre court on day seven of Wimbledon at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Monday July 5, 2021. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Roger Federer celebrates his win against Lorenzo Sonego on centre court on day seven of Wimbledon at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Monday July 5, 2021. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Six of Wednesday's cast have reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time, matching the record of 1991 and 2002. And the way Italian powerhouse Matteo Berrettini and Canadian duo Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime have arrived there suggests they are not ready to stop now.

The 34-year-old Djokovic will face unseeded Marton Fucsovics in the opening match on Centre Court, followed by eight-time champion Federer's clash with Hurkacz.

Fucsovics is the first Hungarian to reach a Wimbledon singles quarter-final since Zsuzsa Kormoczy reached the women's semi-finals in 1958 but now faces one of the toughest challenges in sport.

The world No.48 has lost both his previous meetings against Djokovic, but says he enjoys playing against the Serb who is bidding to reach his 41st grand slam semi-final.

With agencies

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