Nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova will not be present at the special ceremony at The All England Club after testing positive for COVID-19. Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, is the most successful Wimbledon champion, having won the tournament a record nine times.
On Sunday a special ceremony is held for the centenary of the Central Court. Roger Federer, the eight-time Wimbledon champion on the men’s side, arrived at The All England Club for the special ceremony. Navratilova was also scheduled to take part in the act, but she sadly tested positive for COVID-19.
“Martina Navratilova, the greatest Wimbledon singles champion in history, will be sadly absent from the parade of champions taking place on Center Court today after having tested positive for Covid-19. She is the latest senior figure to have contracted the virus this week,” Stuart Fraser of The Times reported.
After the ATP and WTA decided to take points away from this year’s edition of Wimbledon, there were fears that the top players might decide to skip the tournament. Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka became the first major figure to reveal that she was thinking of skipping Wimbledon following the removal of ranking points.
When Navratilova was asked about Osaka’s comments, she said that she would like to talk to the Japanese and tell her the Wimbledon story. “It’s nice if you can walk away from a potential £2m payout. Most people don’t have that luxury,” Navratilova said a month ago.
“I don’t understand her mentality. I would like to sit down and tell her the Wimbledon story.”
Federer expressed a desire
Roger Federer said it was “awkward” to be in attendance at SW19 in a different capacity since he has played in the tournament for 22 successive editions.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court, feels awkward to be here today in a different type of role but it’s great to be here like Novak said, with other champions,” said Federer. “This court has given me my biggest wins, my biggest losses.
One of my highlights has of course been in 2001, walking out here with Pete Sampras, who I’d like to give a big shoutout to – he’s also won and inspired a lot of us to play and just also to be successful here and represent the sport well and I hope I did that. I hope I can come back, like you said, one more time,” added the Swiss.