Roger Federer set for Wimbledon return as talks reach advanced stage
Roger Federer made an emotional appearance on Wimbledon’s Centre Court last summer and it seems as if it may not be his last at the All England Club.
Federer was a surprise attendee at a parade of champions to mark 100 years of the most famous tennis court in the world, with the eight-time champion receiving a rapturous ovation.
Now it has emerged that he could be set to return to Wimbledon to start a career as an analyst, with the BBC in talks with the tennis icon over appearing on their revamped coverage.
After Sue Barker retired from her role as host of the network’s coverage last summer, rumours swirled to suggest Federer could be part of the BBC team for 2023.
Now it appears the Swiss icon is open to the prospect, as he is in talks over taking on a TV role for the tournament that gets underway in July.
Federer has spoken about what he will do after tennis and has hinted that a career as a commentator could be an option.
“I am really looking forward to what is next. It is going super well. I want to see how I am involved in tennis in some shape or form,” he stated.
“I want to see how it goes. There are not many jobs in tennis like in soccer or golf, I feel like they have many more. We are either a coach or a commentator.”
There is an expectation that Federer would not want to commit to the full two weeks of Wimbledon, as he has admitted his priority now is his wife Mirka and four children.
Yet the prospect of him working for the BBC and possibly US network ESPN in the final few days of The Championships would be an exciting option for broadcasters.
The BBC are also waiting to confirm who will replace Barker as host of their coverage, with Claire Balding the strong favourite to take over.
Former British No 1 Tim Henman was linked with the role, but that will never happen for one of the leading members of the Wimbledon committee.
Yet Barker appears to have revealed who will take over from her, as she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by BT Sport.
Respected broadcaster Clare Balding was in conversation with Barker at the awards ceremony, when it seemed she confirmed she will be handing over the BBC baton to a presenter who has been a key part of the Wimbledon coverage for the network in recent years.
“Leaving Wimbledon was incredibly rough,” said Barker at an event on her book tour last November, before she added: “I know I’m leaving it in the safest hands with Clare.”
Barker was also asked about the prospect of Federer becoming a BBC pundit and while she did not have any inside knowledge on the talks, she admitted he was his favourite player of all-time.
“We have been blessed to watch this incredible era of the sport and all three of these great players will be remembered as greats of the game,” said Barker.
“Djokovic might well end up with the most Grand Slam titles and what Nadal has achieved at the French Open with his 14 titles is just incredible.
“But I look at the way they play and Roger Federer made the game look so easy. Also, the role model he was to kids and his popularity around the world is second to none. He has been voted the most popular player for 20 years in a row.
“We were so lucky to have him playing until he was 40 and for me, I would still say at the moment that Roger is the best for everything he stands for and what he has given the sport.
“I was very fortunate to be part of the Parade of Champions on middle Sunday at Wimbledon this year and Roger came over to take part.
“We didn’t know he was coming until half an hour before so it was very exciting.
“Then at the end, John McEnroe made a special presentation to me as it was my last year with the BBC and I was blubbing.
“Roger looked at me and reminded me of the time I made him cry on Centre Court when he won Wimbledon for the first time and it was a lovely moment.”
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