Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is the latest high-profile figure to test positive for Covid-19 at Wimbledon… with the nine-time winner ‘so bummed’ to miss out on Centre Court anniversary celebrations
- Wimbledon’s greatest singles champion will be absent after contracting Covid
- Martina Navratilova was unable to take part in the parade of champions today
- Navratilova won a record nine singles titles at SW19 between 1978 and 1990
- She has since joined BBC’s media coverage of the Grand Slam competition
Wimbledon’s greatest ever singles champion Martina Navratilova missed out on the parade of champions on Centre Court after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
The Czech-born American became the latest player – both former and current – to be absent from the action at SW19 after contracting Covid, joining the likes of last year’s finalist Matteo Berrettini, Marin Cilic and Roberto Bautista Agut.
Centre Court celebrated its 100th anniversary on Sunday with a parade of Wimbledon champions, including eight-time winner Roger Federer, five-time champion Venus Williams, two-time winner Rafa Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic.
However record-winner Navratilova was absent, and she took to social media to confirm her diagnosis, writing: ‘Yup, got it here for sure… oh well. So wanted to be on that court with so many champions of our sport.’
‘Unfortunately I will miss it as I just tested positive this morning. Am so bummed!!!! I am gutted I can’t be there.’
Navratilova won a record nine Wimbledon singles titles between 1978 and 1990 in a career which saw her dominate tennis with 18 total Grand Slam titles.
Nine-time winner Martina Navratilova was absent from the parade of champions with Covid
A host of former Wimbledon winners were on show for the Centre Court Centenary celebration
Since her retirement, the former left-hander has become a prominent commentator in the sport, and has been a part of the BBC’s coverage at SW19.
However she will now likely be absent for the rest of the tournament after confirming the diagnosis, as she joins a growing list of Covid-enforced withdrawals.
Navratilova joins 2021 men’s finalist Berrettini, 2014 US Open champion Cilic and Spaniard Bautista Agut, who withdrew before his second-round tie with Daniel Galan.
And she was due to join her fellow champions on Centre Court on Sunday to celebrate the famous court’s centenary.
Rodger Federer was one of the former champions that returned to the court for the celebration
Federer was joined on court by Novak Djokovic – who is currently playing in the tournament
Those champions included Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Andy Murray, Williams and more, while the stands were filled with 1,500 refugees and a host of celebrities.
Federer celebrated his impressive record in SW19 with the crowd on Sunday afternoon and received a hero’s welcome as he walked out onto the court.
Fans were heard screaming and cheering for the Swiss tennis player – who has provided the world with historic moments over the years.
Speaking during the celebration on Centre Court, Federer said: ‘I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court. It feels awkward to be here today in a different type of role.
Venus Williams (left) and Marion Bartoli (second left) shared a joke as they stood alongside Billie-Jean King and Angelique Kerber (right and second right)
‘It’s great to be here with all the other champions. This court has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses. I hope I can come back one more time. I’ve missed it here.’
Bjorn Borg, Martina Hingis, Stefan Edberg, Billie Jean King, Rod Laver, Conchita Martinez, Stan Smith, Ann Jones, Marion Bartoli, Margaret Court and John Newcombe were also invited to celebrate.
Centre Court has been the main stage at the Championships since 1922, when the tournament relocated from SW19’s Worple Road to Church Road.
From Althea Gibson being the first black player to win Wimbledon in 1957, to former grand slam great Boris Becker winning the year the Berlin Wall came down, it has hosted many memorable moments in history.