The further we go into the tournament here at the All England Club, the more interesting – and random – the faces in the stands become and Friday was no exception.
While actor Bradley Cooper and his model girlfriend Irina Shayk are repeat visitors, with Cooper making clear where his allegiances lie dressed in RF merchandise, a surprise attendee was supermodel Heidi Klum and boyfriend Vito Schnabel were sitting in Milos Raonic’s box during his semi-final with Roger Federer.
We’re not sure where the Raonic-Klum connection is. It could be that Raonic, who is a huge art enthusiast, knows Schnabel, who is an art dealer, or that Raonic’s model girlfriend Danielle Knudson is a contemporary of Klum’s.
After the match, the lawns outside the Players’ Restaurant resembled a backstage scene at London Fashion Week, rather than a hangout area at a tennis club. Cooper spent some time chatting to Federer’s wife Mirka, before he found an empty spot on the grass to sit on the ground and chill with Shayk.
Jude Law was also in the stands on Friday, so was fellow British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and his model girlfriend Frances Aaternir.
I get particularly excited when I see some of the former players around the grounds – the ones who aren’t coaches and do not play in the Legend’s events, meaning they aren’t regular faces at the slams.
Americans James Blake and Amer Delic showed up, so did Croatian Mario Ancic, who now works in investment banking in New York.
Ancic has always been regarded as one of the nicest guys on tour and on Friday he reminded us all why. He walked into the main room at the press centre, past several aisles before heading straight to Italian journalist Gianni Clerici.
“Grande Gianni,” Ancic told the 86-year-old as he gave him a hearty hug. Nice to see that some things never change.
Delic tweeted a photo from Henman Hill, where it seems he watched the semi-finals.
Can’t someone spare him a pair of Centre Court tickets? He did take Novak Djokovic to four sets here in the second round in 2007 after all.
Roger Federer insists that missing out on another Wimbledon title does not spell the end of his career as he walks away from the All England Club feeling more secure about his future in the game than he was coming into the tournament.
The Swiss, who spent a large portion of 2016 dealing with injuries to his knee and his back, lost a close 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 semi-final to sixth-seeded Milos Raonic on Friday.
And while many considered this Wimbledon his last chance of capturing a major, particularly in the absence of Novak Djokovic, who lost in the third round, Federer says his goals never have and never will just rest on this event.
“While I’m in the tournament, it’s a dream to win my eighth (Wimbledon title). It’s not my only reason why I play tennis, just to be clear, otherwise I’ll go in a freeze box now and come out before Wimbledon next year,” said Federer.
“That’s not how we do it. We usually play 60 matches and we travel the world to try to achieve other things, as well. I know Wimbledon is important, but it’s not everything, everything. A lot of things that I’d like to achieve besides winning Wimbledon.
“For me, the match against (Marin) Cilic (in the quarters) – the 10 sets I played the last two matches really gives me the belief that I’m much more ‑ how do you say ‑ match fit or tougher physically than I thought I was. I never thought I could do this before the tournament started.
“Actually, it’s very encouraging for the season, hopefully for the rest of my career. Not that I was worried it was going to end somehow, but I was insecure coming into Wimbledon.
“It’s been a great run for me here, I must say. I just hope with the slip I had in the fifth, I’m going to be fine tomorrow and beyond. I mean, curious in a weird way to find out what’s the deal now.”
In the fourth game of the fifth set, Federer took a tumble as he tried to run sideways to cover the net and he immediately got some medical attention, mid-game, while facing a break point.
The Swiss world No3 says he is still unsure how his body will react to that fall.
He also had treatment on his right thigh during the match and later revealed it has been bothering him throughout the tournament.
A reporter asked Federer if the way he soaked up the applause as he was walking off Centre Court implied this could be the last time he would be playing there.
The 17-time major champion’s response was loud and clear.
“That was not how I was looking at Centre Court. I was looking at Centre Court as in thank you for the crowd, thank you for the great feeling that you gave me throughout The Championships,” said Federer.
“I was fortunate enough to play all my matches on Centre Court. I don’t take that for granted.
“For me, it’s a respect towards Milos to wait for him. Like in the olden days, you walk off together, same time thank the crowd, then leave the stage for Milos really at the end.
“That’s what I was going through, not thinking about this might be my last Wimbledon.
“And, yes, I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear for you.”
Andy Murray will chase his second Wimbledon crown against first-time finalist Milos Raonic after the title contenders took contrasting paths to the All England Club showpiece.
Murray made it to his third Wimbledon final with a ruthless 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 demolition of Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych, while Raonic stunned Roger Federer with a 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory on Friday.
Raonic’s first win on grass against a top 10 opponent shattered Federer’s hopes of claiming a record eighth All England Club crown and 18th major.
The 34-year-old Swiss star was on the brink of becoming the oldest All England Club finalist in 42 years when he took a two sets to one lead, but the big-serving Raonic hit back to avenge his 2014 Wimbledon semi-final loss against Federer.
“There was a little opening and I took it,” said Raonic, who is the first Canadian man to make a Grand Slam final.
“It’s a big impact for Canada. Hopefully, it will be even bigger if I win on Sunday.
“I was struggling throughout the third and fourth sets, he was playing some real good tennis. It’s a great feeling to be continuing.”
It is the first time since 2002 that neither Federer, Novak Djokovic nor Rafael Nadal have made the Wimbledon final.
On the evidence of his Centre Court masterclass, world number two Murray will be favoured to clinch his third Grand Slam title in Sunday’s final – three years after becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
Murray, beaten in eight of his Grand Slam finals, will hope it is third time lucky this year after losing the Australian and French Open finals to Djokovic.
Murray holds a 6-3 lead in his head to head record with Raonic and defeated the 25-year-old on grass three weeks ago in the Queen’s Club final.
“I’m very happy. To make the Wimbledon final is a good achievement. I’ve got one more to go on Sunday,” Murray said.
“The older you get you never know how many chances you will get to play in a Grand Slam final.”