Roger Federer is one of the most accomplished and respected tennis players of all time. With 20 Grand Slam singles titles to his name, Federer's legacy as an all-time great is cemented.

However, despite his own immense success, Federer has always maintained a deep respect and admiration for his fellow players, particularly his long-time rival Andy Murray.

When Murray announced his impending retirement from professional tennis due to a persistent hip injury, the tennis world was quick to pay tribute to the Scotsman's remarkable career.

Federer was no exception, and he expressed his disappointment at being unable to attend Murray's emotional farewell at Wimbledon on Thursday night, where Sue Barker came out of broadcasting retirement to send the Dunblane-born star off in style following a Men's Doubles defeat to Rinky Hikikata and John Peers on Centre Court.

In a series of candid quotes, Federer explained the logistical challenges that prevented him from being there in person, while also reflecting on the special bond he shares with Murray.

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“I wish I could’ve been there last night, but I already had obligations because I didn’t know exactly how it was all going to play out," the Swiss hero told ESPN. 

“I took an earlier flight on Tuesday to be here in case he played his singles and, as I boarded the flight, there was, ‘Andy’s not playing singles’. I was on standby, then unfortunately last night I couldn’t be there.

“I quickly went to see him before the match and I could see Andy was extremely nervous. Obviously Wimbledon means so much to him and his family and his team. I watched all the highlights. Amazing for him.

“He was there for my retirement at the Laver Cup at the O2 and I was so happy that he was around.

"I hope I get to see Andy, and what an incredible career. I loved played against him, even though he beat me probably 20 times. He’s been terrific, and of course it had to be emotional yesterday.”

Former BBC presenter, Barker, made a surprise return to Centre Court to speak once more to Murray and tournament director Jamie Baker elaborated on how the idea came to fruition.

“It was a big team effort that one,” Baker revealed. “We’ve been thinking about this for months and trying to really do a tribute that was focused on Andy and what would be fitting for his achievements and Sue, with the history they’ve had and the experiences, she was the obvious choice for us so we picked up the phone ages ago and she was obviously delighted to do it.”