Sir Chris Hoy, Pep Guardiola and Sachin Tendulkar were just three members of global sporting royalty present on Centre Court for Cameron Norrie’s clash against Alexander Zverev yesterday.

And despite the British underdog saving a remarkable five match points during a heart-thumping third set tie-break, the former All England Club semi-finalist was unable to complete a turnaround of the magnitude many of those watching would have been proud of themselves.

This was no ordinary day at Wimbledon as Hoy, Guardiola and Tendulkar were joined by some of the nation’s most storied sporting superstars.

Cricketers Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jos Buttler were also in attendance as Olympians Jason and Laura Kenny, Adam Peaty and Torvill & Dean all flocked to SW19 with just 20 days to go until this year’s Paris showpiece gets underway.

The star-studded Royal Box guest list – also including Sandy Lyle, Roy Hodgson, Leah Williamson and Ben Ainslee – received a raucous reception in the moments leading up to Norrie’s hotly-anticipated showdown with Zverev, the world No.4.

And while the home favourite rallied in a bid to replicate his run to the last four back in 2022, it was the German who came out on top and therefore extinguished British men’s hopes at this year’s grass-court championships.

The former world No.8 went down 6-4 6-4 7-6 (15) in straight sets but that told far from the whole story after a tie-break for the ages that had the whole of the All England Club on the edge of their seats.

Even coverage of England’s Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland was pushed back around the venue as Norrie, who was plummeted down the rankings after a rotten run of recent results over the last few months, refused to give in and made Zverev work for every single point in order to eventually book a last 16 date with either Taylor Fritz or Alejandro Tabilo.

Norrie, 28, had lowered the colours of new British No.1 Jack Draper in the second round on Thursday but was unable to follow that up with the most unlikely of triumphs against Zverev, a two-time Grand Slam finalist.

Speaking after his defeat, Norrie said: “It was a really high, high level from both of us.

“He gave me absolutely nothing and honestly, I thought I played really well, but I couldn't really get into his service games.

“To be honest, it was really impressive and he's looking really good.

“That tie-break, both of us we didn't miss really for how many points, I don't know.

“But it was a tough match. I would have loved to have seen how the match would have gone if I'd won that tie-break, obviously.

“But I’m happy with the level and I loved it out there. I enjoyed it – it was so fun to get to play on Centre Court again against a top player, test myself: he’s playing unreal.”

Norrie will now turn his attention to a return to clay at Roland-Garros for the Olympics later this month.

And he added: “I’m really pumped for the rest of the season.

“I'm working so hard, I'm practicing really, really well, improving all my skills and hopefully I can put it all together.

“There's so much to look forward to the rest of the year - the Olympics, the States and the US Open.

“I'm excited and there’s till lots of tennis to be played.

“I think the most important thing is to get used to the movement and embrace the Olympics. I'm really excited for it and again, there’s nothing to lose.

“I can keep building from this Wimbledon and I'm happy to get back to the clay.”

As for Zverev, 27, he has now equalled his best run at Wimbledon – he also reached the fourth round in 2017 and 2021 – and will bid to emulate his exploits reaching the French and US Open finals at the start of next week.

The former world No.2 was far from oblivious to Manchester City boss Guardiola in the crowd and speaking on court after his triumph, said: “When I saw Pep I got so nervous for a few games there.

“Thanks a lot for coming, it’s a great privilege. If you get tired of football, you can coach me any time.”

Elsewhere on a rain-affected Saturday in SW19, fifth seed Daniil Medvedev safely navigated his way into the last 16 with a four-set triumph over Jan-Lennard Struff.

The 2021 US Open champion was forced to continue his Friday-scheduled clash the following day and won 6-1 6-3 4-6 7-6 (3) on Court 2.

The Russian, 28, will face world No.10 Grigor Dimitrov next and said: “We know each other very well – we’ve had some tough matches, some tough battles.

“We’ve had some interesting matches with a lot of good points – it’s going to be interesting to play against him on grass again.

“I will have to show my best tennis, serve well, hit the shots well because he can play very good tennis.”

American Ben Shelton, the No.14 seed, won in five sets for the third game in a row with another gutsy triumph over Denis Shapovalov.

The US open semi-finalist edged over the line with a 6-7 (4) 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 victory to set up a fourth round showdown with world No.1 Jannik Sinner.

Shelton, 21, said: “I definitely feel confident in how fit I am right now, how prepared I am to go the distance. I know I'm going to fight until the end out there.

“My confidence rises as I get deeper in the match. I just think that the more reps that I get throughout the match, the better I play.

“I'm really happy with where my body is at right now – I'm 100% ready to go the distance.

“If it happens to go five sets again tomorrow, I'll be ready to go the whole way.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website