18 June, 2024
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‘I’ve won this tournament eight times!’: Roger Federer shares hilarious Wimbledon story


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With 20 grand slams under his belt, Roger Federer is one of the greatest athletes of our time.

But that doesn’t mean he’s always recognised out in public – even at Wimbledon.

The Swiss tennis great appeared on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show on Thursday (local time), where he revealed he had been denied entry at the prestigious All England Lawn Tennis Club just two weeks ago.

Any player who wins Wimbledon is granted membership to the exclusive members-only club.

Federer has won the British a whopping eight times – a record for a professional male tennis player.

Yet, he was still remarkably denied entry.

“I didn’t want to tell Wimbledon that I was gonna maybe be there, and I didn’t know if I was gonna have time to go by the club,” he told Noah.

But he realised he did have a few hours to spare, and decided to go and “have tea at Wimbledon”.

Federer said it was his first visit to Wimbledon when the tournament was not on. Nor had he previously visited the All England Club outside the playing season.

He quickly ran foul of a zealous security guard, who wouldn’t let Federer enter without proof that he was a member.

“I get out and I’m like, ‘yes, hello, I just was wondering how I can get into Wimbledon. Where’s the door? Where’s the gate?’

“And she [said] ‘do you have a membership card?’”

He did not.

“When you win Wimbledon, you become a member automatically. Honestly, I don’t know about membership cards. It’s probably at home somewhere.”

He told the security guard: “No, I don’t have a membership card, but I am a member. I’m just wondering where I can get in?”

But the guard held firm, telling him membership was required.

Federer insisted that he was, indeed a member.

“Normally when I’m here, I’m playing,” he said.

“There’s loads of people, and I come in a different way. And this is the first time I’m not here while the tournament’s not on and I don’t know where to get in.”

The guard was unmoved.

“The other side, but you have to be a member,” she said.

With the security guard putting up a fight, Federer had to bring out the big guns.

“I look at her one last time and … I couldn’t believe I [said] that because I still feel bad about it, but I look at her and [say] ‘I have won this tournament eight times. Please, believe me, I am a member’.”

It was to no avail.

A defeated Federer retreated to his car, where his coach was waiting patiently.

“My coach is like, ‘All good? Where do we get in?’ And I’m like, ‘Don’t talk’.”

Eventually, Federer tried another entry point where, to his delight, some of the staff did recognise him.

But they repeated the request for his membership card.

“No, I don’t,” Federer said. “But is it possible to get in?”

“Of course!” the guards said, to the champ’s great relief.

Eventually, Federer got his cup of tea, and even mingled with the club chairman and other members for an hour.

“I did think about going over to the other side and giving a wave that I was in, but I didn’t do it,” Federer said.

Federer last won Wimbledon back in 2017, beating good friend Rafael Nadal in five sets.

Federer, 41, announced his retirement from grand slam tennis in September, saying that he was listening to the message his body was telling him.

He played his final professional game at the Laver Cup in London, with Nadal as his doubles partner.

The pair were beaten by Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock.

Both Federer and Nadal broke down in tears as the O2 Arena and the tennis world farewelled the Swiss great.

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