Federer stopped by Wimbledon security guard
LONDON – Roger Federer has been retired for only three months, but the eight-time Wimbledon champion is having to get used to ordinary life, including being turned away unrecognised at the All England Club.
Speaking on American TV programme The Daily Show, the Swiss legend revealed that a security guard succeeded where many an opponent failed on the grass of Wimbledon, stopping him without a ball being hit.
Federer, 41, took his final tennis bow at September’s Laver Cup in London – he had not played competitively since Wimbledon in 2021 because of a knee injury, which ultimately persuaded him to call time on his glittering career.
He was back in London in November for a doctor’s appointment and decided to head to Wimbledon for tea as it was still two hours before his flight home.
“I didn’t want to tell Wimbledon that I was going to maybe be there,” said Federer. “I didn’t know if I was going to have time to go by the club because I was going to fly home to the family.
“So the doctor appointment was done. OK, we got two hours to kill.
“So what are we going to do? Do we head to the airport? Or let’s quickly go have tea at Wimbledon?”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion admitted he had never visited the venue in the leafy well-to-do southwest London neighbourhood when it was not Wimbledon fortnight.
“I drive up to the gate, where usually guests come in,” he said.
“I quickly go out and speak to the security lady. ‘Yes, hello, just was wondering how I can get into Wimbledon? Where is the door? Where is the gate?‘ And she (says), ‘Do you have a membership card?‘ I’m like, ‘Uh, we have one?‘
“Because when you win Wimbledon, you become a member automatically.
“Honestly, I don’t know about membership cards. They’re probably at home somewhere. And I’ve just been travelling so I had no idea.”
Federer, renowned for his good manners on court, explained to her he did not have his membership card on him but asked if she could point him in the direction of where he could enter the club.
“She (says), ‘Yeah, but you have to be a member’,” recounts Federer.
“I look at her one last time and I’m in a panic now.
“And I’m so sorry and I couldn’t believe – I still can’t believe I say that because I still feel bad about it.
“And I’d look at her and say, ‘I have won this tournament eight times, please believe me, I am a member and where do I get in?‘ “
Federer eventually succeeded in entering on the other side of the All England Club – only due to a member of the public drawing attention to the fact he was there to the security guards.
“I thought of going over to the other side and giving a wave that I was in,” said Federer.
“But I didn’t do it.” - AFP