Roger Federer has spoken for the first time about the comical scene that unfolded at the gates of Wimbledon earlier this month.
With eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer in London for a medical consultation relating to his ongoing knee problem, he decided to pop down to the All England Club and make use of his members’ privileges.
All winners of The Championships are awarded automatic membership of the club, with Federer among the more celebrated champions in the history of the grass-court tournament.
Yet that status counted for nothing when he showed up to have an unannounced lunch at the All England Club, with a security guard unaware of who she was dealing with.
“The doctor’s appointment was done and I had two hours to kill, so I said let’s go to Wimbledon for tea,” he told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.
“I drive up to the gate where usually guests would come in. So I get out, and I tell my coach who was with me, ‘I’ll quickly go out and speak to the security lady. I got this’.
“So then I get out and I’m like, ‘Hello I was wondering how I could get into Wimbledon?’ Where is the door, where is the gate. She asked if I had a membership card.
“When you win Wimbledon, you become a member automatically. And honestly, I don’t know about membership cards, they are probably at home somewhere and I’ve just been traveling so I had no idea.
“I told her, ‘No I don’t have my membership card [with me], but I am a member. I’m just wondering where I can get in’.
“I’m like, ‘No, I am a member and normally when I’m here, I’m playing. There is loads of people and I come in a different way.
“Now it’s the first time the tournament is not on and I’m here’. How do I get in?”
Federer then admitted he was embarrassed by his final comment to the security guard as he added: “I look at her in a panic one last time, and say: ‘I’m so sorry but I have won this tournament eight times, please, believe me, I am a member… where do I get in?’”
Federer was then forced to go to the main entrance at Wimbledon, where a fan noticed him and asked for a selfie before a different set of security guards welcomed him with open arms.
“They asked me for my membership card again, but I said they didn’t have it and they just said: ‘Of course Mr Federer, come in’.”
Federer went on to praise the security guard for doing a good job as he revealed he was greeted by the All England Club chairman as he enjoyed the quiet lunch he had planned.
The tennis legend also reflected on his transition to life after tennis, as he admitted he was content away from the court for now.
“I feel a little bad at the moment, it has been a super easy transition so far… I might fall off the cliff tomorrow, who knows,” he added.
“The thing is I told so many people (there were requests) to reach out to me when I am retired.
“So now we have had to say no in a thousand different ways and messages.
“I feel bad about saying no but I feel I have to take the time to make the next move. I am still very busy and I have four children: Twin boys that are eight and twin girls that are 13.
“It needs to be my priority with my wonderful wife Mirka. I am really looking forward to what is next. It is going super well. I want to see how I am involved in tennis in some shape or form.
“I want to see how it goes. There are not many jobs in tennis like in soccer or golf, I feel like they have many more. We are either a coach or a commentator.”
Federer retired after the Laver Cup in September and has hinted he will play exhibition matches around the world the future.
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