Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer made an unannounced visit to the venue that has provided a stage to some of his greatest triumphs last month.
Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer made an unannounced visit to the venue that has provided a stage to some of his greatest triumphs last month, but he didn’t get the reception he might have expected.
After a trip to London for a medical assessment on the knee injury that forced him to end his career in September, Federer made a late call to drop into Wimbledon for lunch.
All former champions are given membership to the All England Club and that grants entry to the club’s member’s restaurant, but Federer’s face was not well-know enough for a security guard.
“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 and a new set of scurity guards gave him a very different welcome.
“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.