Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer will certainly hold a special place in his heart for SW19.
But it turns out that even the tournament record holder cannot easily access the tournament ground, as the Swiss icon discovered when he went there recently for tea.
In his illustrious career, the 41-year-old – who recently retired from tennis – has won the All England Club Winners’ Trophy topped with a pineapple more times than anyone else in the Open Era.
However, he has now revealed that a security guard recently refused him entry when he returned there for a whirlwind visit.
“I didn’t want to say at Wimbledon that maybe I was going to be there,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion told the Daily Show on American television.
“I didn’t know if I was going to have time to go through the club, because I was going to go home with my family.
“So the doctor’s appointment was made, OK, we’ve got two hours to kill, so what are we going to do? Are we going to the airport? Or quickly go for tea at Wimbledon?
But the former tennis star quickly broke down when he tried to enter the court, all because he didn’t have a membership card.
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He continued: “I haven’t really been to Wimbledon when the tournament isn’t taking place. I drive to the gate, where the guests usually enter.
“I quickly get out and talk to the security lady. ‘Yes, hello, I was just wondering how I can get into Wimbledon? Where is the door? Where is the door ?
“And she [says], ‘Do you have a membership card?’ I’m like, ‘Uh, do we have one?’ Because when you win Wimbledon, you automatically become a member.
“Honestly, I don’t know about membership cards. They’re probably at home somewhere. And I just traveled so I had no idea.
“I say to myself: ‘No, I don’t have my membership card but I am a member. I just wonder where I can get in. And she [says]’Yeah, but you have to be a member.’
“I look at her one last time and I am panicking now. And I’m so sorry and I couldn’t believe – I still can’t believe I’m saying that because I still feel bad about it.
“And I would look at her and say, ‘I’ve won this tournament eight times, please believe me, I’m a member and where can I get in? “”
But the security guard didn’t move and Federer had to be saved by a passerby who passed by and asked for a selfie, alerting security guards to his presence and allowing him to enter.
“I thought about crossing to the other side and giving a wave that I was in,” Federer said. “But I did not do it.”
The tennis legend has made the Wimbledon final 12 times, being crowned champion for the first time in 2003 and winning his last title in the competition in 2017.
Federer was also a Wimbledon junior champion, before turning pro in 1998.
Prior to his retirement, he hadn’t played a professional match since his quarter-final loss at SW19 in 2021, and announced earlier this year that he was hanging up his racquet.
But, yeah, maybe bring your membership card next time, Roger.
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