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Roger Federer denied entry to Wimbledon grounds by overly eager security guard

CNN 12/9/2022 Amy Woodyatt

Diehard Wimbledon fans know how hard it can be to get into the grounds of the famed tennis tournament, with spectators often camping overnight to get in a pole position to join a seemingly endless queue just for a chance to watch the championships.

So spare a thought for Roger Federer, the eight-time winner of the tournament, whose plans to visit SW19 recently were almost thwarted by an eager security guard.

The recently retired Swiss great – a 20-time grand slam champion and arguably one of the most recognizable names and faces in tennis – found himself in London two weeks ago with a few hours to kill, he told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show on Wednesday.

Though he hadn’t let Wimbledon know he was in town, Federer decided it might be nice to grab tea at the tennis club.

“I have not really been at Wimbledon when the tournament is not on, so I drive up to the gate, where usually guests come in, where you would arrive and then you go up,” Federer explained.

“I get out and tell my coach who was with me at the time, Severin [Luthi], I’ll quickly go out and speak to the security lady, I got this,” said Federer, before pausing and adding: “I did not.

“So then I get out and I’m like, ‘Yes, hello, I was just wondering how I can get into Wimbledon? Where is the door? Where is the gate?’” Federer continued. “She [asked]: ‘Do you have a membership card?’ I’m like, ‘Uh, we have one?’

“When you win Wimbledon, you become a member automatically,” Federer, whose on-court achievements amount to 103 singles titles, explained, but added that he had misplaced his membership card.

“I tell her normally when I’m here I’m playing and there’s loads of people and I come in a different way and it’s the first time I’m here while the tournament is not on and I don’t know where to get in, so I’m just asking you again, where can I get in?’” Federer said.

“She’s like, ‘Well at the side, but you have to be a member.’”

Even after the embarrassed Federer explained who he was, the 41-year-old was still no closer to being allowed in.

“So I look at her one last time and I’m in a panic now,” said Federer. “I’m so sorry, I still can’t believe I said that, and I still feel bad about it, and I look at her and I was like, ‘I have won this tournament eight times. Please believe me, I am a member, where do I get in?’”

© Provided by CNN Federer, who has won Wimbledon eight times, celebrates during the men's singles final against Andy Roddick in 2004. - Simon M Bruty/Getty Images

Unfortunately, even this didn’t change the guard’s mind, so the defeated tennis great got back in the car and later pulled over.

Thankfully, a fan spotted him on the walkway and asked for a selfie, prompting other security guards to spot him and eventually let him into the grounds, where he was greeted by the club’s chairman {Ian Hewitt].

Of course, Wimbledon wants it to be known that in spite of the saga, the door is always open for Federer.

“You’re welcome any time,” Wimbledon’s official account responded to the tale on Twitter.

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