Tennis: Roger Federer tells the story of being refused entry to Wimbledon

Roger Federer told Trevor Noah the funny story of the time Wimbledon security refused to let him in. Video / The Daily Show

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has shared the story of how he was denied entry to the esteemed tennis club due to not being able to produce a membership card.

Federer, speaking on The Daily Show, told host Trevor Noah his fame and success failed to convince one security guard that he should be allowed to enter the club for a cup of tea and to experience what the venue is like when it isn’t hosting a tournament.

“The doctor’s appointment was done, I looked at the watch and saw we had two hours to kill, so we thought we could have tea at Wimbledon,” explained the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“I’ve never really been to Wimbledon when the tournament isn’t on, so I drove up to the gate, where guests usually come in. My coach was with me at the time, and I went up to the security lady like, ‘I got this.’ But I didn’t!”

Instead, his multiple attempts to convince one rule-abiding security guard that he should be allowed entry proved futile.

“She asked me if I had a membership card… I honestly didn’t know anything about a membership card; it’s probably at home somewhere. I told her I didn’t have the card but I am a member, and I was just wondering how to get in… She tells me, ‘You can get in on the site, but you have to be a member.’

Without his card, Federer was forced to play his joker, explaining to the guard that he did, in fact, deserve entry to the club, with or without a card in hand.

“I’m in a panic now, and I feel so bad about this but I look at her and say, ‘I’ve won this tournament eight times. Please believe me, I am a member. Where do I get in?'”

However, not even this ploy worked and Federer was forced to find another entrance where a passerby saved the day for the megastar, asking for a selfie in front of two new security guards who were immediately enlightened to his presence. These Wimbledon staffers reacted much differently to the first.

“The security guards that are there, they’re like ‘oh my god Mr Federer, what are you doing here? Do you have your membership card?’ I’m like, now I don’t, but is it possible to get in? ‘Of course, we’ll open the door, let me organize it’.”

Once allowed entry, Federer sat down for tea with the club chairman for an hour and his troubles were settled. However, there was one lingering thought that crossed the Swiss star’s mind.

“I thought of going to the other side and giving a wave, [to let the other guard know] that I was in, but I didn’t do it.”

Federer officially retired from professional tennis in September as the current record-holder for most Wimbledon titles in men’s tennis, ahead of the seven won by William Renshaw, Pete Sampras and Novak Djokovic.


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