LONDON — After his surprising exit in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday, defending champion Roger Federer retired to his posh hotel suite with his elegant wife and lovely twin daughters. Although no one saw the 17-time Grand Slam winner leave the premises, hours later a man matching his description reportedly robbed the famed Crown Jewels from the Tower of London; five guards were killed, and two of them were apparently fed to a rare breed of Swiss lynx. Scotland Yard attempted to question Federer, only to be told the tennis legend had already returned to Zurich aboard his private jet.
Sources close to Federer indicate that, as his Grand Slam victories have grown fewer and farther between, the former world No. 1 has taken on strange habits and affectations. These include an unsettling fascination with lasers, taking on a ex-ball-boy “manservant” with snaggleteeth and a checkered past, and an eye patch that trainers confirm Federer definitely doesn’t need.
“As the quality-of-play begins to fade for tennis greats, they typically turn to private coaching, starting their own academies, or television commentary, like me,” said John McEnroe. “Roger appears to be leaning more toward world-class super villainy. He has a private fortune of more than $150 million; he speaks, like, seven languages, and his wardrobe is just stuffed with black and red, so maybe we should have seen this coming.”
McEnroe added: “I always said his forehand was deadly.”
Federer, 31, has been seen skulking through Monte Carlo casinos in a smoking jacket, a gorgeous-but-damaged-looking woman on each arm, laughing haughtily at any who will dare to play him in baccarat. Also, he allegedly added something called a “cat pit” to one of his several Swiss chalets.
Perhaps most disturbing was a recent match in Madrid attended by British actor Daniel Craig. Federer defeated the Czech Tomas Berdych in straight sets—but as the crowd applauded the win, he turned and pointed his racket directly into the stands at Craig, fixing him with a vicious stare. Craig’s eyes widened cartoonishly and he craned his neck, searching the area behind himself for the actual recipient of the chilling warning.
But there was no one behind him.
Federer is 27 and eight for the year. His last loss came at Roland Garros to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has not been seen since.
“I’m worried about Roger,” said rival and eight-time French Open champ Rafael Nadal. “He has the record for most weeks at No. 1 and he made it to an astonishing 36 [Grand Slam] semifinals in a row, but nothing seems to be enough for him, does it? Someone even said he’s working on an exploding tennis ball. I only made it out of that hedge maze of his because of my freakishly large and strong left arm. Uh oh. Oh no. You know we, well … um, he and I, we might actually be building to something there.”