Roger Federer will be the firm favourite when he takes on Marin Cilic during the men’s Wimbledon singles final on Sunday afternoon.
The Swiss is chasing his eighth crown at the All England Club and will be spurred on by the vast majority of those attending his 11th final on Centre Court.
Federer has amassed a huge global fanbase over the course of his glittering 18-year career, so much so that he wins the popularity contest over whoever he faces almost anywhere in the world.
While the seven-time Wimbledon champion is especially loved by the London crowd, he’s unlikely to have it all his own way against his Croatian opponent.
Cilic is more than capable of pushing Federer to his limits, but one spectator will be hoping more than most for the latter to come out on top.
The Telegraph reports a lifelong Federer fan has placed a £50,000 bet on his hero to become the oldest Wimbledon champion in the open era.
The man has been identified simply as George so to avoid his girlfriend finding out about the outrageous gamble – who will be beside him in the crowd on Sunday, oblivious to the heightened stakes of the match.
"She's not terribly into tennis so I'm not sure she'll be best pleased," he said.
George has travelled to watch Federer play in several tournaments around the world, but this bet – which he claims to have made during a night out with his friends – takes his fondness for the veteran to a whole new level.
"I don’t do it often but when I do it, I make sure to do it properly.
"My bet on Federer came about on a boys’ night out, I’m ashamed to admit, but having watched him this season, I felt fairly confident that he could go all the way."
Although it seems like an impulsive decision on paper, George insists a great deal of thought has gone into this wager.
"Having won the three biggest tournaments played this season and with the decision to focus on grass and hard court tournaments as opposed to those on clay, it appeared he was gearing up to win his eighth Wimbledon trophy.
"He’s also come across so much more confident this year, than he has in a very long time. Federer wants to win.
"Although my bet makes me nervous, and has left me sleepless for weeks, out of any bets I’ve placed recently, this is the one I feel most confident in… maybe I've jinxed it now!"
George stands to pocket £162,000 if Federer comes through for him in what he plans to be the last act of his betting career.
However, even if fortune favours him this weekend, how his girlfriend might react is far less predictable.
"My girlfriend thinks I’m mad spending so much time and money watching tennis.
"Although I'm sure she'll be rather delighted with the bet, should I win, as who could be angry when winning such an amount of money?
"I’ll probably have to propose to my girlfriend as otherwise she may leave me when she finds out how much money I placed on this bet.”
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