In the modern era of ultra-high security and rampant paranoia, it would seem that even being one of the world’s most recognisable sportsmen no longer guarantees you the freedom to enter the men’s locker room at the Australian Open unobstructed.
Discovering this the hard way on Saturday was twenty-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, who was stopped from entering the locker room following morning practice by a particularly zealous member of the tournament’s security team.
The tennis legend, perhaps taking for granted that his famous face would be sufficient to get him access backstage, had no formal means to prove his identity and so was halted from proceeding.
How would you expect one of Federer’s gravitas and status to react to being told that he was missing his accreditation?
The tennis legend dutifully awaited the arrival of one of his entourage to arrive and confirm he really was who he said he was, of course.
Federer was promptly allowed to enter - see below.
At the Australian Open players and coaching staff are expected to carry their identification lanyard, which includes a name, photo, tournament role and unique barcode with them at all times, quite clearly with no exceptions.
Ultimately the security guard was merely doing his job, a fact clearly appreciated by the patient Federer, who deserves credit for not stooping into the murky realm of ‘Don’t you know how I am?’.
Federer has enjoyed a serene first week in defending the Australian Open title he won in 2018, beating Denis Istomin, Brit Dan Evans and Taylor Fitz in straight sets to reach the fourth round, barely breaking into a sweat as he has progressed.
He will next face Greek 14th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.
This will be the first match-up between the 6-times Australian Open winner Federer and the 20-year-old Tsitsipas, who lost in the first round of last year’s tournament but then proceeded to march up the rankings in what was a breakthrough 2018 season.
The Greek will look to defy the odds and claim a major scalp should he find a way past Federer’s formidable form, as long as his opponent manages to avoid forgetting his credentials and is allowed onto court in the first place