THERE’S a towel thief at Wimbledon and his name is Roger Federer.
“Yeah, I do take a few,” smiled the No 1 seed after sweeping aside Jonas Bjorkman in just 77 minutes. “I have a big collection, stacked back home.”
At £24, the men’s and ladies’ towels are one of the biggest sellers in the Wimbledon shops. I’ve bought quite a few myself over the years.
But Federer, who has enough money to open a Swiss bank, doesn’t need to flash the plastic. “It’s a good gift. We only get them on the courts and not in the locker room.”
Mind you, he’s s not the only guilty party. The All England Club say that half of the 5,000 towels made available to the players each year are not returned. They end up stuffed in the bottom of their tennis bags.
Bjorkman all but threw in the towel against the lord of the strings. The start of the first semi-final was delayed by the weather, but the veteran Swede may as well have stayed at home.
The task of preventing Federer from taking a fourth consecutive title on Sunday now falls to the last man standing – Spain’s intriguing Rafael Nadal, who might just give Roger a game.
It looked like the Centre Court crowd, who had paid £77 a ticket, were going to be short-changed, until French Open champion Nadal walked on with Marcos Baghdatis. Limassol’s Mr Entertainment lost, but will be remembered. “It’s been fun,” he said after the match.
The most poignant moment at Wimbledon today was the two minute silence for the victims of the July 7 attack on London. A year ago I was at Tavistock Square, scene of the bus bomb.
Twelve months later, it was moving to see the silence perfectly observed as rain fell across the green and pleasant grounds of SW19, so far removed from the horror of that day.