Chauffeuring for Wimbledon
At the beginning of June 2009 I received a phone call from a former police colleague at Mercedes UK at Milton Keynes. He asked me if I was free to do a fortnight’s work at Wimbledon driving Roger Federer in a Mercedes 500 S class, starting on 29th June. It’s not every day you get asked this, so I was definitely up for it.
My daily journey was from home just outside Beaconsfield to Wimbledon. Like many tennis professionals, Roger rented a house in Wimbledon so that he was less than a mile from the courts. I had visions of countless trips to and from the courts but I needn’t have worried. These were catered for by fleets of Hertz cars & people carriers.
My role had not been previously defined and it became clear from the start that I would be providing a personal service away from the tennis courts , not only to Roger, but to his pregnant wife Mirka and members of his family. So during the fortnight, we had: a photo shoot for Nike at an industrial estate in Acton, haircuts at John Micheal, dinner at The Berkeley, and a visit to Bond Street to select the latest Rolex. (Rolex and Nike are the main sponsors for Roger).
During the fortnight, I found Roger, Mirka and his family a delight to chauffeur. They were always willing to talk to me and interested to hear my views. I omitted to say that I hoped Andy Murray would beat him! (Andy didn’t). On one occasion I bemoaned to Roger about the lack of lane discipline on our motorways. He was very quick to point out that in Switzerland you get fined on the spot if you don’t return to your lane after overtaking!
The S Class behaved impeccably – as you come to expect from these limousines – and with the black exterior and privacy glass, it looked every bit the accessory to a truly great tennis professional. Roger is no stranger to Mercedes – amongst his collection, he drives a CLS. He was interested in all the gismos the 500 had. One of the most useful was a fridge which accommodated bottles of chilled water. Needless to say, I was very reluctant to hand the car back.