After a 21-year-old Federer won Wimbledon for the first time in 2003, Nick Newlife of Oxfordshire, England, bet approximately $2,000 on the Swiss youngster setting the all-time record for most victories at the tournament. He received 66/1 odds on Federer winning seven titles by 2019.
Newlife died in 2009 at age 59 and left the betting slip in his will to Oxfam, an international charity collective devoted to fighting poverty. When Federer defeated Andy Murray on Sunday, the organization had a winning ticket worth $157,750 in its hands. It was a bittersweet financial gain for the charity, seeing as how it came against Great Britain's favorite son.
"It's just so unfortunate that he nailed it against Murray," Oxfam's Andrew Barton, told 5 live. "I was just sitting there watching the tennis and I kept finding myself calling for Murray, particularly in that long game in the third set."
Graham Sharpe, who works for the British bookmaker William Hill, took the "unique" specialty bet in 2003. He said it's drawn a lot of attention, including from its prime subject.
"A number of people have drawn Federer's attention to this bet," he told the BBC. "I don't know whether he's thinking about this hugely philanthropic gesture to Oxfam. It's certainly not going to harm his reputation if that's a side project."
Newcliffe apparently thought highly of Federer early in his career. He also bet $400 that Federer would break Pete Sampras' record for most Grand Slam titles. When Federer broke that record in 2009, William Hill paid more than $25,000 to Oxfam.
Note: A version of this post originally ran on Busted Racquet last week.
- Roger Federer
- Andy Murray