Roger Federer and BBC Wimbledon coverage

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

The Telegraph newspaper reports that Roger Federer and his advisors are in talks with the BBC that may lead to Federer joining the Wimbledon coverage team.

The opportunity to bring Federer back to Wimbledon for TV work would significantly boost the tournament.

The last time Roger Federer visited Wimbledon  –  in late November  –  he was denied entry by an overzealous security guard who wanted to see his membership card.

Federer was denied entry to Wimbledon grounds.

The All England Club, however, now finds itself courting Federer for a commentary role at the tournament he won eight times.

The Telegraph reveals advanced talks for Federer to join a revamped BBC production. New presenters and a studio are part of the plan atop the old broadcasting center.

Federer hinted at his possible availability in September, on the eve of the  Laver Cup event in London that saw him retire from professional tennis.

”Commentating the odd match or giving back in this way, I guess I could imagine it,” he told reporters. ”Sometimes you watch matches because of the commentary and less about the match itself.”

Perfect timing for a BBC production reinvention. Avoiding the clunkiness of past attempts, especially the ill-fated Wimbledon 2-day show, is crucial.

Sue Barker, a veteran presenter, retired last summer after 22 years. Boris Becker, released in December, isn’t expected to return.

Clare Balding and Isa Guha, known for their achievements in horse racing and cricket, are expected to share the main presenting duties.

Federer’s presence as a pundit will surely add charisma and gravitas to a production that depends heavily on John McEnroe’s verbal fluency.

Post-retirement, Federer shared his Wimbledon security guard story on The Daily Show. He also attended Paris Fashion Week with his wife Mirka. (See video above)

His Instagram showcases diverse content, from a skiing video after 15 years to an art installation project in Venice. The latter involves him stripping down to underwear before being encased in plaster.

Unlike McEnroe, Federer won’t spend Wimbledon frantically working. McEnroe juggles BBC TV, radio, and ESPN’s American coverage during the fortnight.

Federer leans towards a serene lifestyle. Doubling up between BBC and ESPN could involve alternating deals, such as daily commentary matches or punditry appearances.

Federer’s substantial costs may be covered by two different employers. He used to command at least $1m per day for exhibition events.

BBC paid McEnroe between £180,000 and £184,999 in the last two years. However, retaining other overseas stars like Roddick, Hewitt, and Courier has proven challenging for regular Wimbledon coverage.

Federer received a rapturous standing ovation at Wimbledon last year.

For comparison, Balding’s salary is between £205,000 and £209,999, and Guha’s at between £155,000 and £159,999  –  although they both work on other sports as well.

Becker was never paid enough to be included among the biennial disclosure of the BBC’s highest-paid stars, who must earn at least £150,000 to be included.

The All England Club collaborates with the BBC and rights-holders, handling in-house production for live match coverage.

Leveraging the most popular Wimbledon champion’s presence is in the tournament’s interest. Last summer, their arrival prompted a rapturous standing ovation on Centre Court during the 100th-anniversary ceremony.

Federer also enjoyed a special rapport with Barker, who famously reduced him to tears when she interviewed him after his maiden Wimbledon title in 2003.

”I hope the club will do a tribute for him next year,” Barker told the Telegraph in September.

”If I were in the job I would certainly be pushing to celebrate his career at Wimbledon.”

With acknowledgment and thanks to the Telegraph Sports Department and Simon Briggs.

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