Roger Federer's defeat at Wimbledon today has proved doubly costly – not only has the six-time champion been defeated, but Oxfam have been denied a windfall of more than £100,000 due thanks to a bet placed placed by a man who left his estate to the charity when he died.
The original bet was £1520 on Federer to win the Wimbledon men’s singles at least 7 times before 2020 at 66/1, and Federer’s defeat against Tsonga this afternoon means Oxfam will have to wait for dividends of £101,840 from bookmaker William Hill. The good news for Oxfam is that the bet runs until 2020, meaning Federer potentially has another eight attempts to win the bet.
Mr Newlife left his entire estate to Oxfam when he died in February 2009, aged 69, which included the outcomes of the series of outstanding bets he had placed.
Cathy Ferrier, Fundraising and Supporter Marketing Director at Oxfam, said: "All of Oxfam have been cheering Federer’s progress for the past couple of weeks, and obviously we’re very disappointed that he’s bowed out of the tournament at this stage.
“The good news is we can still tune in next summer and hope Federer regains his title and brings in a six-figure sum to help us fight poverty.
“The real hero in the story, whatever happens, must be Mr Newlife, for his generous legacy gift and his tremendous sporting acumen.”
An earlier bet, £250 on Roger Federer to win at least 14 grand slam titles before 2020 at 66/1, won £16,750 for Oxfam and was claimed in 2010.
The bets, placed with bookmakers William Hill between 2000 and 2005 by Nicholas Newlife from Kidlington, Oxfordshire, are pinned on the future successes of tennis stars Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, and cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan.
William Hill’s Graham Sharpe, who took the bets from Mr Newlife, commented: “Of course we are somewhat relieved not to be one hundred thousand pounds worse off, but we can’t help feeling that Roger Federer is far from finished and probably still has at least one more Wimbledon in him, so the bet will continue to haunt us for at least another year!”
Should all the bets come to fruition, Oxfam would receive around £330,000, which would be enough to buy emergency rations for almost 46,000 people, safe water for more than 350,000 people, or buy 12,800 goats.
Oxfam benefits from the generosity of around 600 legacies every year – the charity receives on average around £10-11 million per year from legacy gifts.