Paying warm tribute to the man who had just moved above him in history's rankings, Pete Sampras said: “He's a modest guy, and I like that.” Still, modesty obviously comes in many guises, doesn't it? And some of those guises apparently have gold numerals on them.
For here is the greatest tennis player ever and, in many respects, the embodiment of cool - a man for whom the traditional pro-tennis demeanours (pent up, self-flagellatory, permanently boiling with anguish) are anathema. And yet, at the same time (and there is no getting round this), even before the gold numerals came out, this was the Wimbledon at which Federer routinely turned up with a gold-trimmed racket bag. If he had opened it up and a Chihuahua had popped out, it would have been no surprise.This was also the Wimbledon at which he warmed up in one of James Last's waistcoats. Was there no one around him who could say, “Rodge - get a grip”?