Hit & Run: Rog's golden groupies
Tuesday 09 June 2009
Is it easier to be a GOAT (Greatest of All Time) if your cheerleaders aren't just mom, dad or uncle Toni? In the swooning analysis following Roger Federer's historic victory at the French Open on Sunday, this is the question that dangles as tantalisingly as a ball lobbed high over the net.
For although Federer's wife Mirka watches lovingly from the sidelines at every match, the leader of the celebrity Fed-Squad is Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of US Vogue, who cheered on the Swiss in Paris at the weekend.
The unlikely friendship between the 27-year-old player and the British-born fashion editor began back in 2007. Wintour, in a piece of killer accessorising that devastated other fashion editors' thousand-dollar It-bags, toted the decorative young player to sit front row at a Marc Jacobs catwalk show in Manhattan. When asked by New York magazine to name her favourite tennis couture, the normally stony-faced Wintour giggled, "Anything that Roger wears!"
Despite snide remarks that Wintour has been in the throes of "a crush", the relationship has endured and her wind-proof bob is now a fixture courtside at Federer games, while his adoption of made-to-measure cardigans and Prada is doubtless an Anna thing.
The Vogue editor's main rival as chief of the Fed-Squad is Roger's buddy Tiger Woods – although it's easier to see why these two are friends. In the early days of their amity, Federer explained: "He knew exactly how I kind of felt out on the court. That's something I haven't felt before, a guy who knows how it feels to feel invincible at times."
Still, it's not all manly heart-to-hearts about the perils of being perfect. Federer has supported Woods at tournaments in China and Miami, while the golfer told reporters, "Roger's a great guy and has become a really good friend."
Woods' appearances at Federer's matches have sometimes been controversial. In 2006 at the US Open, watching the final against the American Andy Roddick, Woods and his wife Elin rejected the neutral seats and sat in the Swiss camp.
"I didn't really notice until they showed him, you know," Roddick sniffed, of seeing Woods ditch patriotism out of loyalty to Federer, "But he's a big boy. That's his decision."
Other Americans regularly spotted in his private player box are the singer Gwen Stefani and husband Gavin Rossdale; Stefani met the Federers through her friend, the former tennis player Mary Jo Fernandez, wife of Roger's agent.
So, to join Federer's gilded coterie, one needs single-minded ambition, global fame, wealth, a fat-free body and your own line of clothing. Does Hit&Run hear the sound of Victoria Beckham urgently booking tickets to Wimbledon? Susie Rushton
The rites of Springwatch
So Kate Humble and Chris Packham, fellow presenters of Springwatch, BBC2's charming early-evening show about butterflies, badgers and other feathered/furry creatures, find themselves the target of scurrilous rumours about their blossoming (Get it? Blossoming! Spring? No...?) friendship. Bill Oddie never had to put up with this.
Then again, Oddie never made odd pop references that could be construed as obliquely sexual during onscreen exchanges with the married Humble. Last Monday, Packham lost a wager about fledgling blackbirds. "You said you're not a betting man," joked Humble, "but I think you should put your hand in your pocket." To which Packham pointedly replied: "You just haven't earned it yet, baby."
To a flustered Humble and the viewing public, who'd simply been sitting down to watch otters being cute, this sounded like some sort of lewd invitation. In fact, Packham had agreed to another bet with a friend, which required him to slip the names of songs by The Smiths into each day's programme.
"You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby", from the band's 1987 compilation album, The World Won't Listen, was Monday's choice, and Packham had prepped Humble with instructions, asking her to feed him a line about how it was time to pay up. She ad-libbed, he didn't – confusion ensued.
The episode will come as a relief to Packham's fans from his days on The Really Wild Show. Unlike many grown-up pre-teen idols, Packham – now a youthful 48 – must have been a bit cool in the Eighties, too. Tim Walker
Swimwear if you dare
While the economy's up the creek, life's a beach for those dealing in luxury swimwear. An £800 swimsuit has sold out at New York emporium Rosa Cha, where the crème de la crème of beach babes pick up their waterside wardrobes.
Not that they'll be swimming in it. The suit in question is made of butter-soft meshed brown leather and would be ruined if one dived into one's infinity pool whilst wearing it. Other pieces flying off the shelves of the SoHo boutique include a £2000 Swarovski crystal encrusted suit.
"The people that buy the pieces are people who can definitely afford these kinds of items," says shop manager Christina Delice, helpfully, of the limited edition range, which includes a £1190 kaftan (also sold out).
Still, looking trim in the leather suit at least won't be an issue, as many of the wearers are likely to be too hungry to manage much of a splash about. Harriet Walker
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