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Fed fan raises a packet from beyond the grave

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Originally published on: 12/03/10 12:35

Roger Federer’s fundraising abilities really are rather spectacular.

After raising over $600,000 with his last minute ‘Hit for Haiti’ in Melbourne, the world No.1 is set to help rack up an expected $1million in a repeat event alongside Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells on Friday.

And his ability to generate cash for good causes has snowballed still further, after Federer – somewhat unintentionally – raised over $25,000 for Oxfam, with a little help from a shrewd punter from beyond the grave.

Nicholas Newlife, from Kidlington in Oxfordshire, placed £4,420 on long-term bets between 2000 and 2005, and when he died at the age of 69, Oxfam became the delighted recipient of his entire estate – betting slips included.

Clearly in tune with the potential of a young Roger Federer after the turn of the millennium, Newlife’s punts included a flutter on the 28-year-old winning 14 Grand Slam titles.

Of course, Federer achieved that feat at Roland Garros last year, defeating Robin Soderling in the final for his first French Open title – racking up a hefty £16,750 for Oxfam.

And that’s not all.

The plucky punter also splashed out £1,520 on Federer to claim the Wimbledon crown at least seven times before 2020, at odds of 66/1. It all looks a bit of a bargain now, given that the Swiss picked up his 16th Grand Slam title in Melbourne earlier this year and – with many touting him for all four this year – Oxfam could be in line to collect an extra £101,840.

All they require is Federer to claim a seventh title in eights years at the All England Club next July. Simple, right?

Oxfam spokeswoman Cathy Ferrier revealed the charity’s delight at the prospect, as well as their joy at the money already raised by Newlife’s hopeful punts.

“We’re enormously grateful to Mr Newlife for his generous gift, and will be keeping a close eye on Wimbledon this year as a result,” she said.

“Every time someone leaves us a gift in their will, whether a few pounds or a few thousands pounds, it helps us make a huge difference to thousands of lives around the world.”

If all Newlife’s long-term bets come off, Oxfam could net over £330,000 – enough to supply safe drinking water to over 350,000 people.

William Hill’s Graham Sharpe said that the company will happily pay up to the charity on behalf of the deceased Newlife if Federer achieves the feat in July.

“When Nicholas wrote to me nine years ago to place the bets, they were straightforward but potentially valuable,” he said.

“When the first wins came in he was still alive, but the next I heard was he had died and left his slips to charity.

“I think he was a bit of a loner but we’d be very pleased for Oxfam if they won.”

With Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon crowns in sight, Federer hardly needs a second reason to go for yet another glory on the grass courts at SW19.

But a second defeat on Wimbledon’s manicured lawns in seven years would rip a dangling carrot from the grateful grasp of another charitable cause.

No pressure Fed.

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