4th December, 2019
Tennis star Roger Federer is used to dazzling on the court but off it his unmatched popularity has — quite literally — broken the internet.
Switzerland’s mint found out the hard way one of the big problems associated with honouring tennis legend Roger Federer on a batch of new coins.
The 20-time grand slam winner became the first living Swiss to have a coin minted in their honour, with a commemorative 20 franc silver piece bearing his image to be issued in January.
Federer fanatics were so keen to get their hands on a shiny piece of history the sheer weight of demand for coins proved too much to handle for Swissmint’s online shop, which buckled under the pressure.
“We had 2.5 million clicks. It was too much for the shop to handle,” Swissmint CEO Marius Haldimann said.
“We expected and planned for high demand, but we never imagined it would be this big.
“When Roger posted a link on his social media channels the website immediately had problems due to all the traffic. Some fans could access the shop but could not finish the order. Others could not get onto the website.”
Fifteen thousand of the 35,000 coins offered up in a pre-sale window have been claimed and the rest should fly off the virtual shelves when the website recovers from its Federer-induced crash.
There are plans to release 40,000 more coins with Federer’s likeness on them in May.
“We have had a lot of fans emailing us asking if they can buy the coin, but we can’t take credit card details via email,” Mr. Haldimann said.
“We are just asking fans to be patient and keep trying the website. We are working hard to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
Federer’s popularity is unmatched in the tennis world. Last week in an exhibition match with German star Alexander Zverev in Mexico City the pair pulled a world record crowd of 42,517 as fans streamed into the Plaza de Toros.
The 38-year-old’s class on and off the court is why the Swiss mint dedicated a new batch of coins to him.
“Roger Federer’s sporting achievements, his charitable commitments, his easygoing nature and his accessibility to his fans have prompted Swissmint to dedicate this 20-franc silver coin to him — the first time it has done so with a living person,” a Swissmint statement said.
On Twitter, Federer wrote: “Thank you Switzerland and Swissmint for this incredible honour and privilege.”