Way back in 2003, the year Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam event at All England, a shut-in named Nick Newlife wrote to bookmaker William Hill, asking what kind of odds he could get on the young Swiss to win seven Wimbledon titles by 2019. It was a "unique" bet, one not even the legendarily futures-obsessed English bookmakers had considered. But they wrote back to Newlife, and offered him 66-1. Newlife eagerly took those odds, and laid down about $2,350 on wager that, even if it paid off, he'd probably never live to see.
Newlife died in 2009, months before Federer won his sixth silver cup. He had no family or friends, so along with a mess of other future wagers he'd amassed in his reclusive last years, he bequeathed the betting slip to charity Oxfam. Today, Oxfam finally cashed in, to the tune of nearly $158,000.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "This is a unique situation in my 40-year experience of the bookmaking world.
"Mr Newlife's bet could land six-figure winnings from beyond the grave, and in sporting terms Roger Federer came back from the dead to keep the dream alive for Oxfam and all his fans."
It's not the only charity payoff for Federer's excellence and Newlife's faith. Soon after Newlife's death, Roger won his sole French Open title, which just happened to be his 14th Grand Slam. Newlife had also gotten 66-1 odds on that.