When DCU students Ollie White and Jamie Duff posted a photoshopped screenshot of a conversation that they had supposedly had with Roger Federer to their Instagram stories, they were not expecting their followers, let alone the mainstream media, to believe that the 20-time Grand Slam winner had challenged them to a match. But believe it they did.
The initial Instagram story showed the two third-year Multimedia students taking a break from Zoom calls and assignments, and partaking in a casual tennis match in Ashbourne.
Thanks to the magic of photoshop, the DCU duo conned the nation into believing that the Swiss icon had actually replied, reaching out to the young men with an incredible proposition: “Great skills. Would love to come and play you guys after the lockdown.”
Eager to see how far this prank could go, White posted a TikTok video which featured the voice notes exchanged between the two lads and what appeared to be the man who is considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time.
The TikTok video in question included the response of the seemingly star-struck Irish pair: “If you actually came over and had a match with us that would just make our dreams come true, but let’s quit all the talking and actually make it happen.”
With the assistance of the comedian and impressionist Josh Berry, the lads convinced the nation that the 8-time Wimbledon champion was genuinely interested in the prospect of playing in Ashbourne, as ‘Federer’ added a philanthropic aspect into the mix “I think we should definitely do something with my charity. Send your emails to my agent and we’ll sort something out.”
The TikTok video hit over 20,000 views in less than two days and its success resulted in the seemingly truthful story being covered by the likes of Today FM, SPIN1038 and SPORTbible.
Prior to the reveal that the entire interaction was fictional, Jamie Duff maintained a strong poker face in an interview with The College View: “It’s not even a once in a lifetime opportunity for most people, like the chances of this happening are almost unbelievable. I was pinching myself and asking myself if it was even real at the start. We still can’t get our heads around it, like why us? Why would Roger text two lads from Ashbourne? It just makes no sense, it’s ridiculous.”
Considering that the Multimedia students will in fact not be competing against the Swiss ace in a charity match, White and Duff have instead made a donation towards The Roger Federer Foundation and have encouraged their viewers to follow their lead.
The Roger Federer Foundation supports educational projects in six countries in Southern Africa, as well as in Federer’s native Switzerland. Since its establishment, the foundation has spent approximately $52 million and helped over 1.5 million children enjoy an improved quality of education.
This entertaining saga is a timely reminder not to believe everything you see on the internet.
Note: This article was originally published on 10/02/2021 but re-uploaded due to a fault with our site.