Will Ferrell interviews Roger Federer as Ron Burgundy at the Australian Open
Just when Roger Federer thought he had seen it all, along comes comedian Will Ferrell to interview him as his Anchorman character Ron Burgundy at the Australian Open.
The defending champion moved smoothly into his majestic stride with a straight-sets win over Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in his opening match of the tournament on Tuesday.
In bizarre scenes following the Swiss maestro’s 6-3 6-4 6-3 win over Aljaz Bedene on Tuesday night, the Hollywood icon walked onto the court and stole the limelight from the 19-time grand slam champion with an interview as awkward as what you’d expect given the role he’s played that will define the actor’s legacy.
Famous for — among other things — playing bumbling newsreader Ron Burgundy in Anchorman and Anchorman 2, Ferrell slipped seamlessly into character as he peppered Federer with a barrage of questions we can safely say the World No. 2 will never have answered before in his life.
At the conclusion of Federer’s on-court interview with tennis great John McEnroe, the American asked him to hang around because a “special guest” had a couple of questions for him. The 36-year-old was as surprised as the Rod Laver Arena crowd when Ferrell strode out — and his opening line didn’t disappoint.
But the 36-year-old Swiss looked stumped during his post-match interview when Ferrell stepped out of the crowd and slipped into character as Ron Burgundy from the movie Anchorman, telling him he had played like a "silky gazelle".
Ferrell slipped into character soon after watching Alexander Zverev win his match
“In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, it’s great to be here with two tennis legends — Roger Federer and John McIntosh,” Ferrell said, intentionally getting McEnroe’s name wrong.
From there the conversation went to wonderful places like eating wombat meat and Federer’s resemblance to a “silky gazelle”. Here’s how it panned out.
Will Ferrell: Roger, tonight you seemed like a gazelle out there on the court. Would you describe your game as a silky gazelle?
Roger Federer: Maybe, maybe not. Don’t they get eaten at the end?
WF: Not if they’re fast enough. Quick question Roger, you’re 36-years-old, you seem ageless, are you a witch or a vampire?
RF: Ahh I don’t like those.
WF: There’s a rumour in the men’s locker room that you love coming to play in Melbourne and your secret to fitness is you only eat wombat meat. Is that true?
RF: That is untrue. I have not (eaten it). Should I?
‘Does it get annoying when they just scream, “C’mon Roger” over and over again?’
WF: It is delicious — the national food of Australia. I know how much this crowd means to you, they’re an amazing crowd, but does it get annoying when they just scream, “C’mon Roger” over and over again?
RF: “They remind me of my name, it’s good. At an older age it’s easy to forget sometimes, it’s great.
Then, in a line designed to warm the hearts of Anchorman fans everywhere, Ferrell signed off the only way he could after such a sterling performance.
“Stay classy, Melbourne,” he said.
Federer reflected on the amusing incident in his post-match press conference.
“I didn’t know that was going to happen,” Federer said. “That was fun.
“I saw him when I started the match, then I totally forgot he sat there. At the end, I realized he is still actually there.
That’s when he walked out onto center court. It was nice to have a Hollywood presence here in Melbourne in combination with the tennis.
“People seemed to enjoy themselves. It was great to see Johnny Mac, too. Love the guy. It was a fun interview, I thought. I don’t know about you guys, but I enjoyed it.”
When asked who was a better interviewer - McEnroe or Ferrell - Federer admitted the movie star’s technique meant it wasn’t all fun and games.
“Will Ferrell is a bit more intense, I thought. I was a bit scared,” he said. “He stood there, didn’t look at me, just was like focusing on the questions. I was a bit worried it was going to come my way. I’m happy I dodged some questions there.”