Tramlines

Unconvincing Federer impersonator drives Shanghai wild

A Roger Federer impersonator managed to drive hundreds of Chinese fans into a frenzy – except he looks nothing like the Swiss tennis star.

Donnie, an American prankster living in Shanghai, donned the trademark Federer Nike gear and sweatband and got a couple of pals to pose as bodyguards as he hit the streets of the Chinese metropolis. Just to see what happened.

Lo and behold, Donnie was quickly swamped by screaming girls, women, and adult males, all of whom wanted a piece of the greatest tennis player of all time.

He signs autographs on all manner of items – including penning a fraudulent signature on a girl’s back – and poses for photos, with one fan even shoving her baby into shot.

But not only did Donnie sign with his left hand (Fed, of course, is right-handed), he doesn’t look, speak or act like Federer. Not one bit. He doesn’t even have the haircut and, while not in terrible shape, he does not have the build of a professional athlete.

Maybe it was the two pseudo-bodyguards who 'protected' him as he went on his way; maybe it was the get-up; maybe Western men really all do look the same to people in Asia.

However Donnie did it, he managed to fool all and sundry. Chapeau, as some in Switzerland (but probably not the German-speaking Federer) would say.

There was a point to his experiment.

After ironically referencing the tired old joke that 'all Chinese people look the same', he set out to investigate if the cliche works both ways.

Could he, who looks nothing like Fed, con Chinese folk into believing he was the titanic player simply because he is a tall, Western man in tennis gear?

See what you think...

1. The Real Federer in Shanghai:

2. Donnie, taking the mickey:

Tramlines remains utterly unconvinced. Indeed, in these shots, he bears more than a passing resemblance to Nick Clegg. Who may as well be in China.

Eurosport / Yahoo! US