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Bradley Cooper at Wimbledon: The Next Chapter

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Getty Images

A quick clarifying note on today’s Wimbledon men’s final.

If you believe what you read, Federer Box members Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk were caught “fighting” in the Royal Box during Andy Murray’s straight-sets win over Milos Raonic:

Don’t believe what you read.

Don’t believe that Cooper threw a tantrum after Shayk refused to agree they should give out “Nominated” trophies at the Oscars. Don’t believe that Hugh Grant was overheard calling the couple “a middlebrow — though I must say I find ‘brow’ distinctions a bit tedious — Fassbender-Vikander.” Don’t believe that Cooper dug up Shayk’s Kitchen Confidential review from her now defunct blog, What’s Shayk-ing: Irina’s Mid-2000s TV Journal. Don’t even believe that Shayk said, “It’s me or the bea — ” and Cooper said, “ — the beard. Definitely the beard. I choose the beard. I love you. Sorry, no — I’m talking to the beard now.” Don’t believe any of that.

Instead, believe this: What the above footage shows is Cooper and Shayk running a classic Federer Box misdirection pattern.

Some context: As soon as Roger Federer is eliminated from any given Wimbledon, the responsibility of Federer Box members — especially its upper echelon of leadership — shifts completely. Instead of “wear the finest athleisure, fist-pump with above-average posture, and read the Wikipedia page for ‘tennis,’” Federer Box’s post-elimination M.O. turns to sabotage: If Federer can’t win, it is Federer Box’s primary directive to make sure that no one cares who does.

Usually this happens but you don’t even notice: Michael Jordan leaking some Marvin Williams news; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s final Hamilton performance— all of these distractions are classic Federer Box string-pulling.

Cooper and Shayk’s “fight” is no different. Let’s see it one more time:

Notice Shayk, as she touches her eye with her fingers. Now count how many fingers she uses: one, two, three, four. Got it? No, you don’t have it. Because what you really should have been counting is how many fingers she doesn’t use. That’s exactly right: one. What Irina Shayk is trying to say here is — secretly signal here — is, “Roger Federer: Number 1.” All while pretending to have a “fight” with her “boyfriend.”

It’s an ingenious plan, and it works to perfection. The top headline on Twitter moments, as of this writing: “Bradley Cooper didn’t look like he had fun at Wimbledon.” You can find Andy Murray’s headline if you scroll for a while … a long while … but I don’t know why you’d bother. They buried the lede for a reason.

Andy Murray won some tennis points.

Bradley Cooper won Wimbledon.