Federer, Tennis Again Snubbed by Sports Illustrated
by Sean Randall | September 16th, 2007, 11:39 pm
  • 272 Comments

Surprise, surprise. Well, not really. For the 12th time in his career Roger Federer has been passed over as the Sports Illustrated cover boy following a Grand Slam title.

Twelve times and counting, and if he doesn’t win the Sportsman of the Year at the end of 2007, he won’t make it until next March at the earliest.

Arguably the greatest tennis player ever, and one of the top global athletes the last four years, has yet to grace a Sports Illustrated cover? How can that be? Well, the case against is that he’s Swiss and he’s a tennis player.

And if you are an avid reader of SI you know where tennis stands on their sporting hierarchy. According to my research since 2000 only two tennis players have made the SI cover – Anna Kournikova on June 5, 2000 and Serena Williams on May 26, 2003. (Even Mary Pierce made it on in the 90s!)
That’s the breaks.

After getting the snub in 2006 for Sportsman of the Year, which went to Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade, I really thought SI would make it up to Fed by getting him on a cover this year. Maybe they still will.

I think if Fed were to have won the French Open he would have got it for certain. His Wimbledon title was worthy of such acclaim, it’s just that the David Beckham circus rolled into the U.S. around that time, and Venus (an American!) also won at Wimbledon.

Unfortunately for tennis the US Open comes in a tough spot on the U.S. calendar as it coincides with the start of the NFL and NCAA football seasons, and not surprisingly SI went with Randy Moss and his New England Patriots on its September 17 cover over Fed. I again think Fed would have made a more deserving cover over Moss, but it’s hard to deny the opening of the NFL season, which is far and away the premier sport here in the U.S.

The US open wrap-up story written by Scott Price was pretty interesting, though. When asked about scouting opponents without a coach, Federer reveals: “Takes me basically 15 seconds [to come up with a game plan]. I know everything I need to know.”

Fed was candid when talking about his place in the game: “It’s important that people respect what I do, and I think over the past couple years that has happened. … But now I almost have the feeling [they know] they’re watching greatness.”

He also addressed the competition issue, saying “If Safin or Roddick and all these other guys would’ve gotten more [Slams], people would think there is much more depth now. But they didn’t. Because I’ve taken them all.”

“I’ve taken them all.” That’s quite a quote from Fed!

I should also say there’s a brief Q&A with John Isner in the issue as well.

As for the 2007 Sportsman of the Year competition, Fed’s again has to be up for consideration. So, too, Peyton Manning of the champion Indianapolis Colts. Maybe Tiger Woods again – I think he won only one Major, though. Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has to be in the mix, and I’m sure I left out a few other athletes/teams.

My guess is if Peyton Manning has his Colts in first place come late November I think the award will be his to lose. Alex Rodriguez could be a major threat and could win it if he leads his Yankees to a World Series win.

But if Fed maintains and finishes the year No. 1 he’ll win it if the above two scenarios don’t play out. If one or both play out then it will get interesting and the honor would likely go to the American(s). Then again, who really cares.


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Federer Snubbed, Wade Wins SI Sportsman of the Year
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272 Comments for Federer, Tennis Again Snubbed by Sports Illustrated

TennisMasta Says:

“And if you are an avid reader of SI you know where tennis stands on their sporting hierarchy. ”

“I think if Fed were to have won the French Open he would have got it for certain. His Wimbledon title was worthy of such acclaim, it’s just that the David Beckham circus rolled into the U.S. around that time, and Venus (an American!) also won at Wimbledon.”

What a bunch of non-sense? The same SI, which didn’t care for 12 slams, 5 Wimbledons in a row, 4 US opens in a row, 4 Wimbledon and US Open pairs in a row, will somehow suddenly care for French Open? (which comes well after Wimbledon and US Open among US tennis fans).

Venus winning Wimbledon is somehow the same as Roger winning it for fifth straight time? This is jingoism at its ugliest.

David Beckam circus is such a lame excuse. If they want to get Roger on the cover they will.

Had Roddick or Blake accomplished what Roger has, would SI dare ignore him? Will it matter “where tennis stands on their sporting hierarchy.”

We are a sad and pathetic nation who, as Frank Deford said, “If it’s not our star and our sport, U.S. just doesn’t care”

It is high time we examine and purge this deep rooted metastacis. Otherwise, we will sadly continue to wallow in glorifying our classless and overpaid sports celebrities and completely miss out on enjoying tennis – or for that matter any sport – at its greatest glory.


lizzy Says:

I agree that Federer probably should have gotten it last year, last year was a really weak year for the athletes in major sports. This year, however, I’ve seen more and more people who normally don’t cover tennis rave about Federer’s skills and his record(s).

The only person who you can realistically place above Federer is Peyton Manning (as you mentioned.)Perhaps Tony Dungy for being the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl. Other then these two……

I remember last year when Roy Johnson, a former SI editor, leaked the name of Dwayne Wade as SI Sportsman of the Year on his blog. He personally thought Federer should have gotten it but he talked about meetings that used to take place in the SI offices and that tennis players were rarely put on the cover of SI because in one editor’s (not Johnson) words….”Tennis covers don’t sell.” He went on to say that the covers with tennis players are among the lowest-selling covers, no matter whom the player is. Therefore, SI is wary of putting tennis players on the cover or giving them Sportsman/Woman of the Year. Of course this year could be different……

I believe the last tennis player to get the cover was Maria Sharapova for winning Wimbledon in 2004. If Agassi had won the 2005 U.S. Open he might have gotten the cover.


tennis_freak Says:

Sharapova made the cover after her Wimbledon victory…

Come on, what kind of journalism is this?


张奔斗 Says:

I was just about to say I was surprised that Sharapova never made the cover–we all know how American media loves a pretty face–until I saw tennis_freak’s posting above. Yeah it’s a pity Federer never graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. But on the other hand, isn’t it just Americans who care about Sports Illustrated anyway? Fed is European; his fans are all over the world. Who cares whether or not some American sports magazine runs his photo as long as everyone knows he is the greatest player ever to pick up a tennis racquet?


shygal Says:

Look, TennisMasta,I adore Roger Federer. He’s a great ambassador for tennis. But the fact of the matter is SI has to cater to its audience. There’s nothing “American” about that. It’s common sense and good business. As for your Frank Deford (“If it’s not our star and our sport, U.S. just doesn’t care”) quote. Come on. Stop pandering to non-Americans. If Germany’s Stern Magazine were to highlight an athlete/sport team do you think its editors would select a NFL team or player? Do you think Europeans care about the NFL? I lived in Berlin for more than a year. During that period, the only time I heard German sportcasters highlight the NBA was when Dirk Nowitzki (a German) did something extraordinary. I know Fed isn’t German. But that’s just an example of how the media, no matter the country, focuses on what “its” audiences are interested in most. That’s it. Plain and simple. Personally, I would look at Fed on the cover of anything. Not only is he the greatest tennis player of all time…he’s gorgeous!


mike Says:

Fed’s record stands – and will stand – on its own. It doesn’t need the approval of an American ‘sports’ magazine, whose lack of maturity is such that its main yearly issue is about women in bathing-suits…


alex Says:

Maria Shreekapova is not American. She is Russian. In fact she even said that Quote: It is great to beat the Americans on America soil.

So she made the cover with one Wimbledon win just because she has a pretty face and the loudest orgasmic scream on court.

I am American. I love tennis. And I am very cheeze about this.

I agree with Tennismasta.


critic Says:

Anyone noticed the quotes of federer in SI’s wrap-up story? I think it’s weird to hear him talk like that. He starts getting cocky, it seems to me. He was called a humble guy earlier in his career, but i guess you can no longer say that. All the praise finally seems to have gotten into his head. Bad for him. He’s reading too many tennis articles in his spare time. He even knows many stats from the atp homepage (i.e. 2nd serve winning percentage) and lets them out frankly. Please Roger, keep it to yourself, it almost looks pathetic. Of course, if you’re supposed to address topics like complete dominance, the GOAT, what are you supposed to answer without sounding cocky. Pretty hard task I admit. But still, i don’t like it.


penise Says:

Screw SI who cares. Good news is I have been able to see more tennis on tv this year than ever, which is great. Kids are also playing the sport. We are on the right track.


张奔斗 Says:

Sharapova likes to pretend she’s not American, she’s Russian, etc. However anyone who has met her or listened to her talk has to know that she’s more American than Andy Roddick. Come on, the Russians don’t even consider her a Russian (ask Kuznetsova, Petrova, Myskina), who are we kidding here? She made the cover because she is a de facto American and she is pretty. Simple as that.


dbh Says:

in response to critic,
it is not that Fed’s success is getting to his head, i think the only reason he said all that is because the american media never gives him credit and they always try to make excuses for Sampras and players of the past and the depth of tennis in the past, so in my opinion he was in a way trying to get back at them by saying “well it is not that there is no depth but it is because i won them all, it is not my fault” and he is right. If it was an american winning everything do u realy think they would be questioning the depth of tennis? i mean think of it, the best match Fed played in the US open was against Roddick, with the whole crowd cheering for Roddick dont u think he was sending a message? or is is coincidental that he plays his best tennis in New York especially against the americans apart from wimbeldon. I think u have to look at the hidden meaning and dont blame the fed blame the american media


Glen Janney Says:

To hell with SI, apologists for Michael Vick.
The Spanish and Argentine men, the Belgian women, all the Russians and now the Serbs, but more than anyone Roger Federer, have taken tennis right out of the American mentality. We are also-rans when it comes to tennis superiority, and to think that someone as great as Federer would give a damn about being on the cover of an American sports rag is ridiculous.


ross Says:

Tennis is the second most popular and widespread sport in the world, after soccer. Who cares about the Superbowl, less than 5% of the world pays any attention to it.

More people in the world follow cricket than the so-called “football”.


nadalfan Says:

go go roger go go roger kick novaks ass and hand down ur crown to the king off clay wen u finish


10slvr Says:

Roger Federer has made history by winning the Laureus World Sports Award for the last 3 years in a row by taking the top honors as Sportsman of the Year. The awards are voted on by the world’s leading sports writers, editors and broadcasters from over 80 countries. It puts him in the best company with previous winners of that category Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher and Lance Armstrong, other internationally known and revered athletes. Being of Swiss/South African descent and growing up in Switzerland, I would think that this recognition of his amazing accomplishments is the pinnacle for him. And with his incredible results of this season, he should probably win his fourth.


max619 Says:

to critic

Fed’s responses, as dbh perfectly put it, are coincidentally to the one American sports magazine that gives him no credit for his accomplishments.
Randy Moss as a SI’s latest cover is perfect for the American society.
Perhaps Fed should date one the American female celebrities and he would make the SI cover and so many other magazine’s covers…only Fed is such a class act guy on and off the court. I love the fact the guy sticks to his old time girl perhaps one of the main reason for his astonishing success in addition to his natural talent.


Sean Randall Says:

Thanks for correcting me, Maria Sharapova did make the July 12, 2004 cover following her Wimbledon title. For some reason that cover is not listed under “tennis covers” on the SIcovers.com website!

As for Sharapova, yes, she’s an American who happens to be from Russia. If she had a hint of a Russian accent I think things would have been different for here from a marketing standpoint but since she doesn’t she can be easily sold as a hot blond American who won Wimbledon.

Now if Federer was American he surely would have been on the cover by now, perhaps multiple times. And he would have also won the Sportsman of the Year. No question in my mind.

But SI, like most other mags, are in business to make money and to do so they need to get people to buy there issues and a lot of that has to do with the cover. Obviously they feel that tennis doesn’t drive sales, hence the lack of tennis players on the cover in recent times – especially men!

The quote provided by TennisMasta from Deford is dead-on.


Dancevic FAN! Says:

Fed has a non-American accent…maybe he should fake it lol


Kara L. Says:

Fed was on the cover of SI next to Tiger Woods and some other guy after USO 07. It wasn’t a big picture but it was there nonetheless.

Fed’s been talking smack for ages, it’s not a new thing. “I’ve taken them all” sounds cocky but when you consider the context of the conversation and that the guy has won 11 out of 12 non-clay slams from 2004-2007 (and was only one point away in Australia 05 from winning 12/12) it’s pretty much a statement of fact rather than an empty boast.


Tony Says:

Roger Federer does not get his due on Sports Illustrated covers because he is not American and is not a major sports celebrity in the U.S., rather than because he’s a tennis player. Dick Enberg recently suggested that if Federer were American, he’d probably get the same amount of respect as Tiger Woods in the U.S. Probably more, in my opinion. Read Sports Illustrated’s Frank Deford: “If It’s Not Our Star And Our Sport, U.S. Just Doesn’t Care.” It’s amusing that one or two wise SI writers are able to see the truth clearly, while their profit-minded and jingoistic bosses lack integrity to make the right decisions on SI covers. No wonder Federer — who doesn’t have an entourage of publicists — has to be straightforward and clear about his place at the top of the sportsworld.
http://tinyurl.com/2skogc

You can view the past SI covers featuring tennis players in this link. There was a time in which SI had the integrity to put even foreign tennis stars on its cover, like Mary Pierce, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg. Of course, it doesn’t compare with local sportsmen like Tiger Woods, who has been on 20 SI covers, while Michael Jordan has been on almost 50 covers. While Tiger has been on more SI covers than any other active sportsman, it’s interesting that there have been a number of newspaper articles over the past year asking who is better — Roger or Tiger — and a number have suggested it’s Federer.
http://tinyurl.com/25jvfm

There is no compelling reason for SI to snub Federer. Roger is currently on the AP Male Athlete of the Year shortlist, along with Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez and Peyton Manning.
http://tinyurl.com/2bhwr5

Even more significant than AP or SI awrds, the world’s sports legends as well as leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters have recognized that Roger Federer is the world’s most outstanding sportsman since 2004, all sports considered. They have awarded him the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award an unprecedented three consecutive times (2005, 2006 & 2007) and he was a finalist in 2004. Roger has a good chance to win it again in 2008 for what he’s accomplished so far this year. Tiger Woods, who won in 2000 and 2001, was a finalist in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, losing out to Federer the last two years. The Laureus Awards are like the Academy Awards of the international sports world. The 45-member Laureus academy — which votes by secret ballot to select the award winners – is made up of the who’s who of the world’s greatest sports legends, including golf greats Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Severiano Ballesteros, as well as American sports greats Michael Jordan, Dan Marino, Mark Spitz, Edwin Moses (current chairman of the Laureus academy), Michael Johnson, Tony Hawk, Robby Naish, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and of course Nicklaus.
http://www.laureus.com/winners?q=node/418
http://tinyurl.com/35e66s
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laureus_World_Sports_Awards
http://www.laureus.com/awards
http://tinyurl.com/2bwvce

If SI was a serious sports magazine, they would not be putting Anna Kournikova on a cover, and omitting Federer! The problem with SI in recent years, with its swim-suit mentality, is that it’s given in to commercialism opportunism and entertainment at the expense of journalistic integrity on sports issues. We can’t take it seriously anymore.
What’s interesting is that on the day of the US Open finals, football (NY Jets) still won the TV ratings race in New York, but tennis (Federer-Djokovic) beat baseball (Yankees and Mets) and golf (Tiger in FedEx Cup playoffs).
http://tinyurl.com/23ecdz

Thank goodness Tiger Woods, Nike and Gillete are helping to raise his profile in the U.S., if sports magazines like Si aren’t dpoing their job.


Pam Says:

SI doesn’t understand how popular and well liked Roger Federer is with Americans. Roger is one in a million and they don’t get it.


yellowoctopus Says:

I have a feeling that this SI issue bothers Federer’s fan more than Fed himself.

Perhaps there is some journalistic integrity among the writers of SI, but it is essentially a POP culture magazine. I think you will always be disappointed if you compare it to NYTimes or Washington Post…etc. Heck, even those guys struggle with what to put on their headlines


Dr. Death Says:

S I is still published? Who cares? They probably sell 12 copies a month and give the rest away – except for the swimsuit edition which ought to answer everyones’ questions about the women having made the cover.


Jeremy Says:

Slamming SI is pointless, they are not the culprit. The real culprit is the American public. Did anyone happen to notice the TV ratings, the Men’s final drew a 4.2, while the Giants-Cowboys drew a 13.6. And if I werent lazy, I could probably find the ratings for males, aged 18-49 (SI’s most targeted audience)and the difference between those ratings would be even larger. I love tennis, go to most of the big events, write a blog on it, but I’m rational about it as well. Bottom line is it’s just not that popular in the US. So why should SI, a US publication, go out of their way to put him in the cover?


shygal Says:

Jeremy, your point is so dead on. I’m at a loss why this concept is so difficult for everyone else to understand. At the end of the day, SI’s job is to sell magazines, not tennis.

It’s up to US tennis organizations to promote the sport to Americans, not SI. And, as someone else wrote, I doubt Roger is losing sleep over SI covers. He knows he’s the man. Tennis fans and his competitors know it too.

And until, Peyton Manning who is without a doubt one of the most incredible QB’s to touch a football, is on the cover of some sports magazine in the UK…I’d go easy on American audiences. That’s what makes the world beautiful…differences in what appeals to cultures.


zola Says:

first of all fed was never humble. Ha has used every oppotyunity to say how great he plays. Now he has started to believe he is great! good for him.

as far as the American media, look at tennis magazine and see how Fed is worshiped. So what if SI doesn’t choose Fed as the sportsperson of the year? I think they care more about selling their magzine. look at the tennis coverage in America. How many people even care about tennis compared to football, baseball and basketball or Golf? who’s picture will sell more? Tiger Woods or Roger Federer?

This is not Oscars. It is SI’s loss that can’t acknowledge an athlete’s success. It doesn’t take anything away from fed.

Also just being curious. Do non-American sport magazines acknowledge American atheletes often ? I want to know if this is just SI or is it a universal trend.


John (1) Says:

In the US, sports are driven by TV/radio and TV/radio sports shows. Lots of TV coverage drives the fans and then the fans in turn drive the TV coverage.

It’s hard to be a tennis fan in the US, while it’s easy to be a baseball or a football fan.

This is slowly changing. The internet helps and the Tennis Channel keeps getting better. The TC’s live coverage of the Fed Cup this weekend, from my point of view, was excellent. (An aside: For those interested, like Davis Cup, there were unlimited challenges. Very nice.)

This year, for the first time, the TC had French Open coverage. I believe they had one match of the US Open. This will likely improve. I’m hoping for early-round coverage of all the Grand Slams and then complete coverage.

It’s my opinion that ESPN2′s coverage is like SI. If it’s not US, it’s not going to sell. There missing the part that they drive their market and then their market drives them.

The TC pitches a “world market” and their market will in turn drive them.

I prefer “world tennis” (i.e. the TC) to “US tennis” (e.g. ESPN2).

Trivia question: Who will be next on an SI cover: Fed or Donald Young (ranked 173)? Clue: Pat McEnroe probably knows the answer.


zola Says:

John;
answr to your trivia question: Isner!

how many people in America even know Federer?

TC is doing a fantastic job and I was happy with USA and CBS too. but the point is that sports should be on national channels. when it is on CAble you have to pay to get it and I can’t imagine any non-tennis fan buying cable to watch some sports they don’t like. But if it i on national TV ( at least the DAvis cup), then people might get interested .


allcourt Says:

I think that the Sharapova *cover* was not really a cover, just a small picture of her in the bottom corner, right? That may be why, as someone mentioned, it wasn’t on a list of SI covers. But they could give at least that type of *cover* to the outstanding #1 player of one of their minor sports.


Paula Says:

it’s all about the ad money, tennis isn’t a major interest amongst the audience that SI’s primary advertisers are looking for. if it was all about great stories in sport, Roger would have been on the cover and won sportsman of the year multiple times already.


FoT Says:

Just a serious question that maybe someone can answer. As a subscriber to SI, I’ll get the magazine no matter who is on the cover. So, does SI make more money with subscribers? Or off-the-rack magazine purchases? I mean, if they are so concerned about making money, as a subscriber, I get the magazine regardless of it they put Mickey Mouse on the cover. My point is that why would putting Roger on a cover not sell the magazine? Regular SI fans are already subscribers, and loyal ones that purchase the magazine off the rack would not decide NOT to purchase it just because Roger would be on the cover.

Heck, I got my magazine today and barely glanced at the football player on the cover. But I did see Roger, Tiger and A-rod’s small picture at the top. I guess any little publicity is better than nothing…


lizzy Says:

While I don’t think Federer cares that SI hasn’t put him on the cover, I do think he is getting frustrated over the lack of respect he gets from the American media overall. Hence his comments after he won the U.S. Open which some are construing as “arrogant.”

People like to be recognized when they achieve great things and Federer is no different. Sampras never got on the cover of SI either as far as I can recall (correct me if I’m wrong please) and he was openly upset about it. of course SI means more to American fans and athletes then it does to non-American athletes. being on the cover of SI is still seen as a badge of honor to many athletes.

allcourt:

Sharapova’s 2004 cover for winning Wimbledon was the full cover. She got a little corner cover when she won the U.S. Open in 2006.

http://dynamic.si.cnn.com/si_online/covers/issues/2004/0712.html


johnnhoj Says:

If I had to choose one:

A) putting Federer’s image on the cover of Sports Illustrated

B) getting rid of Dick Enberg

That’s a no-brainer. To hell with an SI cover!


johnnhoj Says:

Lizzy,

I checked, and Sampras has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated TWICE.
The 1st time: July 11, 1994, after Wimbledon.
The 2nd time: July 14, 1997, after Wimbledon.


lizzy Says:

Thank you johnnhoj for the correction. I knew it couldn’t be true that Sampras never made it on…….He was still pissed, however, that he didn’t get on for his Wimbledon win in 2000.


zola Says:

FoT,
I am no Rupert Murdoch, but I think most of the money comes from the subscribers. The newsstands perhaps work better in the airports. It is true that you have already paid for it. but they want you to renew next year as well . That’s why football and basketball and great bodies of beautiful women often occupy that front cover. “DAS RENEWAL”!

now I have a question to Fot and Sean:

I looked at SI.com and I did not find this infamous ” I am the great” comment of Federer in his interview. Has he not said it or is it in the print version and is omitted in the e-version?


gkgjk Says:

America only cares about american–which could generally lead to medicority. A couple of years ago in Colarado (not sure if it still happening) the FIRST American to pass the finish line in the marathon received something like $10,000. The FIRST american came in 12th TWELFTH!!!! He got more money than the winner–who was African. Go figure! U-ESS-AAA!!! U-ESS-A!!!!Yeah!!


Ash Says:

The reason is obvious – SI isn’t really a sports magazine, it’s actually an entertainment and gossip one. Federer gets the credit he deserves at the right places, e.g. Laureus.


Jeremy Says:

johnnhoj….thank you for finally bringing to light the biggest problem in american tennis coverage, dick enberg. why he is covering a sport he clearly knows nothing (hyperbole) about has me mystified.


grendel Says:

I thought Zola would get excited by those notorious Fed quotes. Good bit of shit stirring there by Sean. Never mind anything slightly subtle like the context, such as some posters have brought up.

Here we have it , black and white. No need for no more!

Or – do we? Come on, somebody, don’t leave Zola in a state of anxiety , and confirm the quotes are for real!

Quite a tribute to Fed, really. He has antifans as well as fans and they seem – in their own special way, of course – to be just about as devoted.


zola Says:

grendel

I am not an anti Fed. Don’t get too excited. but it is no secret that I don’t like comments where people brag about themselves. I have written it many times here and many other places.

Anyway, these are pretty fancy quotes and it is only fair to Fed and us to confirm if they are true or not.


andrea Says:

“I’ve taken them all.” That’s quite a quote from Fed!

he is merely stating the obvious…

if it weren’t true then you could accuse him of grandstanding…otherwise, we accept the truth and it it comes from the mouth of the individual that has accomplished this feat rather than from a third party it shouldn’t be cast in a different light.

nadal’s website says he is ‘the undisputed king of clay’. i think we all agree for the past three years he certainly has been. should we consider this less truthful if nadal utters those words?

it’s all how you want to spin it.


zola Says:

andrea,
don’t try to stir things up. what is said in NAdal’s website is not the same that comes out of Nadal’s mouth. the site is written and managed by a company. No one is bringing quotes from Federer’s website here. what are you trying to do?

What Fed has said (if true), are his own words and what he thinks about himself. He thinks he is great! As I said before, good for him!


Sean Randall Says:

Yes, the quotes I pulled are real. Not sure if they appear in the online version of the story but they certainly do run in the magazine.

As for Fed being cocky, he certainly has a little of that in him, and he’s earned that right. And if he keeps on winning he’ll have even more reason to toot his own horn.


jane Says:

IMO Federer can come across as rather “blunt” when it comes to discussing his abilities and/or achievements. Personally, I can’t decide if he’s downright conceited (and some will argue if he is, it’s justified because he is so great etc) or if he is merely restating what he’s heard in the media so much, or what he believes to be true about his “tennis,” as separate from himself as a person (your theory grendel).

Either way, people who are Fed fans will excuse him, people who dislike him will fault him, and others won’t care either way. Guess I’m the latter, mainly because we can never know how/what Fed means by his comments unless he tells us.

Maybe some journalist should ask him if he thinks he’s conceited – LOL: How’d that be for stirring up shit?


jane Says:

Admittedly, context would help in the interpretation (case in point: “piece of cake” comment).

Still, we can never *really* know if Fed is actually arrogant (or what any player is like, for that matter) unless we hang out with him for a while. Media sound bites and interviews are too misleading.


roger_fan Says:

For critic:
I guess, u missed Sampras recent interview. He was talking about racquet technology. I was shocked after reading that. What about the racquet he used compared to laver or bjorg. I guess, what ever you said would be more apt to sampras. As far as for federer fans- No for tennis fans, he is an icon


TennisMasta Says:

“Pam Says:
SI doesn’t understand how popular and well liked Roger Federer is with Americans. Roger is one in a million and they don’t get it. ”

I am with Pam. I am not a SI reader, but would have become one if they started covering Roger. They are missing out on a golden opportunity on their hands here.

Looking at the phenomenal interest in Federer worldwide, I’d be shocked if folks in the US resolutely decide not to want to learn about him. It’s an opportunity for media to capitalize.


TennisMasta Says:

Roger Federer won Athlete of the Year Award sponsored by our own USAToday.com and MSNBC.com two years in a row. He beat out Armstrong, Woods and Tim Duncan for 2005. And he beat out Woods, Fabio Cannavaro, and Jimmie Johnson for 2006.

And Federer won’t sell magazines in the US?
Sound more like jingoism than capitalism to me.


grendel Says:

Zola, again you calmly describe Federer as bragging, simply on the basis of quotes taken out of context. Thanks to Tony (on Sean’s other blog), we now have a bit of context: http://tinyurl.com/3dkhre.

For instance:”I’m chasing down Sampras,” Federer said afterward — and he’s already got an answer for people, such as Sampras himself, who question the level of his competition. “I disagree,” Federer said. “I think the depth [on the men's tour] is much better now, 1 to 100.” The competition might look weaker, he said, simply “because I’ve taken all the Grand Slams with Rafa. If [Marat] Safin or Roddick and all these other guys would’ve gotten more, people would think there is much more depth now. But they didn’t. Because I’ve taken them all.”

Now, those lines which naughty Sean quotes OUT of context (and which do have the effect of making Federer seem a bit ridiculous) suddenly start to make sense. They are explanatory, are they not? Which doesn’t mean you have to agree with the explanation,of course, because Sampras may still be right about the relative weakness of competition, but it does mean that “bragging” is just the wrong word to describe what’s going on.

A person who is bragging is pointing to himself and saying:”look at me! aren’t I just the bees knees!” Federer is pointing out that nobody else has won grand slams because he (and Rafa – he brings him in initially) have won them all. A fairly simple bit of logic.

Federer may or may not be given to bragging – I’ve already argued earlier why I don’t think he is. However that may be, he’s definitely not bragging here.

It only goes to show, you’ve just got to look at things in context. Or peoples’ reputations get hammered unjustly. Does anyone really want that?


shygal Says:

Thanks for the whole story Grendel.

As for TennisMasta, I can’t help but wonder if you’ve just learned a new word and are happy to write it whenever possible…or if you actually believe that the editors at SI have a patriotic agenda to put unworthy American athletes on the cover.

Yes, those who subscribe to SI will read it no matter who’s on the cover. Those readers are a sure thing. It’s the opportunity to get the attention/money of others editors are probably considered about. That’s capitalism. It drives Americans and business decisions. I have had to write plenty of news stories where I thought “Who gives a sh*t?” Well, I’ll tell you who…advertisers and the hair-brained audiences in the “Heartland” they are trying to appeal to. Maybe they’re blind patriots, unfortunately for SI sport editors they’re also customers. That, TennisMasta, is capitalism.


jt Says:

How is it bragging when you’re merely stating facts? What I find amazing is Roger’s lack of ego, or his ability to keep it in check. He’s so ridiculously dominant and every match he plays the commentators blather on and on about if he is or isn’t the best to have ever played. It’s phenomenal that he manages to stay so level headed about things…particularly when you consider the tremendous pressure that comes from everyone assuming you’re always going to win and assuming you’re going to keep breaking records.

Cut the guy some slack. If he’s not the best tennis player of all time he’s certainly one of the best. How would you rather he acknowledged that? What’s the guy supposed to say?

I don’t understand anti-fans. Root for the underdog all you want, but there’s no need to trash the #1 player; particularly someone as classy as Federer.


johnnhoj Says:

One should also keep in mind that Federer is not prone to high degrees of subtlety with the English language, though he’s OK with it on occasion. If he were having these conversations and making these comments in Swiss-German, for example, his attempts at humorous banter and his jesting would be more obvious, and these criticisms about bragging and arrogant demeanor would not stand. Some people are trying to make this out to be something it isn’t, as far as any thinking human being can infer. It’s a nonsense topic to grumble about. What about the tennis?


zola Says:

grendel,
I did not want to comment on Roger’s quotes before confirming that they were right. Now that sean has confirmed it, I just quote from federer:

““It’s important that people respect what I do, and I think over the past couple years that has happened. … But now I almost have the feeling [they know] they’re watching greatness.”

that should be all.


jane Says:

johnnhoj – true – it could be a matter of language, although by now one would think Federer would have a good grasp on english and tone, etc. as he’s been at the top for so many years and done reams of press too.


zola Says:

jane,
believe me it is not a matter of language. The guy knows what he is talking about. It is not like he has just learned how to speak English.


jt Says:

It’s really too bad you can’t (or won’t) see the admirable qualities that most of us do. And it’s certainly your loss.


TennisMasta Says:

“because Sampras may still be right about the relative weakness of competition,”

It is not a question of whether Sampras is right or wrong. It is whether you agree with him or not.

I for one disagree. Because it is not borne out of any facts, which in fact show the contrary – that competition was never greater. It is an established consensus that over time with technology, fitness, coaching, and the worldwide growth of tennis the depth of tennis is only increasing. There is no temporary anamoly that somehow suddenly just between 2004 and 2007 competition decided to take time off. BTW, Roger turned pro in 1998 when he was the world junior champion (perhaps a weak year for junior tennis). But coincidentally, Pete must have had the mis-fortune of playing in a relatively tougher era in junior days also as he never was the world junior champion. He never won Wimbledon as a junior either. Obviously there must be a reason (other than that Pete could not beat his opponents).

On what basis would one say that the competition is weaker? Because Roger does not loose as many matches as Pete did in his prime? Because Roger is so much more dominant than Pete ever was? Could it be that Roger is something very very special. Afterall, Laver, Borg, McEnroe, Agassi, and Courier among many others to a man all said that Roger is the most complete tennis player of all time? Could they all be “wrong?”

There is reason for Sampras to say things he says. He wants to protect his 14 GS record even if by way of undermining Roger and any other greats that comes along during Pete’s lifetime. This weaker competition is a clever if specious one. With one loose statement Pete (thinks he can) dismiss everything that Roger and the current generation of players have accomplished.

For more in-depth discussion on this topic of competition you can refer to:
http://www.topix.net/forum/source/newsday/TRODVH5IPIDM06IEH/p7


zola Says:

I never understood the discussion of comparison between eras. usually when you compare things to each other, many things are constant, one or mostly two things change and based on those variables you can compare things.

In tennis, what are we coparing with what? the players have changed, the equipment has changed, the techniques, the phisique of the players…many things. The only thing one can use to compare the players of different ears, is their results and the numbers.

Sampras’s efforts to undermine “the field” and subtly Fed, is becoming very obvious and don’t really look good. no one forced him to retire . he could have stayed and show to everyone how weak this field is.


10slvr Says:

Just curious…does Tiger get hammered the same way Roger does for the lack of competition in golf? It’s obvious that none of those guys on the tour now can play since Woods is so dominant!

And even if it were true, do you think it is so easy to win day in and day out and keep motivated for 11 months a year? That’s an achievement in itself.


jane Says:

zola -

true, he should have a firm grasp on english by now, as mentioned. and as i’ve said elsewhere, it’s tough to tell, but sometimes it does seem like roger is arrogant (i’m not saying whether that is justified or not) – certainly in the quote you’ve provided, he can come across that way.


grendel Says:

Sorry, Zola, can’t leave it there. Your “that should be all” is a bit cryptic, but it looks as if you are saying (with your quote) – this proves my case about the bragging (if you didn’t mean that, my apologies).

This is the extended quote:”It’s important that people respect what I do, and I think over the past couple years that has happened,” Federer said late Sunday night. “There were times I felt people were like….” He shrugged. “It was a bit strange. But now I almost have the feeling [they know] they’re watching greatness. Especially after that fifth Wimbledon, that really put me in a different league. That Wimbledon and this U.S. Open are going to change a lot of things.”

That simply is not bragging. It is true that we, especially of the Anglo-Saxon variety, feel uneasy when people refer to them selves as possessing greatness but that, in a sense, is our problem. You have to make a judgement. Is this person just sounding off, or is he convinced of his own particular genius and wishes it to be acknowledged? It’s no different, really, to great painters and writers, who have not been acknowledged in their day, but are convinced that one day the injustice will be put to right. Some of these people are delusional – but there are plenty who are not.

Incidentally, of course Johnnhoj is correct about the language issue – we’re talking here about subtleties and nuance, and Federer’s English although confident, is quite basic. Even so, that should not interfere with the point that Federer essentially is concerned with putting the record straight. You can disagree with that, of course (about his interpretation of the record, I mean). But if you insist that he was showing off, then you are showing a poor comprehension of some quite simple psychology – and words, too. It’s not, of course of course of course, that Fed is beyond criticism. But criticise him for the right things, where he deserves it.


jane Says:

grendel -

Seems like Federer is saying that he deserves respect because he is great; he is, as he puts it, in a “different league” because of his numerous wins.

I am wondering what your opinion is on this point, which came up on another thread (and which was not raised by me).

Was it distasteful for Federer to wear Swiss flags on his shoes to demarcate all of his wins at the USO, or to wear crests on his “blazer” at Wimbledon to indicate each of his wins there? In other words, to wear “badges” of his wins, notches on his belt.

Had any other player done so – Borg, Lendl, Sampras, Connors, or Rafa at RG for that matter – would it have been seen as tacky by the press or by fans, or maybe even as boasting? I wonder, but frankly, I think so.


zola Says:

Sean
I wish there was a comments section for Amer Delic’s post. I wish him best of luck in Bangkok and he should know that many praise his tennis.


zola Says:

Jane,
I like tennis a lot and I usually read or listen to the players’ comments after matches. This is the way federer talks. He tones down during clay season, where he can lose, but afterwards he is just like that. You have to read his quotes after winning Blake in mastercup last year, Roddick in AO 07, etc.

grendel:
thanks for providing the whole quote. I write it here as well:
“This is the extended quote:”It’s important that people respect what I do, and I think over the past couple years that has happened,” Federer said late Sunday night. “There were times I felt people were like….” He shrugged. “It was a bit strange. But now I almost have the feeling [they know] they’re watching greatness. Especially after that fifth Wimbledon, that really put me in a different league. That Wimbledon and this U.S. Open are going to change a lot of things.”

It might be allright to you. to me, someone saying people are now watching greatness, is bragging. but it is also “weapons of self destruction”. Usually when someone gets to this stage, the only way to go is down and it a pitty. Let’s see what happens from here.


Jeremy Says:

Funny how most people here are so worked up over Roger’s comments about taking slams and acknowledging his greatness as if he were some snotty spoiled brat.

Dammit, if you’re good, then you’re good. As JT mentions above, if everyone else – media, commentators, bloggers and the rest of the human race – acknowledges time and time again of your abilities and prowess and the one time you allude to these same abilities yourself, you’re pegged as arrogant?

Give me a break!

This guy has decimated the men’s tennis field for the past four years to the point that he has taken almost all of the Grand Slams. (as he so deftly pointed out).

If that don’t give you bragging rights then nothing will. North Americans love to extole the virtues of geniuses but somehow elict backlash on these same geniuses if they dare acknoweldge themselves.

I think it’s great that Roger finally commented on all of this hype – acknowledging the pressure he has felt from all the accolades heaped on him and how he now think about Pete’s record. It probably was a bit of a release for him.


Tony Says:

jane: What do you think the red, white and blue stripes on Jimmy Connors’s tee shirt stood for (see link)?
http://www.collectr.com/tn/images/tpconnorsj.jpg

Was it distasteful for John McEnroe to wear a color-matched warmup jacket with the huge letters “USA” on the back? Was it distasteful of Bjorn Borg to be the first tennis player to have so much commercialism stamped all over his attire? Is it tacky for Nadal to have a bull on his shoes, to show he is such a big bull on the court?

Gosh, those are tiny flags of tiny Switzerland on his shoes, not huge flags of the US, Russia or China on his shirt for goodness sake. Those tiny Swiss flags on his shoes can only be seen by an inquisitive zoom camera. It’s such a minor issue or non-issue that it is silly to bring up unless we want to make a mountain out of something tinier than a molehill. Regardless, as McEnroe and others have said, Federer’s last four years of dominance are unprecedented in modern tennis history. Yet, although Sports Illustrated has had 78 covers featuring tennis players over the years — including the legendary Anna Kournikova — SI has never featured Federer even once. If Fed wants to remind some of us of what he’s accomplished, he has a right to do so.

As well, Federer claims that the editor-in-chief of Vogue — the world’s most influential fashion magazine — loves his attire the US Open and at Wimbledon (certainly it’s perfect for the All England Club). You think Anna Wintour and Fed’s new-found fashion friends wouldn’t be the first to criticize his fashion taste? Given some of the attire that Venus/Serena Williams and other players sometimes wear, perhaps fashion criticism should be directed elsewhere.

Pete Sampras has repeatedly said that Federer is a humble person and a class act. I was lucky to see Federer close up at one of the Masters tournaments last year. A small crowd of us watched his pre-match warm up. After finishing the practice, he left the court by himself (no entourage) and stopped to chit chat with fans and sign autographs. Compared to some other players, Federer seems to be a pretty humble and down to earth guy. Certainly not arrogant or conceited in that brief encounter, with no identifiable press present.


Tony Says:

Two articles:

- New York Times: It’s Time to Welcome a Symbol of Substance
http://tinyurl.com/2jh3wl

- Looking for a hero? Try Mr. Federer
http://www.thestar.com/article/245004

I agree with Jeremy’s comments.

Grendel is right. Before jumping to conclusions about Roger Federer based on partial quotes, have the decency to find out the context.

First, the Sports Illustrated author S.L. Price himself would probably disagree with mis-interpretations of the quotes based on what he wrote in an earlier article about Federer: “What has all that winning taught us about Roger Federer? We know he isn’t a loudmouth… We know he values good manners.” (Sports Illustrated writers like Richard Deitsch, S.L. Price and Frank Deford would have taken Federer to task if they felt this non-American was a loudmouth blowing hot air; it’s not the fault of these excellent writers that SI’s decision makers don’t put Fed on SI’s cover).

Second, read S.L. Price’s original article in full (see link, with excerpts below) and interpret Sean Randall’s two partial quotes in that context: “Without Peer: In winning his fourth straight U.S. Open crown and 12th Grand Slam title, Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis.”
http://tinyurl.com/3dkhre

- ‘Two games later Federer punished Djokovic for caving on the seven set points he had squandered in the first two sets, breaking him with the same vicious backhand that had torn up every other opponent this fortnight, and reclaiming the U.S. Open title and the crowd’s collective awe. “It’s important that people respect what I do, and I think over the past couple years that has happened,” Federer said late Sunday night. “There were times I felt people were like….” He shrugged. “It was a bit strange. But now I almost have the feeling [they know] they’re watching greatness. Especially after that fifth Wimbledon, that really put me in a different league. That Wimbledon and this U.S. Open are going to change a lot of things.” The Open has long been the tennis year’s defining event, and this fortnight was no exception. Both Federer and fellow No. 1 Henin… emerged as the class of their respective tours.’
[Sean partially quoted: ‘Fed was candid when talking about his place in the game: “It’s important that people respect what I do, and I think over the past couple years that has happened. … But now I almost have the feeling [they know] they’re watching greatness.” ’]

- ‘Federer outplayed Djokovic on nearly every big point, won his third major of the year and passed 11-time Slam winners Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg on the alltime list. “I’m chasing down Sampras,” Federer said afterward — and he’s already got an answer for people, such as Sampras himself, who question the level of his competition. “I disagree,” Federer said. “I think the depth [on the men's tour] is much better now, 1 to 100.” The competition might look weaker, he said, simply “because I’ve taken all the Grand Slams with Rafa. If [Marat] Safin or Roddick and all these other guys would’ve gotten more, people would think there is much more depth now. But they didn’t. Because I’ve taken them all.” In other words, world, take your consolation where you can. Federer has no rival, not really, not anywhere. And he’s ready to make the case, with his game and with his mouth, until you understand.” ’
[Sean partially quoted and emphasized: ‘He also addressed the competition issue, saying “If Safin or Roddick and all these other guys would’ve gotten more [Slams], people would think there is much more depth now. But they didn’t. Because I’ve taken them all.” “I’ve taken them all.” That’s quite a quote from Fed!’]

So now it should be clear what Federer meant. It is a fact that Federer and Nadal — that UNDISPUTED KING of clay — have taken all the Grand Slams since 2004 (who wants to quibble that Federer left out Safin’s AO slam?). In addition, Federer is rightly aware that, despite his unprecedented success over a four-year span, he initially wasn’t accorded the respect he deserved in the U.S., though he has been getting more recognition only relatively recently. As the U.S. is the world’s largest sports market, obviously it’s an important issue to the world’s leading sportsman (voted the Laureus World Sportsman Of The Year an unprecedented three consecutive times over other non-tennis sports stars). This excerpt from the New York Times gives further context (see link at top of post): ‘ “In some ways, yes, what I’m looking for is definitely recognition in the States,” Federer said. “I hope they appreciate my achievements and results, but I don’t want to force it on the public because that is always up to them to decide.” He is not David Beckham, imposing his global celebrity and Posh wife and exposed pecs on America’s soccer simpletons for the profit of Brand Beckham. Instead, Federer has moved judiciously into our culture, with more ads and more victories, becoming an excellent houseguest’. (Btw, Zola, Fed is hardly “worshipped” in Tennis Magazine; for some writers it seems more a grudging acceptance of the obvious. Arguably, there is relatively more enthusiasm for Nadal in some writers).

Given the larger context, what Federer said is factual and should be acceptable to an objective person. Unlike other top sportsmen with a large entourage, including public relations assistants, Federer does a lot of his own communication and public relations himself with Mirka’s help (when she’s not doubling as his coach). Isn’t it refreshing we’re not getting superficial and insincere pat answers prepared by PR experts? In addition, Federer spoke late at night in a foreign language, in which he has developed basic fluency but is not perfect about nuance and diplomat speak in English (it’s absurd how the English comments of foreign players like Davydenko are sometimes misused by people who can’t even understand Russian or German). Regardless, Federer was stating the truth and the obvious, and he isn’t a loudmouth given his incredible record of accomplishments.

Andrea is right to expose the obvious double standards in making a mountain out of a molehill about the partial Federer quotes. Nadal’s official website emphatically proclaims: “3-TIME FRENCH OPEN CHAMPION… THE UNDISPUTED KING OF CLAY” (see link). Sorry Zola, but this is not a Federer quote made late Sunday night after drinking champagne for winning four US Opens or spontaneous quotes taken from Federer’s website (see link).
http://www.rafaelnadal.com
http://www.rogerfederer.com

As a Nadal fan, you should know that this is Nadal’s fundamental slogan — it is how Nadal wants you to think of himself, deliberately highlighted everyday on his official website. As a major professional athlete, Nadal is like the owner of a small business organization. As the boss, Nadal ultimately authorizes what’s on his website and easily could have changed his slogan a long time ago with one phone call to his manager or to his official website administrator. This is not an unofficial website managed by some unauthorized third party.

If you criticize and make assumptions about Federer bragging and lacking humility, why are you so willing to overlook Nadal’s more emphatic and deliberate claims? After all, Federer stated the obvious (he already is one of the three or four “greatest” tennis players of all time and is considered the world’s top sportsman by sports legends). On the other hand, Bjorn Borg has good reason to believe he is the undisputed king of clay with 6 French championships until and if Nadal breaks his records.


zola Says:

Tony
I challenge you to have the decency to read my previous quotes. I was the first one to ask FoT and Sean if these quotes were right or not.

well, enjot these moments of greatness as much as you can. As I said before, usually when someone comes to this extreme level of self-appreciation, the only way to go is down. I like Roger’s tennis. I don’t like his bragging .


zola Says:

I also have to add that i have heard from many about Roger’s positive on-court manners and the way he interacts with his fans. He signs as many autographs as possible and the same goes for Rafa. I have heard stories about other players not being too friendly with fans.Roger is certainly not one of them. but this is another story. wether it is his language limitations ( which I don’t think so), or that he really believes he is great or that it might be his right to brag about himself, I don’t like it.


FOT Says:

I’ve ready all the comments and it still amazes me that just about everyone who has first hand knowledge of Roger – the ones who really know him inside and out – the ones who are with him day in and day out – all think he’s a fantastic human being and is so humble!

Then we have some ‘tennis fans’ who have never even met the guy say he is the most arrogant person ever.

Go figure…

I think I’ll stick with the people who really know him and take their stance about Roger over someone who has never met the guy and are making assumptions based on partial quotes.


jane Says:

Tony –

First, if you read my posting, I mention that the badges Federer adorns himself with are not something that I had actually noticed (someone else brought it up on another thread, and I thought it related to this discussion, so I brought it up again here).

As to the other player’s attire accoutrements that you list, none of those are badges of achievement, or notches on a belt, they are either advertising and branding (logos) or patriotism, which are different things than wearing badges, like someone in the military might wear medals, or like you might get in brownies. Every player is branded by a particular sport company, including Federer. However, the “notches” are unique to him: and IMO, they could be construed as tacky or even boastful.

As far as Anna Wintour goes (I have ten years of Vogue in my garage; I know what I am talking about), she is interested in Roger’s tennis first-and-foremost. She’s a fan of the game. She also does editorials on fashion within tennis, but she is not analyzing things like badges; she’d be more interested in style or cut. For instance, as recent as August’s 07 issue, Wintour has feautred articles on tennis fashion and Serbian tennis, so she has a “vested” interest in the game, you might say. She’s also friends with Roger and Mirka so she wouldn’t critique him, not publically anyhow.

Second, regarding the subtitle of the article you reference – “Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis.”

This is precisely the kind of press hyperbole – “no one” “anything” – that irks me, no matter what the context or who it refers to.

Sure, Roger is a fantasically great tennis player: *one of* the greatest to date. Maybe he brags sometimes too, at least in some people’s opinion or interpretation. But “no one in the world does anything as well as [Roger] plays tennis”?! Good lord – *if* he is bragging, no wonder!


Y Says:

Jane, this isn’t a quote from Federer, it’s just a journalist, and one who misrepresents comments of Roddick, as we’ve already discussed here. So what’s your point, exactly?


grendel Says:

Zola, you’re really rather wonderful! Pages and pages are written in an attempt to explain at least why it is possible to deny that Federer is bragging, and you calmly brush all this aside, make no attempt to refute it and simply reiterate your favourite mantra: the man is bragging.

I’ll make one more attempt to engage your critical faculties. Heaven forbid I should be trying to get you to agree! But it would be nice if you were to listen (and I don’t mean just to me).

If I say I am a great tennis player, I am delusional, or a poor joker. If Federer uses exactly the same words, he is merely uttering a fact. So exactly the same words can be nonsensical or the unvarnished truth – depends who says them. But it gets worse: the meaning of what you say depends on how you say it, or your intention. Thus Fed could say he is a great player in boastful, swaggering way, or he could say it as a simple fact which he is anxious to see recognized (as part of his due).

As I said in an earlier post (sorry for quoting myself – I’m just trying to keep a consistent thread) it becomes a matter of judgement. How you assess Federer as a character and so on. Obviously you see Federer as a bragger – that is your privilege. But what you are not entitled to do is to assume that for a person to allude to his own greatness is automatically bragging. That is simply incorrect. You write “to me someone saying people are now watching greatness is bragging”. I reply: it might be, it might not be, it all depends – your absolute dogmatism here is, to say the least, inappropriate.

Jane: I was not aware of the Swiss flags and so on. Yes, I’ll grant it’s tacky, or at any rate not my cup of tea. According to Tony, this sort of thing is pretty common, it’s the culture dear, ain’t it? No one should be claiming Fed is anything other than actually(when you take away his tennis) quite an ordinary person with ordinary weaknesses. So, like the rest of us, he can show off from time to time. Although unlike most of us, he has plenty to show off about (and therefore the temptation is much more formidable and difficult to resist).But the kind of systematic bragging which Zola claims about him is a mistake, and a very bad one.


John (1) Says:

alex said: “Maria Shreekapova is not American. She is Russian. In fact she even said that Quote: It is great to beat the Americans on America soil.”

The complete quote was: “I know this withdrawal is very frustrating for all my Russian fans, but I promise you it is way more frustrating for me,” Sharapova said. “Nothing would (have) made me happier than beating the Americans on American soil.”

IMO, Maria has lived in the US for two thirds of her life. She makes about 28 million a year, much of this from Americans. I’m sure that quote has turned off a lot of U.S. fans.

On the other hand she seems to be turning off some Russians too. Maria showed up at the Fed Cup final as a cheer leader and practice partner. Russia won the Fed Cup after 3 singles wins. The first match was won by Chakvetadze and last two by Kuznetsova. Here’s what the two players said about Maria:

From: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/today/s_528322.html

Kuznetsova:

“To be honest, I don’t know why she came. What’s the point of coming here all the way from America if you can’t play? She said she wanted to help our preparation and be our practice partner but, to me, if you can’t play how then can you practice? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Anna Chakvetadze:

“If you haven’t played Fed Cup all year, it wouldn’t be fair just to show up for the final,” she said in a news conference. “It’s not fair to all the other girls who committed themselves to the team’s cause.”


jane Says:

Y -

My point is that the press is filled with this sort of hyperbole, particularly in relation to Roger Federer, who deserves praise no doubt, but not the sort of ridiculous overstatements he often is showered with.

Also, as a sub-point, I think such hyperbole could lead one to boast.


jane Says:

Y – let me clarify further so I don’t ruffle too many feathers.

Federer *deserves* praise for his tennis. But journalists who make stupid and illogical claims like “no one” “never” “anything” best of “ALL TIME” etc. drive me nuts.

I realize it’s hype and the nature of the media, but sheesh.

grendel – Tony is referring to different things, like patriotic colors and brand logos, not “notches” or “badges” implying, ostensibly anyhow, “look, this is how many I’ve won!” Is Roger *that* desireous of recognition? Couldn’t wearing those be seen as boastful? Or maybe it’s some stupid idiot at Nike who thought it up. Either way, not a very classy move, IMO.


grendel Says:

o.k., take your point, Jane. I think where clothes etc are concerned, there’s probably a team effort involved – even so, Fed is the ultimate decision maker and – definitely not a good decision!

Make no mistake, I want Fed to win Wimbie next year. But I confess to being intrigued as to how he will handle a loss in the final in terms of that blazer and all that. He could look really silly. But then again, he could be quite humorous about it. It might be a telling moment.


Sandra Brwon Says:

John McEnroe appeared on the cover of SI at least SEVEN times. It’s not the sport – it’s the fact that Roger Federer is not American plain and simple!


jane Says:

You have to wonder if jingoism & capitalism – two words floated around here earlier – don’t go hand-in-hand in the U.S.A.

Likely, Roger isn’t on the cover because (a) he’s not American and (b) tennis is not a top-selling sport in America.

If tennis is featured on the cover, it’s going to be an American tennis player or a second-rate hottie like Kournikova. Whatever sells, and usually that’s red-white-and-blue or sexy – which means not tennis because there haven’t been any great American tennis players of late. As for the sexy, I’ll leave that for others to comment on.


jt Says:

Eh…I don’t know anyone who reads SI anyway. It’s a “sports magazine” that’s best known for its swimsuit issue – that’s some serious journalism.

As has been mentioned previously, SI exists to sell itself. It *does* make sense that they’ll cater to American audiences…and yes. Unfortunately, we Americans tend to not look so far beyond our borders.

The flip side (which is NO justification whatsoever, it’s just an observation), is that it has to be difficult for sportswriters to find something NEW to write about Federer. I mean, yeah, he won AGAIN. Yeah, he broke ANOTHER record. It’s phenomenal and it’s amazing to watch and…Federer has me watching tennis again for the first time since…Sampras. But in terms of sports “news,” it’s pretty (ridiculously) redundant…the double-edged sword of brilliance, I suppose.

To the “critics,” YOU try being the best in the world at anything. Think about it, THE BEST in the world (i.e. officially ranked #1) at what you do for over 3.5 years. If your work was televised, reported on, blogged to death, your personal heros raved about you and your work (because that’s what it is – this is his job) and complete strangers had the need to pick apart your work, your wardrobe, your relationships and every comment you ever made…

I defy anyone to handle the fame, the attention and the pressure any better. Oh, and to play a better game of tennis.


Ryan Says:

To Sean Randall : Why are you trying to twist something and say that fed is arrogant and taking credit all for himself.He did give credit to Rafa too.You skipped that part.Your quotes were correct but it is not the full thing.This is the full thing.

“because I’ve taken all the Grand Slams with Rafa. If [Marat] Safin or Roddick and all these other guys would’ve gotten more, people would think there is much more depth now. But they didn’t. Because I’ve taken them all.”

Source:-http://goroger.net/article/2007/si070911.html


grendel Says:

Spot on, JT!


Tejuz Says:

Nice posts Tony, Grendel and JT.

I havent seen a better Number 1 across different sports and different eras.

Just imagine.. if (the attention monger) Djoker or Murray become No 1 in future. How would they turn out to be..


zola Says:

grendal,

I know you would love to see a verbal fight here and I am not going to do that! sorry!

I just state my opinion. Maybe it is a mental thing in tennis that you think you are better or best otherwise you can crack up during a match. I have noticed in Fed’s many interviews how he has to give credit to himself first ( and almost all players do that), but then he has to say something negative about the other person. You love fed, so you don’t mind.

I will never engage in a conversation as to wether Fed is good or bad. The results talk for themselves. He is up there with the giants. What I am saying is, now that he thinks he is great and by watching him people are watching greatness, it is dangerous. Most people fall when they look up instead of looking on the ground.

I also want to state my first post here again. why do we even care if SI has fed or Nadal or another tennis player on the cover? or finds them the sportsman of the year or not? it’s SI’s loss.


TennisMasta Says:

It seems that Roger’s agents could do a better job of selling him to the sponsors. His $26M ($10 of it is prize money) looks quite measly compared to $100M of Tiger and many other athletes in between. Even a retired Agassi pull in some $30M If I recall right.

A few things Roger could do here in the US, short of changing his passport are:

- he’s always smiling except during the match itself. Tiger has the same grim demeanor, but he has those trade mark moves when he sinks a putt. Even if Roger could just take a few of his many magnificent shots and make some crowd pleasing gestures, perhaps it will help with his marketability. It is sad we have to talk about a pure genius like this, but we are talking about the most jingoistic capital market in the world.
To quote the great Frand Deford, “If it’s not our star and our sport, U.S. just doesn’t care”

- the media absolutely has to join in. But for their incessant coverage of the US stars the William sisters (for example) would not be such endorsement heavy weights. Even classless comments like “lucky shots” won’t dent their marketablity one bit (imagine the uproar had Roger made those comments). The media even cushions them from any damage they attempt to do to themselves. But again, this is mostly reserved for the lucky ones born on the US soil.


TennisMasta Says:

” To the “critics,” YOU try being the best in the world at anything. Think about it, THE BEST in the world (i.e. officially ranked #1) at what you do for over 3.5 years. If your work was televised, reported on, blogged to death, your personal heros raved about you and your work (because that’s what it is – this is his job) and complete strangers had the need to pick apart your work, your wardrobe, your relationships and every comment you ever made…

I defy anyone to handle the fame, the attention and the pressure any better. Oh, and to play a better game of tennis. ”

Well said, JT. Tracy Austin said that Roger handles the #1 spot better than any other #1 she saw – both male and female. And she has seen them all.

Now only, if Tracy can break the jingoism-capitalism connection…


zola Says:

Tennis Masta,
I personally don’t set my likes and dislikes because Tracy Austin said so or because Fed walks with VOUGE’s editor and she admires his way of dressing. I think people can think for themselves.

I agree with you however that this is a PR issue. Tennis is certainly important enough in US to have a USOpen and two master series here. but when it comes to acknowledgement, there is none.

It is up to USTA and player’s PR to negotiate deals with magazines, TV channels etc. to promote the players. Right now they try to promore Roger through Tiger Woods or VOUGE’s editor and I don’t know how successful they have been.

The major issue is that tennis is absent from US tv. You have to have cable and get the tennis channel or ESPN. Even so, each tournament is broadcasted on a different channel. where every weekend there is baseball , golf or football on TV. This is up to USTA to do something about it. There are enough tournaments around the world to have at least one matche per week on TV.


zola Says:

sorry, three master series in US ( IW, Miami and Cincy) .


Sean Randall Says:

Ryan, where am I trying to twist what Fed said? “Because I’ve taken them all.” Those are Fed’s words not mine.

Zola is right. The big issue for tennis here in the U.S. is its absence on major television. I’ve said it before, if it’s not on TV it basically doesn’t exist. And after the US Open that’s been the case with tennis, which won’t air on a national major network until Shanghai on ESPN. I guess I should recognize the Vs. rodeo channel which will air the D-Cup this weekend, but I hardly think that’ll move the meter much.


jane Says:

From JT: “I defy anyone to handle the fame, the attention and the pressure any better. Oh, and to play a better game of tennis.”

This is like “defying” a film critic to suddenly become a film maker or a director. They are two entirely different things. We are *commenting on* Federer’s tennis and choices, we’re not trying to become him!

Of course Roger is going to be criticized as well as praised, and so he should be, given his eminent position. That doesn’t mean the critics should suddenly become number one tennis players.

And remember: no one is beyond criticism, not me, not you, and… not even Roger.


grendel Says:

Sean: a truncated quote out of context CAN be very misleading indeed.

Zola: no, don’t want a fight, just a rational debate. Now you say that after Fed has given himself pat on the back (which you say almost all players do) then Fed “has to say something negative about the other person”.

Now if you make a comment like that, you’re surely duty bound to back it up with evidence. Contrary to what you say, I would mind if it is true, and it would certainly affect my opinion of Fed.

My understanding and observation is that he is generally pretty generous in his comments on his opponent. He said something silly about Nadal a couple of times – and seems to have recognized that was unworthy. And?

Have I missed something?


jt Says:

Zola said: I have noticed in Fed’s many interviews how he has to give credit to himself first ( and almost all players do that), but then he has to say something negative about the other person. You love fed, so you don’t mind.

What interviews are you following?

grendel’s right – if you’re going to make that claim, you need to back it up. A big part of why I have so much respect for Federer is how he’s eternally gracious. Yes, he’s straightforward and can be quite blunt, but he’s forever gracious when talking about his opponents.

He owns when he plays well. He owns when he DOESN’T play well (even if he’s won and has no “obligation” to do so). He acknowledges when his opponents play well and he acknowledges when they’ve made it easier for him to win. He gives, I believe, pretty fair accounts of the matches he plays.

Consider his remarks about Nadal after Wimbledon:

“He’s a fantastic player and he’s going to be around so much longer so I’m happy with every one I get before he takes them all!”
“It was such a close match. I told him at the net that he deserved it as well. I’m the lucky one today.”

Pretty arrogant, that. He had similar comments about his match against Roddick at the U.S. Open on how it could easily have gone either way and he thought Roddick deserved better than straight sets. Man, that ego really is out of control.

Jane said: This is like “defying” a film critic to suddenly become a film maker or a director. They are two entirely different things. We are *commenting on* Federer’s tennis and choices, we’re not trying to become him!

Fair point. Let me rephrase.

I defy anyone to find an example of a individual handling this level of fame, attention, accolades and pressure any better.


John (1) Says:

Sean Randall said: “I’ve said it before, if it’s not on TV it basically doesn’t exist.”

Exactly.


Tony Says:

Zola: “Tony I challenge you to have the decency to read my previous quotes. I was the first one to ask FoT and Sean if these quotes were right or not. well, enjot these moments of greatness as much as you can. As I said before, usually when someone comes to this extreme level of self-appreciation, the only way to go is down. I like Roger’s tennis. I don’t like his bragging… wether it is his language limitations ( which I don’t think so), or that he really believes he is great or that it might be his right to brag about himself, I don’t like it.”

OK Zola, challenge accepted. I had read your previous comments carefully before I wrote my previous post. Decency requires sticking to the truth, so let’s check the facts.

1. Here is your very first comment on this discussion. Zola (September 17th, 2007 at 6:00 pm): “first of all fed was NEVER HUMBLE. Ha has USED EVERY OPPOTYUNITY to say how great he plays. Now he has started to believe he is great!…”

- Let’s examine what’s your basis to reach your first two generalizations, which go beyond the SI article.

2. Later you claimed to have a basis to make those first two generalizations. Zola: “Jane, I like tennis a lot and I usually read or listen to the players’ comments after matches. This is the way federer talks. He tones down during clay season, where he can lose, but afterwards he is just like that. You have to read his quotes after winning Blake in mastercup last year, Roddick in AO 07, etc.” (September 19th, 2007 at 10:40 am). You also claimed: “I have noticed in Fed’s many interviews how he has to give credit to himself first (and almost all players do that), but then he has to say something negative about the other person. You love fed, so you don’t mind.” (September 20th, 2007 at 12:33 pm)

- Let’s check whether Federer bragged in those two interviews. Read Federer’s full interview comments after beating Roddick in AO 2007 and Blake in TMC 2006. For someone who has just demolished his opponent and is being complimented profusely by the interviewers, Roger seems to be remarkably grounded in his responses to interviewers’ questions. His answers are mostly factual, explanatory and appropriate rather than bragging or arrogant. (Bragging means vocally praising oneself or claiming superiority over others with unfounded exaggeration and excessive pride.)

- AO 2007: Federer’s post-match interview after destroying Roddick.
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2007-01-25/200701251169724865500.html

- TMC 2006: Federer’s post-match interview after destroying Blake.
http://www.tennis-x.com/story/2006-11-21/h.php

- Here is a quote from the AO interview, so please enlighten us how Federer is bragging:
“Q. Rod Laver said today before the match that you’re on your way to becoming the greatest player of all time. He also said that you’re a modest champion. Is there something you can possibly say that could argue against those who don’t believe you’re actually the greatest yet? Are there things you need to achieve?
Roger Federer: Absolutely. There’s plenty I need to do before I’m the best of all time. So far away from beating the No. 1 weeks at No. 1, Slams I’m still five away. Jimmy Connors has 108 titles. I have 45. How can you put me in front of him in terms of titles? It’s still farfetched. If I go at the pace I’m going right now, of course I’ll break all records. Nobody’s ever done that. That’s why I say, Let’s wait and see. I’m definitely on the right track. I’m not injured. I’m playing well. I’m in another finals. Yeah, maybe people haven’t seen a guy play like I have, and that gives me a lot of compliments. That’s beautiful, you know. But I got to do it over and over again, you know, for another five years or so. That’s the tough part.”

- I hope you didn’t read some truncated quotes in an article and jumped to conclusions before checking the original interviews. Btw, at the TMC prize ceremony, before the interview, Fed ‘bragged’: “People say I’m the best in the world but I need Mirka to be the best.”

3. You concluded Federer is bragging — “now he has started to believe he is great!” — based on Sean’s SI truncated quotes which you had not yet checked for accuracy. To be fair, Sean’s truncated quotes could mislead some, whether or not Sean was influenced by his personal perception of Federer as a “little” “cocky”.

4. Later, yes, you did ask whether Federer had made the quote. Zola (September 18th, 2007 at 1:13 am and at 1:29 pm): “now I have a question to Fot and Sean: I looked at SI.com and I did not find this infamous “I am the great” comment of Federer in his interview. Has he not said it or is it in the print version and is omitted in the e-version?… these are pretty fancy quotes and it is only fair to Fed and us to confirm if they are true or not.”

5. Next, Sean responds that the quotes he used are real (September 18th, 2007 at 2:03 pm). But grendel soon clarifies that Sean’s quotes are truncated and were taken out of context from the original. Grendel provides the fuller SI quotes (which itself may be a truncation of Federer’s original comments). Grendel clearly explained why Federer was definitely not bragging but merely providing a rational explanation to rebut Sampras’s claims (September 18th, 2007 at 7:03 pm).

6. However, zola, you disregarded grendel’s logical assessment that Sean’s truncated quotes were out of context. Instead you accepted Sean’s statement that the quotes are real as confirmation that the quotes were “right” and repeated a truncated quote to support your claim that Federer was bragging. (September 18th, 2007 at 9:57 pm)

7. Later you referred to grendel’s post and dismissed his logical assessment without attempting to refute his argument. You also disregarded the fact that Federer is a living great in action — greatness — as he is already considered at least one of the three or four greatest players in tennis history, along with Sampras, Laver and Borg. Zola: “It might be allright to you. To me, someone saying people are now watching greatness, is bragging but it is also “weapons of self destruction”. Usually when someone gets to this stage, the only way to go is down and it a pitty. Let’s see what happens from here.” (September 19th, 2007 at 10:40 am). How could Federer be “bragging” when he is stating an accepted fact (it is not unfounded exaggeration since even you admitted “He is up there with the giants”) and is not being excessively proud? If Federer does not realize his clear place in tennis history as one of the greats, would that not be dangerous for everyone? Imagine a surgeon who has to perform very complicated operations but, at interviews, is unwilling to accept that he passed his final exams and was the top student in medical school. Bragging and arrogance are flaws, but ignoring reality can have far worse impact.

8. You also suggested that Federer was intentionally bragging — “(Federer) knows what he is talking about. It is not like he has just learned how to speak English.” (September 18th, 2007 at 10:38 pm).

9. Finally, zola, you avoided my main comment directed to you, which is in the final three paragraphs of my previous post on September 19th, 2007 at 1:57 pm: “Andrea is right to expose the obvious double standards in making a mountain out of a molehill about the partial Federer quotes… (zola) if you criticize and make assumptions about Federer bragging and lacking humility, why are you so willing to overlook Nadal’s more emphatic and deliberate claims (on his website homepage about being the undisputed king of clay)?”

My comments were in response to your selective morality and convenient excuses when it comes to Nadal, of whom you are an enthusiastic fan. zola: “andrea, don’t try to stir things up. what is said in Nadal’s website is not the same that comes out of Nadal’s mouth. the site is written and managed by a company. No one is bringing quotes from Federer’s website here. what are you trying to do? What Fed has said (if true), are his own words and what he thinks about himself. He thinks he is great! As I said before, good for him!” (September 18th, 2007 at 1:46 pm).

Let’s be consistent, shall we?


jane Says:

JT –

How about Steffi Graf? Not only did she have way more pressure, with her overbearing father, that weird Seles attack, and later on, with injuries, but she also won more titles and accomplished things that no one else in tennis has, male or female – like the “Golden Slam” for instance.

Steffi was modest and gracious and not at all flashy (in part because her dad was a control freak). She was an incredible champion who handled fame, pressure and accolades with grace, and who handled personal issues quietly and professionally.

It would be interesting to see if Roger could handle things so smoothly without Mirka. From what I’ve read, including that very long article in Men’s Vogue, she handles a lot; one might even say, she runs the show, aside from the one on the court, of course.


jane Says:

Tony -

In fairness to Nadal, and to reiterate what zola said, it is very unlikely that Rafa has much to do with his official website, and though I don’t know for certain, I’d say he likely doesn’t write one word on it. So comparing statements made there to statements made in interviews is not a fair comparison.

So in further fairness to Nadal, since you’re raising the comparison to Federer, I’d suggest you read or even cite some of of Rafa’s interviews. He seems to be extremely gracious towards other players (maybe the Soderling thing was an exception but a valid one IMO) and never underestimates an opponent or writes off other’s victories as “insignificant”. He doesn’t have a very good handle on English yet – much less of a handle than Fed – but he still manages to show modesty.


Kash Says:

Logically speaking, modesty is as much a sin/flaw as bragging is. You are deviating from the truth, either way. Fed is far closer to the truth than any other athlete, in his interviews IMO. Obviously people who do not like fed will find the truth that fed actually realises he is great, as arrogant. It sounds utterly stupid that a genius should either

a) realise he is not a genius or
b) he should not say it himself that he is a genius, even though he realises so. i would term that lying.

Fed is not perfect, he might not always have the “right opinion” atleast he is honest. Example would be his terming nadal one dimensional. I am sure most analysts donot agree with that, but that is federer’s view. (maybe he changed that view now). I prefer that honest view, though it might not be in agreement with most people, rather than nadal saying before both the FO open finals that federer is the favorite. Nadal could have as well not answered that question than display false modesty.

As to the actual quote itself, it is claimed as an arrogant quote by the usual anti-fed clubbers and not arrogant by the fed clubbers. By this time, it must be clear who belongs to which club. So unless there is an anti-fed clubber claiming fed WAS humble or a fed-clubber claiming fed was arrogant, these will be redundant discussions. it may be fun for people new to the site, but for oldies, itz been there done that time. Anyways thanks for giving me something to read everyday…. keep the arguments going guys :) Hopefully, one day we will all agree about something ;)


jt Says:

This will be my last post here…this is really circuitous.

Steffi Graf may be another good example. I was a whopping 8 years old when she achieved the Golden Slam, so it’s impossible for me to have a fair or articulate opinion about how she handled things.

Regardless, with a quick change of pronoun and verb tense, I think this sentence could easily be written, and has essentially been written by many, about Federer: “She was an incredible champion who handled fame, pressure and accolades with grace, and who handled personal issues quietly and professionally.”

As to Mirka’s role, um, duh. She’s his manager in addition to being his girlfriend. It’s her *job* to make things go smoothly. Everyone playing at that level has and needs a support system. Again, I see it as a *credit* to Federer that he surrounds himself with capable people.

I don’t think anyone is trying to critique Nadal here. He’s a great player and he brings a lot of excitement to tennis. I think the point is, if you’re going to nitpick every little thing Federer has ever said, you should apply the same standard of criticism to Nadal and other players. (Go ahead, claim that language issues for Nadal give you a right to not criticize him. [Yawn.]) To say that Nadal doesn’t have anything to do with his official website is…pretty pathetic. It’s his official site. It’s ultimately his name that goes on it and he’s giving his (however tacit) approval to what’s said there. Bear in mind, I don’t have any issues with Nadal’s site. I just don’t think you can write it off as not being *his* or his responsibility.

Ultimately, we’re clearly not changing anyone’s opinion here. And I’m not asking anyone to like Federer. It just grates a little when criticisms are leveled against him out of context and people apply double standards. It also seems as though the most irrational critics are Nadal fans and…if Nadal can be gracious and appreciative about Federer’s success, I think perhaps his fans could be too.

I’m done. Snark about Federer. Snark about me (not that anyone has, but whatever). It doesn’t change reality.

I leave you with a quote from another blog that’s been in the back of my mind throughout this thread (Astarte’s Circus – beware it’s a *feminist* blog [gasp]):

“We need to be able to feel good about certain achievements without falling on our swords every five seconds.”

I’m glad that Federer can.


Tony Says:

(Jane, I’ll respond to your comments later, including your earlier one on Sept 19th at 4:37 pm.)

There is a growing awareness and discussion in the newsmedia about Roger Federer’s place in the sports world, even in the U.S. Thus it is Sport’s Illustrated’s failure, as the largest American sports magazine, that they have neglected to put Federer on its cover. But it is also the failure the the tennis community, as a whole, to fail to exploit the opportunity of leveraging Federer’s position as possibly the world’s best sportsman, not just in tennis but in all sports. Tennis media need to find the courage to take advantage of tennis’s superstar to develop greater interest for tennis among all sports, before it’s too late. Some of us are still ‘jingoistic’ about our favourite tennis player — Federer Nadal Djokovic, etc. — while Federer and Nadal enjoyed each other’s company on Federer’s chartered plane from Montreal to Cincinnati. It does not matter if we claim not to be antifans of Federer.

If interested, here are articles comparing Federer with Tiger Woods, other top American sportsmen and other althletes:

Top AP choices show worth: Federer, Tiger, Alex Rodriguez, Peyton Manning
http://tinyurl.com/2bhwr5

Rodriguez part of golden trifecta: A-Rod, Woods, Federer in prime, dominating respective sports
http://tinyurl.com/2rbayb

In New York, football still wins the ratings race, but tennis beats baseball and golf… Tiger Woods is the lead scorer in the Fedex Cup series, but he was last in the ratings on Sunday afternoon.
http://tinyurl.com/23ecdz

Roger Federer, The Best Athlete of Our Era
http://www.insidetennis.com/YB07_federer.html

Supermen: Federer and Tiger
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/sport/story/0,,2170119,00.html

Federer has no match: Woods, Bryant, Manning, Tomlinson and others merit consideration, but all take a back seat to the tennis star in a discussion about the world’s greatest athletes.
http://tinyurl.com/398mkw

Is Federer the greatest sportsman ever? Where does Swiss tennis player Roger Federer sit in the pantheon of sporting legends?
http://tinyurl.com/3axa25

Tiger Woods, Roger Federer Lack Real Threats
http://tinyurl.com/ysehdl

The punter: Ace Roger has the drop on Tiger in major battle
http://tinyurl.com/2qaznf

Federer shades Tiger for shots
http://tinyurl.com/2jxrvf

Roger or Tiger: Who is the more dominant performer?
http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=2746501

You gotta admit: There’s nothing like Him
http://tinyurl.com/2kk947

Federer, Tiger world’s best, and in that order
http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/story/230136.html

Federer may be the most dominant athlete there is
http://tinyurl.com/2j9vs5

Greatness like Federer’s must be appreciated
http://tinyurl.com/2wzlyk

Roger Federer enjoys the best of everything
http://tinyurl.com/3ypj86

Even in down year, Federer is peerless
http://tinyurl.com/2v97sh

Federer: The Artistry of the World’s Top Tennis Ace, according to Rod Laver
http://tinyurl.com/328hr5

Federer: Deserved, But Not Noticed
http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=24188

Roger Federer is number 38 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, topped by Oprah, Tiger Woods and Madonna. Among male athletes Federer is number 10, with Tiger at number 1 (how did ‘washed up’ British soccer player David Beckham end up as number 2?). Among female athletes, Sharpova is number 1 and Serena at number 2, but on the overall Celebrity list, Federer is still ahead of Sharapova and Serena.
http://tinyurl.com/2c44sx

Roger Federer Is Way Beyond Tennis Bell Curve: Scott Soshnick
http://tinyurl.com/2opykm

Federer is greatest ever
http://tinyurl.com/2qa3lw

Federer has eye of tiger
http://tinyurl.com/2qon3g

Without Peer: In winning his fourth straight U.S. Open crown and 12th Grand Slam title, Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis
http://tinyurl.com/34ha6m

Federer King Of The Court, Sport World
http://tinyurl.com/2tqxx5

Who’s Better – Roger Federer or Tiger Woods?
http://tinyurl.com/2jketa

Federer draws inspiration from Tiger’s prowess
http://tinyurl.com/3exw58

Who’s more dominant … Roger or Tiger?
http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/7211308

Who is better: Tiger Woods or Roger Federer?
http://tinyurl.com/2u3v2q

Federer could be the greatest, ever
http://tinyurl.com/2m5b5h

Federer’s dominance may never be seen again
http://tinyurl.com/2s49jw


jane Says:

My only Fed gripes are these, really -

1. Federer is not the “greatest of all time” because there is no such thing, logically speaking. Comparing eras is faulty. Comparing stats doesn’t add up to goat.

2. Federer is not beyond criticism. He’s generally a very classy champion, but he also makes mistakes like anyone – Rafa, Djoker, Roddick, etc. – but it seems that if any Fed faux pas are brought up, here or elsewhere, they are shot down as quickly as they’re raised. Some – not all – Fed-fans are not very objective.

In essence, my issues are with hyperbolic press and fanatical fans, not Federer himself.

Well except for this one thing: personally, while I can see that Federer is one of the greatest on the court, ever, he’s not the most engaging player to me personality-wise. But this is a quibble and it’s a personal preference, not something I can argue about or even pin down.

That’s it. So I’ll leave it at that too. Thanks for your patience.


John (1) Says:

jane,

re: “because there is no such thing”

IMO, there is a goat but we just don’t all agree who that is. And probably never will. But it is fun talking about it.

re: “Some – not all – Fed-fans are not very objective.”

This applies to fill-in-the-blank fans, not just fed fans.

re: “he’s not the most engaging player to me personality-wise”

This is subjective and also applies to everyone. The players that I find totally annoying are someone else’s favorites.


TennisMasta Says:

Tony provides:

“Q. Rod Laver said today before the match that you’re on your way to becoming the greatest player of all time. He also said that you’re a modest champion. Is there something you can possibly say that could argue against those who don’t believe you’re actually the greatest yet? Are there things you need to achieve?

Roger Federer: Absolutely. There’s plenty I need to do before I’m the best of all time. So far away from beating the No. 1 weeks at No. 1, Slams I’m still five away. Jimmy Connors has 108 titles. I have 45. How can you put me in front of him in terms of titles? It’s still farfetched….”

Can any one think of one sports great, when given this unbelievable honor on a platter, not only politely declines it, but goes out of his (or her) way to recite as many former greats and records as possible, and why it is “farfetched”.

I don’t ever recall (please feel free to research – that’s great thing here) Sampras saying why his “measly” 64 titles pale in comparison to Connors’ 108, or McEnroe’s 144 (77+77), or his 14 GS titles don’t compare to Rod Lavers 2 GrandSlams.

No wonder Laver said Roger is a “modest champion”. He never said that of Sampras or anyone else (perhaps Rafter).

Well, some people would want to jump on anything Roger says (and he says a lot openly and freely), but the fact is he is the only player who received the Stephan Edberg Sportsmanship award 3 times. For folks who keep saying Sampras is greater, he was not given this award once. If you read the description of the award on the ATP web site: “Not only is he the best, but he’s also the fairest. ATP World No. 1 Roger Federer has been voted by his peers as the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship winner for the third consecutive year. ”

What’s amazing is that it is voted by his peers. Wonder why Pete’s “great” competition never once voted him this honor?


johnnhoj Says:

A good chunk of what we see, read or hear from tennis players outside of their matches is all in an effort to give greater exposure (much-needed in the U.S.) to the sport of tennis as well as to themselves. As proven in the entries above this one, the Federer quotes have triggered negative and positive reactions toward him, and that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Doesn’t that get a broader debate going that spills into other media outlets, thereby promoting the players and the sport? Tennis could use some extra publicity, especially in the U.S., which I think Federer is happy to help bring in if at all possible (and maybe he wants to slip in some of his tennis credentials in the process). I don’t like to admit this, but a solid feature article on Federer in Sports Illustrated would help. Could it be that Federer is the guy to step forward and try putting his foot in the door (as opposed to his mouth)? John McEnroe still tries to some extent, but nobody seems to pay much attention to him anymore either.


allcourt Says:

I just hope that all of you who are saying that it’s OK for Federer to be arrogant (or what some people call arrogant) because he’s earned the right to be arrogant are not the same people who jump on the case of other just as talented and successful players when they make comments that some people call arrogant. It’s the old double or triple standard that bugs me.


joanne Says:

There is a big difference in characteristics seen as admirable in the US and in Europe.Did you all notice how Djokovic with his brash ways was cheered more loudly than Roger at the closing ceremony.Djokovic goes out of his way to get attention, so he gets it.Roger is more respectful of his opponents and does not take the limelight away from others.Watch Roger after he beat Sampras.He is almost apologetic about it and still respectful of Sampras.That’s the Swiss way.Not right or wrong just different.Bet you anything Djovic is on the cover of SI not Roger.I dont care because its what makes Roger far more interesting and admirable.Roger is a one off.Djokovic is one of many.
Also when you speak German you speak very matter of factly and it can sound abrupt when translated to English.Its a less subtle language.


TennisMasta Says:

johnnhoj, Absolutely agree with you. Federer is doing a lot of things that no other great did. He gives open access to media, he adorns fashion off-court and even on the court (which was exclusively women’s territory), while shattering records everytime he gets on the court.

It’s a marketing travesty that US (and the ATP) is not exploiting this unique combination of talent, professionalism, modesty, and down-to-earth personality. Again, if Roger were from Maryland instead of from Switzerland (as Frank Deford puts it) it is conceivable his endorsements would be worth at least two times that of Tiger. That would be about $200M/year.

Then he would be on the cover of SI after every grandslam and masters cup, and all his accomplishments will make headlines on ESPN everyday, and he would be household name selling energy efficient cars to fashion clothing to good etiquette. He would be on Oprah, Larry King, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and even on Bill O’Reilly.

Hey marketing schools – Harvard, Kellogg, and Wharton, Federer’s story would make a fantastic case study for opportunities bungled, because we seem to be shackled in a weird fanatical patriotism or xenophobia or a combination of both, in the greatest capitalist country in the world.


TennisMasta Says:

joanne is right on. Explains the cultural differences that underline our apathy toward anything good and normal. If you are not an American, then you better be like Djokovic to get TV time.

Just look at our obsession with OJ Simpson. Every network and cable outlet has to spend so much time covering his every latest move. It should be shocking that we are such crass people that need the jolt of OJ scandals to keep us entertained. No wonder for such people Roger’s celestial tennis is boring.


Sean Randall Says:

Tennis Masta, I love the line “If you are not an American, then you better be like Djokovic to get TV time.”

Here’s the problem. If the American players continue to flame out early in Slams then the American public won’t have to worry about seeing Djokovic on TV, because eventually tennis will be no longer shown here on major U.S. networks.

I’ve said it time and again, the best indicator of a sports success is its appearence on major U.S. TV. The trend in tennis of late has not been more tennis on tv but less, and on less quality networks.

The more The Tennis Channel gets rights to events (like the OZ Open, French Open, Wimbledon next) the fewer people who will be able to watch those tournaments, and it snowballs from there.

This weekend is a great example. ESPN use to show U.S. Davis Cup matches, but now Vs. does. ESPN dumped it because they can make money (or make more money) running other, more profitable sporting events in place of tennis.

Networks like ESPN are in it to make money. Bottom line. If they can’t make money off a sport they’ll show something else (poker!). And they can’t make much money off tennis right now because it’s difficult to get ratings here in the U.S. unless you are an American or a hot blonde. (See the U.S. Open ratings slide)

Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc are all wonderful players. Great to watch. But they are hard to sell to the American public because they are a) tennis players and b) they are not American.

If Federer was American or if Roddick had won a few more Slams that Davis Cup semifinal today would be shown on ESPN.

Hell, if Pat Mac put O.J. on the team even as a practice partner the D-Cup would be covered by all four major networks. Live!

The end result of this is is that unless John Isner, Donald Young, Sam Querrey or even Roddick, Blake, Sharapova don’t step up and start winning Slams you’ll see less and less tennis on major U.S. TV. And I know that sounds great for the Tennis Channel and Vs. subscribers, but for the sport of tennis as a whole it’s really not.


Tony Says:

Jane (Sept 19th at 4:37 pm): “regarding the subtitle of the article you reference – “Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis.” This is precisely the kind of press hyperbole – “no one” “anything” – that irks me, no matter what the context or who it refers to. Sure, Roger is a fantasically great tennis player: *one of* the greatest to date. Maybe he brags sometimes too, at least in some people’s opinion or interpretation. But “no one in the world does anything as well as [Roger] plays tennis”?! Good lord – *if* he is bragging, no wonder!”

It’s possible you cherry-pick and interpret information to fit your attitude about Federer based on your recurring themes that Roger appears to be conceited, arrogant, a braggart and over-hyped (yes, I noted your carefully placed *if*).

First, you presented a truncated quote which left out the context. This is the full quote of
S.L. Price’s headline in the Sports Illustrated magazine article: “In winning his fourth straight U.S. Open crown and 12th Grand Slam title, Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis.” This headline in Sports Illustrated — the largest American sports magazine — is quite muted compared to SI’s other far more ‘sensational’ headlines on other sports.

Price did offere some explanation of what he meant by “no one” “anything”. Price: “After a while it became impossible not to scan all the famous faces in Arthur Ashe Stadium and engage in pop culture’s newest reality show: Roger Federer Is Better Than You. There sat Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro, rocker Gavin Rossdale and mogul Donald Trump. Sorry, boys, but here’s the truth: Federer plays tennis better than you act, rock and mogul. But don’t worry. Plenty of boldfaced names paraded to the Open — Chevy Chase, Liza Minnelli, James Taylor, Christie Brinkley, Vera Wang, Michael Bloomberg, Charles Gibson — and they too came up short. With his 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory in the final, the 26-year-old Federer has won four straight U.S. Opens to go with his five consecutive Wimbledons, has taken 12 Grand Slam singles titles in just five years and is only two away from Pete Sampras’s record of 14. Hey, Tiger, with your 13 majors over 11 years, relax and join the club. YOU’LL HAVE TO SEARCH LONG AND HARD TO FIND ANYONE WHO DOES SOMETHING AS WELL, WITH MORE STYLE AND LESS EFFORT, AS FEDERER PLAYS TENNIS.” I like James Taylor’s music, Robert de Niro’s acting and Tiger Woods’s golf, but arguably they don’t perform in their professions in recent years as well as Federer does in his.

Music break: Carole King & James Taylor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BH_7uL-2jQ

I can emphatize with your feelings about generalizations like “no one” “anything” as being sensational. But if you want to debunk S.L. Price’s claims, you should post a list of a few well-known people who you think are doing something as well or better — in recent years — with more style and less effort as Federer plays tennis… and explain your reasoning on how their recent record of performance and accomplishments is greater than Roger’s. Otherwise, you haven’t disproved Price’s claim.

But let’s confine ourselves to the sports world. Is it appropriate to claim that “no one” in the sports world in recent years performs in their sports as well as Federer does in tennis? Who else in the sports world has been better than Federer in recent years? Maybe if Jehangir Khan, for example, was doing today in squash what he did in the 1980s, yeah, then I might be peeved.

Federer had just equalled a record of consecutive US Open wins not done since the 1920s. He just achieved a record of four consecutive Wimbledon-US Open wins never been achieved before in tennis history. He has won 12 slam titles in the past 18 opportunities, which is the best in tennis history, and has been in an unprecedented 10 consecutive slam finals in an era where the depth of competition is far greater than it has ever been. In no other major sport, has anyone today chalked up a significant record of accomplishments in such a short time, not Tiger Woods or anyone else without a tainted cloud hovering above them.

As I mentioned earlier, the world’s leading sports legends and journamists have voted Federer as the Laureus World’s Top Sportsman for an unprecedented last three consecutive years, meaning no other sportsman’s accomplishments in any sport were considered by the top sports thinkers as outstanding as Federer’s in recent years. During this span, Federer, beat out other greats from world sports for the Laureus award: Tiger Woods (twice), Michael Schumacher (twice), Lance Armstrong (twice), Valentino Rossi (twice), Fernando Alonso (twice), Ronaldinho, Asafa Powell, Michael Phelps, Fabio Cannavaro, Hicham El Guerrouj. The Laureus sports legends and journalists are more qualified than you and I on the subject.

But let’s be honest. When it comes to hyperbole in the newsmedia, far more is heaped on most other top sportsmen — Tiger Woods and others come to mind — than on Federer, who has been relatively underappreciated, especially in the U.S. (though Roger should thank his friend Tiger for being generous in awakening the media discussions comparing the two dominant sportsmen.)


TennisMasta Says:

Sean, we are on to something here. First SI with its “snub”. Then folks like you posting and touching the nerve of tennis fans. Following that it seems a grass roots revolution is ensuing. At least I hope so :) If so, SI and all of us would be part of history.

We cannot watch impassively our American attitudes kill this great sport(in the US).

No one can win grandslams with the greatest player ever and the greatest clay court player ever taking them all. I don’t see John Isner, Donald Young, Sam Querrey or even Roddick, Blake winning slams against Roger, Rafa, Novak, and others. And that shouldn’t be such a terrible thing. It’s a cycle. We cannot have the best players all the time.

But the irony is this.

Somewhere out there a kid in a small town, USA is watching King Roger on TV and dreaming of one day playing like him. This kid is not too enamoured by big serves that Andy and his brother are so obsessed with. He wants to serve well like Roger and construct points. He is captivated by the effortless movement and shot making of Roger. And he loves it when Roger pounces on the kill. His brain is getting wired with the right way to play tennis. And he is learning it from the master. This American kid could one day become greater than Roger.

But now the bad sport American attitide walks in and turns the TV off. There dies our future.

We cannot let it happen.


Tony Says:

Jane (Sept 19th, 4:37 pm): “regarding the subtitle of the article you reference – “Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis.” This is precisely the kind of press hyperbole – “no one” “anything” – that irks me, no matter what the context or who it refers to. Sure, Roger is a fantasically great tennis player: *one of* the greatest to date. Maybe he brags sometimes too, at least in some people’s opinion or interpretation. But “no one in the world does anything as well as [Roger] plays tennis”?! Good lord – *if* he is bragging, no wonder!”

It’s possible you cherry-pick and interpret information to fit your attitude about Federer based on your recurring themes that Roger appears to be conceited, arrogant, a braggart and over-hyped (noting your carefully placed *if*).

You presented a truncated quote which left out the context. This is the full quote of
S.L. Price’s headline in the Sports Illustrated magazine article: “In winning his fourth straight U.S. Open crown and 12th Grand Slam title, Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis.” This headline in Sports Illustrated — the largest American sports magazine — is quite muted compared to headlines on other sports in SI.

Price did offer some explanation of what he meant by “no one” “anything”. Price: “After a while it became impossible not to scan all the famous faces in Arthur Ashe Stadium and engage in pop culture’s newest reality show: Roger Federer Is Better Than You. There sat Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro, rocker Gavin Rossdale and mogul Donald Trump. Sorry, boys, but here’s the truth: Federer plays tennis better than you act, rock and mogul. But don’t worry. Plenty of boldfaced names paraded to the Open — Chevy Chase, Liza Minnelli, James Taylor, Christie Brinkley, Vera Wang, Michael Bloomberg, Charles Gibson — and they too came up short. With his 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory in the final, the 26-year-old Federer has won four straight U.S. Opens to go with his five consecutive Wimbledons, has taken 12 Grand Slam singles titles in just five years and is only two away from Pete Sampras’s record of 14. Hey, Tiger, with your 13 majors over 11 years, relax and join the club. YOU’LL HAVE TO SEARCH LONG AND HARD TO FIND ANYONE WHO DOES SOMETHING AS WELL, WITH MORE STYLE AND LESS EFFORT, AS FEDERER PLAYS TENNIS.”

I like James Taylor’s music, Robert de Niro’s acting and Tiger Woods’s golf, but arguably they don’t perform in their professions in recent years as well as Federer does in his. Music break: Carole King & James Taylor
http://tinyurl.com/2dqgg3

You haven’t debunked Price’s claim. You should post a list of a few well-known people who you think are doing something as well or better — in recent years — with more style and less effort as Federer plays tennis… and explain how their recent record of performance and accomplishments is greater than Roger’s.

Let’s confine ourselves to the larger sports world. Who else in major sports in recent years has performed as well as Federer does in tennis? Maybe if Jehangir Khan, for example, was doing today in squash what he did in the 1980s, yeah, then I too might be peeved.

Federer had just equalled a record of consecutive US Open wins not done since the 1920s. He just achieved a record of four consecutive Wimbledon-US Open wins never achieved before in tennis history. He has won 12 slam titles in the past 18 opportunities, which is the best pace in tennis history, and has been in an unprecedented 10 consecutive slam finals in an era where the depth of competition is far greater than it has ever been. In no other major sport, has anyone today chalked up a significant record of accomplishments in such a short time, not Tiger Woods or anyone else without a tainted cloud hovering above them.

The world’s leading sports legends and journamists — the top sports thinkers — have voted Federer as the Laureus World’s Top Sportsman for an unprecedented last three consecutive years, meaning that in recent years no other sportsman’s accomplishments in any sport were considered as Federer’s. During this span, Federer, beat out sports greats for the Laureus award: Tiger Woods (twice), Michael Schumacher (twice), Lance Armstrong (twice), Valentino Rossi (twice), Fernando Alonso (twice), Ronaldinho, Asafa Powell, Michael Phelps, Fabio Cannavaro, Hicham El Guerrouj.

But let’s be honest. When it comes to hyperbole in the newsmedia, far more is heaped on most other top sportsmen — Tiger Woods and others come to mind — than on Federer, who has been relatively underappreciated, especially in the U.S. (though Roger should thank his friend Tiger for being generous in awakening the media discussions comparing the two dominant sportsmen.)


TennisMasta Says:

Correction: I don’t see John Isner, Donald Young, Sam Querrey winning slams in the near future, but it can happen. Donald Young seems like a great guy. Could be our Rafa if he sheds his baggy clothes. I saw Isner up close just this year at a collegiate tournament. He will cause some upsets for sure – Rafa and Novak will have to watch out for him more than Roger has to.

Roddick and Blake obsesss with Roger(they are great guys but misguided by their coaches and the US media), but they first have to remember to beat Ferrer, Dancevic, Gasquet, Monfils,
Haas, Hewitt, Ferraro, Stepanek, and so many others before they get to play Roger, let alone beat him. They should stir up something to get the US media interested. Perhaps date Paris Hilton! The public desparately needs the Brooke Shields’ and Streisands of Roddick and Blake.

Tony, you know some people don’t like Roger because he is so good. They hate him because he doesn’t look like the conceited, arrogant, over-hyped and over-paid athletes that we are used to fawning over in the US. Their anxiety and blood-pressure grows as Roger gets closer to that one record Sampras wants to define as the crowning moment of American (read it as world) tennis.


boink Says:

why are the fanboys so obsessed with getting roger on the cover of SI and take it as a personal affront when he doesn’t? who cares? your constant whinging make you all a really sad and pathetic bunch..and federer’s smug arrogance is getting out of control. he is really unlikeable and not worth cheering for.


Tony Says:

Tennis Masta: You’re so right and well reasoned (also see my post to Jane below about ‘personality’).

boink: If only you listened to your own advice about “who cares”. Ask yourself: why are you even here to make a meaningless comment on an issue you claim you don’t care about? Don’t you feel this is even more sad and pathetic?

Jane: “(Federer is) not the most engaging player to me personality-wise.”

This is a subjective preference of yours. Every player’s unique personality has its fans — different strokes for different folks. Some people harbor irrational negativity against Federer and/or have an attraction Nadal’s body, for example.

There are many discerning people, from top sports writers to top tennis players (like Sampras, Borg, Laver and Roy Emerson) who admire Federer to be a person of substance. E.g., Miami Herald: “Critics are misguided: Tennis abounds with personalities. For years, there has been much angst in tennis circles about the sport’s fading popularity in the United States, and one of the theories that gets tossed around is that tennis “lacks personalities.” Critics say it’s not as compelling as back in the heyday, when John McEnroe was throwing tantrums, Jimmy Connors was pumping his fist and Chrissy Evert and Martina Navratilova were slugging it out week after week. Those legends were fun, for sure, but anyone who thinks today’s game lacks personalities wasn’t paying attention to the U.S. Open the past two weeks. Either that, or the sport is doing a very poor job of marketing its stars.… You want personality? Pay closer attention to top-ranked Roger Federer, who won his fourth straight U.S. Open on Sunday. He is more interesting than you might think. Federer is possibly the best player in history, and his game is sublime. He also happens to be insightful, polite, intelligent, multilingual, and clean-cut — attributes we claim to want in our sports heroes. Oh, and he gets text messages from Tiger Woods. How many people can say that?… If you’re sick of flawed sports heroes — Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, Pacman Jones — don’t tune out tennis next time it’s on TV. Give it a chance.”
http://www.miamiherald.com/673/story/231813.html

According to Roy Emerson, we should be careful of tennis players becoming ‘performing seals’. “Roy Emerson, has attacked what he sees as the modern game’s cult of personality, arguing that the players are being turned into “performing seals”. “If, as a spectator, you really want to watch a lot of jumping up and down, and screaming and shouting, then why not just go to see some actual seals at Sea World,” said the Australian. Emerson, a winner of 12 grand slam singles titles, said he would much prefer it if there was more attention on the tennis itself, and far less on the players’ emotions and opinions…. Emerson feels as though modern tennis personalities are a bit manufactured, a bit forced, a bit put on. What so irks him about the trend of celebrating grand slam wins by leaping into the stands is that doing so means the champion leaves his vanquished opponent on their own on the court. Emerson sees that as deeply unsporting and disrespectful. “When I spoke to Roger Federer after he won his first Wimbledon title, in 2003, I congratulated him. But I didn’t congratulate him on winning his first Wimbledon, I congratulated him on how he behaved after he won the title. He stayed down on the court with his opponent, Mark Philippoussis,” said the Queenslander. “Federer said to me: ‘I don’t believe in going up into the stands. I know how disappointed I would have felt if I had lost a grand slam and so I stayed on the court.’ He was happy to just give his team and friends a wave.” In Emerson’s eyes, Federer is no “performing seal”.”
http://tinyurl.com/25jz7b

Jane, yes, Federer is not beyond criticism that is objective and fact-based. But give criticism that is based on fact, logic and principles. Don’t disparage Federer fans as fanatical simply because they are able to debunk dubious criticism — like some you’ve provided here — which cannot stand on logic or facts or principles. If a critic repeatedly pushes a flawed argument, perhaps it is she who is fanatical in her attitude against Federer. If so, it’s pretty lame to slime other posters as fanatical just because her position can’t be defended.


TennisMasta Says:

Tony, in the process of convincing those whose unflinching antipathy will not bend to any facts or reason, you are turning this into a veritable library of great quotes, facts and links. Time flies, and reading pieces from the past greats is very nice. Thanks, indeed.


Tony Says:

TennisMasta, you’re welcome.

I wonder whether the US Open organizers and TV effectively marketed the Federer-Djokovic final to the larger American audience as much and as they marketed last year’s Federer-Roddick final.

In New York, on US Open Sunday, football still won the ratings race, but tennis beat baseball and golf. Tiger Woods was the lead scorer in the Fedex Cup series, but he was last in the ratings on Sunday afternoon.
http://tinyurl.com/23ecdz

New York Post: “No Americans, No Problem: We’ve Got Federer… Super Saturday did not need one of the graceless Williams sisters once again either overcoming or falling to their shamelessly-advertised maladies. It did not require Svetlana Kuznetsova, outclassed by Justine Henin, to finally provide a compelling women’s final. Nor was it necessary to have more play, or words, from Andy Roddick, who takes the cake for making an issue of an obviously jestful “piece of cake” comment by Roger Federer, as if he had recorded a 143-11 record over the last two years by underestimating his opponents. This tournament never needed Americans, or the above Americans to act typically like Americans, or even Federer’s clay nemesis, Rafael Nadal, to get another shot today at the greatest player in the world. That would have been nice, but so is a final matchup with Novak Djokovic, the last person to beat Federer, last month in three sets. But in the likelihood things turns out differently this time, the only disappointment at the 2007 U.S. Open would be failing to fully comprehend the intricate genius of the Swiss Chronometer, or to appreciate our good fortune to witness it repeatedly.”
http://tinyurl.com/yu6yyn


Tony Says:

Picture of Venus Williams wearing an all-black t-shirt with a crest at the US Open. Somebody get a magnifying glass to check that crest for boasting and conceit.
http://tinyurl.com/2cautb

Jane (Sept 19th at 4:37 pm): “As far as Anna Wintour goes (I have ten years of Vogue in my garage; I know what I am talking about), she is interested in Roger’s tennis first-and-foremost. She’s a fan of the game. She also does editorials on fashion within tennis, but she is not analyzing things like badges; she’d be more interested in style or cut. For instance, as recent as August’s 07 issue, Wintour has feautred articles on tennis fashion and Serbian tennis, so she has a “vested” interest in the game, you might say. She’s also friends with Roger and Mirka so she wouldn’t critique him, not publically anyhow.”

You missed the point in my Sept 19th at 1:39 pm posting. Vogue magazine’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour — who is a close friend of Roger’s beyond her interest in tennis fashion (to the point she sends him clothes to use, organizes parties and celebrity dinners for him, etc.) — would have personally alerted him if she saw anything tacky or distasteful. Instead Roger said she told him she loves the attire. As well, when New Yorker magazine asked Wintour what tennis outfit she wears, she responded to the effect: “anything that Roger wears”. Wintour knows what she’s talking about on fashion, far more than any Vogue reader. (Btw, Wintour writing editorials in Vogue is irrelevant to my point, and obviously she won’t criticize Roger publicly)..

At the US Open, the New York Times ‘Federer wore a white blazer with the “RF” crest at Wimbledon… “Anna said that was fantastic,” Federer said, grinning. “I think she’s also excited about this outfit at the Open.” ’ New York Post: ‘ “She’s really helped get him (Federer) into the world of fashion and has influenced how he dresses, both on and off the court,” said Federer’s spokesman, Tony Godsick.’
http://tinyurl.com/3cdha7

You and every one else has their personal opinion about attire — after all, ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’. Since I have an appreciation of Wimbledon history before the Open era, I find Federer’s classical/retro styling entirely appropriate for Wimbledon while Nadal’s pirate pants and sleeveless attire a bit distasteful for this event (but I feel it’s fantastic for the other events).

So it’s best to defer to those authorities who understand fashion (e.g., Wintour) or who understand whether it’s appropriate for the context (e.g., leading British newsmedia). Several leading British newspapers loved Federer’s Wimbledon attire — crest and all — on the sacred grounds of their beloved SW19. E.g., here are a couple of excerpts from The Daily Telegraph, which I chose because it is Conservative and the largest-selling newspaper in stodgy Britain. You’d think they would be more sensitive than you to any distasteful and tacky attire on their Wimbledon champions.

- Telegraph, 2007 Wimbledon: “Immaculate start for a dashing champion… the Swiss reigning champion arrived amid cheers of relief that something was happening at last, and he did not disappoint. His jacket and trousers were fabulous. Only someone as dashing, modern and near-invincible as Federer would get away with being such a throw-back. But for the fact that he hits a forehand about 50 mph faster, and is about £30 million richer, he could be a contemporary of Bunny Austin.” Since Henry ‘Bunny’ Austin was the last British male player to reach the Wimbledon finals, in the late 1930s, can you see how the British are trying to view stylish Federer as one of their own?
http://tinyurl.com/2ucgbn

- Telegraph, 2006 Wimbledon: “But not all was miserable and downbeat at the All England Club (it was raining). How could it have been, with Federer emerging on Centre Court wearing his “walk-on jacket”, a white-cream blazer so terribly tongue-in-chic, and so much more interesting than the usual warm-up tracksuit? … Federer is a man who loves tradition, and he is clearly delighted with the personalised jacket that his kit manufacturers, Nike, have come up with for the Championships, where he is hoping to become only the third man in the modern era to win four straight Wimbledon titles. Federer is a man who takes an interest in clothes. The world No 1 likes to look smart, and never more so than when he is playing at his favourite grand slam, and on a green rectangle of grass that he must surely consider his domain. The jacket is classically stylish and has a special crest which incorporates a Swiss cross, a tuft of grass, his Leo star sign, an F for his surname and three rackets representing his three Wimbledon titles. After acknowledging the crowd’s applause, Federer carefully put the jacket around the back of his change-over chair. This is no ordinary tracksuit to be casually thrown aside.”
http://tinyurl.com/2p2e2h

Federer donated at least his 2006 jacket to the Wimbledon museum. After Federer beat Nadal in the 2006 final, The Daily Telegraph wrote: “Next year he (Roger) can return with a few alterations to the original design (of the jacket). Instead of having three rackets in the crest on his breast pocket representing his three Wimbledon wins, he will of course have four. A few more years, and a few more jackets, and he may even have the rackets going down the sleeves.” And “Of course, his jacket is out of date now. It commemorates only three Wimbledon titles with that badge emblazoned on the pocket. Anyone for embroidery?” Would this Conservative British newspaper have encouraged Roger if they felt the crest was tacky or distasteful? Obviously not, because it’s appropriate for Wimbledon. Pity it’s not appropriate for a few people.

Picture of Federer’s 2006 Wimbledon jacket
http://tinyurl.com/3b2owm

Picture of Federer’s 2007 Wimbledon jacket. Crest design changed to highlight ‘RF’(not sure if new crest has any rackets).
http://tinyurl.com/33452d

Pictures of Federer’s Wimbledon attire and bags
http://tinyurl.com/3bol4v

Pictures of Federer’s US Open shoes and attire
http://www.shoeblog.com/blog/2007/09/04/
http://tinyurl.com/2a5qsn

Aren’t the Swiss flags on the shoes and the rackets on the jacket crest really just tiny issues not worth making a mountain out of a molehill over?


Tejuz Says:

Tony,i am infact enjoying ur posts.. even Grendels and JTs. I am getting more information (more readworthy) than i would reading Sean or Other blogger’s post on this website. Looking forward to more of ur posts. I’ll see if i can dig out some info myself.


grendel Says:

“I played unbelievable, and if it was not Roger Federer on the other side of the net I would have won, 400 per cent. He was luckier than me on a few points which made the difference,” regretted Berdych.

“It’s a tough loss for him as he did have set points in both sets. I’m very pleased with my performance and just hope that Stan will bring the fifth point,” said Federer.

These are the comments of Berdych and Federer following their just played davis cup match – sounded a cracker, b.t.w., wish I could have watched it.

From the sound of how the match went, Berdych’s comments seem understandable, perfectly alright in fact. But if Fed had said anything like that, he would have been accused both of bragging (played “unbelievable”) and being a sore loser (“lucky” points by opponent). Meanwhile, Fed’s remarks are gracious and clever, too, because he avoids being patronising by just stating the bare facts.

None of this would normally be worth commenting on. It’s just that the huge focus on Federer means that some people, who will barely notice what most players have to say, keenly scrutinise every word and phrase of Fed’s in the hope of catching him out in some way. That goes with the territory, and is no doubt necessary in a way. This isn’t North Korea. But that doesn’t mean to say Fed fans are not entitled to point out inconsistencies on the part of Fed detractors.

No doubt this goes with the territory. And Federer would look pretty si


grendel Says:

sorry, typo errors ar something – last line ??


jane Says:

Tony -

You must have a lot of energy to both write and research the enthusiastic and detailed posts that you have here; I can’t respond to everything you’ve written nor can I do so in such detail. I should maybe mention that am not a follower of sports in general so I don’t know a lot of the sports people to whom you referred; I only follow tennis.

First, re: press generalizations and/or hyperbole, more specifically, the statement that “no one” in the enitre “world” does “anything” better than Federer plays tennis: IMO, a generalization like this is easily disproven, but I honestly don’t know where to begin to produce a list for you of people in the world who do their thing as well as or even better than Roger plays tennis – politics, medicine, cooking, adademics, other sports, acting, music? Seriously, where does one begin? And even if I did produce a list, some one, somewhere, will no doubt disagree, and say that band x is better than band y, or researcher x is better than researcher y. They will then produce more facts and lists to back up their claims, and it could go on forever. I don’t have the time or energy to engage in the kind of tautology this may result in, which is admittedly a lame excuse, but the truth.

Besides, how do you compare other fields with tennis? The stats or criteria would be completely different. How can you compare achievements in music (how many albums sold?) or medicine (how many lives saved?) to tennis (how many tournaments won?). It would create faulty comparisons or logic, I’d think. But my criticism of the subtitle still stands; Price makes a sweeping generalization in his subtitle.

Second, in my previous post, I already said that my indifference to Federer’s personality was a personal preference (read: subjective) and therefore not arguable, so why raise the issue again? I said it was a non-issue already. While I like to watch his sublime shot-making, which occasionally produces gasps of wonder from me, I find him a little dull and maybe even a little smug (still undecided on the latter criticism). That’s my perogative, right? We’re allowed personal opinions.

Third, when I brought up the issue of Federer’s badges (which was something someone else first raised on another thread), I was referring to those and not to his outfits. I think wearing badges on the tennis court to demarcate previous wins is tacky no matter who wears them (venus williams included); it’s a separate issue from attire. I think it’s good to introduce style onto the court, and I’ve said as much on previous threads during the US Open. In my former career, I studied fashion design then worked in the field for 13 years, at relatively high levels, so I can speak with some personal authority as to what I find tacky. As to Anna Wintour, she is friends with Roger and Mirka as well as a fan, so perhaps biased?

Anyhow, this will be my last post on this thread. I’ve enjoyed reading your postings; they are certainly well thought out and researched.


jane Says:

TennisMasta – Do you really think Djokovic is as bad as O.J.? Phew! That’s quite the criticism / comparison.

Grendel – I thought Berdych may have made an overstatement in his post-Davis Cup interview, especially as he has “choked” against other players in the past, not just Roger. So the “400 percent” comment seems like a bit much. But as I didn’t see the match, it’s difficult to say. In this case, though, Roger’s comments were much more gracious, IMO.


FoT Says:

grendel – great post at 12:33. You are correct! People who don’t like Roger sure go about their way trying to catch any and every little thing he say so they can come back and write some type of “I told you so” article. You can go to every single player and do the same thing but those who do not like Roger will focus on him.

Thanks for bringing out that interview. In fact, seems like 3 of the last people Roger has played (Davydenko, Djokovic, and now Berdych) have all claimed that Roger was just “lucky” to win. Uhm, in that case, the other players better start being “lucky”!


Tony Says:

Thanks, Tejuz.

Jane, you have a lot of energy to make comments about Federer, so it is only appropriate that we offer careful, fact-based and reasoned arguments to address any questionable views.

Jane (Sept 23 at 3:49 pm): “in my previous post, I already said that my indifference to Federer’s personality was a personal preference (read: subjective) and therefore not arguable, so why raise the issue again? I said it was a non-issue already… I find him a little dull and maybe even a little smug (still undecided on the latter criticism). That’s my perogative, right? We’re allowed personal opinions.”

Not so fast, Jane. You did not say it was a “non-issue”. In fact, you initially added Federer’s personality to your list of “gripes”, and later downplayed it as a quibble which you were unable to substantiate or argue about. Jane (Sept 21st at 4:05 pm): “My only Fed gripes are these, really… In essence, my issues are with hyperbolic press and fanatical fans, not Federer himself. Well except for this one thing: personally, while I can see that Federer is one of the greatest on the court, ever, he’s not the most engaging player to me personality-wise. But this is a quibble and it’s a personal preference, not something I can argue about or even pin down.”

Imagine if I said something like ‘Jane’s arguments are baseless and Federer is her antipathy to Federer. But these are my personal opinions, not something I can argue about or even pin down.” You or anyone else would have every right to question my personal opinion.

Your gripe/quibble about Federer was your subjective personal preference which you cannot substantiate or argue about, but it does not preclude your view from being assessed with facts. My post on Sept 22 at 5:34 pm countered your ‘armchair’ perception (that Federer does not have an “engaging” personality) with a view from a sports journalist: “You want personality? Pay closer attention to top-ranked Roger Federer… He is more interesting than you might think… He also happens to be insightful, polite, intelligent, multilingual, and clean-cut — attributes we claim to want in our sports heroes. Oh, and he gets text messages from Tiger Woods. How many people can say that?”

It’s easy for Federer’s critics to make innuendos, insinuations, smears and other claims against him without backing it up with hard evidence. You added to your claim that Federer does not have “the most engaging…personality” with he is “little smug” and a “little dull”. What’s your evidence? Or are these more “personal opinions” you are unwilling to subject to scrutiny?


Tony Says:

1. Jane (Sept 19th at 4:37 pm): “Tony – First, if you read my posting, I mention that the badges Federer adorns himself with are not something that I had actually noticed (someone else brought it up on another thread, and I thought it related to this discussion, so I brought it up again here).” Jane (Sept 23 at 3:49 pm): “when I brought up the issue of Federer’s badges (which was something someone else first raised on another thread)…”

Of course I carefully read your original post. Jane (Sept 19th at 10:21 am): “Was it distasteful for Federer to wear Swiss flags on his shoes to demarcate all of his wins at the USO, or to wear crests on his “blazer” at Wimbledon to indicate each of his wins there? In other words, to wear “badges” of his wins, notches on his belt. Had any other player done so – Borg, Lendl, Sampras, Connors, or Rafa at RG for that matter – would it have been seen as tacky by the press or by fans, or maybe even as boasting? I wonder, but frankly, I think so.”

I don’t understand why you keep trying to deflect attention to someone else for a position you obviously adopted and brought up here.You surely know that my response (Sept 19th at 1:39 pm) was due to the position you adopted — “frankly, I think so” (i.e., you frankly believe that it’s tacky or distasteful that there are flags on Federer’s shoes and a crest on his Wimbledon jacket which indicate his titles won).

2. Jane (Sept 23 at 3:49 pm): “In my former career, I studied fashion design then worked in the field for 13 years, at relatively high levels, so I can speak with some personal authority as to what I find tacky. As to Anna Wintour, she is friends with Roger and Mirka as well as a fan, so perhaps biased?”

Your persistent criticism of Federers is often questionable, so perhaps it is you who are biased? You may have worked in the fashion design field for 13 years, but Anna Wintour has been Vogue’s editor-in-chief for 20 years. Wintour’s cold, volatile, rude, aloof, perfectionist and demanding persona have earned her the nickname “Nuclear Wintour” (I’m not talking about Devil Wears Prada here). Don’t you think she wouldn’t give a damn about telling Roger that wearing tiny emblems of his titles was a dumb idea if it was?

You obviously have your subjective personal views on the emblems but, as I’ve shown (Sept 23rd at 10:44 am), other observers do not seem to have a problem with it. I’ve not seen sports journalists or fashion writers publish articles which take issue with the tiny emblems as tacky or distasteful, have you? If anything, the prevailing view seems to be it’s appropriate for Federer, given his track record, to wear those emblems. This seems to be a miniscule issue or non-issue to all but a minority of tennis fans.


babu Says:

Wow, best criticisms I’ve read on Federer. I think it comes down to two thing: people who like greatness, and people who don’t. Everyone’s admitted Federer’s good, but the debate is whether he should say that he’s good. Simple: people who like greatness can accept it, he states it simply when he’s prompted to in interviews. People who don’t like greatness feel indignant, like Federer owes something to everyone else in the world b/c he’s so good at what he does; he should demean himself a little so that others can feel better about themselves. Personally I respect greatness and I think that Federer expects others to respect it too. It’s not a conceited word, though some may make it out to be.


John (1) Says:

Sean Randall said: “Networks like ESPN are in it to make money. Bottom line. If they can’t make money off a sport they’ll show something else (poker!). And they can’t make much money off tennis right now because it’s difficult to get ratings here in the U.S. unless you are an American or a hot blonde.”

1) ESPN and SI are the same. Will the next SI cover show a poker star?

2) Maybe ESPN should be more like SI and go for less poker and more hot blondes.


Tony Says:

Jane (Sept 19th at 4:37 pm): “badges Federer adorns himself with… As to the other player’s attire accoutrements that you list, none of those are badges of achievement, or notches on a belt, they are either advertising and branding (logos) or patriotism, which are different things than wearing badges, like someone in the military might wear medals, or like you might get in brownies. Every player is branded by a particular sport company, including Federer. However, the “notches” are unique to him: and IMO, they could be construed as tacky or even boastful.”

First, no one is disputing that you personally and subjectively perceive it as “tacky” and “boastful”, but you’re probably in a tiny minority of people bothered by this tiny issue. It’s important to understand the definitions of the terms you used on Federer — tacky, boastful, etc. ‘Tacky’ means tastelessly showy, gaudy or flashy. ‘Boastful’ means given to or characterized by boasting (which is to speak of with exaggeration, excessive pride or vanity to glorify oneself). Given those definitions, how many people seriously feel bothered that Federer was being “tacky” and “boastful” in wearing tiny emblems to indicate his titles?

Second, since you accept that “every player is branded by a particular sport company”, let’s consider some information from Sports Business Radio: “The coat (jacket) got rave reviews and lots of chatter from fans and media alike… The (jacket) were made purely to create chatter for Nike (mission accomplished) and also because when Nike approached with the idea of wearing a sport coat before and after tournaments at Wimbledon, Federer loved the idea.” So Federer’s emblems were part of Nike’s branding, not purely Fed’s decision, and the sports company benefited from it as well.
http://sportsbusinessradio.com/?q=node/98

Third, it is inappropriate to portray Federer’s emblems of titles as “notches on a belt” in your attempt to conjure the imagery that Federer is boastful and conceited about his tally of wins. Notches are cuts or slits but Federer’s emblems are clearly not notches. In any case, Federer’s tiny emblems pale in comparison to, for example, the championship rings given to baseball, basketball and NFL players. If Federer wore five of those huge rings on his fingers to his matches, yeah, that might be tacky. See link.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1779841

Fourth, if you can find critical newsmedia or fashion design articles to support your views about Federer’s emblems, please share it with us. Here are some American newsmedia descriptions of Federer’s attire at the US Open; none I found were bothered by the tiny emblems on his shoes:

- New York Post: ‘ “In Goth Nike, including a short-sleeve polo shirt, knee-length tuxedo-striped shorts, a black headband and wristband with custom-made sneakers designed with three Swiss crosses for each of his U.S. Open wins. Anna Wintour probably thinks it’s hot. Mollett: “He looks fashionable while sweating it out. He’s adopting fashion attire to go along with his tennis identity, and the black is very New York.” Rosenberg: “He’s one of the few players who actually seems to have his tennis clothes tailored. I love the tuxedo shorts, and even the headband suits him.” ‘
http://tinyurl.com/2ltheb

- New York Daily: ‘Roger Federer emerged from the tunnel wearing black tennis shoes, black socks, black shorts and a black shirt. He even had a black bag to match. “Why not black at night?” Federer said. “A little bit of the tuxedo look as well.” The Grim Reaper look might be a more appropriate description considering how Federer plays here.’
http://tinyurl.com/35scmo

- ABC News: ‘Federer — dressed for an evening on the town, he was all in black, from headwrap and wristband to socks and shoes, from shirt to shorts with tuxedo-like satin stripes down the side — finished things under the lights by breaking Djokovic in the last game with the help of a no-look, over-the-shoulder volley winner. It’s the type of shot that has prompted plenty of people to call Federer the greatest to ever swing a racket — and he’s still in his prime.’
http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=3579719

- San Francisco Chronicle: ‘He was wearing black tuxedo shorts, proving that such a thing actually exists, complete with a satin stripe down the side. Perhaps next time he should go with the full ensemble, right down to a really ponderous pair of wingtips. Things might be a bit more fair that way, for Roger Federer’s play once again has soared beyond the ordinary.’ (Bruce Jenkins has won multiple tennis writing awards, but covers a variety of sports)
http://tinyurl.com/39gozo

Fifth, my examples are relevant because you perceived that Federer’s behaviour was distasteful (tacky, boastful and/or conceited) based on tiny emblems he had worn (the flag logos on Federer’s shoes and crest on his jacket). Some other top tennis players wear bigger things which might be considered objectionable. Emblems, patriotic symbols, advertising and brands are all things which, when worn publicly, might be perceived as distasteful by some people depending on personal tastes. Certain top players are distinguished as ‘special’ by wearing specially-designed or coloured attire not available to other players (e.g., Nadal’s yellow sleeveless t-shirt at the US Open). During Borg’s time, some people criticized his sponsorship logos (e.g., SAS) on his attire and sports branding as over the top, but today people accept it as appropriate. After all, it was Borg who helped to blaze the trail for the massive endorsement earnings tennis players receive today.

Why single out a miniscule issue that only one player — Federer — is able to wear? Why should we confine the subjective ‘sin’ of distastefulness to only flags and crests, especially since so few male players in tennis history had the credentials to use them? In over 130 years of championship tennis history, only 6 players had at least four consecutive Wimbledon titles (3 in Open era) and only 8 people had at least three consecutive US Open titles (3 in Open era). As well, how many male pros are as interested in tennis fashion as Fed is?


jane Says:

Tony -

Against my better judgment I’ll take your bait, but you won’t convince me I am wrong, nor, obviously, will I convince you that you are.

Re: some guy’s/gal’s quotation about Federer – He’s “insightful” about what? Polite? Who cares. Clean-cut? Boring. Federer’s tennis is exciting to watch, but on the court he doesn’t express much emotion; I find that dull. I like players who express themselves a bit more. It’s a personal preference. I don’t care what 5 million other fans or journalists say.

Re: Anna Wintour. Frankly, I don’t think Wintour would say anything because she’s FRIENDS with Roger. Whatever you produce to the contrary will not convince me otherwise; she may be “nuclear” in some circles but I suspect not with friends. In that case, I’d think she’d be tactful.

Re: Badges – My opinion stands – the badges are tacky. You quote media ad nauseum but why? A large portion of the media is in “awe” of Federer so quoting them is not “proof” of anything. The media is notoriously biased – duh.

Tony: “If anything, the prevailing view seems to be it’s appropriate for Federer, given his track record, to wear those emblems. This seems to be a miniscule issue or non-issue to all but a minority of tennis fans.” So what? Just because the “bandwagon” says one thing doesn’t mean it’s true and that I am should jump on the wagon – my opinion is that the badges are tacky, and that they can be construed as boastful, and that they were a bad choice on Roger’s part.

Tony: “…especially since so few male players in tennis history had the credentials to use them?”
This is just simply not true – SEVERAL male players have won grands slams, and MANY have won more than one; hence, any of those players could have chosen to wear badges, but as far as I know, they didn’t.

Re: notches – you really don’t have to define the word notches for me; I was using it figuratively.

Re: irrational fans (and this could apply to fans of ANY player but in this case Roger) – Babu’s posting is a case in point: “I think it comes down to two thing: people who like greatness, and people who don’t.” This statement is just silly and oversimple. I can TOTALLY appreciate Roger’s tennis but yet I don’t worship the guy. I find him unexpressive throughout most of his matches, and sometimes his comments come across as smug to me (sometimes he’s very gracious, but sometimes he seems dismissive – like when he called Djokovic’s Master’s Series win “insignificant”). It’s over-simplistic to say that someone who doesn’t think Roger is the cat’s meow simply doesn’t like greatness.

Anyhow – this REALLY is the last post I am making on this thread. It’s pointless to go back and forth on these issues since we’re not going to change each other’s minds.

P.S. Re: list of people who do something better than Federer plays tennis; I thought of one, but as I said before, it’s a faulty comparison, rather off-topic, and no doubt somewhat subjective.

How about U2? – a band who’ve continued to make great music since their inception in the early 80s; who’ve won over more than one generation of fans in their 20 years at the top; who’ve not been “notorious” in the media, like so many other rock stars or bands; who’ve championed important global and political causes.


grendel Says:

Shall we see if we can bring Jane out of retirement twice? (or is it 3 times…?)

Many times, she alludes to Federer being “boring” (as a character, perish the thought as a player), a bit “smug”, and so on.

The “smug” thing goes along with the “arrogant” attribution with which a lot of this thread has been concerned. Of course, sometimes Federer is smug – just as Jane sometimes is, as Nadal sometimes is, as I (sometimes? a lot?) am, and so on – why mention it, then, we’re not in a goddam church are we, unless the point is that Fed is more than usually smug. I think that’s just a smear, and not really worthy.

However, the “boring” thing is more interesting. The idea is that because Federer tends not to leap up and down, tends to keep his feelings under control, to eschew ranting and raving, to keep fist pumping and other fashionable manouevres to a minimum, to avoid the more transparent facial expressions – well, you get the picture, then the man is boring.

I, on the contrary, find him fascinating just because of all the above (it helps, of course, that he is very great player – it is not so easy to disentagle the 2 aspects of Fed as Jane imagines). It gives him a somewhat enigmatic mien which does wonders for the imagination. The emotion, for example, is there alright; it is intriguing, and enjoyable to try and tease out just what he is feeling.

Personally, I find excessive histrionics pretty tedious. On the other hand, the subtle play of expression of Nadal or Malisse, e.g., is extremely interesting, the not so subtle outpourings of a Safin just distressing – there’s something almost tragic going on there. The rantings of Tommy Haas – which are totally natural and unaffected – are just funny beyond belief.

So there’s many ways of being interesting on court (apart from the play). And of being boring.This is, of course, subjective, as Jane says – I can’t say somebody is wrong who doesn’t find Haas endearingly funny – but I do think people who find Federer boring have rather missed the point. There’s a tension in that quietness which is absolutely riveting.


babu Says:

Jane, you came here to express your opinion like we all did. I expressed one which you cared not to evaluate because you did not like the idea of what it implied. Greatness as I applied it to Federer doesn’t come from my god-like worship of the man (I assume that’s what you meant by mentioning the irrational behavior of some fed-fans, which I will agree with you is excessive).

No, Federer is not beyond criticism and frankly it’s irrelevant. We don’t know Federer and we can’t judge him as arrogant or not, which is something you stated in your earlier posts. However, don’t let your distaste for the media or his fans detract from what he is, which is great (that’s an objective statement because he’s achieved results). His supposed arrogance/confidence doesn’t detract from that either, and I don’t think you should let it. I think lots of Fed-fans are against you on this simply because you’re criticizing small, meaningless details (like his shirt emblem) and using that as a judgment for him as a whole (at least it seems that way despite your appreciation of his tennis). The comparison of Federer’s tennis with greatness in other fields is yes, somewhat ridiculous, but again, that’s the media and some fans that don’t reflect the man.


jt Says:

Tony, honey, chill.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinions. Nobody has to like everybody. Different characteristics appeal to different people. That’s what makes the world go round.

Federer’s a pretty reserved guy. I happen to appreciate that trait. Some people don’t. Some people interpret it (and I’m not pointing fingers here, I’m speaking generally) as being aloof. Snobby. Arrogant. Some people just prefer someone who’s more demonstrative. As a person who tends to behave in similar ways, I can relate to Federer’s approach.

As I read it, Jane wasn’t trying to be argumentative or hypercritical. She was, I believe, pretty d@mn reasonable and fair in voicing her opinion. It’s just different from yours – and that’s okay.

Take a deep breath and maybe consider a more Federer-like response. Play smart. Save your energy for the tougher points – the ones that matter. Don’t come screaming down the court just because you can…that’s not gonna win in the end.

I’m with you on the yay-squee-Roger-makes-me-happy sort of bandwagon, but…breathe.

So much for “last” posts. :P


jt Says:

Gah! Okay – NOT my intent with the emoticon. Ick. Apologies. That’s just vile.


John (1) Says:

Sean Randall said: “The more The Tennis Channel gets rights to events (like the OZ Open, French Open, Wimbledon next) the fewer people who will be able to watch those tournaments, and it snowballs from there.”

I agree with you about 90% on this subject, but I’ll just address the 10%:

1) If the slams had just stuck with one channel, say USA (not ESPN2), I think things would be a lot better today. This is because USA does a better job and leaves out the bias.

2) The Tennis Channel, while not mainstream yet, is heading this way. I pay an extra $2 per month for it and I believe that in the next couple of years it will be free (like the Golf channel).

3) For some reason, ESPN believes that if U.S. players are not in the finals no one wants to watch. I disagree with this philosophy. For example, when the TC shows a Federer vs Nadal match, every tennis fan wants to see it. IMO, the TC is not U.S. centric, but ESPN is.

4) Both ESPN and SI seem to have this idea that U.S. fans only want to see U.S. players. I watch the TC and it seems to prefer the best players. I appreciate this very much. I’m guessing that I’m not alone.

5) Looking at other sports:

a) Hockey: Do NY Ranger fans root for Jaromir Jagr? Yes. Is he American? No. When the great Wayne Gretsky played for the Rangers, did Ranger fans root for him? Of course they did. (BTW, Gretsky, IMO, is the Greatest Hockey player of All Time.)

b) Baseball: Do NY Mets fans root for Pedro Martinez? Yes. Do Yankee fans root for Alex Rodrigues? Yes, but not all the time. When they boo him it has nothing to do with where he was born. Do they cheer for Hideki Matsui? Of course they do.

c) Golf: Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa are on TV all the time. Are U.S. fans watching? My guess is they are. Do fans watch more when Paula Creamer (USA) or Natalie Gulbis (USA) are on? Probably, but that could be because they are also considered “hot blondes”.

d) Football: The NY Giants play in Giants Stadium which is in New Jersey. Do NY fans support them? Yes. If they were called the NJ Giants, would they? I have no idea.


Sean Randall Says:

TennisMasta, what you say is true. Less tennis on major U.S. TV = fewer fans = fewer players = fewer future U.S. tennis stars. And the cycle continues. Of course someone –Isner, Young, , etc, – can emerge and break that cycle, which always seems to happen for the U.S. looking back when Sampras/Agassi emerged after Mac/Connors, Roddick came out after Sampras, so is it now Isner/Young/Querrey after Roddick? Or will there be an extended and rare period of time during which no US man challenges for Slam titles.

True that there are more than a few kids watching and hoping right now that one day they can become like Roger. The question is once they turn that TV set off how much drive will they have to reach that goal when here in the U.S. there are seemingly an infinite number of distractions.

And I should also mention how dreadful the future is for the U.S. women. Is there anyone after D-Port and the Williams sisters who will carry the American flag in the future? Not looking likely, but at least Sharapova and Vaidisova can fill in the gaps and keep the WTA afloat until we find our next American starlet.

To touch again on Roger and his remarks. He said what he said. “I’ve taken them all” in referring to the Grand Slam titles. Is it arrogant remark? Yes, but I think he’s deserved the right to speak it, and I frankly don’t mind it. Until someone beats him in Slams he can say whatever the hell he wants.

On the flip side, I’d rather see him tone down his over-the-top trophy-decorated apparel. That said if I was playing him I would thrown on my on jacket as we walked on the court just to screw with him. Why no one else has done yet baffles me.

John, back to SI and ESPN. Indeed they are alike, just as they are alike to many of our other media outlets. They all want the most readers/viewers at any given time. More viewers = more money. Quite simple. If SI could get away with two swimsuit issues they would have done that by now, but I bet many of their writers and their credibility would have left long ago. But I’d also bet that that one swimsuit issue is a major source of their annual revenue.

Regarding the Tennis Channel. If it does go mainstream, very mainstream then it can be a good thing. But “mainstream” in my mind has to approach the reach (not just availability) of an ESPN. That’s many, many years away, if that.

As for Jagr, etc., sure fans root for him but how many national commercials has Jagr been in? Hockey is dying because it’s a) not on tv, and b) ruled by foreign stars. If Tony Parker wasn’t married to Eva Longoria do you really think that the Frenchman would be in any commercials?

We love the flag here in America, we always will.


jt Says:

Sean: To touch again on Roger and his remarks. He said what he said. “I’ve taken them all” in referring to the Grand Slam titles. Is it arrogant remark? Yes, but I think he’s deserved the right to speak it, and I frankly don’t mind it.

Cry me a river. Didn’t we burn this bridge a few days ago?

It’s a fact. Can a man not state facts without being deemed arrogant? Why do I ask? Clearly, the answer is a resounding no. You’re also, here again, leaving out the context of how this was a response to a direct question about why he’s perceived as not having strong competition.

What’s your take on that question? Why is Federer perceived as not having strong competition? What’s *your* answer?

I’m not asking you to like him, but could you at least try to stop twisting the interpretation of his words? Also, if you really didn’t have an issue with them, you’d stop waving them around.

Again…“We need to be able to feel good about certain achievements without falling on our swords every five seconds.”


Sean Randall Says:

Jt, cry me a river?

Yes, what Fed said is a fact. But it’s not often you get the premier player in any sport “tooting his horn” in such fashion, celebrating his dominance. Perhaps you have examples to show otherwise.

Regarding the quote itself, yes, you could interpret it in a non-arrogant, he’s-just-stating-a-fact context. I just don’t really see it that way. And I think he would have been better served if he had said “Because one player has taken them all” instead of using “I’ve”.

And I have to wonder if he cracked a little smile after giving that quote. My guess would be yes.

And no, in regards to what he said I really don’t have an issue with it. As I wrote above I frankly don’t mind it, so don’t try to twist this is “Sean’s against Fed” arguement. I am not.

As for Fed’s competition, if you read a few of my past blogs I lay it out.


TejuZ Says:

From what i gather..Jane is a big fan of Djoker, whose personality and behavious on and off court is quite opposite to that of Fed. Hence the reason for her dislike.

Now, Fed terming the loss to Djoker as ‘insignificant’ really dint go well with her cuz she thought(rather hoped) it was the changing of guards and that we are about to witness a new world order.

Once you start hating a person, u hate everything that he does, even the small things.


grendel Says:

It’s not a question of twisting this into a “Sean’s against Fed” argument. It’s just that Sean absolutely refuses to set the quote in context. For example, Sean says: “Regarding the quote itself, yes, you could interpret it in a non-arrogant, he’s-just-stating-a-fact context. I just don’t really see it that way.” No, and nor would most people see it that way, if that is all it was. But, as jt points out AGAIN:” this was a response to a direct question about why he’s perceived as not having strong competition.”

Of course, you may disagree with Federer about this (the question about competition), and I believe Sean does. That’s absolutely fine. But what you cannot, legitimately, do is to isolate the quote from the context. That is either stupid or dishonest – take your pick.


Sean Randall Says:

Grendel, thanks but I am fully aware that Fed was speaking about his competition. But did he really need to drop in that last line to prove his point? I don’t so. He could have easily said it another way or simply have not said it all and gotten his message across. Agree?

Also, how can you be so sure of what Federer exactly meant when he gave that quote?

While I have no evidence of his exact mindset and intention, my opinion was that he was being a bit arrogant (which as I said before I’m fine with). If you think otherwise, as many of you do, that’s fine, too. I don’t have an issue with you. You could look at it that way as well. I just don’t.


Tony Says:

Jane (Sept 24th at 4:44 pm): “you won’t convince me I am wrong”

Obviously I’m not trying to convince you of anything, nor are you the person I’m trying to convince. As Tennis Masta explained (Sept 22nd at 8:03 pm): “those whose unflinching antipathy will not bend to any facts or reason”.

Jane: “sometimes his (Federer’s) comments come across as smug to me (sometimes he’s very gracious, but sometimes he seems dismissive – like when he called Djokovic’s Master’s Series win “insignificant”).”

Before you accuse Federer of being “smug” and “dismissive”, it’s important to check your facts. A lot of smug critics of Federer assume he says things he didn’t. Federer never called Djokovic’s Montreal win insignificant; he was making a joke (i.e., trying to display personality) referring to the ‘insignificant’ impact of losing the Canadian Open on his number one ranking (he turned out to be right at this point).

In the post-match interview, Federer was asked by a reporter: “Looking at the big picture and your aims for the whole year, how significant is a defeat in a final such as this? Is it significant or not?” Fed’s reply: “Insignificant (smiling)… The goal was to win Wimbledon. Done that. Try to stay No. 1 in the world. It would have helped to win today. Can’t have it all. You know, looking at the US Open, looking down the road, as well, the Masters, still a long way to go. So I can’t start being disappointing about just one match. I mean, he played well. I couldn’t get the job done.”

Jane: “irrational fans (and this could apply to fans of ANY player but in this case Roger) – Babu’s posting is a case in point…This statement is just silly and oversimple…It’s over-simplistic to say that someone who doesn’t think Roger is the cat’s meow simply doesn’t like greatness.”

It’s interesting that Babu’s comment struck a chord in you. Babu’s posting is hardly irrational. It may be simplistic, but it offers one possible explanation why some people, even if they appreciate his tennis game as one of the greatest, are smug and dismissive in their gripes about Federer. To have irrational antipathy towards someone who is ‘great’ or admired, one has to first accept, at some level, that the person is ‘great’ or admired. Otherwise why bother?

As babu said: “I think it comes down to two thing: people who like greatness, and people who don’t. Everyone’s admitted Federer’s good, but the debate is whether he should say that he’s good. Simple: people who like greatness can accept it, he states it simply when he’s prompted to in interviews. People who don’t like greatness feel indignant, like Federer owes something to everyone else in the world b/c he’s so good at what he does; he should demean himself a little so that others can feel better about themselves.”


TennisMasta Says:

Folks, Here is the latest from a gifted player who has been playing for some 19 years. We can sit here and spin anything we want, but Santoro has played the “great” competition of 90′s and the “weak” competition of today. He joins the chorus of great players like Agassi, Courier and others tennis has gotten more competitive if anything…

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070924/asp/sports/story_8354090.asp
Federer is the best: Santoro
Calcutta: Fabrice Santoro, after having spent 19 years on the tour, is entitled to think that he has seen it all. The second oldest player in the ATP top 100 is extremely popular with the crowd.

A day before the start of the ATP meet, the Frenchman averred that the game has changed a lot since he first played at the age of 16. “The game has become so fast, everybody’s fit, everybody’s got a big serve and everybody hits the ball so hard.”

Another important development, says Santoro, who is seeded fifth in the singles draw, is that the modern player is good in every facet of the game. “In the old days, you could say that this player had a weak backhand or a weak serve so you could attack that area… Not any more, everybody is good in every area.”

Santoro, who is scheduled to meet countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the opening round here, is emphatic about Roger Federer.

“Federer is dominating more than Pete Sampras… Since just 2003 he has won 12 Grand Slams and in those 12 wins he has won so many in straight sets.

“He’s strong in every part of the court and always plays the right shot at the right time. He has no perceptible weakness. In my mind, he’s the best ever.”


Tony Says:

1. Jane: “Re: Badges – My opinion stands – the badges are tacky. You quote media ad nauseum but why? A large portion of the media is in “awe” of Federer so quoting them is not “proof” of anything. The media is notoriously biased – duh.”

It’s convenient for your worldview for you to assume that the media are in “awe” of Federer, instead of the media simply appreciating and respecting his tastes and his track record. Since you claimed to have been in the fashion industry. I this media quote of Samantha Bishopp Mollett, senior fashion market editor for Glamour magazine, and David Rosenberg, photo editor at Tennis magazine, would be interesting for all. New York Post: ‘ “In Goth Nike, including a short-sleeve polo shirt, knee-length tuxedo-striped shorts, a black headband and wristband with custom-made sneakers designed with three Swiss crosses for each of his U.S. Open wins. Anna Wintour probably thinks it’s hot. Mollett: “He looks fashionable while sweating it out. He’s adopting fashion attire to go along with his tennis identity, and the black is very New York.” Rosenberg: “He’s one of the few players who actually seems to have his tennis clothes tailored. I love the tuxedo shorts, and even the headband suits him.” ’

Surely the senior fashion market editor for Glamour magazine, with a paid circulation of over two million, is not in “awe of Federer” and “notoriously biased”? What is it about these fashion experts. First, Vogue magazine and now Glamour mag? Could it be that there is something to Federer’s fashion, emblems and all, that is… fashionable with his tennis identity?

2. Jane: “Re: notches – you really don’t have to define the word notches for me; I was using it figuratively.”

Of course I knew that. As I explained, you repeatedly use the term notches, instead of emblems or something appropriate, “in your attempt to conjure the imagery that Federer is boastful and conceited about his tally of wins.” Defining the term ‘notches’ was necessary.

3. Tony: “…especially since so few male players in tennis history had the credentials to use them?” Jane: “This is just simply not true – SEVERAL male players have won grands slams, and MANY have won more than one; hence, any of those players could have chosen to wear badges, but as far as I know, they didn’t.”

You surely understood that Federer’s emblems denoted consecutive titles, and that’s why he did not wear them at this year’s Australian Open, even though he was a two-time winner. As I correctly said: “In over 130 years of championship tennis history, only 6 players had at least four consecutive Wimbledon titles (3 in Open era) and only 8 people had at least three consecutive US Open titles (3 in Open era).”

4. Jane: “So what? Just because the “bandwagon” says one thing doesn’t mean it’s true and that I am should jump on the wagon – my opinion is that the badges are tacky, and that they can be construed as boastful, and that they were a bad choice on Roger’s part.”

It must be reassuring to see these authoritative critics as a “bandwagon.” Of course you’re entitled to your opinions, just as we are entitled to counter them, as long as you understand that “the prevailing view seems to be it’s appropriate for Federer, given his track record, to wear those emblems. This seems to be a miniscule issue or non-issue to all but a minority of tennis fans.”

5. Jane: “Re: Anna Wintour. Frankly, I don’t think Wintour would say anything because she’s FRIENDS with Roger. Whatever you produce to the contrary will not convince me otherwise; she may be “nuclear” in some circles but I suspect not with friends. In that case, I’d think she’d be tactful.”

Another assumption to fit your worldview. Wintour is known to have been tactless and blunt with a few friends, which you might have known if you worked in the fashion industry. Of course, whatever I produce to the contrary will not convince you otherwise to change your worldview. In any case, Wintour is not a rookie with celebrities and stubborn creative personalities — there are tactful ways of advising Roger to ditch the shoes or paint out the emblems.

6. Jane: “Re: some guy’s/gal’s quotation about Federer – He’s “insightful” about what? Polite? Who cares. Clean-cut? Boring. Federer’s tennis is exciting to watch, but on the court he doesn’t express much emotion; I find that dull. I like players who express themselves a bit more. It’s a personal preference. I don’t care what 5 million other fans or journalists say.”

“some guy’s/gal’s quotation about Federer” is from Miami Herald sports journalist Michelle Kaufman, who covers various sports and is in a far better position than you to evaluate Federer vis-a-vis other athletes (not only tennis players). Besides Federer, her article also mentioned Djokovic had an “uncanny ability to impersonate his peers” and “Nadal, the Spaniard with the bulging biceps exudes personality” as examples of personality.

I can easily quote several leading sports journalists and tennis players who feel Federer has personality (though few will ever accuse him of being a “performing seal” on court like a Djokovic, for example). Of course we understand that personality is subjective, and different people like different things.

As Kaufman noted: “(Federer) is more interesting than you might think…He also happens to be insightful, polite, intelligent, multilingual, and clean-cut — attributes we claim to want in our sports heroes.” If you are even questioning that Federer is supposed to be “insightful about what?” it shows you don’t know — or don’t want to know — much about Federer. When you opine “Polite? Who cares.” – who? A lot of people do care, even if you do not. And so on. One of the concerns that some commercial sponsors have about sponsoring tennis is the attire some players are wearing are the wrong image for their companies and see it as a reason sports fans have been less enthused by tennis than sports with consistent attire such as NFL.

Jane, obviously your persistent opinions about Fed’s personality are based on your personal preferences. But in the same way that you “don’t care what 5 million other fans or journalists say”, others have a right to not care about your publicly-stated personal opinions and to offer counter views. Too bad if you or jt don’t like it, but others do.


John (1) Says:

Sean,

re: “They all want the most readers/viewers at any given time.”

I agree. However I believe that they often don’t have a clue what the viewers want.

re: “But I’d also bet that that one swimsuit issue is a major source of their annual revenue.”

I agree. My guess is that that one issue outsells the rest of the year. In other words “hot blondes” sell.

re: “That’s many, many years away, if that.”

Today’s world moves quickly. Look how fast the ipod took to go mainstream. Also, it seems like everyone now has a large flat screen TV, that was fast. Maybe the next big thing will be livestream on every tennis court. I doubt it, but it could happen. Or maybe US cable will start showing Eurosport. Who knows?

re: “As for Jagr, etc., sure fans root for him but how many national commercials has Jagr been in?”

IMO, he’s a lot like Marat Safin. What a missed opportunity. I love their interviews.

re: “Hockey is dying because it’s a) not on tv, and b) ruled by foreign stars.”

Here I totally disagree. If Hockey is dying it’s because of c) the 2004-2005 lockout. Missing that entire season hurt big time. I have no problem with a) TV coverage (except maybe trying to watch a specific Sabres game and not willing to pay for premium NHL channels.) As for b) I’m a hockey fan because I like good hockey. I watched Wayne Gretzky for the same reason I watch Roger Federer. I want to see the best. I don’t check their birth certificate before I watch them play. If you didn’t watch Gretzky because he wasn’t from the U.S., you missed out on seeing the Greatest of All Time.

re: “If Tony Parker wasn’t married to Eva Longoria do you really think that the Frenchman would be in any commercials?”

“Hot brunettes” sell.

re: “We love the flag here in America, we always will.”

I think it’s more than the flag. If you’re a New Yorker you’re expected to be a Yankee or Mets fan. Or a Rangers, Islanders, Sabres fan. It’s local. It even goes to a small radius. The NYC papers report on the Rangers, Islanders, (NJ) Devils and ignore the (Buffalo) Sabres.


grendel Says:

Sean – first of all, thankyou for your measured response to an unnecessarily sharp critique.

But I’m afraid I still don’t agree: “I am fully aware that Fed was speaking about his competition. But did he really need to drop in that last line to prove his point? I don’t so. He could have easily said it another way or simply have not said it all and gotten his message across.”

Of course you were aware etc, – but you didn’t bring it in, which was essential. From a logical point of view, Federer did need to drop in something like that last line, since it was the clinching explanatory point. However, I agree that he could certainly have put it another way and perhaps, considering the fuss it has caused, he should have done.

“Also, how can you be so sure of what Federer exactly meant when he gave that quote?” Because it was a simple logical point – a conclusion to a particular argument. There is nothing remotely mysterious about it.

“While I have no evidence of his exact mindset and intention…” Yes, we can agree here. As you said in an earlier post (or words to this effect), he might even have had a twinkle in his eye, he might even have been mocking himself slightly. Or he might not. Don’t know.


jt Says:

Sean: I think he would have been better served if he had said “Because one player has taken them all” instead of using “I’ve”.

Okay…so basically you’re saying that if Federer acknowledges his achievements, he’s being arrogant. If he takes any ownership of his success, he’s being arrogant.

Got it.


FoT Says:

Sean: I think he would have been better served if he had said “Because one player has taken them all” instead of using “I’ve”.

Sean, you know if he had said this sentence then people would have come back with “What – now he’s speaking in the 2nd person”… Or, “Oh, now he’s too good to say his name and refer himself as ‘one player’. ”

Roger can’t even get a break. People will dissect every single thing he says and just like a good researcher – they can make the words mean whatever they want them to mean.

Well, I see you guys will believe whatever you want. That’s fine. But since I have never personally met Roger, I will go by what the majority of the writers and players say about him: That he’s a fantastic player and a humble human being and one of the best liked players on tour. I’ll take their word for it.

Just think…all you guys who have issues with Roger will probably miss him when he’s gone and we have another #1 player with the personality of a spoiled brat or cursing cousin who shuns the media like a sour pickle.


jt Says:

Well said, FoT.


TennisMasta Says:

Frank Deford said “If it’s not our star and our sport, U.S. just doesn’t care”

There’s more. If it’s not our star but very very good, we simply can’t stand it. We simply cannot accept it.

We have to attack him. For being open and honest.
We have to dissect every thing he says. For being unscripted and genuine.
We have to take pieces of his quotes and vilify him. For being one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.
We have to undermine his records. For being the most talented and complete player in history.
We have to call him uncharismatic. For being the one of most stylish players ever.
We have to call him boring. For being consummately professional and working hard to win every match he plays, not matter what day and how he’s feeling.
For complaining that he has no competition. For him being the greatest player ever to hold a tennis racket.

And yes, the greatest ever has no competition.

All this is a sad reflection our culture. We should be absolutely ashamed of ourselves.


Tony Says:

It’s quite pathetic how we have to nitpick or misquote to find something to criticise Federer. The guy is speaking candidly, off the cuff, in one of his multiple foreign languages, without the assistance of publicists, freely engaging and spending time with the press.

When Fed said “Because I’ve taken them all”, isn’t it the fault of the reporters present for not clarifying with Fed what he really meant? Did Roger really mean “Because WE’VE taken them all” or “Because I’ve taken MOST of them all” or something else? Was he distracted by something in mid-sentence? Or did the reporters misquote him?

Ask anyone (e.g., company executives, celebrities, etc.) who is not a professional publicist but has to communicate with the press frequently. Most of them would admit to mistakes in what they intended to say in their live and unrehearsed communications. In most cases it’s just a simple mistake, not some hidden bad attitude surfacing. We really should question why is it we assume the worst about Federer based on so little or nothing. I’ve already proven that zola and jane make baseless assumptions about Federer, but they’re not the only ones who engage in this vilification.

Most people want to be fooled by celebrities, and prefer superficiality to substance. Let’s take Tiger Woods. A golf correspondent recently wrote: ‘ “Do you know Tiger Woods?” is a question I am often asked and my reply is the same every time. “I know him, yes. I see him at tournaments eight or ten times each year. I watch him play and I attend his press conferences at the end of the round. “But do I really know him? No. Woods is world-class at talking without saying anything. He can spot a trick question as easily as he can read the line of a slick downhill 30-foot putt. He protects himself with his very keen mind and around him has been erected an impenetrable screen of employees and friends. He is the best-known, least-known athlete in the world.” ‘
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/golf/article2500374.ece

Do we really want Roger Federer to become ‘the best-known, least-known tennis-player in the world’ to protect himself from being mis-interpreted? As Tennis Masta said: “this is a sad reflection our culture. We should be absolutely ashamed of ourselves.”

I was lucky to see close-up Federer signing autographs and chatting with fans, without any entourage, after his practice session. I also sat a couple of rows behind Mirka, by accident, as Federer played his match. These are two normal people who didn’t behave like spoiled brats or prima donnas.


allcourt Says:

All I hope is that the people who understand, accept, and even applaud those comments for which Sean and others have criticized Fed were not among those who blasted other dominating players for making comments much milder and less pointed than Fed’s during their times at the top.

You know who you are and you which players I mean!


Tony Says:

allcourt: You’re one of those who claim Federer is arrogant and makes harsh/pointed comments. Why don’t you provide some facts to back your claims: what exactly did Federer do or say that makes you jump to that conclusion?


Tony Says:

1. Jane (Sept 19th at 4:37 pm): ‘ “Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis.” This is precisely the kind of press hyperbole – “no one” “anything” – that irks me, no matter what the context or who it refers to. But “no one in the world does anything as well as [Roger] plays tennis”?!” And Jane (Sept 23rd at 3:49 pm): “…IMO, a generalization like this is easily disproven, but I honestly don’t know where to begin to produce a list for you of people in the world who do their thing as well as or even better than Roger plays tennis – politics, medicine, cooking, adademics, other sports, acting, music?…”

To be fair, you stated your concerns about faulty comparison or logic in your earlier posts Sept 23rd at 3:49 pm and 24th at 4:44 pm. Certainly it’s tempting to carelessly dismiss what S.L. Price wrote as press hype. But I believe that, once most people think more carefully and consider the alternativeness, they’ll realize that Price may be right.

Understand exactly what S.L. Price wrote in his Sports Ilustrated article. Price: “In winning his fourth straight U.S. Open crown and 12th Grand Slam title, Roger Federer left little doubt that no one in the world does anything as well as he plays tennis… You’ll have to search long and hard to find anyone who does something as wellas Federer plays tennis.” That is, Federer’s pace of cumulative achievements “left little doubt” – Price did not suggest that there is absolutely no doubt or no uncertainty or no question, or that a long and hard search might not find anyone – that no one in their profession performs as well, with more beauty and efficiency, as Federer plays tennis.

In an earlier post (Sept 22nd at 1:16 pm) I asked: “Who else in the sports world has been better than Federer in recent years?” I answered why it is appropriate to conclude that, in the larger sports world, “no one” over the past four years performs and dominates in their sports as well as Federer does in tennis.

2. Jane (Sept 23rd at 3:49 pm): “How can you compare achievements in music (how many albums sold?) or medicine (how many lives saved?) to tennis (how many tournaments won?)”…Re: list of people who do something better than Federer plays tennis; I thought of one… How about U2? – a band who’ve continued to make great music since their inception in the early 80s; who’ve won over more than one generation of fans in their 20 years at the top; who’ve not been “notorious” in the media, like so many other rock stars or bands; who’ve championed important global and political causes.”

Let’s evaluate whether, in recent years, U2 performs in music as well as Federer plays tennis (i.e., does U2 perform as well, with more style and less effort, as Federer plays tennis?).

Short answer: Arguably No. What you consider press generalization and hyperbole about Federer that you assume is “easily disproven” is, reality, not so. You’ll have to search long and hard to find anyone active — in recent years — who does something as well, with more style and less effort, as Federer plays tennis.

U2 has existed for 31 years since 1976, but really took off in 1983 with the album ‘War’. I have a few U2 albums.

Let’s consider album sales.

- To date, U2 has sold 50.5 million albums in the U.S. and 170 million worldwide. See link of best selling artistes:
http://tinyurl.com/2ca3y2

- U2 has a loooong way to go to catch up with two short-lived British bands. The best selling band and artiste is The Beatles (existed for 11 years), with 170 million albums sold in the U.S. and estimated 1 billion worldwide. The second best selling band is Led Zeppelin (existed for 12 years), with 109.5 million albums sold in the U.S. and 300 million worldwide. In America, 20 artistes have sold more albums than U2, which has sold about as many albums as Kenny Rogers, Celine Dion and Kenny G. In addition, U2’s best selling album, The Joshua Tree, has sold less than five best-selling Beatles albums and five Led Zeppelin albums (see link). An Eagles album has sold nearly three times as much as U2’s The Joshua Tree, and even Britney Spears outsold it! Yikes.
http://tinyurl.com/2fafrp

- If you equate Beatle’s one billion albums sold with Sampras’s 14 slam titles won, then U2 is like a three slam winner (e.g., Arthur Ashe, Gustavo Kuerten, Jan Kodes, Rafael Nadal). Not in Federer’s 12 slam territory.

Going by their album sales and live concerts, it appears other bands, even defunct ones, have won over multiple generations of fans. When Led Zeppelin announced a reunion charity concert recently, over one million people registered their names for a draw to buy a pair of the 20,000 tickets priced at $250 each. Millions more were unable to even get through to the overwhelmed registration website. The Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang Tour (2005 to 2006) has become the highest grossing tour of all time with $437 million earned. The Stones also hold the record for third and fourth highest grossing tours with the Voodoo Lounge Tour and Bridges to Babylon Tour. U2′s Vertigo tour (2005 to 2006) grossed $389 million, and is the second highest grossing tour. Imagine Federer being beaten by a 69-year old Rod Laver today.

U2 made very good music for a long time, but arguably — depending on tastes — there are bands like Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Eagles, Bee Gees and/or Queen which have a larger catalogue of ‘great’ music than U2. And we haven’t even considered single artists like Garth Brooks or Elvis. When U2 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, one of the other inductees that year — Buddy Guy — probably had a bigger impact on guitar-driven blues, rock music and live performances than U2. Even at 70 years, Buddy Guy would have made U2 sweat on stage (see link).
http://tinyurl.com/yt9aeb

I feel that U2 is an over-hyped band today, milking their aura, past success and commercialism. Their latest albums sound a bit constrained and calculated, lacking the essence of The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. U2′s midlife crisis (see link): “U2 used to want to be the best band in the world. Now they just want to be the biggest band in the world. And they lost the plot along the way.”
http://tinyurl.com/23czvs

I find Bono to be egomaniacal, boastful, conceited, a braggart, etc, etc. (compared to Bono, Roger Federer’s middle name is Humility). Even Time magazine called him an egomaniac. For example, U2 declared on several occasions (see link) that they were “re-applying for…The best band in the world.” At the 2001 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, U2 won three awards, prompting Bono to declare immodestly, “[We're] reapplying for the job. What job? The best band in the world job”. Their Grammy Award winning album All That You Can’t Leave Behind (Beautiful Day) slowly sank on the Billboard album chart, bottoming out at number 108 in August 2001. At a London concert in February 2001, Bono told the crowd: “We’re back reapplying for the job. There’s a few people here this evening that could qualify for that job… on that night. But this is our night and the job is… best band in the world job.” Imagine if Federer bragged at his pre-match interview ‘this is my day and my job is the best tennis player in the world job’ before he played Roddick at the US Open.
http://tinyurl.com/25qqt6

Many believe that U2 have “championed important global and political causes”. But Bono’s (and Bob Geldoff’s) efforts have been criticized as more hype than substance, doing more harm than good (see links). While Bono’s ego and image are benefiting, many of us are being duped by what he actually accomplishes sometimes. Federer may not be as sensational or glitzy as Bono, but he has carried out his social and charity work with class.
http://tinyurl.com/yqwzc5
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=29438

Finally, I find U2 a little dull and boring because they’ve “not been “notorious” in the media, like so many other rock stars or bands.” Now Led Zeppelin, on the other hand know how to behave like rock stars and play like rock stars. Just like Federer, who knows how to play like a tennis star and behave like a a role model who is a tennis star.

You’ll have to come up with a better current artiste in music than U2 to challenge Federer in tennis. It’s easy to reach conclusions, but not so easy to support those conclusions.


allcourt Says:

Tony: Please direct your requests or concerns to those people who actually said that Federer was arrogant and who gave examples of what they considered arrogance. And please re-read or focus on my post which asks for a single standard when it comes to describing someone or something as arrogant. Thanks.

BTW I happen to believe that expressions of self-confidence or examples of normal “jock talk” are too often described as arrogance and narcissism.


grendel Says:

Tony: I am somewhat bemused by all this stuff about rock musicians on a tennis blog. However, I am grateful to you because you have referenced a newspaper which actually carries a criticism of Bob Geldof. In England, this appalling man is often known as St Bob, with only a tiny tinge of irony. All kinds of otherwise good people are taken in by this preposterous poseur, and generally, when the name Geldof is mentioned, we are supposed to think of charity, selflessness, unalloyed virtue and so on – whilst in reality what we have is a power crazed publicity seeker who, having failed to get the attention he craved from his utterly mediocre music, hit on this wheeze of 3rd world concerts and so on.

Now, politicians, journalists, everyone really, cringe before him, showing quite extraordinary deference, and boy, does he lap it up. What is so particularly sickening about him – no, that’s not true, there’s about 25 sickening things about him, let me rephrase: one of the 53 equally sickening things about him is that he is a multi-millionaire, or billionaire, or possibly trillionaire or maybe even zillionaire, but meanwhile cultivates this utterly pretentious image of being “ordinary” or “poor” (the studiedly casual clothes – actually extremely expensive, the untidy hair without a hair out of place, the 3 days growth of beard so much more difficult to achieve than daily shaving and so on) Of course, don’t get me wrong, he is indeed profoundly ordinary, just about as ordinary as you can get, he plumbs depths of mediocrity which it takes almost a calling to achieve. But his kind of “ordinary” is of course meant to signify hip, personality, daring, unconventionality etc.
Naturally, in point of fact, he has no personality to speak of, no daring, and is completely conventional.

Sorry about that, but it’s been good to get it off my chest. I first saw this ridiculous character – did you know he is now called Sir Bob Geldof (hard to say which is worse, the “Sir” or the affected common touch of “Bob”) – over 30 years ago, and instantly one realised this was a phony, a pseud, of monumental proportions.

Why, did you know …. wait a minute, looks like the nurses are coming for me, with something which looks suspiciously like a straightjacket….


grendel Says:

Post script to the above:
One of the good things about Roger Federer, one of the truly wonderful things about Roger Federer, is that in an interview in England, probably Wimbledon, when asked about Bob Geldof (who had just had, or was having, or was about to have, or maybe all three, one of his loathsome concerts or harangues or meet the people something or others or something else like that, or some combination of them all, or maybe even something else, but anyway, something hosting Bob Geldof, sitting up or standing up or lying down or perhaps bicycling or pretending to swim, but anyway being, one way or another, unmistakeably, Bob Geldof, singing or trying to sing, or talking or croaking or pretending to play a guitar or pushing his hand through his hair or sticking his finger up his nostril or scratching his whatsit, but anyway, being Bob Geldof, one way or another, granting the people the beneficence of his presence). Yes, Roger Federer, asked what he thought of this holy being, looked a bit embarrassed, and then confessed to not having heard of him.

Roger Federer had not heard of Bob Geldof.

The interviewer, of course, was deeply shocked, and in disapproving tones proceeded to enlighten the mere tennis player as to who this celestial creature actually was.

I, of course, was a Fed fan then, or Fed fanatic if you prefer, these bits of nomenclature don’t bother me, but let me tell all and sundry: if I had loathed Federer with every fibre of my being – and there’s plenty do, you know – I would have been an instant convert.

Fed had not heard of Geldof. That’s better than GOAT.


Tony Says:

1. Grendel: I didn’t know about “Fed had not heard of Geldof”. Loved it, thanks! Good for Fed. Yeah, Geldof is quite the hypocrite who is, as you hit it on the head, “a power crazed publicity seeker who, having failed to get the attention he craved from his utterly mediocre music, hit on this wheeze of 3rd world concerts.” Ironically, Geldof’s former Boomtown Rats bandmates are suing him for keeping recording profits from them. In a sense, he’s helping to do something similar on a larger scale in certain poor regions when he gives legitimacy to those partly responsible for the problems. Here are two more British articles on Geldof for your displeasure (there are even some in Irish newsmedia):
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/columnist/story/0,9321,1563364,00.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5220235-103677,00.html

2. For those interested about GOAT. There’s a study titled “Greatest Player Of All Time: A Statistical Analysis” (see link) which ranks Laver, Borg, Bill Tilden, Federer, Pancho Gonzalez, Ken Rosewall, Don Budge, Lendl, Connors, Sampras, McEnroe, Jack Kramer, Ellsworth Vines, Fred Perry. A few aspects of the study are questionable, but it’s well worth reading. I personally consider the GOAT group to be Laver, Federer, Borg and Sampras, in that order.
http://tinyurl.com/2kpv79

3. Allcourt: Part of your earlier post (Sept 22nd at 10:14 am) could be misconstrued as suggesting that Federer was being arrogant: “I just hope that all of you who are saying that it’s OK for Federer to be arrogant (or what some people call arrogant) because he’s earned the right to be arrogant…” I don’t believe anyone criticizing Fed’s slimers had said it’s ‘OK for Federer to be arrogant’, accepted the claim that Fed was arrogant or felt that Fed had earned the right to be arrogant. But I appreciate your clarification. Thanks.


Tony Says:

BusinessWeek magazine ranked the 100 most powerful and influential people in the sports world (see links).

Roger Federer is ranked number 30 on the list (Maria Sharapova is the only other tennis player at 73). Federer’s healthy position is good for tennis. There are only six sportsmen ahead of Federer: Tiger Woods (2), Peyton Manning (13), David Beckham (17), LeBron James (19), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (23), Alex Rodriguez (28). Federer is ahead of American sportsmen such as Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jeff Gordon, Tom Brady, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Most of the list is made up of sports commissioners, executives and owners; sponsor company executives; newsmedia executives.

If Fed is one of the most powerful and influential sportsmen from an American business perspective, this once again highlights Sports Illustrated’s failure to put him on its cover. Interestingly, the President, Sports Illustrated Group is number 51 on the list.

The list is clearly slanted to Americans and/or those who work in the U.S., and relates largely to the American sports world. I think only Federer, Sharapova, David Beckham Sidney Crosby, Tony Stewart and Yao Ming who are non-Americans. Had he stayed in Europe, Beckham would no longer be considered among the best, most powerful or richest soccer players over there. Yet within a few months of arriving in the U.S. Beckham enjoys a better public image than Federer largely because he has been better marketed in the U.S. by Major League Soccer and sponsors.

A panel of mostly American-based sports and media people chose and ranked the contenders based on criteria such as: how individuals rate vs. their peers; how much money they control, generate, or influence; how long they have exercised power; how lasting their impact on a sport or the larger world of sports will be. Nominations were also sought from 160,000 fans.

Article: The 100 most powerful people in sports
http://tinyurl.com/26v8ms

List: The 100 most powerful people in sports
http://tinyurl.com/22hc9n

BusinessWeek Video: How Winners from Roger Federer can help you become a Star in the Business World
http://tinyurl.com/2zej48

Video: Roger Federer on Regis & Kelly Show, morning after the US Open win. The rumour is that Regis wanted someone who is smug, lacks personality, boastful and isn’t engaging as his guest.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak1nbFVF-oc


kobraboy Says:

I have been watching Federer for a long time now. In the beginning, after he had won his match, the interview that he gave was always a very modest one with no reference to his “greatness”. However, all of a sudden, a year later his tone completely changed to a lot of “Me! Me! Me!”.

I am wondering about this change though. He doesn’t seem to be such a person. Do you think he being coached at gamesmanship and that’s the reason for this change? Tennis is such a mind game and as it’s been written before, the match is almost won or lost in the lockers. What do people think?


SG Says:

Fed should have been on the cover of SI at some point in the last 3 years. It’s absurd that this hasn’t happened. He’s the most dominant athlete in any sport. His ability to rack up major wins is unparalled in the history of tennis, or just about any other sport for that matter. But, hey. What can you do? SI isn’t printed in Switzerland.

All that being said, if Fed continues the way he’s going, he may yet create his own magazine and put himself on the cover. And it could be called AEW (Arrogant Egocentric Weekly). How appropo would that be?


SG Says:

And he could put 12 swiss flags to signify his majors wins followed by (……) to indicate the 12 more he thinks he’ll win. I’m sure all the Federphiles will line up to buy it too!


Sean Randall Says:

John, I did watch some hockey back the day. Gretz, Grant Fuhr, i think Messier, Jari Kurri and some guy with an American name (M-something?) from the Edmonton Oilers. (sorry if I butchered the spellings). They use to play Calgary in the playoffs and that guy with the stache, Lanny McDonald i think. And that’s my hockey knowledge, not much more than tennis, if that.

Re: lockout. Good point, had forget about that one. The lockout really did them in and they haven’t recovered. In fact some people probably think Hockey’s still in a lockedout.


Tony Says:

Short Video Clips:

- Federer wins the 2006 Laureus World Sportsman Of The Year Award (Nadal & Hingis won awards as well). The annual Laureus World Sports Awards are like the Academy Awards of world sports.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGL1vpoQ5g0

- Federer wins 2007 Laureus Sportsman Of The Year Award for an unprecedented third time
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH6mugmwEe4

- Federer wins 2005 Laureus Sportsman Of The Year Award
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GF3hsc8isg

The Charlie Rose Show on PBS: There’s a good video interview with Roger and other tennis personalities Nadal, Laver, McEnroe, Bud Collins (51 minutes).
http://tinyurl.com/2twz4p

Views of a Chair Umpire on Federer (Gerry Armstrong once defaulted McEnroe at the Australian Open): ‘Having been a chair umpire for more than 25 years, sitting on the fence comes naturally to Gerry Armstrong. Every answer is delivered with maximum thought and minimum controversy. The hottest topic in tennis nowadays is how good is Roger Federer really? Is he the best ever? For a man, who has officiated matches of everyone from Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and, most recently, Rafael Nadal, Armstrong is curiously non-committal. “If everyone says he is the best tennis player ever, I am not going to disagree,” he says. That’s as diplomatic an answer you’ll get! “He is the best ever I’ve seen. He does not volley as much, but Federer has such a great all-round game he can do whatever he wants. He can dictate the tactics. I am not meant to give opinions; but by the time he finishes, his record would say that he is the best. It’s a bit like Tiger Woods with golf; he has taken the game to a different level.” ’
http://www.rediff.com/sports/2007/sep/27armstrong.htm

SG: “All that being said, if Fed continues the way he’s going, he may yet create his own magazine and put himself on the cover. And it could be called AEW (Arrogant Egocentric Weekly). How appropo would that be?”

What’s really appropriate is to first understand the meaning of “arrogant” and “egocentric” before trying to use such words. And learning some facts about Federer — such as in this post — before jumping to put him down. But I guess being cynical and smug about someone perceived as the most outstanding sportsman in all sports in recent years does help the vilifier’s own ego, doesn’t it?
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Arrogant
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/egocentric


grendel Says:

“grendel, you’ve missed my point. i never said that pro tennis players don’t have big egos. i think most of them have huge egos. my point is that most of them don’t have their egos manifest themselves in swiss flags on shoes or utterly pretentious post wimbledon vistory ensembles. not to mention the disappearing act fed did after losing in paris.” I have taken the liberty of lifting this post of SG from a dead thread to a merely fading thread – I hope he doesn’t mind, but it seems to fit in here.

They say that the eye of love notices details hidden from other eyes. They also say that hatred is but a heartbeat, or whisper,away from love. So perhaps the eye of hatred is a beady one, too. After all, those Swiss flags on the shoes, I confess I was never aware of them until Jane brought them up, and apparently even she (who knows most things) didn’t know about this till SG reported it. You’ve got to think, haven’t you, that if Federer was trying to draw attention to his successes, he wasn’t doing a very good job of it. It all seems to me a bit of a storm in the old teacup.

However, the Wimbledon gear is rather another matter. When I first saw it, it struck me as a bit embarrassing (though sort of brave, too – he was going to look a right berk, wasn’t he, if he lost). I don’t think it’s done Federer any favours, but I found the degree of virulence which it provoked in SG (and I presume others – some of those boys on the Tennis.com Message Board must have had a joyous field day) at first unintelligible.

So I tried to imagine what my reaction would be if a player I was out of sympathy with had done something similar. Trouble is, you can’t really do that with anyone now, so I had to go back to Sampras, never a favourite of mine. And I admit, this was a salutary exercise – I would have hated it, and would have had words for Sampras probably as harsh as those of SG for Fed. Do I then, as a point of consistency, endorse SG’s comments? No, I don’t.

Double standards?

Yes, certainly.

Am I bothered?

No, not really, except in a universal sort of way – life is pretty worrying, when you come to think of it. I’ve come to understand that we all apply double standards all the time. Part of the good old human condition, and just about impossible to avoid. This doesn’t mean that you studiously seek to do so of course. You do your best, whilst trying to avoid being a loathsomely sanctimonious prig. But you’re going to fall all the time, there’s no getting round that, not if you’re cleareyed about yourself – and others.

And the fact is, when you have a soft spot for someone, whether it be a friend or someone in the public eye, like a sportsman, you’re going to be – shall we say – more relaxed in your judgements.

And in the long run, who’s to say you’re necessarily wrong. Judgements based on visceral hatreds are not usually wise ones.

I think Federer’s garb at Wimbledon is pretty silly. It does modify my impression of the man. But not, when all is said and done, by a lot. By and large, I continue to like the fellow as well as admire him. I can see the other sides to him, you see, because I don’t hate him. That’s how it is. I’m less clever about people I hate.


TennisMasta Says:

Someone said earlier here that if you don’t like someone then you hate even small things about that person. People (even if one) having problems with his wimbledon attire is the height of hate. Would they have loved him if he wore baggy and shapeless clothes?

Roger is perhaps the most scrutinized tennis player ever (at least over a four year period) for a numnber of reasons.

Not one of them is for giving excuses for loosing matches(“lucky shots” by the opponent), or for putting his opponents down, or for his brutalizing the umpires, or for his gamesmanship, or for his trasgressions with women, or for consuming drugs.

Some reasons are obvious. His talents, accomplishments, and his easy going and affable personality are well documented.

Other reasons are making the blogs such as this one. Here are some:

He is not American

He is breaking all records, including the sacrosanct American records.

He has a life outside of tennis, unlike the insular Pete for instance. He mingles easily with Tiger Woods, Tsunami victims in India, Anna Wintours, and the poor in South Africa. And he has his own charity. All this while he is still in his 20s and at the top of his game. That is pretty intimidating stuff to all but a few of garden variety greats.

He is not phony and scripted. We don’t hear the canned cliches or the Dennis Rodman stuff we are used to from our sports celebrities.

May be these Roger haters (to their dismay) are unknowingly building a cottage industry of Roger following. Perhaps that’s not as terrible as their reason for talking about him.


T Dawg Says:

I just had a crazy idea…..once Fed. breaks the record, he could pick a doubles partner (who????????) and start winning tons of doubles titles….he could make doubles popular again?????? He could no doubt make himself the best of all time, if he gets the singles record and also dominates in doubles……who would he play with????? Nadal, hahah, cool! remember, it would have to be someone that also wants to play with Fed…..HOW FUN WOULD IT BE TO WATCH FED AND NADAL BATTLE BEST OF 5 VERSUS THE BRYAN BROTHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tony Says:

T Dawg: It’s a great idea if he’s motivated. I think Nadal asked Federer to play doubles last year, but Fed turned it down because he wanted to practice with Yves Allegro for Davis Cup. In the Montreal Masters in August, Federer-Allegro narrowly lost to the Bryan brothers in the second round 7-6(7) 6-7(8) 10-7 (match tiebreak). Federer and Nadal seem to be getting quite friendly over the past year, and Fed even gave Nadal a ride in his chartered plane from Montreal to Cincinnati.


John (1) Says:

Sean,

re: “In fact some people probably think Hockey’s still in a lockedout.”

I agree. Losing a season was extremely tough on the fans. I actually think that the players faired better than the fans. Many went back to their home country and played.


John (1) Says:

T Dawg,

re: “HOW FUN WOULD IT BE TO WATCH FED AND NADAL BATTLE BEST OF 5 VERSUS THE BRYAN BROTHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I agree. However, since the “doubles revolution”, best of 5 set doubles are rare. There’s Davis Cup but Fed cannot play with Nadal. There’s Wimbledon. This would be excellent. I think the other 3 grand slams are best of 3. Which I guess leaves just Wimbledon. Is this correct?


SG Says:

TennisMasta….you have to chill out man. I said don’t like Federer. Dislike and hate may not be that far apart, but Federer has never given me any reason to hate him. I mean, he’s never said anything like, “No one should be number one who looks like he swing from a tree”.

Federer is a little self-absorbed. If the guy didn’t go for all the silly self agrandisement and he was a little more gracious in defeat, I wouldn’t have a problem with him. As for Federer being scrutinized, well, that’s the price of fame. If his greatness can’t stand up to a scrutiny, than perhaps he’s not as great as you think. In any case, he’s definitely in my top 3 all time right now and he hasn’t finished winning yet. In fact, it doesn’t appear he’s even close. With his groundies (…which are considered the best in the world), he should have won at RG. His failure to do this casts doubt in comparison to Laver. And he has not yet passed Sampras in the total major count category.

I have to say that I think the scrutiny is fair. It’s part of being in the public eye. If you can’t handle it, don’t be a pro. Tiger is not scrutinized this way. Why? Because he plays a golf course. And he dominates the same courses his predecessors played in a way they never did. And the courses have been lengthened and the courses narrowed to acccomodate the modern athlete and modern technology. When Tiger is on, he does thing no one has ever done. Maybe Federer is questioned because there are some asterisks regarding his competition. Why is this so hard to accept?

As for Fed not being appreciated because he’s not American, that’s BS too. I am not American (…you can choose to believe that or not, I don’t care). Laver has generally been the standard by which tennis greatness is measured. Last I checked, he’s no Yank.


TennisMasta Says:

There are questions about Federer’s competition! Yes, there will be as long as Federer is around.

As to how many grandslams Roddick would have won. He could have been half way Sampras’ mark and on his way to becoming the next Sampras…

As to how many grandslams Nadal would have won. He would have been the only won to win the French-Wimbledon pair after Borg. Not once, but twice.

As to how many more grandslams Safin and Hewitt would have by now. Atleast 3 each if not many more.

As to how many grandslam winners there would have been – Gonzales, Baghdatis, Djokovic…

Nadal would have been dominating on Clay, Roddick, Djokovic, Hewitt in the US, Gonzales, Baghdatis, Safin in Australian, Blake and others on carpet, and we would have a number of people rotatiting in and out of #1 spot.

Tennis wouldn’t have looked stronger…


TennisMasta Says:

And that is not even counting Murray, Gasquet, Berdych, Isner, Young, Querry, Monfils, and a ton of other talent.


TennisMasta Says:

We may be going in circles, but there is no better antidote than facts to hopefully clear shrouded and fanatical thinking.

Here are Pete’s comments that fueled all the unnecessary fire about “competition”

“Roger is playing in a generation where I don’t see as many great players as in my generation,”

But he quickly contradicts himself with:

“The game is probably stronger now across the board with the guy ranked 25 in the world stronger than he was in the Nineties.”

Folks, let us look at some inconvenient results of Pete:

For apples to apples comparison, let us take their four best years in their careers and who their great vanquishers were in grandslams:

That would be 94-97 for Pete, and 04-07 for Roger.

During that time Pete lost to:
Courier in French quarters
Jaime Yzaga in R16 US Open
Agassi in Australian finals
Gilbert Schaller in French R128
Mark Phillipousis in Australian R32
Kafelnikov in French semis (his only one)
Krajicek in Wimbledon quarters
Magnus Norman in French R32
Petr Korda in US Open R16

During his four years in grandslams Roger lost to:
Kuerten in French R32
Safin in Australian Semis
Nadal in French Semi Finals
Nadal in French Finals
Nadal in French Finals

So the great players that stopped Pete from matching the superlative results of Roger (and the cause of deep envy and discontentment for Pete), include Yzaga, Schaller, Norman.

It is NOT Edberg, Becker, and Agassi that frequently stopped Pete in grandslams as he tried to imply and as most people conjure up in their minds when they think of “competition”.

If Pete thinks that the guy ranked 25 is stronger than the guy in 90s, then Pete clearly lost to much weaker competition – in the tournaments that he said he cared for the most.

You can also take 93-96, or 95-98 for Pete since he was year end #1 in those years, but the results for those years will look much worse for him.

If you look at the master’s series, Pete losses will look astounding. If you look at international series tournaments he will look like an ordinary tour pro, unless you believe every player who touched a tennis racket in the 90s was a great player. That’s the inconvenient truth about competition.


SG Says:

TennisMasta Says:
And that is not even counting Murray, Gasquet, Berdych, Isner, Young, Querry, Monfils, and a ton of other talent.

It is unlikely that any of these players will ever be a consistent presence in the final days of a major. Berdych is continuing to prove that he is nothing more than potential. Monfils? You’ve got to be kidding. The guy is big, but for a man of his size, his weapons are not nearly potent enough. As for the rest, one nice US Open doesn’t mean anything. Being a great player means having a great game (…which even Roddick does not have). Even Rafa does not possess a great game. He has instead, great will and a very tough mind. And Connors proved that these attributes can take you far in tennis. As for the other players in this generation, they either lack the weapons or possess an enormous weakness that doesn’t permit them to beat Federer.

Big surprise, we don’t agree. I do find it interesting that when Agassi praises Federer, all the Federphiles line up to say, “See, Fed must be the best because Agassi says so.” But, if Sampras says , “Well, his competition is a little lacking…”, the Federphiles flip out and call it jealousy or insecurity or whatever. What a convenient double standard!!! Last I checked, Sampras was a lot more classy player than Agassi ever was. He never seeked public adoration. He just played tennis. But, if he says something the Fed-fanatics don’t like, he must be a poor sport. Utter fanatical BS.


SG Says:

You ever notice that Agassi and Sampras have never played once exhibition match against each since their retirement? The biggest rivalry of the 90′s. Why? Because there is a genuine dislike between the two that neither is going to come out and admit. So, when Agassi props up Fed in relation to Sampras, maybe he’s doing it more out of a dislike for Sampras than a liking for Federer. As grendel said himself, there’s plenty of ego in pro sports. And I am certain that Agassi resents Sampras for denying him the career he thinks he should have had.


Tony Says:

SG (Sept 28 at 5:54 pm): Could you back up your following claims with the facts and reasoning you used to reach those dubious conclusions?

- SG: “if the guy didn’t go for all the silly self-aggrandizement”. If you’re referring to Federer’s ensemble (jacket, trousers, shoes) during Wimbledon, none of the major British newspapers – with experienced sports writers and fashion experts – criticized it as “silly” or disparaged it as “self-aggrandizement”. Quite the opposite – most felt the attire befitted the context of Wimbledon and the proven track record of the champion wearing it. On the other hand, slogans or quotes on Nadal’s official website producing authorized publicity – “The undisputed king of clay”, “Rafael Nadal: The story of a phenomenon” and “Borg: Rafa will win Wimbledon in 2008” – could be perceived as self-aggrandizement. You’d never hear Federer’s publicity claim he’s the undisputed king of tennis or greatest player of all time. At the US Open, Federer’s outfit (sans jacket and trousers) was praised by the senior fashion market editor for Glamour Magazine as “fashionable”, in line with his tennis identity, and “the black is very New York”.

- SG: “if… he was a little more gracious in defeat.” Could you provide a few examples of this behaviour? Someone else claimed something similar, but the facts proved it was baseless.

SG: “If his greatness can’t stand up to scrutiny”. Nope. Federer’s behaviour, record and status almost always stand up to scrutiny. It’s his scrutinizers who can’t stand up to scrutiny, when they are pushed to reveal their facts and reasoning and their criticism is exposed as baseless.

In any case, that was not TennisMasta’s point made in simple English, which was that Federer is perhaps the most scrutinized tennis player ever (at least over a 4 year period). That is true. As TennisMasta observed, Federer is scrutinized not because of any vices that plague many sports superstars. It’s mostly for specious, silly or wrong reasons – because some critics have an irrational need to criticize someone seen as great, like Federer (for their own fragile ego, for their favourite players, etc.); Federer stands out because he has taken the game to a different level; and he’s an easy target as he’s not American and plays mostly outside the US. Many wise analysts, from Frank Deford (see link) to John McEnroe have said that Federer is not appreciated in the U.S. because he’s not American.
http://tinyurl.com/2skogc

Your comments about Tiger Woods are dubious. Tiger is not scrutinized or put down like Federer for a variety of reasons.

- One, his critics and slimers got pounded from early on, e.g., Fuzzy Zoeller’s really innocuous comments at the 1997 Masters were attacked as tasteless and racist by the press, even though Tiger said he thought Zoeller’s comments were “funny” and didn’t think they were derogatory.

- Two, Tiger always had a huge marketing machine working to built up his positive $100 million plus image in the U.S. to fill the void left by Michael Jordan (while Federer’s girlfriend and mama were his marketing ‘hustlers’ before IMG got into the picture).

- Three, Tiger was trained from young to be the best golfer and handle the press, English is his native language and he has a PR wall built around him, unlike Federer. As one senior golf correspondent said the newsmedia and public doesn’t really know Tiger Woods (see my earlier post): ‘Woods is world-class at talking without saying anything. He can spot a trick question as easily as he can read the line of a slick downhill 30-foot putt. He protects himself with his very keen mind and around him has been erected an impenetrable screen of employees and friends. He is the best-known, least-known athlete in the world.” ‘

- Four, if Tiger is so good, then why did the world’s leading sports legends and journalists choose Federer to be the Laureus World Sports Awards Sportsman of the Year an unprecedented three times in a row, beating Tiger twice? After all, Laureus gave that award to Tiger in 2000 and 2001, and he’s most nominated to the shortlist.

- Five, there are more asterisks about Tiger’s competition as Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, etc. have never been sustained threats. Yet I don’t think Tiger has ever won a major when he wasn’t leading coming into Sunday. I believe that in 5 to 10 years time, a new generation of athletic golfers will finally emerge that will out shadow Tiger and reveal an unspoken truth: golf so far has not been as mature a sport as tennis. Tiger has been able to shine because there has never been width and depth of competition in golf as it was a relatively ‘exclusive’ country club sport for a long time (overweight, chain-smoking and lucky players can still win even in Tiger’s era). Only relatively recently – thanks to Tiger – has golf begun to generate greater public participation that is widening the pool of potential competitors for future. Tennis, on the other hand, is reaching talent/skills and athletic limits where players risk serious injury if they try to push themselves further (e.g., Nadal).

- Six, so what if Tiger “plays a golf course”? If Tiger doesn’t like a particular course he simply scratches it from his tournament schedule unless it’s a major (Federer, however, cannot scratch an opponent from his schedule, even Nadal at Dubai, where Roger lives part time). It’s misleading to say that Tiger “dominates the same courses his predecessors played” – even the Augusta National golf course (Masters) in 2007 is different in many ways today from what it was in 1997, when Tiger first won The Masters. Unlike Federer, Tiger has never been able to win any major more than two consecutive years, even at Augusta. And so what if golf courses are “lengthened” and “narrowed” – it plays into Tiger’s strengths even more since he has one of the longest drives and a great short game. When Tiger was young, he used to throw balls into the woods, bushes, etc. to practice his short game. Thus, the narrower fairways mostly didn’t hurt his wilder driving in his younger days (before he changed his swing), as his short game was now featured. Thus, whether intended or not, most golf courses were not being Tiger proofed, but instead changed to help Tiger shine and win since most of his competition struggled with the changes. Imagine if the Wimbledon committee decided to speed up the grass on center court to help Federer with Nadal and Djokovic.

Finally, let’s be honest about Laver being “no Yank”. In the U.S., the measure of Laver’s unmatched record conveniently disappeared from the discussion when it became convenient to anoint Pete Sampras as the GOAT on the basis of his 14 slams. E.g., Tennis Magazine ranked Sampras as the greatest player of the last four decades but placed Laver at number 8 (see links). Suddenly Laver has re-surfaced as the standard when it comes to Federer, as he’s certain to overtake Pete’s record. I agree it’s long overdue, but it does smack of double standards. (Btw, I too hold that Laver is the GOAT for the time being, followed by Federer until he wins the French or a full GS. But I have actually seen Laver, Rosewall and, possibly Emmo play in live action, though past their prime, and growing up Laver was my basic model initially for his complete game. I’ve no doubt that Federer is already the GOAT – compared to the great players – in terms of his game’s beauty, completeness and technical proficiency; and he’s been one of the best ambassadors for the game. He’s only short on the record of accomplishments side – missing a few more major titles for now.
http://tinyurl.com/ypgt6k
http://tinyurl.com/25pzd2


SG Says:

From Tennismasta:
It is NOT Edberg, Becker, and Agassi that frequently stopped Pete in grandslams as he tried to imply and as most people conjure up in their minds when they think of “competition”.

You are correct. Becker and Agassi did not stop Sampras because Sampras stopped them. Speaking of quotes, I do remember something like this from Becker after losing to Sampras in the Wimby final,”Sampras is the best player I have ever played”. He did not say he was the best grass court player he’d ever played.

Agassi on the other hand said of Sampras after his shellacking by Sampras after 99 Wimby, “He walked on water today”. I think Agassi’s comment was more of a left handed compliment than anything else. He seemed to imply that Sampras was somehow lucky which of course is total gibberish. Becker was always more of a classy champion than Agassi.


SG Says:

By Tony:
SG: “if… he was a little more gracious in defeat.” Could you provide a few examples of this behaviour? Someone else claimed something similar, but the facts proved it was baseless.

———————————–

Here’s an expample:

The guy loses the FO and does not grant Bud Collins an interview. Funny how he never declines an interview when he wins.

I don’t know if fed is aware of this, but his fans want to hear what he has to say even when he loses (which is rare). And those fans have made him the rich man he is today.

But of course, you will find some way to excuse Fed for this and continue to call my claims baseless. Blah.Blah. You are a fanatic.

———————————–

By Tony:

Federer stands out because he has taken the game to a different level;

————————————–
Really? His net game is but a shell of Laver’s or Edberg’s or Sampras’. Taken the game to another level? Bogus. He is the best baseliner of his generation in a generation of baseliners. No wonder he almost never loses.

—————————————

By Tony:

- One, his critics and slimers got pounded from early on, e.g., Fuzzy Zoeller’s really innocuous comments at the 1997 Masters were attacked as tasteless and racist by the press, even though Tiger said he thought Zoeller’s comments were “funny” and didn’t think they were derogatory.

—————————————-
Tiger did not find Zoeller’s comments funny at all. he in fact expressed deep concern about the “fried chicken” comment and the associated streotype. Are you for real or just making things up? There is still a rift between Tiger and Zoeller.

——————————————

As for the rest of your anti-Tiger rant, it is garbage. Tiger (who I don’t particularly like), is the only player to ever finish the US Open in the double digit red figures. No one, not Nicklaus, not Player, no Palmer, not anyone has ever done that.

As for his competition, you are correct, there have been eras with better players to challenge the No.1 player of the time. But, Tiger still plays the course. Not the opponent. This concept that Tiger (or any golfer) is playing another player in stroke play is a fallacious trumped up TV illusion. The golfer plays the course. He cannot control his opponent unlike in tennis where a player may be able to do so.

As for Tiger never coming from behind to win a major? Well, it certainly is a little strange. But, what can be said is this. When he’s leading going into the final round of a major, he’s never lost. And this means that when Tiger is playing well in a major, he never loses.

And I still consider laver the GOAT. Two calendar slams and his best years when he couldn’t compete for the majors clearly puts him in the No.1 slot. And if Laver played today? Well, he be the beneficiary of all the modern technology and training methods that Fed is today. But, he could attack and play the net a whole lot better than Federer.


SG Says:

Per chance, I wonder if Boris Becker or Stefan Edberg would have been the players they were if they played Lendl from the baseline. Hmmm?

Or maybe, Lendl would have won 15 or 16 majors had McEnroe, Connors, Becker, Edberg, Pat Cash et al decided to stay on the baseline and trade groundstrokes with him. I do believe that this would have been a strategic error on their part. On the other hand, pretty much every player today stays back and just plays Fed at his own game.


grendel Says:

Asked to provide examples of Fed’s lack of graciousness in defeat, SG instances his declining Bud Collins an interview after losing French open. That’s not the first time SG has brought this occasion up, why always just this one? More examples, please. And about that Paris occasion. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Federer actually give about 3 interviews? Why should he grant one to Bud Collins? Why should anyone grant one to that egregious show off? That’s not to say Federer necessarily behaved correctly, on this occasion – I’m not sufficiently conversant with the facts here; but until more is revealed, it doesn’t sound nearly as bad as SG says.

“His net game is but a shell of Laver’s or Edberg’s or Sampras’. Taken the game to another level? Bogus. He is the best baseliner of his generation in a generation of baseliners. No wonder he almost never loses.” Edberg was clearly a better volleyer than Federer, but Sampras? My secondhand understanding – that is to say derived from the comments of ex-players- is that Sampras was a uniquely great server with a perfectly adequate net game to back it up. But, for example, he was no more an Edberg than is Federer. SG’s comments are riddled with hyperbole. Obviously, Federer’s net game was not “but a shell” of Sampras, – it may even have been better – I’ll leave that for the experts to argue over. And having just accused Agassi of lefthanded compliments, that one about Fed being best baseliner of his generation is a beauty of the genre. By the way, talking of Sampras, he was not a good loser. He lived in a strange kind of bubble, wherein defeat seemed almost like an aberration of nature. You could see him trying to puzzle it out. The notion that the other fellow might just have played better on the day seemed hardly to have occured to him – I’m talking about the days of his prime.

This business as to why one dislikes a player is interesting. We tend to try and rationalise it, by expressing moral disapproval – SG does a lot of that with Federer; and also casting doubt on the extent of their ability. SG tended not to do that until his last post – when he’s suddenly gone into overdrive, provoked, perhaps, by Tony. To me, all this is pure baloney. Humbug, Sir!

I’d like to recount an experience of my own, not for egotistic reasons – after all, it casts no credit upon me, rather the reverse – but because it may reflect other peoples’ and therefore shed some light. When it suddenly became clear that Nadal was going all the way to the top, I started to take more notice of him, and my attitude to him started to change too. It became more and more hostile – because I saw him as a threat to Federer. Of course this was pretty infantile, atavistic emotions (of which tennis, I note, is remarkably productive) generally are, and I trieds to conceal the truth from myself. So I would call Nadal “boring”, a mere “grinder”, a bit of a cheater, a rotten loser always going on about injuries, a sort of fanatical beast on the court. One couldn’t endlessly sustain this, however, in the face of the evidence. Although I cannot easily warm to Nadal the tennis player, I have allowed myself to enjoy his unique skills. But the important point is, I didn’t dislike Nadal because of x, y, and z (on technical and moral grounds, say). On the contrary, I invented x, y, and z because I disliked him. It was THAT way round.

And this is what I detect in so many Federer haters. They really do hate him on quite primitive grounds (for example he is a threat to Sampras’ records), but since this sounds a bit cheap (actually, I don’t think it is – it’s quite normal for a lot of us; regrettable, no doubt, but that’s another matter), so they have to invent reasons, or more plausibly, hugely exaggerate minor failings.

All that stuff about his clothes is frankly pretty laughable. There is some misjudgement, no doubt, by Federer (and his team), and the Wimbledon set up was not my cup of tea – but goddammit, it doesn’t matter! It really doesn’t bloody well matter! It’s trivial, blue! I think it was jt who remarked on the essentially reserved nature of Federer, and that’s what initially drew her(?) to him. I second that, it’s just obvious that Federer is at some deep level naturally modest. Anyone with his eyes open can see that. He also undoubtedly has a huge ego, and could not have had the success he’s had otherwise. Inconsistent? Welcome to the human race, we ain’t machines we’re all of us a bundle of contradictions (oh, except for you, of course, dear reader of this post).
The sore losing bit, yes, certainly Fed has been that on occasion – more than average? Rubbish.

And finally, to try and detract from Federer’s sheer originality as a master tennis player – well, you know our Fed hater’s lost it then. These atavistic emotions – wow, they pack a punch!


Tony Says:

SG, I want to post on something else so I’ll reply to the rest of your remarks tommorrow. In the meantime, here’s a quickie to illustrate my point that most of your opinions and claims are baseless and withour merit.

SG: “Tiger did not find Zoeller’s comments funny at all. he in fact expressed deep concern about the “fried chicken” comment and the associated streotype. Are you for real or just making things up? There is still a rift between Tiger and Zoeller.”

What evidence do you have that there’s still a rift? Once again you’re making things up. Read New York Times: Woods Meets Zoeller For Lunch
http://tinyurl.com/322lpc

When Tiger was asked about Zoeller’s remarks he replied “I’m sure Fuz didn’t mean anything derogatory; as a matter of fact, I thought it was funny.” Zoeller later offered an apology directly to Woods, which Woods accepted.
http://tinyurl.com/3x6lle

See what Fuzzy Zoeller actually said (he was trying to make a joke in referring to the next year’s Master’s Club Champion’s Dinner, for which the defending champion – Tiger – would be selecting the menu for the Master’s Club/restaurant to serve the following year). The press blew up a weak joke from a losing senior player as derogatory and racist in the aftermath a young Tiger’s first Masters victory.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aWS0StFM5I


FoT Says:

SG – Roger did grant an interview when he lost in the French. It may not have been to Bud Collins, but I heard and saw an interview by Roger after he lost. Just saying…


grendel Says:

You see, there we go again. Modern day players, for some unaccountable reason, insist on staying back and playing into Federer’s hands. Aren’t they stupid?

I mean, here they are, a bunch of superb athletes, the best tennis players on the planet in an era of increasingly tough competition, and a lot of them very, very bright people too, and yet they will insist on this utter nonsense of playing Federer from the back.

Are they just very, very stupid (despite being very bright)? Or is it possible, is it just possible, is it just remotely possible, that these fellows, highly honed pliers of their difficult craft, actually know what they are doing? And, more, know it a damn sight better than anybody else. The courts, the balls, the technology, all this as everybody knows has changed. And of course this is reflected in the style of play. Incidentally, Connors, although a good volleyer, was of course a baseliner. Cash I believe only beat Lendl once, admittedly on a hugely important occasion.

Plays Fed at his own game! This is just paranoia! Of course, the comical thing is, Federer is better equipped than most (not all, note!) to play at the net, and I daresay we’ll see more of that as he ages and loses pace.


Tony Says:

The Speedos, string bikinis and thongs freely worn at Brazil’s Ipanema Beach would look odd, ridiculous, bizarre or worse at most beaches in North America. What’s appropriate in one place and context isn’t always appropriate for another. How would someone in Utah or Montana be able to meaningfully assess what’s worn on Ipanema beach without considering the context? It’s one thing to watch a TV show about Ipanema Beach and then criticize the attire of the sunbathers; it’s another to actually sunbathe on that Brazilian beach and wear something that’s considered fashionable and appropriate over there.

Similarly, if Federer wore his jacket-and-trouser ensemble at the US Open or Australian Open, he would have looked ridiculous.

But it’s Wimbledon. See picture of American Don Budge at Wimbledon in the 1930s:
http://www.isanhalt.de/home/sportautogramme/dbudge.jpg

Federer wore his retro ensemble at Wimbledon for The Championships, Wimbledon in Britain. He did it in the context of that event – for the Wimbledon championships traditions and history, for himself and his track record, for past champions as a tribute, for the All England Club, for the fans watching in the stands, for the British. His outfit was considered stylish and a success by the British. We, on the outside, merely watched the televised coverage of the event.

Has anyone seen those novel baseball games where major league teams suited up in outfits of early 20th century teams for one night? Gosh, has anyone seen what they used to sell in the Wimbledon Shop for years?

What Federer wore was not just appropriate for the center court of Wimbledon’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, the retro look was germane to the occasion. Modern tennis history began in Britain. Wimbledon is tennis’s oldest and most prestigious major championship, and the hallowed grounds are unlike any of the other three slams. Those who have visited Wimbledon, who are members of old traditional country clubs and/or who appreciate tennis history probably understand that you cannot view Wimbledon through the lens of popular tennis or personal tastes over here. This is a place where the latest tennis fashion takes a back seat to tradition — a strict dress code of nearly completely white is still enforced on players. Many on the long list of Wimbledon champions played in long white trousers, and many wore jackets in a bygone era. If we don’t consider Wimbledon tradition and history, then it’s hard to accept what Federer wore.

As one writer insightfully described the Wimbledon final match with Nadal: ‘What Federer also did, and really only he could, was in one match pay homage to an entire history of tennis. He saluted Bill Tilden’s generation with his attire, honoured Laver’s grand Australians with his manners, Connors with his spirit, McEnroe with his art, Borg with five Wimbledon wins, and when he twice was 15.40 in the fifth, and used serves to extricate himself from distress, one word flew across the mind: Sampras.’
http://tinyurl.com/you2mz

A few of today’s players could have played their matches in long white trousers — Brits would have cheered them on and the All England Club would have been ecstatic. Certainly it’s not every player or even Wimbledon champion could have worn it. Besides Federer, it might have looked stylish on Sampras, Borg, Laver, Ashe and Edberg (had the last two worn more titles). But it would probably have looked ridiculous on Agassi, Hewitt, McEnroe, Connors or Goran. Obviously Nike and Federer cleared the design with the All England Club beforehand.

The major British newsmedia generally praisd and approved of Federer’s Wimbledon attire as stylish. Earlier I posted newspaper articles from The Daily Telegraph, Britain’s largest newspaper. Below are articles from The Times, which is regarded as Britain’s newspaper of record and its second largest newspaper.

- ‘Dressed for success: Federer happy to serve traditions… Our correspondent finds the champion looking immaculate both on and off court… Was there ever a Wimbledon champion who so epitomised what the club itself has striven to bring to the sport, a traditionalist who will not compromise what he knows is right but has to stay one step ahead of the game? That Federer feels so at home in SW19 makes the place swell with an extra sense of pride.’
http://tinyurl.com/22h77u

‘Federer keeping up appearances with stylish new look… Federer and Nike, his clothing company, have collaborated closely on the design he will unveil in 2007 after the success of his Bill Tilden-like jacket last year. He would not be persuaded to divulge all yesterday, except to say that everything would be in the finest traditions of the All England Club. “It will be simple, but nice,” he said.’
http://tinyurl.com/27cn2j

‘Wimbledon’s fashion statement… When Roger Federer stepped out in the defence of his title in a suit on Monday, not only was he underlining the significant role he has played in recent Wimbledon history, but he was also nodding to the importance that fashion has come to assume at the All England club… Last year he wore a blazer with his initials and three rackets – one for each of his Wimbledon titles – emblazoned on its breast pocket, finishing off his outfit with a pair of Gucci shoes. This year he completed the five-minute warm-up before his first-round match against Teimuraz Gabashvili in a similar cream blazer – four rackets this time – and full length trousers. The world No 1 opted not to play the match in his longs – “it was cold, but not that cold” – but it was certainly a throwback to a bygone era, before the invention of tie-breaks and graphite rackets, and a reminder of just how far fashion has come.’
http://tinyurl.com/26gh6z

From what I’ve read, the closest to ‘criticism’ of Federer’s attire (see first bullet) in the major British newsmedia came from the multi-award-winning Chief Sportswriter at The Times, but his article really offered admiration and justification. His criticism of Nadal’s attire (second bullet) was far more pointed. This shows you how a player’s attire is viewed in a traditional place like Wimbledon, by people who cover sports like soccer and rugby.

- ‘Stakes are high as the great artist tries to fashion new masterpiece… It was as if Roger Federer were deliberately seeking his place in history. He played the prematch warm-up in long white trousers, the epitome of languid elegance, almost consciously recalling the days of Fred Perry and a time when the phrase “gentlemen’s singles” could be used without irony, or, for that matter, quotation marks. He had entered Centre Court in his white jacket, a custom he inaugurated last year, looking, to tell the truth, like a rather foppish painter and decorator. And all this retro fashion stuff does rather send out the message: you are not watching a mere champion, you are watching a legend. You are watching history. You are not watching Federer, you are watching ten grand-slam titles all at once. You are not watching the Wimbledon champion, you are watching the man who aims to equal Bjorn Borg. Federer aims to win his fifth successive Wimbledon title – his fifth successive Gentlemen’s Singles Championship, to be precise – and is not fussy about his choice of weapon. The jacket will do and the trousers help, too; and it is all a part of that thing that great champions do. They use their reputations as weapons as potent as their forehands and backhands… Federer declined to play the match in his longs – “it was cold, but not that cold”. All the same, his entire style yesterday afternoon, under the great grey skies above the oddly naked-looking roofless Centre Court, was one of muted greatness – like a great actor who brings all eyes upon himself by the means of the deliberate modesty of his demeanour.’
http://tinyurl.com/27csnp

- ‘There’s Nadal, shirt cut deep to set free the manly armpits and let the masculine odours flow, and hip-hugging shorts with a deep pocket into which a spare tennis ball can be thrust so that it looks like a supernumerary testicle. Is it neurosis, discomfort, self-love or a need for reassurance that makes him touch his backside every other shot?’
http://tinyurl.com/yqmk2q


TennisMasta Says:

“Last I checked, Sampras was a lot more classy player than Agassi ever was.”

I wonder where you’d check for something like this. From what I know he was a gracious looser(he lost a lot of matches to both Pete and Roger), and he isn’t trying to grab headlines by undermining today’s players or regretting that he quit too early.

“Modern day players, for some unaccountable reason, insist on staying back and playing into Federer’s hands. Aren’t they stupid?”

I wonder based on what you’d conclude that? For being fitter than ever before, for playing on all surfaces as never before, and trying to incorportate volleing into their technique – basically for adding more variety to their core skills?

Well, is this really surprising?
Today it is Agassi. Tommorrow it could be Borg.
By the end of the day these Sampras progagandists or Federer haters or the jingoistic Americans will bring down all the former greats one by one. I don’t know what drives these people, but they surely can’t seem to appreciate great tennis, and celebrate decent human beings.


TennisMasta Says:

“That’s what motivates you honestly. Federer is extremely good at what he does. He’s going to be the greatest player of all time but I believe in myself and I believe that I can compete at his level,” he declares.

Guess who said this? Lleyton Hewitt.
Before people start running Hewitt into the mud, we need to look at his place in history.

With 80 weeks at #1 he is 8th on the all time list only behind:

Sampras
Lendl
Connors
Federer
McEnroe
Borg
Agassi

He is also one of only 8 players who held the #1 ranking for every week in a year.

He’s also beaten Pete in his own US Open and had Roger’s number for a while.

Now Lleyton is all yours to cut and bite into, to chew and spit out…


Sean Randall Says:

Wow. How the hell does Fuzzy Zoeller make into a thread like this?

I will say I remember the Zoeller incident. I’m not much of a golf fan but what he said did completely catch fire in the press, and I’m guessing his career and image has never recovered.

That said, I cannot imagine that in private Tiger thinks of Fuzzy in a positive nature. In public, yes, maybe he’ll have lunch with him, say nice things etc., but I think he does it to avoid the controversy. As mentioned above, the guy is basically a golf-playing robot who is extremely measured when offering an opinion on just about anything.

And I imagine if Federer were American he may have ended up the same way as Tiger’s representatives, IMG, would have gotten to Roger earlier and tried to dampen some of Roger’s beliefs to better protect his images and his earnings power.

Regarding Fed’s post-final French Open interview, I do distinctly remember hearing NBC at the conclusion of the match announce something to the effect of “Coming up after commercial you’ll hear from Roger Federer” yet when they came back we never got said interview.


TennisMasta Says:

“Federer is a complete tennis player. He is an artist on the court and to beat him at Wimbledon in the best of five sets is almost an impossible task.

“He has achieved so many great things in tennis and if he stays clear of injuries, stays motivated and continues at the same pace as he is doing, he will definitely be the greatest player of all time.”

Guess who uttered this all too familiar refrain?

Bjorn Borg.

Now what dirt are you going to throw at this God of tennis?


TennisMasta Says:

“Federer is the best player in history, no other player has ever had such quality.”

And that is from a guy called Rafael Nadal.


TennisMasta Says:

“And I imagine if Federer were American he may have ended up the same way as Tiger’s representatives, IMG, would have gotten to Roger earlier and tried to dampen some of Roger’s beliefs to better protect his images and his earnings power.”

I agree with Sean even though I don’t know what “protect his image” is about. It is more of building or hyping his image for the captitalist machine to feed upon. No one need to worry about protecting his image. Despite the fact he is not one of our own we can root for, every knowledgable American in their heart knows that Roger is the nicest and fairest athlete they can think of.

Had Roger been an American, he would be worth two or three times that of Tiger. Say $200-$300M/year. Now he makes a tenth of that. The money machine here will wrap him in red white and blue, pander to every nationalistic feeling there is and generate over a $1B out of him.

And as Sean said, they would reign him on his candor, and make him into a walking and talking robot interspersed with some choreographed moves and emotional acts. They would also reign in on any criticism. Remember it is not patriotic to bring down our guy?


SG Says:

grendel Says:

Are they just very, very stupid (despite being very bright)? Or is it possible, is it just possible, is it just remotely possible, that these fellows, highly honed pliers of their difficult craft, actually know what they are doing? And, more, know it a damn sight better than anybody else. The courts, the balls, the technology, all this as everybody knows has changed. And of course this is reflected in the style of play. Incidentally, Connors, although a good volleyer, was of course a baseliner. Cash I believe only beat Lendl once, admittedly on a hugely important occasion.

Actually, the answer is, yes, they are stupid. If you take the same stupid people, and they continue to apply the same failed approach one time after another, they will end up with the same failed result. And this doesn’t apply only to tennis but to life, work, love, etc. If Federer is more talented than you are at your own game, than change what you’re doing. I will never forget the story about Arthur Ashe before he played Connors in the Wimbledon final. At the time Connors was the invincible wunderkind. Ashe’s coach asked Ashe, “How are you going to beat Connors?” Ashe responded, “If I play my game I should be alright.” Ashe’s coach flipped out on his guy, pointed his finger sharply in his chest and said, “You need to do WHATEVER it takes to beat him!” Ashe came at Connors with the slice forehand and a lot of nuance. He changed his tactics and beat the man. Watching Davydenko apply the same failed tactics unsurprigingly yields the same failed results.

None of you Federphiles seem to get it yet. The athleticism and training and technology of today put a lot of players on equal footing. So, if you’re going to beat Fed, you have to think outside the box. You have to make him hit shots he doesn’t like hitting. In the match against Roddick and Djokovic at the Open, Federer looked positively out of sorts at times. The problem for these players was not entirely Federer’s massive game. It was Roddick and Djoko’s lack of belief in themselves. They had doubt in their minds before they stepped on court. I am annoyed by the implication that no one now or ever could beat a Federer on his game. You see Rafa making Fed hit a lot of deep, nose high backhands. A strategy that has yielded good results for him. But, most other players don’t apply this tactic with the consistency or ferocity that he does. They think , like Ashe did, “If I play my game, I’ll be OK.” WRONG! There is always a solution to a problem if you look for it. Lendl knew he had to volley to win Wimbledon. So, he did it. And he reached two finals. Lendl was practically to allergic to twine. But, at least he did something about it. This was a man he extracted every bit he could out of his game.

When you see an unfit Bagdhatis slogging it around, it just makes no sense. Here is a guy with the talent to beat Fed but no commitment.

Then there’s Roddick. Now here is a guy with the best of intentions. He tries to attack more but he cannot really volley well and just isn’t able to hit through his backhand. Everyone seems to focused on the fact that Fed gets back A-Rod’s serve. Maybe, if Andy had the big volleys to back up that serve, Fed’s returns wouldn’t seem so incredible. And maybe this would force Fed to go for more on his returns and maybe miss a few more.

Ljubicic, ahhh old Luby. The tennis player who makes a pilon look mobile. Nuff said…

The argument that Fed would have 5 W’s sewn on that atrocious and pretentious white coat of his if he had to contend with Becker, Edberg, Sampras, Rafter, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Stich, Agassi etc…is hard to believe. Any of those guys could get really hot on grass and run the table. And they all played at pretty much the same time. You Fed fans can keep on believing that Fed’s competitors are every bit as good as that group. Personally, I’ll opt for the reality check instead.


SG Says:

Now, on surfaces other than grass, I do have to admit that I am highly impressed by Federer. While he hasn’t won in Paris (…which will be a blight on his record if he never wins there considering the amount of GOAT hype he gets), he does play incredibly well there. Perhaps Federer has to change his tactics to win in Paris. He has tried to stay back and outhit Nadal in his last two finals. He has applied this failed tactic on several occasions and the result has been a failure to win against Nadal. This is an ego thing for Federer. I’m almost certain he thinks,

“I can outhit Nadal from back here. I have a better forehand and a better backhand. I will figure this out because nobody with a game that ugly should beat me this many times. He must just be lucky.”

So, Federer is guilty of handling Nadal the way others handle him. Athletes are usually rigid, stubborn and inertial. Once they are going in a direction it’s hard to get turned around. He has to attack Nadal. Mix it up. Serve and volley some. He has to admit to himself that trying to beat Nadal from the baseline won;t get it done in Paris. And he better own up to himself soon because his Parisian clock is ticking fast. I think 2008 is his last legitimate shot to win in Paris.


SG Says:

By the way TennisMasta, just because Nadal says Fed is the best ever doesn’t mean he is. I wasn’t aware that Nadal owend his own personal time machine that allowed him to hop back in time and play Laver or Borg or Sampras or Gonzalez. How conveneient for him anoint Fed the best player of all time! Do you believe EVERYTHING you read or are you just really desperate to believe this one thing so badly. Why not let the guy finsh his career first?

Federer is unquestionably one of the all time greats. As I said in one of my previous posts, in my mind he’s already top 3 ever. If he wins in Paris and wins 15 majors, I will accept him as being on par with Laver. If he wins the slam, I don’t see how anyone can argue that Fed isn’t the best ever. But, to this point, he has done neither. That being said, he has been the most dominant force in tennis that I have ever seen.

But, being highly dominant and being the best ever do not necessarily go hand in hand. I feel sorry for those who cannot see that. Bobby Jones, in his short time as a pro golfer, was more dominant than Jack Nicklaus. And despite this, Jones said of Nicklaus, “He plays a game with which I am unfamiliar”. Nicklaus was the better player. The fact that Jack didn’t have Jones winning % did not mean that Jones was a better player. There are always circumstances that are attached to labels.


SG Says:

TennisMasta…Kuerten said Sampras was better than Federer. Quotes from this player, quotes from that player. Who cares what the players think!!! Most of the time their own egos get in the way of an honest, unbiased answer. I do admit though that I respect a guy like Laver. Laver thought Sampras was the best ever, now he thinks it’s Federer. The guy game from a different era and I get the feeling when I listen to Laver that he is a really genuine guy. Praise from Laver weighs more with me than comments from a bunch of millionaire self-serving professionals. That being said, Fed isn’t the best because someone else says he is. He will be the best ever if and only if he reaches the benchmarks and achievements comensurate with being the GOAT.


TennisMasta Says:

SG, I agree with you:

“So, Federer is guilty of handling Nadal the way others handle him. Athletes are usually rigid, stubborn and inertial. Once they are going in a direction it’s hard to get turned around. He has to attack Nadal. Mix it up. Serve and volley some. He has to admit to himself that trying to beat Nadal from the baseline won;t get it done in Paris.”

I have felt it that way watching him loose to Nadal three years in a row.

I also felt that he didn’t have the killer instinct that you saw at the ’07 Australian Open for instance. He did not seem disappointed (as much as I’d have thought) at all loosing the this years French and the chance to win the rare “Federer” Slam. It almost felt that he was happy to loose. At least if you see a smiling Roger hugging a stunned Rafa last year, you’d have thought he won the French.

“I can outhit Nadal from back here. I have a better forehand and a better backhand. I will figure this out because nobody with a game that ugly should beat me this many times. He must just be lucky.”

Your imagination is funny, indeed! But I am almost certain that Roger wasn’t thinking like that. But I wish he thought that way. But if did, he will continue to play Rafa the way he has been. And we don’t want that right?

“TennisMasta…Kuerten said Sampras was better than Federer.”

Yes, but I read (someone can please post the quote) that Kuerten changed his mind. Apparently at the French trophy presentation he mentioned “the greatest clay court player ever” and the “greatest tennis player ever”…

No, I don’t believe anything anyone says, particularly if it is not factual (meaning complimentary to Roger :)

Seriously, I agree with your “Why not let the guy finsh his career first? ” But can everyone else also wait until then instead of undermining modern tennis, Roger’s accomplishments, particularly relative to the so called 90′s tennis (no question about it if you have two, three, four world beaters from the US, the boisterous hype is stratospheric, and the US media is the 600 pound gorilla).


TennisMasta Says:

I’d also like to nominate Tony for an honorary Ph.D. for his exemplary scholarship in writing. His assiduous references to history and to events, and his non combative and genial style of argument are incredibly impressive and worth emulating by all.


FloridaMan Says:

The bottom line is, relatively very few people care about pro tennis in the USA. It’s a fact that is just plain fact.


grendel Says:

SG: simply repeating how pretentious etc Fed’s Wimbledon attire is won’t make it more true. Matter of taste at end of day – you and Tony, for instance, are not really arguing on this issue, just passing each other by, although Tony is making a little bit more effort than you – not just using opprobrious epithets,i.e., as if they somehow settle the matter.

One can only repeat grass is not now what it was. It is perfectly possible that Fed would have beaten all the distinguished names you mention in today’s conditions. The converse is, in conditions of yesteryear, one or more or all of them might have beaten Federer. Who knows?

“I can outhit Nadal from back here. I have a better forehand and a better backhand. I will figure this out because nobody with a game that ugly should beat me this many times. He must just be lucky.” Thus Federer, in SG’s opinion. It’s an ego thing. I doubt it. Federer is a wily bird, and can generally adapt his game to meet different types of challenge – that is part of what makes him so good. The problem is, Nadal is better than him on clay. Nothing mysterious about that.
“You see Rafa making Fed hit a lot of deep, nose high backhands. A strategy that has yielded good results for him. But, most other players don’t apply this tactic with the consistency or ferocity that he does.” Perhaps the reason most other players don’t etc is that they can’t. As Rafa said wryly in response to an interviewer’s asking him if he was going to go for Fed’s backhand, “easy, no?” I think you’re actually downplaying Nadal’s incredible skill. We will see if Federer can do anything about this in 2008. I greatly look forward to this.

It is not a matter of Federphilia and all that stuff – just simple observation. Time and again, I have observed Federer in trouble against an opponent, and proceed to adapt in the course of the match and turn the tables. It is easy to say that this is just because the players are weak, don’t believe they can win and so on. Is that really always the case? Sometimes, yes, but always? Is it really rational to think like that? Suppose Federer had taken his match point against Safin in A.U. semi-final 2 or 3 years ago. The usual suspects would be saying it was just Fed’s reputation that got him through. But after that match point, the tennis was closely contested, neither man giving an inch. Imo, Safin always looked slightly the stronger, and so it turned out. But then Safin was very great player, whenever the silly bugger put his mind to it. That’s what it takes.


Tony Says:

SG: “Here’s an expample: The guy loses the FO and does not grant Bud Collins an interview. Funny how he never declines an interview when he wins. I don’t know if fed is aware of this, but his fans want to hear what he has to say even when he loses (which is rare).”

I had asked you to “provide a few examples” to back up your psycho-analysis that “Federer is a little self-absorbed” and “if… he was a little more gracious in defeat”. But you managed to come up with only o-n-e questionable example. It involved the annoying NBC sideman Bud Collins, whose role NBC had been cutting back for years before they finally fired him less than 2 weeks after the incident you mentioned, before Wimbledon started. Bud still does excellent work in areas outside TV, but his exit from NBC as the clown sideman was long overdue.

First, your belief that Federer “does not grant Bud Collins an interview” probably came from Bud Collins’ claims in his post-match interview with Nadal (if you have another credible source please share it with us). You are too easily suckered by the claims of a sneaky TV sideman who has a history of trying to generate controversy for his own gain and/or to trapping his interviewees into looking uncomfortable or saying something inappropriate. (Remember that at Federer’s official post-match interview, not one reporter bothered to ask Federer why he declined speaking to Bud Collins; this indicates the news media considered it a non-issue to and/or they appreciated why a player would decline being interviewed by Bud Collins).

Sniffing an opportunity, Bud Collins’ very first words to make Rafa feel awkward were: “Roger Federer. It’s the first time he’s ever refused an interview. So you can tell how badly he felt. You made him feel very badly. Congratulations.”

What did that crass start to the interview do to the image of tennis for casual viewers? Bud Collins didn’t have to make a mountain out of a molehill of the claimed incident nor did he have to dig into Federer’s wound to make Nadal feel bad for winning and congratulate him for hurting his friend’s feelings. Nadal should have told off Collins for his uncalled for remarks and ended the interview.

Now, are we even sure that Federer declined the interview? What happened? Roger obviously played the French Open final under tremendous pressure and media expectations to win the missing French Open, the final leg of a non-calendar ‘Grand Slam’ and second leg of a proper calendar Grand Slam. There was much more on the line for him than anyone since Rod Laver in 1969/1962 or Lew Hoad in 1956. When the match ended in a loss, the disappointment on Federer’s face was obvious but he went through the prize ceremony with a brave face, congratulated Nadal, thanked the crowd, said the right things, and posed for photos with Nadal (at the 1981 US Open, Bjorn Borg skipped the prize ceremony and immediately left the stadium). After the photo taking, Federer walked down the podium and was headed to the exit as if the post-match activities were over. As he began walking away, a FO official walked up to him and spoke something (presumably to ask Fed to go to Bud Collins). They disappeared from the picture next, so we don’t know what happened. E.g., did the FO official give Fed the choice whether or not to do the interview? Did the FO official even tell Federer about the interview? Did the abrasive Bud Collins personally ask Federer for the interview? Or did Collins opportunistically sensationalize what happened when the French official told this pompous American sideman that Federer was leaving the stadium?

Is the losing player required or even obligated to give an interview on court? Federer is not the only losing player to decline an on court interview in a slam. Regardless, we know that Federer is usually the most accessible player on tour and ceaselessly promotes the game.

As well, Federer graciously gave at least one proper 20 plus minute interview to the media after the match (see below), where he proved he was more than gracious in defeat. Here are excerpts from Federer’s long post-match interview where he keeps complimenting Rafa in every other answer even when reporters asked questions he could have used to make excuses (unlike certain players who are not gracious after being beaten by Federer):

“You know, he didn’t allow me to do that too well today. So, credit to him… Well, I mean, I guess that would be the easy way out, just say, “Okay, I missed too many opportunities, otherwise I would have won.” But you know, it’s just not this way. Davydenko missed many opportunities and lost in straight sets as well… So you always have to look at your opposition, and Rafael is tough on breakpoints, you know. He’s the toughest guy on clay… he served better, made less unforced errors… So it was tough, but I think he played an excellent match and deserved to win in the end… After playing three very good French Opens, you know, the last three years, Rafa came along and took them all… he was the better man today. And he was better… My opponent was tough, made it hard for me. That was — because I can’t particularly say my backhand or my forehand was bad or my volley or my serving. It was all okay, you know. It was just a tough opponent… I just thought he was serving pretty solid, you know, and pretty accurate. It made it hard for me. But, I just think he played it consistently all the way through and didn’t allow me many chances in the end, you know. So it was hard… He’s such a different type of player, you know, and he kind of wears you out or wears you down, you know. He’s the type of guy that’s going to make you miss, you know. So you can never really say you played great against him, for some reason, you know… So we both have, you know, the capabilities of putting the opponent under a lot of pressure. And he did better today. So he was good… I felt like he was dictating play from the baseline… And, you know, it’s always at the very best levels, the guy can dominate from the baseline. He’s in good shape. And so, unfortunately, I was just not — not good enough in the end, you know, to keep that up… Well, he is a very good player on clay. That’s very simple. I’m repeating myself. But I think he plays an excellent level of tennis. He moves extremely well on clay. He runs from one end of the court to the other. He has fantastic strokes on this surface, and he is very strong, mentally speaking, at his age. That’s probably what is most impressive at such a young age. He’s won three Roland Garros titles at the age of 21, that’s pretty impressive… Maybe. Well, now I’ve lost, so I’d say yes (smiling). But these are just speculations. Had it been raining, maybe I would have won? I don’t know. But I also like it when it’s hotter, because I can serve better; it’s easier. Balls are faster. They rebound faster, as well, but the spin is still there. And this spin will always be there on Nadal’s balls. So he’s a very good player… He’s evolved. He’s a pretty good player, so he deserved his victory… So I think he needs to keep this game, because with this specific type of game, he’s just unbeatable on clay… He played very well. He didn’t make that many mistakes today, so that made it more difficult for me…But he also raised his level and he was the strongest at the end…(Q. His winning three times in a row here, does it make him more dangerous in the other Grand Slam tournaments, on other surfaces?) I’d say more dangerous, yes. Because — well, that’s it. I mean, that’s simple… And given his final in Wimbledon last year, he knows that on all other surfaces, he can win the title. He won Indian Wells easily, and that’s a surface which is very similar to that of the US Open or to that of Australia. So why not the other Grand Slam tournaments?…And I want to congratulate Rafa for this beautiful tournament, and beautiful achievement. He’s never lost here.”
http://2007.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/interviews/2007-06-10/200706101181499007656.html

I’ll respond to your other comments later.


TennisMasta Says:

Tony, you make Federer fans proud. You patiently address so many falsehoods and illogical opinions out there that don’t merit responses. You counter baseless propaganda with facts. You correct deliberate misquotes and provide the context. It’s got to be a tiring and thankless effort as all it takes for some one intent on slander is to throw out one false hood or a ridiculous assertion out there. And you will have to start all over.

It would be good to take this thread back to the SI cover issue and the business of tennis. One way or another we are all tennis fans who want more of it on TV, and more coverage in published media. Let’s brainstorm what we can do about it.


Tony Says:

TennisMasta, ditto for your excellent and compelling posts too. Most falsehoods against Federer are based on personal beliefs, opinions and presumptions, with little or no basis in facts. I feel the best way to stop the slander and slime is to force them to deal with facts, because that will expose their claims as nonsense.

grendel “SG: simply repeating how pretentious etc Fed’s Wimbledon attire is won’t make it more true. Matter of taste at end of day – you and Tony, for instance, are not really arguing on this issue, just passing each other by, although Tony is making a little bit more effort than you – not just using opprobrious epithets,i.e., as if they somehow settle the matter.”

I addressed this issue of personal taste head on in an earlier post to jane (Sept 23rd at 10:44 am): “You and every one else has their personal opinion about attire — after all, ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’… So it’s best to defer to those authorities who understand fashion (e.g., Wintour) or who understand whether it’s appropriate for the context (e.g., leading British newsmedia).” I then provided ample evidence from those authorities both in that post and in another post (Sept 29 at 4:42 pm) to support the view that Federer’s attire was considered very appropriate and fashionable in the context of Wimbledon and the person wearing it. It was not assessed as “pretentious”.

In other words, what really matters are the views of the big opinion-makers (e.g., the news media and fashion experts) and the general public. A small minority such as SG may have negative opinions about Fed’s attire based on their personal taste, but their views don’t matter in the big picture. We don’t even have to agree to disagree, if those who disagree are in such a minority that they’re irrelevant. Too bad if the minority doesn’t like it, but that’s a fact of life. Nike expanded Federer’s ensemble this year because of positive feedback about his jacket last year.


TennisMasta Says:

The reason for “Federer, Tennis Again Snubbed by Sports Illustrated”, is “If it’s not our star and our sport, U.S. just doesn’t care”.

Until Donald Young, John Isner, or Sam Querry start to win grandslams US tennis (and therefore tennis in general) will not get the TV time it deserves in the US.

Until then we hope Roddick and Blake will continue to be the great fighters they are regardless of results. That will ensure some TV time in the interim.

Hope the William sisters learn what it means to be professional, get their fitness levels up and commit to the WTA tour. They will have looong careers in fashion and Hollywood, but the time on the tour is ephemeral. Someone better tell them that. It’s great Davenport is back. The Williams’ can take a page from Davenport’s passion.

It almost seems that Kournakova with no singles titles did much more to US tennis than did Sharapova with two grandslams. As Courier said her ball machine tennis, lop sided losses to Williams sisters, charisma that doesn’t transcend her good looks is beginning to wear. All the more reason we need William sisters committed more to tennis than to lame excuses.

We could use a change of guard in the media. It is getting stale with Drysdale, Corillo, and even the McEnroes. Jim Courier seems like a fresh breath of air. How about Agassi in the commentary box as the technical expert?

One out of the box idea is to break the ATP tour into multiple tours. Let us have a US ATP (focused on a tennis season much like the US PGA tour) and other tennis tours around the world. Roger and Rafa will play more in the US that way.
More than that, the TV rights here demand a certain amount of tennis here. That also gives the best chance of US players to come up and shine.

How is that Chicago has no ATP tournament? The masters series is a bunch of nonsense in terms of helping US tennis. Instead, we could have a rule that you need to play at least 10 tournaments to keep the US ATP card? Grandslams count. With masters series out, Roger and others could play in six tournaments plus US Open around the US. We could have the year end championship in Chicago.

The European ATP could do the same. It will be heavily based on clay and perhaps some grass tournaments.

Who ever can raise enough money could have a tour. The Argentinians could have one. Asia and far east could have one.

Any other ideas folks. to get tennis to the level of PGA tour in the US? Otherwise tennis bums like me are forced to watch more golf than tennis…


Sean Randall Says:

I must say some of you Federer fans are really hardcore. I mean really, really hardcore. Like some of you folks are on Fed’s payroll. So I ask you has Federer ever done anything wrong, or slipped up somewhere?

I am a big Federer fan myself, but I’m also comfortable with him not doing what’s right all the time. I honestly don’t like the jacket/pant ensemble he has going at Wimbledon (I like the Darth Federer look, however) and at the end of the day he probably should have spoke to Bud after the French Open final. NBC pays a lot of money, much of which goes into Roger’s pockets, so I don’t think asking for a few minutes is asking too much. Granted it happened during an emotional loss, a final no less, but sometimes that’s when the interviews are needed more than ever.

Unless Bud and Roger had a rift (Tony, I’m sure you can find some stories in which Bud rips into Roger), I think Roger would have been better served doing the interview.

I got a chuckle after the Canadian final a few years back after he beat Roddick, and in the on-court ceremony he said how much he liked playing Andy. It was a slight dig at Andy, and I could see how it might rub people the wrong way. And the same could be argued about the quote he gave to SI in which Roger talked about how he has all the Grand Slams. While I’m okay with that quote again, I could see how some people might not be. Perhaps he should have been more careful with his words.

Roger is incredibly gracious, humble, charismatic and all those other positive qualities that make him the great athlete that he is. That said Roger’s going to slip up, be it on the court, in the press or in private. He’s human (unlike his robotic text buddy Tiger), it’s going to happen. And when it does happen some of you Federer fans need to simply be okay with it. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not going to impact Roger’s legacy. Call a spade a spade, accept it and move on rather than rush to Roger’s defense on every alleged misstep. Sometimes a misstep is exactly that, a misstep.


Sean Randall Says:

TennisMasta, great ideas. And i wish someday some of them would could to fruition, but it’s almost a chicken/egg thing. In order to have a US only tour your need to have a lot of great, well-known US players, but to have a lot of great US players you almost need to have an exlusive US only tour! By that I mean imagine if only US players were allowed to play in Miami, Cincinnati, Indian Wells, etc., and this way, over time, the Americans who do win those events would become bigger stars.

As for the Williams sisters, they are perhaps the biggest tennis stars we have in the U.S. Unfortunately they are closer to the end of their career than they the beginning, so we need to squeeze them for all we can while we have ‘em, because there’s no one on the horizon.

One way to get tennis on near-equal footing with the PGA is the get Tiger and Phil to retire. Hell if we can’t get to their level let’s drop theirs down to ours!


grendel Says:

Tony: I don’t agree with you that the opinions of a small minority (e.g. S.G) don’t matter, on this question of attire. There’s such a thing as the tyranny of the majority, and I am against that wherever it rears its head. However, SG is quite abrasive in expressing his opinions on some matters, and why not, so I feel drawn to combat them if I disagree. But I do understand where he’s coming from, and I’m sure he is not alone – it’s important these views are aired. As I said in an earlier post, I would have intensely disliked it if, say, Sampras had paraded his victories. Somehow I don’t mind when Fed does, because a) I like him and b) I still sense an inherent discretion. Obviously, some people disagree about the latter point. That’s alright, isn’t it.


FoT Says:

Sean, I know Roger isn’t perfect, but what gets me is that some folks (particularly those who don’t like the guy) will try to crucify him for no reason at all. Sure, if he has done something wrong – no problem… but don’t just dig up things that are not true or twist things to make your case against him (and I’m not really talking about you Sean)… but I’ve seen it over and over. If you take all the star athletes in the world and dissect them like some folks are dissecting Roger – they wouldn’t have any redeeming qualities at all!

When Roger really and truly does something inappropriate – then fine – crucify him then…but these little digs at his clothes, at his not giving Bud an interview, etc., are really little things that doesn’t even need to be put under that microscope, particularly when you have athletes killing dogs, shooting drivers, selling dope, using dope, etc. When you look at what some of these athletes have done compared to Roger – hum… Roger doesn’t look that bad after all, now does he!?

Whether or not people like or don’t like Roger – We need to appreciate that we do have a #1 tennis player who has not been arrested, hasn’t tested positive for drugs, who hasn’t cut off speaking to the media all together, who can speak to the media in 3-4 languages, no less; and who has been voted by his peers as the best Sportsmanship in tennis for the last 3 years. That’s all I’m saying…

Heck, if Roger is getting this much flack for these little things he supposedly have done – lord help us if he really does a crime!


Sean Randall Says:

FoT, well said. Points taken. What I think some Fed fans have to realize is that they have to take the good and with the bad. Fed does right in my mind 99% of the time but it’s that 1% when he doesn’t that people will bring to the forefront. And I freely admit that I’ve been guilty of that. If you live in the U.S. you know how well the U.S. media loves to tear down the very same heroes they help to create. That’s the system. Profit on their rise, profit on their decline.

So anytime Fed slips up it is going to be magnified beyond what it should be and negative comments will follow. Luckily for Fed fans the guy’s been near-perfect, but sometimes he isn’t and the ensuing criticism can be – dare I say – warranted. And that’s what the hardcore Fed fans or “Federphiles” or Fed Army or Fed Cross or whatever you want to call them, need to better accept.

Fed skipped out on an NBC interview. NBC promoted it. He refused. That’s a fact. Unless there was a legitimate rift between Fed and NBC/Bud Collins or Fed needed medical treatment, Fed deserves to take a minor hit on that one. He should have done it. In the big picture of Fed’s career it’s not going to matter so I really don’t understand the vigorous need to defend Fed in that instance.

My end feeling on that interview is, “So Fed screwed up. Ditched the interview. I’ll give him a mulligan on that one as long as this doesn’t turn into a habit when he loses in a Slam final.” But if people don’t want to give him a mulligan that’s fair in my mind. I know Fed gives a zillion interviews in a zillion languages after he wins, but as I wrote in my prior post I think in this case he was wrong for passing up this one when he lost.

If Fed’s going to continue to wear that jacket ensemble like he does at Wimbledon, well he’s going to continue take criticism. And in my mind he deserves it. Apparently the press love it, however I’m know I’m not the only would who would prefer to see Fed keep the sportcoat in the closet. Am I wrong for disliking the outfit? No. Maybe I just have bad taste in clothes, but I’m not wrong. In fact, there’s no right or wrong, just opinion. So again, if you want to attack Fed for his jacket, that’s fair, too.

And in my opinion Fed does at times come across as being arrogant. The SI article is an example and there have been others. As I said earlier I think that he has earned the right to toot his own horn so I’m actually comfortable with him doing so (in fact I’d like to see him do it more!) but I can also fully understand and accept how others might not look at some of his comments so kindly. Does that make them 100% wrong? No. Sometimes the same quote comes across different ways to different people. So you can’t really prove right and wrong.

But just because someone reads a quote one way, or someone doesn’t like Fed’s jacket or they are pissed at Fed for skipping that NBC interview, it doesn’t directly mean they are against Fed. Sure, some are, but from reading many threads, posts, etc., it seems anytime you make a negative comment about Fed the Federphiles rush in to save Fed’s name by saying you are wrong because you must be anti-Fed or pro-Pete. It’s downright nauseating. Federer does and will make mistakes. He’s human. Get over it.

As FoT says, the guy could do a hell of a lot worse. So just be thankful that among his faults is that he skips out on interviews every now and then and his wardrobe at Wimbledon could use an overhaul.


SG Says:

I don’t think Roger’s an embarassment to the game or himself. Generally, he is gracious. Of course, when you’ve had the type of seasons he’s had the last few years, there’s certainly no reason to act like an ass.

Sean Randall is correct when he says that even Federer is prone to an act of irrational and distasteful behavior once in a while. There’s no need to defend him when he does. Roger needs to own up to it and learn from it. He is a human being with the same frailties and weaknesses as the rest of us.

As I asked in a previous post, would Fed have given the interview to Collins had he won? There’s no way to really know the answer, but I suspect he would have. And if he would have done the interview had he won, then yes, he had an obligation to do the interview if he lost. That’s what being a champion and a role model is all about. This Nicklaus-type quality is so rarely seen in sport today. There is Kipling saying that is posted inside the Wimbledon locker room (just before Centre Court), “If you can meet with triumph and disaster / And treat those two imposters just the same”. I think Kipling summed it up pretty well. It’s not as if Federer took a series of beatings this year. He went into the FO final having won the previous 3 majors he played in. He’s not all that familiar with losing. So if he does lose, be gracious about it! Treat the two imposters just the same. I’m pretty certain Nadal was disappointed in losing at Wimbledon. How could he not have been? And had he won, he may have had the opportunity to wrestle the No.1 ranking away from Fed for the year. Last I checked, he stepped up. Even had Fed done the interview, I’m not saying that I would have embraced the guy. It’s just not appropriate to cherry pick when you’re going to be gracious. I don’t think it’s necessary make excuses for Fed. He doesn’t need excuses.


FoT Says:

Fair enough Sean on your last post. I’m still saying I think it’s fantastic if those are the only negative things you or the press has to write about Roger. I say ‘thank god’ that’s it! And you are right – Roger has more great qualities than he has faults but it’s the faults, for the most part, the press will bring out whether against him or any other person in the press.

Us ‘Fan fans’ could be worse – we could have Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, O.J. Simpson and others as our favorites. Thank god I have Roger as one of my favorites.


TennisMasta Says:

“Sean Randall is correct when he says that even Federer is prone to an act of irrational and distasteful behavior once in a while. There’s no need to defend him when he does. Roger needs to own up to it and learn from it. He is a human being with the same frailties and weaknesses as the rest of us.”

Folks, we need to let Sean, SG and any others to gripe about Roger even if it is picking hair from an egg shell. It may be mighty hard not just for Federer fans (ofcourse, we are promptly given disparaging names), but also for any reasonable person to see this “distasteful” behaviour in Roger, but we need to give comfort to these talibans of proper behaviour by asserting their right to instruct Roger to “own up to it and learn from it”. How else can they convince themelves that he is a “human being with the same frailties and weaknesses as the rest of us.”


Tony Says:

SG (Sept 29th at 2:27 pm): “And I still consider laver the GOAT. Two calendar slams and his best years when he couldn’t compete for the majors clearly puts him in the No.1 slot. And if Laver played today? Well, he be the beneficiary of all the modern technology and training methods that Fed is today. But, he could attack and play the net a whole lot better than Federer.”

I too consider Laver to be, for now, the GOAT based on his record… until Federer wins the French Open, or better still a Grand Slam, plus at least ties Sampras’s 14 slams.

It’s unfair to compare the record of a competed career with the middle of an active career. However, Federer has the best success ratio of the ten players who have reached at least 14 slam finals in their career (no one has come close to Federer’s 10 consecutive finals in a row) even though he is playing in an era of greater depth in competition:

1. Roger Federer: 12 wins, 2 losses (85%)
2. Roy Emerson: 12, 2 (80)
3. Pete Sampras: 14, 4 (78)
4. Bjorn Borg: 11, 5 (69)
5. Bill Tilden: 10, 5 (67)
6. Rod Laver: 11, 6 (65)
7. Ken Rosewall 8, 7 (53)
8. Jimmy Connors 8, 7 (53)
9. Andre Agassi: 8, 7 (53)
10. Ivan Lendl 8, 11 (42)

Federer has won 12 slams in the last 18 contested. No other player in modern tennis history has amassed as many majors at this pace upon winning their first major. For comparison, the next fastest, Rod Laver, won his 11 career slams in 19 attempts from the 1960 Australian through 1969 U.S. Open.

But as to who would win, Laver or Federer, let’s ask experts who know what they’re talking about:

- John McEnroe was asked by PBS talk show host Charlie Rose who would win if Federer played Laver, with both at their best? McEnroe said Federer would have the slight edge even if his idol Laver used today’s racket technology.
http://tinyurl.com/2twz4p

- Tennis commentator Cliff Drysdale, who played against (and beat) Rod Laver in the 1960s: “I am not one to give out praise easy but in my mind, Roger Federer is the best player to ever pick up a racket. I have seen all the big names in tennis from, Rod Laver to Bjorn Borg, and Roger is the best because he is the most complete player I have ever seen.”


Tony Says:

Tony: “Federer stands out because he has taken the game to a different level.”
SG (Sept 29th at 2:27 pm): “Really? His net game is but a shell of Laver’s or Edberg’s or Sampras’. Taken the game to another level? Bogus. He is the best baseliner of his generation in a generation of baseliners. No wonder he almost never loses.”

I’ve seen Laver, Sampras, McEnroe and Federer play live, and watched one of my favourites Edberg on TV a lot. It’s ludicrous to claim that Federer’s net game is a shell of such players. Federer already has a very competent net game for someone who does not serve-and-volley as much. He doesn’t rush the net because he is playing in an era with string-and-racket technology that neutralizes a pure net game so that volleyers become sitting ducks more. If conditions had required Federer to serve-and-volley more, it is highly likely that his net game would be even better through practice.

It is misleading to categorize Federer as merely a “baseliner.” His game right now is that of an offensive baseliner who applies as much serve-and-volley as needed for the situation. E.g., at the Kooyong Classic in January, Federer served and volleyed a lot because of the windy conditions. As it is, Federer is considered the most complete, all-round player who can do almost whatever he wants.

Sampras claims that Federer benefits from not having to face a top serve-and-volleyer like himself. But ‘Paul Annacone, who coached Sampras and was a tour player himself, doesn’t put much stock in that argument. “The best players tend to conform to what’s successful” in terms of playing style, he said. “Great players can do that. Borg did it, Pete did it. In 2001, when Roger beat Pete at Wimbledon (ending his string of seven Wimbledon titles in eight years), Roger served and volleyed an incredible amount. That tells you a lot about his game and talent.” ’

Then a 19-year old Federer beat an experienced Sampras on Wimbledon grass that was quicker in 2001 than today. In the DVD, the net point statistics at 5-4 in the fourth set were: Sampras won 33 points but lost 43 points, while Federer won 24 net points but lost 27 points. It would be interesting to find out the net point statistics for the entire five sets. But the following are clear: Federer did come to the net a lot and won a lot of points with his net game and serve; Federer had a better winning percentage at the net than Sampras; Federer’s more complete game neutralized Sampras’s net game more than Sampras could do to Roger’s net game; and Sampras had to rely on his net game more than Roger needed to.

What kind of young ‘shell net game’ has a better winning ratio at net than Sampras’s net game?

Let’s ask experts who know what they’re talking about to compare Sampras and Federer:

- Tracy Austin observed: ‘Andre Agassi said it best. When he was asked to compare Federer and Sampras, he said: “There’s nowhere to go when you play Roger.” To me that was his way of telling us who he thought was the better player. With Sampras at least you could target the backhand – but Federer has no weaknesses. He can serve and volley. He can stay back. He can crush you with both forehand and backhand. And he moves so well.’

- Serve-and volleyer Tim Henman, when asked about the best player he had ever played: “It’s Roger [Federer]. There’s no doubt. And that is a reflection of how the game has changed. Pete Sampras on a grass court, a quick grass court, was incredibly difficult to play against. But the difference is when you’re playing someone like Pete, you might not make returns for three or four games, but you just felt like if you keep doing a good job on your serve, you could hold serve and get to 4-all, 5-all, 6-all. That’s when conditions were quicker. Now with it being considerably slower a lot of the times, when you’re playing Roger, every game is a struggle. I would definitely say he’s the best player I’ve ever played against.”

- Chair umpire Gerry Armstrong has umpired Wimbledon finals involving Federer, Sampras, Edberg and Becker, and has officiated matches of players from Bjorn Borg to McEnroe to Nadal: ‘ “He (Federer) is the best ever I’ve seen. He does not volley as much, but Federer has such a great all-round game he can do whatever he wants. He can dictate the tactics. I am not meant to give opinions; but by the time he finishes, his record would say that he is the best. It’s a bit like Tiger Woods with golf; HE HAS TAKEN THE GAME TO A DIFFERENT LEVEL.” ’

——————————-

SG (Sept 29th at 2:27 pm): “As for the rest of your anti-Tiger rant, it is garbage.”

Logical argument is not ranting. Ranting “garbage” is.

As I said, as a sport, golf is less advanced in skills level than tennis (what kind of ‘sport’ does not even test for banned substances?). This is because the competing players traditionally came from a smaller pool of talent due to golf’s higher cost and more limited access. But because of golf’s growing popularity in recent years, new generations of players will emerge within 10 years who will begin to outshine Tiger’s feats achieved in ‘weaker’ fields over the past 10 years. We’ll have a better idea in 10 years how good Tiger really is.

Tiger may play the course, but he plays well on certain courses which suit his game better. And he wins only if other players play worse than him. But so what if Tiger finished the US Open at -12 in 2000 (does it mean Ben Hogan wasn’t far behind when he finished at -8 in 1948)? Obviously Tiger liked the Pebble Beach course that was the site of the 2000 US Open. Tiger wasn’t able to repeat his scoring feat on the other courses in other US Opens, which he won only twice. His 72-hole score of 272 at Pebble Beach is shared with Jack Nicklaus (1980), Lee Janzen (1993) and Jim Furyk (2003).

Hmmm, maybe if the site of the French Open was rotated (like the US Open in golf) to Hamburg and Gstaad in different years, Federer would be able to beat Nadal. Instead Federer has no choice but to find a way to cope with the higher bouncing and sandier Roland Garros clay.

Tiger can play mediocre on the first two days and make the cut, yet still win if he plays well in the final two days. Tiger has to turn it on mentally only in the final two days in most cases. Hmmm, for all his ability, Tiger lost to Mike Weir in match play at the President’s Cup yesterday. On the other hand, Federer will lose in the first round if he can’t play better than his first round opponent, whether it’s a Canas or Gasquet or Djokovic or Mathieu or Monaco or Almagro or Karlovic or a hot qualifier.


Tony Says:

Sean: “I got a chuckle after the Canadian final a few years back after he beat Roddick, and in the on-court ceremony he said how much he liked playing Andy. It was a slight dig at Andy, and I could see how it might rub people the wrong way. And the same could be argued about the quote he gave to SI in which Roger talked about how he has all the Grand Slams. While I’m okay with that quote again, I could see how some people might not be. Perhaps he should have been more careful with his words… (when Roger occasionally slips up) some of you Federer fans need to simply be okay with it… Call a spade a spade, accept it and move on rather than rush to Roger’s defense on every alleged misstep. Sometimes a misstep is exactly that, a misstep.”

But usually it just isn’t a misstep or slip up at all on Federer’s part.

You’re referring to the 2004 Canadian final where Federer convincingly beat Roddick in Toronto. (In 2003, Roddick beat Federer in the Montreal semi-finals and then won the finals)

Thus, I got a bigger chuckle after reading your comment because I have a tape of that final. (I was at the stadium on that Friday to watch Federer and Andy both play two matches that same day — R16 & QF — because the day before was rained out).

What you claimed never happened. This is just one more example of claims about Federer that have no basis in fact or reality. You’re imagining that Federer took a dig at Andy at the on-court ceremony. Federer never even said “how much he liked playing Andy.”

This is what actually happened during the ceremony, when Roddick and then Federer spoke to the crowd:

- Roddick: “First of all, I’d like to congratulate Roger. He’s starting to become very, very annoying (Roger and crowd laughs)…”

- Federer: “I’m exhausted. I’m so tired. But I find a few words to thank you all for coming out… (in a gracious tone) I would also like to congratulate Andy. I’m sorry he didn’t do it, I mean win another final but I think, you know, in the future we’ll play many, many more great matches and (turning to Andy) you’ll definitely get your fair share of it (Andy felt good while crowd roars its approval at Fed’s comments)…” Roddick, who was standing directly behind Fed, had been making gestures behind Fed’s back while he was speaking, causing the crowd to laugh and throw off Fed. It could be wrongly assumed that Roddick was rude, but obviously both men had great respect and affection for each other after the match ended.

I also checked Federer’s on-court interview before the ceremony. He said nothing about “how much he liked playing Andy.”

Federer never said anything about Andy that might rub a reasonable person the wrong way.

Sometimes folks who make missteps, slip ups or worse in criticizing Federer need to simply be okay with it. Roger is human and does make the occasional mistake, but call a spade a spade instead of making up a spade to create an illusion Federer slipped up.

This example gives more validity to the issues about Sean’s truncated quote (of the original SI quote which itself supposedly represented what Federer actually said). As well, may be it’s not Federer who should be more careful with his words, but his critics who try to make mountains out of molehills… or out of thin air.


Tony Says:

I meant to say: “Sometimes folks who make missteps, slip ups or worse in criticizing Federer need to simply be okay with our analysis and criticism of their comments. After all, we’re the ones who are really calling a spade a spade, if their criticism of Federer proves to be baseless. Yes, Roger is human and does make the occasional mistake, but call a spade a spade instead of making up a spade to create an illusion Federer slipped up.”


Sean Randall Says:

Tony, I appreciate you checking into it my claim. I don’t think it was 2004 in that case. Must have been at the Cincinnati 2005 event. I am 100% sure of what I heard Roger say, which again I was OK with however some of my friends (Roddick fans) felt differently. See what you can dig up!


grendel Says:

This time, I agree with you Tony. I think it’s really funny the way Sean keeps telling Fed fans, fanatics, federphiles, and all the rest of it (come on, you Federphobics, one gets a little bored with the same old terms of abuse – can’t you show a bit of enterprise?) -to get over it, live with it, face reality, accept the facts and so on.

It’s funny, because Sean keeps going back to that truncated quote as an example of Fed’s arrogance (about which Sean is benignly approving). Again and again and again, it has been pointed out that the quote appeared in a certain context, and its function was to back up Fed’s disagreement with Sampras on the issue of who faced the stronger competition.

Federer may or may not be generally arrogant; I don’t think he is, others will judge otherwise. That is not what is at issue here – Sean has a slippery way of eliding things which are distinct. I can’t even claim for certain that in the quote in question (you know, about winning all the slams) Federer was not being arrogant. Again, I don’t think he was, but there is room for disagreement. What you cannot do – which is what Sean has consistently done – is just say flat out that Federer was arrogant on this occasion. If you want to say that, you’ve got to argue your case, and Sean has resolutely declined to do this. Instead, he resorts to clipped exhortations – accept it, get over it, and so on. I think in this situation, we may reasonably toss them back to him. Live with it, Sean. Get over it, pal. There’s been an argument, and you’ve effectively ducked out of it. But you carry on as if you’ve won it. It’s called denial, chum.


SG Says:

Tony said:

SG (Sept 29th at 2:27 pm): “As for the rest of your anti-Tiger rant, it is garbage.”

Logical argument is not ranting. Ranting “garbage” is.

As I said, as a sport, golf is less advanced in skills level than tennis (what kind of ‘sport’ does not even test for banned substances?).

——————————————–
As someone who plays golf and tennis, I can say that this is either an ignorant or uninformed statement. Bicycle racing is a sport ravaged by performance enhance drugs and lousy testing. You gonna’ tell me that Federe is a better athlete than a guy who can ride a bike up the Alps? A drug testing policy and how much a sport something is are unrelated.
————————————————–

Tiny said:

This is because the competing players traditionally came from a smaller pool of talent due to golf’s higher cost and more limited access. But because of golf’s growing popularity in recent years, new generations of players will emerge within 10 years who will begin to outshine Tiger’s feats achieved in ‘weaker’ fields over the past 10 years. We’ll have a better idea in 10 years how good Tiger really is.

————————————————-
Really? Ernie Els could have been a world class tennis player. Last I checked, his major championship record is not even close to Tiger’s and according to you, tennis requires much more athleticism than golf. Golf athleticism is different than tennis athleticism but no less significant.

Tiger beat the field not merely because he is a finely tuned athlete, but because he has a very stong mind and unparalleled discipline on and off the golf course.
————————————————-

Tony said:

Tiger may play the course, but he plays well on certain courses which suit his game better. And he wins only if other players play worse than him. But so what if Tiger finished the US Open at -12 in 2000 (does it mean Ben Hogan wasn’t far behind when he finished at -8 in 1948)? Obviously Tiger liked the Pebble Beach course that was the site of the 2000 US Open. Tiger wasn’t able to repeat his scoring feat on the other courses in other US Opens, which he won only twice. His 72-hole score of 272 at Pebble Beach is shared with Jack Nicklaus (1980), Lee Janzen (1993) and Jim Furyk (2003).

———————————————–
Actually, Tiger plays well on what have been traditionally considered the toughest course on the planet:

1) Pebble
2) Augusta
3) Muirfield Village

just to name a few. Whe Tiger is plpaying well, it doesn’t matter where he plays. He’s won all his US Opens at different courses.
———————————————–

Hmmm, maybe if the site of the French Open was rotated (like the US Open in golf) to Hamburg and Gstaad in different years, Federer would be able to beat Nadal. Instead Federer has no choice but to find a way to cope with the higher bouncing and sandier Roland Garros clay.

———————————————–
And maybe if Wimbledon were played on clay Roger would have 4 majors instead of 12. You can’t look at “What if they plyed at a different court?”. There was a time when you could make this argument but that era is long gone. These guys know the shot when they join the ATP Tour.
————————————————

Tiger can play mediocre on the first two days and make the cut, yet still win if he plays well in the final two days. Tiger has to turn it on mentally only in the final two days in most cases. Hmmm, for all his ability, Tiger lost to Mike Weir in match play at the President’s Cup yesterday. On the other hand, Federer will lose in the first round if he can’t play better than his first round opponent, whether it’s a Canas or Gasquet or Djokovic or Mathieu or Monaco or Almagro or Karlovic or a hot qualifier

——————————————–
Federer can also get away with playing a sub par round or two if the guy he’s playing can’t make him pay for it. Look at the US Open Final. I think Djoko played better than Fed for most of the first two sets and the guy lost both sets.


Sean Randall Says:

Grendal, my man, what exactly am I ducking?

Apparently what I’ve “declined to do” in your mind is argue why I think he came across as arrogant. Well, I touched on it earlier with you that I thought Fed could have chosen his words better, to which you agreed: “However, I agree that he could certainly have put it another way and perhaps, considering the fuss it has caused, he should have done.”

So I’m not really sure what you want me say here. That’s my simple case for why I thought he was being arrogant in this article.

And hell, Rafa fans should be upset because Fed left out Rafa’s three French titles. I know he recognizes Rafa earlier in his statement, but why not in the last line? All he needed to do was change “I’ve” to “We’ve” and he would have gotten his point across. As I said before, that last line really wasn’t needed.

And honestly, did I say Fed was being arrogant in my original post? Was that what my post was about?

And no, I’m not giving a blanket “get over it, live with it, face reality, accept the facts and so on” statement. All I’m saying is what some of you hardcore Fed fans need to understand better is that at times Federer may come across differently to you than he does to someone else. What he says, the way he acts, the way he dresses, etc., may be cool in your book but maybe not in someone else’s.

Some arguments are indeed black and white. If I said Fed hasn’t been the best player this year there is plenty of facts to prove me wrong. If I said Fed’s not even among the Top 5 players on clay, again, plenty of facts to prove me wrong.

However if I mentioned that Fed comes across as being arrogant at times, or that I think his clothes are crap, or that his competition is weak, those are not black/white arguments. There are few, if any, facts and it’s mostly just opinion. There really is no right/wrong.

Yet when someone speaks negatively in any way about Fed, Fed fans are quick in declaring they are wrong even though in some instances there is no right or wrong. That’s why I say in certain arguments, yes, at some point if you are a Fed fan you have to just let it go or at the very least acknowledge, “Okay, I see your point. I get where you are coming from. Maybe Fed is XXX, however…” instead of always being on the attack with the “No, you are wrong. Why do you hate Fed. He’s not like that. You must be an American who’s in love with Pete…” nonsense. (obviously I’m exaggerating here, just for the record)

And by no means am I aiming the above at you, Grendel, this is just a general observation I’ve seen time and again.


FoT Says:

Hey Sean…one way to really get a lot of folks on your site – just post about Roger. Whether they love him or hate him – people will talk about him!


TennisMasta Says:

FoT is absolutely right. Anything with words “Roger Federer” in it is sure to be found by a search engine and lapped up by avid readers around the world. Such is the power of these two powerful words that people (this site is a great example) are using them to drive up internet traffic to their sites. People shamelessly making a living off of Federer by slandering him to pander to the jingoistic crowds should at least admit that Roger is paying their bills.


Tony Says:

Tennis Masta (Sept 30th at 5:09 pm): Regarding how to get more of Federer and tennis in the media, including TV and the published media (e.g., Sports Illustrated covers).

One of the lessons from the PGA Tour’s success is that the PGA has been thinking big in their plans and marketing campaigns, even targeting the NFL, and riding the Tiger wave.

One problem for tennis in the US is that the big opinion-makers in tennis – TV networks, USTA, tennis media, news media, etc – have long been too focused on American-born or based tennis talent, instead of promoting an international cast, both Americans and non-Americans more equally. Tennis is one of the most international of sports on this planet, yet in the US it seems jingoism and sex dictates who gets promoted. Roddick got star billing for too long after 2003 even though Federer was clearly the world’s best and most dominant player even in the US. As Frank Deford noted, Federer didn’t get to play some matches in Arthur Ashe stadium at the 2006 US Open because priority was given to American players such as Blake. And there’s the usual spotlight on the Williams sisters and Sharapova, and their attire as if it is the US Open’s role to promote alternative careers and reward prima donnas. How are potential tennis fans supposed to buy into tennis, when its top players have to take a back seat to the transient appeal of jingoism and sex? (As well, it would be interesting to find out if this year’s Djokovic-Federer match was promoted on TV before the final any differently than last year’s Roddick-Federer match. The men’s final isn’t even played at prime time on Sunday or preferably Monday night.)

Take a look at who are on the front cover of this excellent Wimbledon supplement published by London’s Times newspaper (see link). It’s not Tim Henman or Andy Murray. It would have been something if the USTA got the New York Times to publish a similar supplement for the US Open.
http://tinyurl.com/yt9a4h

Unlike tennis, American sports like baseball, ice-hockey, basketball and even soccer have had the sense to promote their international stars. It’s quite ridiculous how much exposure an ‘over-the-hill’ Beckham got from MLS marketing campaigns in just a few short months. Beckham’s already number 17 on the BusinessWeek power list, versus Federer at number 30 (Beckham was stuggling at times to keep his place on Real Madrid’s first team before moving to the US). Why can’t something similar be done to promote Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc.? Yes, yes, more is being done nowadays, but it’s not big enough.

If someone like Beckham could be successfully promoted in the U.S., it should be easier to market and leverage Federer if a sincere effort is made (and please, don’t try to use Mirka vs. Posh Spice as an excuse). Read “Looking for a hero? Try Mr. Federer… Federer could be that guy, that athlete to whom the greater sports nation turns its lonely eyes.”
http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/245004

Hoping for Donald Young, John Isner, or Sam Querry to become slam winners to get more tennis on TV isn’t healthy for promoting tennis in the US as well as the development of future American tennis stars. It reinforces the old problems. American men’s tennis has suffered partly from ‘inbreeding’ – watching and worshipping too much of Roddick, Blake, Agassi, Sampras, etc. Federer would be a no-name player today if he grew up idolizing Marc Rosset primarily instead of Becker, Edberg and Sampras.

The attitude of American tennis opinion makers towards Federer has improved over the past year (mostly without the help of the US tennis community). Why? Federer did some smart things off court. After his efforts in the earlier rounds of the 2006 US Open were under-highlighted, Federer dropped a bombshell in the finals. Tiger Woods sat in his box, and since then Federer maintained a ‘public’ relationship with Tiger and did commercials with the sports superstar. That generated buzz and more respect for Federer. The number of newsmedia articles about Federer seemed to increase suddenly, and comparisons were made between Tiger and Federer. I doubt if Federer would even be number 30 today on the BusinessWeek’s most powerful people in sports, if not for the Tiger factor. We should all thank Tiger for helping to indirectly increase tennis’s profile in the US. Of course, Fed’s Gilette and Nike commercials help tennis as well. So here’s a great opportunity for the USTA and the US tennis community to ride the Federer wave to promote tennis as well as internationalize the game in the US. And attract bigger sponsorship monies and increase promotion of the sport. (Federer has just equaled Borg’s record and matched Tilden, but he’s not even on the Tennis Magazine cover; Justine Henin has fared even worse.)

The point is, Federer was thinking big to squeeze the most out of his tiny marketing ‘team’.

Federer’s exhibition with Pete Sampras was another smart move. He’s generating great buzz in Asia, but his New York exhibition next March could be a big winner if promoted well (if only it could become something like Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs). It’s no longer Federer playing the tour, he’s playing history. An offshoot could be a Federer-Nadal exhibition series in major US cities, especially since Nadal has problems getting to enough hardcourt tournament finals in the US. It could be similar to those series in which Rod Laver, after turning pro, played against Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad and Pancho Gonzalez in the 1960s. Another version could be an exhibition event based on the year-end TMC format or Australia’s Kooyong Classic exhibition. Find a way to get tennis’s top talent together to play and create buzz out of it.

There is potential for massive publicity if Federer manages to break the Sampras slam record and win the calendar-year Grand Slam next year, though he’s said an Olympics gold medal is his priority. If that happens, Sports Illustrated would be irresponsible if it neglected putting Fed on its cover.

If Federer drops out of tennis tomorrow, the same principles apply to marketing tennis using the most dominant tennis players.

The Laureus Sports Awards ceremony should be held in the U.S., and promoted like the Academy Awards. If Federer wins again, it would be great for tennis.

I agree that it would help to hold the year-end Masters championship in a large city like Chicago or L.A. But the event must be held in an attractive facility and be as grand as the U.S. Open to attract publicity. From 2008 to 2013, the TMC will be held at London’s O2 arena, which should be an incredible venue in a fanstatsic entertainment district. Since 1990, the TMC has been held in the U.S. only twice in Houston, which some players, including Federer, complained wasn’t even an appropriate facility. From 1976 to 1989, the year-end Masters was held in New York.

Masters events like Cincinnati and Indian Wells should be moved to major cities, or new Masters events added there.


Tony Says:

grendel (Sept 30th at 5:52 pm): “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Federer’s jacket/trouser ensemble adapts his attire to the culture of the place that he is playing in – Wimbledon. It was designed for the Wimbledon championships in Britain, another country and culture. That is why the British public and the big opinion-makers in the fashion industry (even in the U.S.) and in the British newsmedia have been enthusiastic about Federer’s attire. They get it. They understand what Fed wore was very appropriate and fashionable in the context of Wimbledon tradition and history.

Of course a few people are unable to get it. But if they choose to watch Federer at Wimbledon, they are like visitors to the world’s oldest championship. Thus foreign viewers, whether in the U.S. or Mongolia, should learn to appreciate the fashions and tastes of people from Wimbledon and England. It is certainly not an issue of tyranny of the majority since there is no majority oppression or despotic abuse of power forcing them in the U.S. to wear Federer’s attire or even forcing them to watch him use the attire. If they chose to watch Fed play in another culture, it’s rude, impolite or ungracious for them to whine about attire which conforms to the norms in that different culture.

Imagine if the British people tried to foist their personal judgments about the fashion of Americans. Which middle finger would most Americans give them? That is why the views of SG, Sean and others outside Wimbledon, Britain and the general public elsewhere really don’t matter and are irrelevant to what Federer decides to wear in Wimbledon. That jacket/pants ensemble was designed for the British context and was widely accepted by those who matter in that context.

On the other hand, the ‘Darth Federer’ look is appropriate if it appeals to Americans, since it was designed for this market. The views on European tennis websites on the black attire should be insignificant.

Of course, a few people can’t get it and will never get it that Wimbledon jacket/trouser ensemble. But the problem really lies in their own mindsets and perception. It may be alright for them to disagree about Federer’s attire, but when they use it as an example of “(Federer) not doing what’s right all the time” then others are free to disagree with these dubious personal opinions and put it in a larger context.


grendel Says:

Tony: my phrase (rather exaggerated) “tyranny of majority” was not to be taken too literally. I was just a bit uneasy about the opinions of a minority being casually dismissed – just because they are a minority.

You make a good point about when in Rome, so far as Wimbledon attire is concerned. I don’t think you address what really gets up SG’s nose – namely the sporting of the rackets symbolising 4 wins. Are you alright about that? It’s bound to be a contentious point, and will become even more so, if Federer repeats in June/July 2008.

Talking about 2008, I’ve just been doing a bit of utterly pointless but (for me) childishly enjoyable speculating. Of the 4 grand slams to be played, there are 16 possible permutations for Federer, if we take a Win to be the title, and a Loss to be anything else. e.g., W,L,W,W – as in the past 3 years. To have achieved this for past 3 years borders on the miraculous, so I have discounted that possibility for 2008. I am betting on him winning 2 grand slams – pretty remarkable anyway.

I am supposing an L at A.U. The logic here is that he can’t keep winning very close matches, and part of his mind will (even now) be on the French. As not a few have pointed out, 2008 may represent Fed’s last realistic chance for RG, and I am going to gamble on him taking it, even though he won’t be favourite. I can’t believe Federer won’t have a VERY different game plan to last 2 years, and his determination will be absolute – which it wasn’t, really, before.

He will be favourite at Wimbledon, but I’m going for the L. The elation, and exhaustion, from winning the French will scarcely have subsided, and he will be unable to give of his best at Wimbie – where only the best will do, with some very strong challenges being mounted.

The loss at Wimbledon wil bring him down to earth, and instil renewed determination – plus the prize of equalling Sampras. So I go for a W at U.S.Open.


SG Says:

First of all, I don’t care what Fed wears when he wins or loses. He could parade around in a clown outfit and it wouldn’t bother me. My issue is with the Swiss Flags on his shoes representing his US Open victories or the little emboidered trophies on his Wimbledon victory jacket representing how many times he’s won at Wimbledon. How ’bout all you Fed fans coming to reality for a moment. Let’s try this scenario:

You’re at work busting your butt to go a good job. And say you’re competent but not brilliant. Next to you is a guy who just has god given talent that makes him naturally better (…much better in fact) at your job than you are. And it’s not like this guy did something special that you didn’t to get that talent. He was just born with it. Now, let’s say the company you guys were working for was handing out accolades to ths guy and he was parading his accomplishments and his rewards around to you and everyone in the office? How would that make you feel?

Anyone see my point yet? Just because you are the best tennis player in the world does not mean that you have to visibly flaunt it around for everyone to see. How is this sportsmanlike or even respectful of your fellow competitors? Borg, Sampras, Laver. They didn’t do this. So stop being a bunch of apologists for the guy. And another thing is, all of you say, “Well, all of Fed’s competitors think he’s such a great guy”. This may in fact be the case. But, if you hear a bunch of guys losing to Federer and complaining about him, it just comes off as sour grapes anyway.


SG Says:

As for the comment, “His attire is appropriate to the setting”, I’d like to dispute that too. Last I checked, France was the center of the fashion universe. I haven’t seen any FO chamions (including yannick noah), do their victory laps in some french designer clothing. As I said in my previous post, I really don’t care what he wears. But adding little thingy’s on his clothes that count up his major wins? That, I have a problem with.


Tony Says:

Sean: “So I ask you has Federer ever done anything wrong, or slipped up somewhere?”

That’s not the point. Common sense tells us that Federer is human and makes the occasional slip up. The point is that Federer’s critics often rush to put down Federer by making mountains out of molehills or out of thin air – i.e., they have no facts or dubious facts — but some get defensive when challenged and/or their unwarranted claims turn out to lack credibility and basis in fact or reality, or their reasoning is questionable. If a person criticizes something, he or she should be prepared to accept criticism.

——————

Sean: “Tony, I appreciate you checking into it my claim. I don’t think it was 2004 in that case. Must have been at the Cincinnati 2005 event. I am 100% sure of what I heard Roger say, which again I was OK with however some of my friends (Roddick fans) felt differently. See what you can dig up!”

Sorry but your claim that Federer took “a slight dig at Andy” now officially lacks credibility and is thus unwarranted. How can you be 100% sure of what you heard Roger say if you got it wrong on the tournament’s country (and therefore also the year) and don’t have any proof? If I dig up Cincinnati info that shows it never happened, would you then say you heard it at the 2004 Bangkok finals or some place else? As well, can we trust the perceptions of fanatical Roddick fans attracted to a power serve and hyperactive personality?

Our carefully-considered point is this: In most cases, the critics of Federer take unwarranted digs at him without checking their facts carefully or having any proof to substantiate their claims.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I couldn’t find any public record of the 2005 Cincy prize ceremonies (maybe it’s on the ATP Masters TV). So we don’t know exactly what Federer said (or whether he even said what you claimed), how he said it as well as the context in which he said it, e.g., was it in response to banter from Andy (e.g., in Montreal, Andy jokingly said that Federer was getting very, very annoying)? What we do know is that Federer often says good things about people he considers to be friends, including Roddick. And we also know that we can’t trust your recollection of this incident.

However, see the post-match interviews of Roddick and Federer. From Roddick’s interview you could infer that Roddick did not feel rubbed the wrong way by whatever Federer might have said at the prize ceremonies, otherwise he wouldn’t have said what he said. Excerpts from Andy’s interview are below.
http://www.cincytennis.com/2/en/players/interviews/2005/default.asp

Q. Do we have to start putting his excellence into some sort of historical context, or have we already started doing that?

Andy Roddick: If you haven’t, you should. I don’t think he gets his fair shake because he’s not American, especially over here with the media over here. And he’s not like Yao Ming who plays his entire season here. I actually had this conversation with MikeWilbon a couple weeks ago in D.C. He was like, “Why haven’t people taken to him?” He’s not like, you know, he’s not a story like T.O. where you’re going to be all in this drama. He goes and does his business, he goes home. He’s not looking for anything besides winning. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been embraced, you know. It’s almost like people want more of a story and, you know, the guy just wins and goes about his business. He’s a class act. I mean, for some reason, that’s not a good story.

Q. You mentioned on court about his off the court activity and kind of the same thing, class act. Can you expand on that, being I guess an ambassador to the game.

Andy Roddick: Well, it’s, I mean he doesn’t act high and mighty in the locker room. He’s done a bunch of stuff like we did earlier in the year, he organized an event in Palm Springs where he got all the top players together, you know, for a benefit, benefit charity. You know, get everybody on the same page. You know, like I said, he just comes and does his job, lives a kind of very quiet existence, doesn’t try to I don’t know. I mean, he just goes about things and does things the right way.

Q. James Blake mentioned after he lost to Roger that when he was injured, Roger was the first one to send him a note saying come back, we miss you at the tournaments. He has that quiet…

Andy Roddick: Yeah, exactly. I mean, he’s a real person. You know, he’s not I don’t know how to explain it. He’s not an enigma. Off the court he’s not trying to be somebody he’s not. If you met him at McDonald’s and you didn’t know who he was, you would have no idea that he’s one of the best athletes in the world.

Q. I think after Wimbledon they asked you what you would do next time against Roger. You said, “Next time I may have to punch him.” Do you have a Plan B?

Andy Roddick: Kick him (smiling).

——————

Sean: “I must say some of you Federer fans are really hardcore. I mean really, really hardcore. Like some of you folks are on Fed’s payroll.” “the hardcore Fed fans or “Federphiles” or Fed Army or Fed Cross or whatever you want to call them”

It’s easy to slime and throw dirt on those who seek the truth to deflect attention from their uncomfortable issues, facts, principles and logic, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s those who are purveyors of unwarranted or false criticism who should be peppered with slime and epithets. Truth and honour should still matter, even nowadays.


Tony Says:

Sean: “Regarding Fed’s post-final French Open interview, I do distinctly remember hearing NBC at the conclusion of the match announce something to the effect of “Coming up after commercial you’ll hear from Roger Federer” yet when they came back we never got said interview.”

If some arrogant producer from NBC promoted and promised something they had not confirmed and couldn’t deliver, then it’s their fault. Did they check with Federer before they made the promise? Or did they rely on Bud Collin’s bravado that he’ll be able to corner Federer and get an interview?

We don’t know the back story to what really happened.

——————————-

Sean: “Fed skipped out on an NBC interview. NBC promoted it. He refused. That’s a fact. Unless there was a legitimate rift between Fed and NBC/Bud Collins or Fed needed medical treatment, Fed deserves to take a minor hit on that one. He should have done it. In the big picture of Fed’s career it’s not going to matter so I really don’t understand the vigorous need to defend Fed in that instance.” “My end feeling on that interview is, “So Fed screwed up. Ditched the interview.”

You’re assuming as fact that Federer was even asked directly for an interview, he directly declined the request and skipped out on doing the interview.

What’s your proof? You don’t know exactly what happened. Yet you’re quick to blame Federer and say he deserves to take a hit. I think you got it right when you wrote it’s your “end feeling”, not well-reasoned analysis.

You’re relying on a few sentences from one side that has massive profits and image at stake – the big network NBC and Bud Collins. You’re assuming the newsmedia is honest and moral. Did you get Federer’s side of the story? Even the regular press didn’t consider the issue worthy of a question during Federer’s official post-match interview a short while later. Shouldn’t that tell us something about Collins/NBC’s claims?

Since you’re working on assumptions here instead of hard evidence, did you not consider that maybe Bud Collins made such a big deal of it in his Nadal interview to cover up his own boo boo in failing to confirm an interview with Federer beforehand? Do you not think that Bud Collin’s first words to Nadal were pathetic and harmful to our sport? Collins’s first words should have instead been something like ‘’congratulations Rafa, you did something last accomplished by Borg 27 years ago, tell us how you feel. But he didn’t say that. Instead, Collins chose to sensationalize the s-u-p-p-o-s-e-d non-interview with Federer.

Given all this, instead of seeing it as “the vigorous need to defend Fed in that instance”, perhaps it’s better to see it as a reasonable effort to debunk unwarranted criticism based on assumptions. And, as you tell us, Get over it.

——————————-

Sean: “at the end of the day he probably should have spoke to Bud after the French Open final. NBC pays a lot of money, much of which goes into Roger’s pockets, so I don’t think asking for a few minutes is asking too much. Granted it happened during an emotional loss, a final no less, but sometimes that’s when the interviews are needed more than ever.” “Unless Bud and Roger had a rift (Tony, I’m sure you can find some stories in which Bud rips into Roger), I think Roger would have been better served doing the interview.”

Does any of NBC’s monies go into Federer’s pockets, or does it really all go into the bigger pockets of the French tennis federation, Roland Garros, ITF? Doesn’t the prize money come from other sponsorships? Don’t you think over three hours of Federer being on the court was enough time for NBC to make enough profits from commercials? I don’t know the answers and don’t want to assume anything here. Otherwise I might be accused of being “hardcore”.

——————————-

SG: “As I asked in a previous post, would Fed have given the interview to Collins had he won? There’s no way to really know the answer, but I suspect he would have. And if he would have done the interview had he won, then yes, he had an obligation to do the interview if he lost.”

Your logic is flawed. Of course Federer, like other players, would have done an interview after winning. After the finals, it’s a norm for the winner to speak at the prize ceremony and/or grant interviews on court to the TV network. As for the loser, it’s the norm to be present and speak at the prize ceremony if asked. But there are many cases where the losers do not do on-court interviews with TV networks and they are not even asked for interviews. Federer would only have been obligated to do an interview if he had agreed to the interview beforehand and it was required of players… and if he had been asked in advance.


TennisMasta Says:

Tony’s essay (Posted October 2nd, 2007 at 9:48 am) could be a seminal piece in the turn of fortunes for tennis in the US. It articulates key issues we as tennis fans need to champion.

Can I make a plea here (taking a break from flaming :)

I believe everyone here is a tennis fan. Yes, some are not huge fans of Federer(it’s their loss), but many adore his tennis and personality. There is need to spend the rest of our lives arguing who is right.

We all care for tennis otherwise why would we be spending so much time here?
All of us are better off seeing our idols marketed better in the US, don’t we? Be it Roger, Rafa, or Novak or anyone else. That’s good for tennis. Great for us.

We can start with a letter writing campaign to SI. That would be a fitting compliment to Sean’s original post and all the fantastic ones following it.

We can start a letter writing campaign to USTA. Surely USTA has to agree their charter is more than wanting to remedy racial injustices of the past or parading US stars for two weeks in NY. Where is the tennis in USTA? Is their marketing head happy that SI doesn’t have the US Open champion (make it four of them) on its cover? Do they see what the USGA and PGA are doing to promote golf?

We can start by appealing to the energetic and effervescent ATP boss. If anyone he should understand American culture and work that top down. He’s got to realize that if tennis is not marketed well in the US, then tennis is not marketed well at all. Forget changes to the tour. It’s marginal compared to what needs to get done in the US.

We can write to ESPN. Some one out there thinks like us – amazingly they had Roger on briefly.

Tony and others have supplied us much material here for us to start our march.

I believe if all tennis fans work in concert to improve the profile of tennis (rather than bemoaning the death of US tennis all the time like pathetic cry babies) we will all be the ones to benefit. And this is also the surest way to unearth great American tennis talent of the future.

Let’s accentuate the artistry and role model personality of Roger, the swashbuckling and fighting game of Rafa, and the burning ambition backed up by solid game of Novak. And we have a host of colorful characters to support these three. And we have rumor of drugs and bribery. Do we need a better story line?


Sean Randall Says:

Tony, I must admit you’ve worn me out. It’s clear this debate would never end. As TennisMasta says, our energies could be better served elsewhere.

For the record, here’s what transpired after the 2005 Cincinnati Roddick-Federer final. Again, I did not find Roger as arrogant but a few friends of mine did. For what it’s worth:

Carillo then asked Andy if he wanted to thank anyone here, noting that he remains very popular with the Cincinnati crowd. Roddick didn’t miss a beat and told the crowd, “I have a hard time remembering a place where I’ve gotten more crowd support. You guys have really helped me through a couple of matches this week, so thank you very much,” Roddick concluded. Carillo then turned to Federer and wanted to know how it was possible that he could play so well despite taking so much time off the Tour in the summer. Roger laughed and jokingly told her “I’ve got to get away from these people — the players, the media and the photographers — a little bit. It was good to be away but it is also very nice to be back… This is a great place to play tennis, it was a great finals against Andy. I always enjoy playing against Andy, especially in America, and not just because I win…” Roddick hung his head in shame at the playful jab as his record against Roddick now climbs to 10-1.

http://www.tennisserver.com/wildcards/wildcards_05_09.html


SG Says:

Tony said:

SG: “As I asked in a previous post, would Fed have given the interview to Collins had he won? There’s no way to really know the answer, but I suspect he would have. And if he would have done the interview had he won, then yes, he had an obligation to do the interview if he lost.”

Your logic is flawed. Of course Federer, like other players, would have done an interview after winning. After the finals, it’s a norm for the winner to speak at the prize ceremony and/or grant interviews on court to the TV network. As for the loser, it’s the norm to be present and speak at the prize ceremony if asked. But there are many cases where the losers do not do on-court interviews with TV networks and they are not even asked for interviews. Federer would only have been obligated to do an interview if he had agreed to the interview beforehand and it was required of players… and if he had been asked in advance.

——————————————-

Doing an interview or not doing one is not a matter of a pre-arrange network obligation. It’s about doing the right thing. It’s about stepping up. If you have a bad day at work and the guy who is paying your salary wants to talk with you, can you just walk out the door? I’m certain the Federer fans (…and even the Rafa fans) wanted to hear an interview despite his loss. But you know what, screw them!!! I lost and I’m pissed off and I’ll do my mandatory post match press conferences and get the f&$& out of here. It’s about doing the right thing, not merely the minimum required.

———————————


TennisMasta Says:

Sean, for heavens’ sake, if anyone can find fault with your cincy quotes of Federer, they have to get checked out. You said they are Roddick fans, so I can understand they are disappointed. But to take the consummate and overflowing gracious remarks of Federer(clearly said to lessen the pain of the looser -how many winners go above and beyond to do that – pausing their own victory celebrations), to call them a “jab”, and to connect them to “Roddick hung his head in shame” is taking wilful and malicious liberty.

Roddick hangs his head a bit – just as others do – just as a matter of his general demeanor. How do we read “shame” into that? He even pulls his shirt and acts as a nervous wreck on the court. That’s just him. Would you connect this to something Federer said?

This is basically you are damned if you speak, you are damned if you don’t speak, and are mighty damned if you speak well of your opponent.
This is due to the indifference and antipathy that our media fans about foreign players in general. Look how they pick on Sergio (for being the team leader that Tiger can never be in Ryder Cup), and others while fawning over David Toms, Jim Furyk, Phil Michelson.

What would some other player have said in Cincy? Tiger would have said that he (Tiger) played solid down the stretch or he put pressure on his opponent, or any number of things to say that he basically beat the crap out of his opponent. Would your Roddick friends be happier if an American beat Roddick? I bet they would.

We should instead talk about why the crowd supported Roddick so much more than they did Federer, or the fact that Roddick needs crowd to “help him through”? Isn’t this a one on one match? And this was not Davis Cup, right?
Shouldn’t we expect that we support both the players so they both play their best? Where is fairness when we make this a many on one spectacle?

We have to question our very basic values here.
Again, this is another example of how our lousy and sick attitudes are hurting tennis in the US.


NK Says:

“And it’s not like this guy did something special that you didn’t to get that talent. He was just born with it.”

There’s SG again announcing to the world that Federer just happens to be born with the skills the rest of the tennis world does not have. By his logic, we don’t need to single out great people anywhere. After all, what is their contribution, really? It’s all God-given talent.

What SG and other Federer detractors don’t want to accept is this: Federer has some God-given talents, no doubt…but what he has chosen to do with them through hard work and perseverence, dedication, etc. (practice, practice, practice) is what has made him the exceptional athelete that he is.

Remember SG, much of who you are — and what you become — is of your own making, God-given talents notwithstanding.


SG Says:

So NK, what you are saying is that Fed does play against a bunch of guys that don’t put in the time or effrot he does. Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying that his competitors are not making the most of their talent while he is?

Boy, I think that Fed himself would find your comments pretty degrading because you’re basically implying that his phenomenal record is based on his opponents laziness and not his skill.

I agree that you make of yourself what you are. But, having been in school, you must have noticed some people who find certain subjects easy while others, despite all their efforts, struggle. I went to school with a truly world class athlete that actually fought Roy Jones Jr. when he was in his prime. I can tell you, no matter how hard I ever worked, I’d never have his natural athletic abilities. If both he and I worked equally hard, or even if I worked a whole lot harder than him, I’d never match the things he could do. There’s only one Jordan, one Woods, one Federer, one Laver. If it was as simple as working your butt off, a lot more players would be great.


grendel Says:

There is a tendency among some of the anti-Fed brigade to assume that if the Fed fan doesn’t immediately lie down before their considered and just criticisms, then they must have contracted some obscure, but evidently pernicious, malady known as Federerphilia.

Is it possible to get away from this infantilism and have a reasonable debate? SG raises 2 importantly difficult issues for Fed fans – one of which NK has partly answered with a nice piece of reasoning.

First, that business of the oncourt interview in Paris. I’m not sure what the form is – and this matters, SG, it is not just about “doing the right thing”, we don’t, alas, live in that kind of Utopia. Is it accepted that the loser automatically grants oncourt interview? Let us suppose it is. Then undoubtedly, Federer was at fault.

But as Sensational Safin has pointed out, Federer invested a huge amount in the match, and his hurt was correspondingly considerable (I was not impressed, by the way, by Fed’s later comments that he got over it straight away; dream on), particularly since not a lot of time remains. Special pleading, say the anti-Fed boys? No, just ordinary pleading. It is absolutely human, in these highly pressurised circumstances,to storm off in a hurt rage. A godlike hero, of course, would not do this. Is that what you want? Some other players would have reacted better? Undoubtedly, I was unaware that Federer was expected to be a paragon of virtue on top of evrything else. But remember: comparisons are very difficult at the best of times, since circumstances are never the same; also, everyone has lapses, and by and large, Federer’s reputation for sportsmanship is good. So chalk it down as a fault. But to make a huge deal about it? That just seems disproportionate to the point of being obsessive.

The business about the Swiss flags on the shoes and the embroidered trophies on the jackets. I think that’s more difficult, and certainly it’s what Sean would call Fed “tooting his own horn”. Is that so bad? I’ve puzzled and puzzled over this one, because I genuinely don’t know. I’m not impressed by Sampras, Becker et al not having done it – the idea that some kind of ingrained modesty inhibited them I find ludicrous. It just never occured to them, and probably didn’t to Fed either – I would guess it was some people behind the scenes. Of course, Fed takes responsibility – but the point is: is it so bad? Given Federer’s generally somewhat reserved deportment, it is certainly surprising, tacky as some say, but does it really alter one’s perception of Federer as a surprisingly modest person, given all those unique gifts? Sorry, SG, it just doesn’t alter mine. It barely impacts me at all, to be honest. But then I don’t hate him – and it IS that way round. If you’re in basic sympathy with the guy – and why should you be, by the way, takes all sorts etc – then you tend to be amazed that Federer hasn’t become some sort of Hollywood style monster, given his fame, and the potentially destructive effects of that kind of fame.

How does he stay so ordinary, that’s what I wonder, and not in a kind of drooling admiration – just the genuine curiosity of one intrigued by the oddity of our species.


FoT Says:

Wow Sean, you should rename this thread as “The thread that will never die”! lol!


Tony Says:

TennisMasta: Your letter writing campaign to SI is an excellent idea, and it would be a fitting compliment to Sean’s post as you said. I expect SI’s Richard Deitsch, Frank Deford and S.L. Price would be open to your suggestions (not sure about Jon Wertheim sometimes, some of his comments on Federer are dubious). SI has made some small improvements in recent years. A few years ago, I believe there was no TENNIS sublink icon on its homepage; you’d have to go through MORE SPORTS or OTHER SPORTS to get to tennis. Now if only they got tennis back on the cover.

As well, USTA, ESPN, cable, networks. E.g., Federer’s appearances on the PBS Charlie Rose show and Regis’s show help promote tennis.

Also, more opinion makers in the TV and published newsmedia should be targeted. I’ve done my share of writing in to SI and news media, and I’m pleasantly surprised by positive replies I get from some journalists and writers. It seems the main blocks are the corporate decision makers who don’t see tennis as helping them sell their news products. That’s where more buzz about tennis has to be created. Bigger ideas are needed, and bolder and more creative leadership needed.


Tony Says:

Sean: Federer has repeated ‘I always enjoy playing against Andy’ on other occasions to indicate that theirs is a ‘friendly’ and positive rivalry. Before the AO and after losing to Roddick at Kooyong in January, Federer said in an interview in Australia: “I don’t mind losing to him, I always enjoy playing against Andy”.

Thanks for digging up the quote. I wish I had a tape of that interview to see what actually happened. Federer and Andy have been playfully jesting with each other in other post-match interviews, e.g., in Montreal Andy said in jest that Federer was getting very, very annoying (causing Federer and the crowd to laugh). For Cincinnati, the writer assumes Federer intended his comment as a playful ‘jab’ and he assumes that Andy hung his head ‘in shame’. But remember that Federer spoke in a foreign language to him – English – and it sounds like he was trying to say something like ‘I always enjoy playing Andy, I don’t care about winning, but because I enjoy our matches and I like Andy as a person’. Andy could have hung his head upon realizing Federer’s nicety. Assumption, of course, but its based on the context of what Federer and Andy have been saying to and about each other in those situations. As well, the fact that Andy was very complimentary to Federer in his post-match interview indicates that Andy was not offended by anything Federer said. Andy’s website is similarly positive about Federer regarding that Cincinnati match (see link).
http://www.andyroddick.com/1244/andy-bows-to-federer-in-cincinnati-finals/

Thus if someone criticizes Federer’s comments without considering the context of the Federer-Roddick friendship, it’s not intelligent criticism. This sort of criticism can take virtually anything Federer says and twist it into something malicious or sinister. Common sense should tell us that this sort of criticism typically lacks validity.


Tony Says:

grendel: As for what Federer might accomplish in 2008, I’m speculating he will focus on winning the Olympics Gold, French Open and Wimbledon. I’m sure he would love to win the calendar year Grand Slam, if he can, or at least tie Sampras’s 14 slams. I feel he’ll still have a good shot to win the French until 2010.

We’ll know his intentions for 2008 by the Australian Open, which will be played on a faster surface similar to the US Open instead of the Rebound Ace. Also, from this year’s experience, Federer knows that Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami will probably not be as critical to his year in 2008, so he can start practicing for the clay season as soon as he wants after the AO. I think he will focus less on the non-slam tournaments than even this year. He could show up for the March hardcourt season with little hardcourt practice and still win at least some rounds if he wants to and yet get more points than he did this year. (I think one of the reasons Federer fumbled at Indian Wells and Miami this year — he was more interested playing Sampras and getting those exhibitions confirmed as discussions had apparently been going on for two or three months). It’s quite possible he’ll be prepared to sacrifice the number one ranking to win the Olympics and the slams.

I’m not convinced Federer has an optimal preparation system, even if it has worked in the past and gives him flexibility. At minimum Fed should hire two semi-permanent practice partners – a righty and lefty – to prepare him before and during tournaments, even if he doesn’t want a coach. Fed obviously could do with a specialist coach or advisor (such as Borg, Bruguera, etc.) for the French Open if he is willing to learn new things. He should invest in building a clay court with ‘Roland Garros’ clay in Dubai, just as Nadal has a grass court near his home in Mallorca.


Tony Says:

Hi grendel: Yeah, I understood how you used “tyranny of majority” but I used it to make a point. As I said, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder where opinions on attire are concerned. One issue I have is when someone’s personal opinions are foisted on the rest of us as the standard to judge whether or not something is a fault or slip-up of Federer, as if their personal opinions were a fait accompli shared by the majority. E.g., Sean: “So just be thankful that among his faults is that… his wardrobe at Wimbledon could use an overhaul.” And Sean’s example is pretty mild compared to others.

Second, I’ve already addressed the issue of the rackets symbolizing Federer’s wins in my posts to jane above, e.g., (Sept 23rd at 10:44 am and Sept 29th at 4:42 pm). SG can read it if he wants, but I doubt he wants to consider anything that contradicts his mindset.

Bottom line, any style and fashion must be appropriate to the context in which it’s worn. As for critics, they should bear in mind that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. If conservative and largest British news media like The Daily Telegraph and Times support, endorse and even encourage such symbolization (racquets on crest and flags on shoes) in the Wimbledon context, who am I or anyone else to disagree? So, yes, I support Federer’s jacket/trousers ensemble because I understand and appreciate Wimbledon history stretching into the 19th century. I can totally understand the positive British views on Federer’s attire, and thus I feel foreign critics are either ignorant, impolite or off-base in their criticism. In any case, Fed’s tiny rackets are barely noticeable unless magnified, unlike those championship rings worn by baseball or football players. Wimbledon vets all attire for conformance to its rules and culture, and Nike would have pre-checked the attire with the All England Club and British opinion makers. Like I said, what’s appropriate for a unique Wimbledon context would be inappropriate for most other tournaments so you won’t see Federer wearing it elsewhere. The reverse is also true: Federer’s black attire that looks good for New York would be completely inappropriate for Wimbledon, given its rules.
————————

SG: “As for the comment, “His attire is appropriate to the setting”, I’d like to dispute that too. Last I checked, France was the center of the fashion universe.”

You forgot to mention that an English-born fashion designer, Charles Worth, was the father of French Haute Couture or that London is also one of the world’s fashion capitals along with Paris, New York, Milan and Tokyo. But it’s also irrelevant, just like your comments about French fashion and Yannick Noah. The relevant issue is simply this: Federer’s attire is relevant to the context of Wimbledon tradition and history.
————————

SG: “Now, let’s say the company you guys were working for was handing out accolades to ths guy and he was parading his accomplishments and his rewards around to you and everyone in the office? How would that make you feel?”

You must be talking about players showing off or parading on court after receiving the trophy and other prizes for winning a tournament? Yes, how would that make other players feel? According to your reasoning, players should stop accepting trophies and prize money to avoid hurting the feelings of other pros. (Yes, I know you’re talking about flags and the emblem, but what you wrote applies equally to trophies and prizes).

Your reasoning about the symbolic flags and rackets could also be applied to the ATP ranking system (number one or number two, etc.) which also symbolizes a player’s performance. The year-end Tennis Masters Cup parades the top eight players for their performance, i.e., they are visibly ‘flaunting’ themselves for all to see. According to your reasoning, the top eight players should refuse to play in the TMC in order not to hurt anyone’s feelings. As well, every player should refuse to be ranked, because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of guys below them.

Funny, I haven’t heard real tennis pros and the news media whining about Federer’s alleged unsportsmanlike conduct and disrespect in wearing his attire, flags, crest and all. So who are you to decide for tennis pros that Federer’s attire was unsportsmanlike or disrespectful? Do you think you are so special that your opinions must matter to professional tennis players?
————————

SG: “And it’s not like this guy did something special that you didn’t to get that talent. He was just born with it.”

Shows how little you understand of the effort Federer put into his training, footwork, etc. He did do special things that others didn’t, even with his great talent. Otherwise, based on talent alone, he should have been a teenage phenomenon like Nadal, which Fed wasn’t.


grendel Says:

SG: NK can speak for himself, but I took him to mean “talent” plus “hard work”. Nature plus nurture if you like. Thus Malisse has talent but won’t work – and look where he is.

Tony:”He should invest in building a clay court with ‘Roland Garros’ clay in Dubai, just as Nadal has a grass court near his home in Mallorca.” There seems to be some controversy over this, some denying Nadal has his own grass court – the evidence I saw for this, sorry I’ve forgotten it, seemed convincing at the time. Do you have other evidence?


SG Says:

SG: “Now, let’s say the company you guys were working for was handing out accolades to ths guy and he was parading his accomplishments and his rewards around to you and everyone in the office? How would that make you feel?”

You must be talking about players showing off or parading on court after receiving the trophy and other prizes for winning a tournament? Yes, how would that make other players feel? According to your reasoning, players should stop accepting trophies and prize money to avoid hurting the feelings of other pros. (Yes, I know you’re talking about flags and the emblem, but what you wrote applies equally to trophies and prizes).

—————————————–

Walking around with the trophy and as the runner up, watching the winner walk around with thr trophy is part of the deal. You know about it going into to the sport. If yuo can’t handle watching your competitor hoist the winners triphy while you watch, play something else. But, little swiss flags and embroidered tophies? That’s just gratuitous. At best it’s bad taste, at worst it unsportsmanlike.


Daniel Says:

About the Swiss flags!

Have you noted that in every Masters Series Event the number of Masters Series crowds are under the player’s chair on court, for ever one to see it?!

In cincy there was 13 Under Federer’s chair!

Why bother about tiny litle flags? Everybody know it by his mere presence. When he is on court he is a walking number of Grand Slams, and counting. That is it!


John (1) Says:

Sean said: “Again, I did not find Roger as arrogant but a few friends of mine did.”

Hey Sean maybe you need some new friends. :)


Bassam Al-Bassam Says:

IN MY OPINION, FEDERER DOSN’T NEED THE STUPID SI COVER, HE HAS A POSTAL STAMP. SUCK ON THAT SPORT ILLUSTRATED…..END OF DISCUSSION.


Tony Says:

grendel: “There seems to be some controversy over this, some denying Nadal has his own grass court – the evidence I saw for this, sorry I’ve forgotten it, seemed convincing at the time. Do you have other evidence?”

It’s been reported in newspapers in Britain, where Wimbledon is played. E.g., here is one interesting discussion (go to 7 min mark in this audio file) a few hours after the Wimbledon final between sports writers from the Guardian, one of the larger British newspapers, saying that Nadal has built a grass court built in his back garden in Mallorca to work hard on his grass-court game.
http://download.guardian.co.uk/sys-audio/Sport/Ashes/2007/07/08/TheWimbledonShow_08072007.mp3


Tony Says:

SG: “If you have a bad day at work and the guy who is paying your salary wants to talk with you, can you just walk out the door?”

Another assumption from you. What proof do you have that Bud Collins or NBC paid Federer’s salar? Exactly who paid the prize money for the men’s finalists at the French Open? Whose names were on the checks? Was it the French Tennis Federation or the French Open’s official sponsors: BNP Paribas as well as IBM, Adidas, Alain Afflelou, Lagadere, Federal Express Corp, Lacoste, Perrier, Orange, Peugeot and Longines?

Another assumption from you: What proof do you have that Federer refused to talk to NBC and “just walk(ed) out the door”
————————-

SG: “But you know what, screw them!!! I lost and I’m pissed off and I’ll do my mandatory post match press conferences and get the f&$& out of here.”

More assumptions from you. And now you think you can read minds. Even Jimmy Connors said, while commentating for the BBC, that Federer is like Borg in that you can’t read what’s going on in their heads. But you can. Wow.
————————-

SG: “Doing an interview or not doing one is not a matter of a pre-arrange network obligation. It’s about doing the right thing. It’s about stepping up. … But you know what, screw them!!! I lost and I’m pissed off and I’ll do my mandatory post match press conferences and get the f&$& out of here. It’s about doing the right thing, not merely the minimum required.”

Who are you to decide what is “doing the right thing”? Only the organizers of the French Open — not NBC and certainly not you — can decide what Federer should or should not be doing. If the French organizers praised Federer and did not complain about Federer, who are you to whine about him?

Stepping up? Minimum required? No other player has stepped up and done more for tennis – including enhancing the image of tennis – in recent years than Federer. On the other hand, NBC hasn’t stepped up for Federer (NBC’s coverage of Federer, given his track record and seeding, in the early rounds of the French Open and Wimbledon left much tobe desired) or for tennis fans (NBC coverage wasn’t in high definition TV)

More assumptions from you. You conveniently swallowed up one side of the story – what Bud Collins said – and presumed Collins/NBC asked Federer directly for the interview and but Federer declined. You don’t know what really happened. You don’t know whether Federer even heard Collins/NBC ask for an interview. Or maybe Federer had to give a live interview to French TV, or a dozen other possibilities.
————————-

SG: “I’m certain the Federer fans (…and even the Rafa fans) wanted to hear an interview despite his loss. But you know what, screw them!!!”

I’m sure the whole world wanted to see Federer and Rafa play 5 sets of tennis despite Rafa winning it in four sets. But you know what, Rafa though screw them all, I’m going to win in four and take my trophy!!!

Bottom line: the real culprit in this issue is Bud Collins for bringing up, publicizing and sensationalizing his alleged issue and harming the image of tennis and Federer. I would not be surprised if this incident was the last straw that led NBC to fire Collins before Wimbledon started less than two weeks later.
—————————-

SG: “If yuo can’t handle watching your competitor hoist the winners triphy while you watch, play something else. But, little swiss flags and embroidered tophies? That’s just gratuitous. At best it’s bad taste, at worst it unsportsmanlike.”

If you can’t handle watching tiny little Swiss flags and crests — on a walking multiple slam winner (as Daniel said) — which you cannot even see with your naked eye (without the help of a zoom camera) while you voluntarily choose to watch Federer play, then watch something else. And watch someone else.


Tony Says:

SG: “As someone who plays golf and tennis, I can say that this is either an ignorant or uninformed statement… Actually, Tiger plays well on what have been traditionally considered the toughest course on the planet: 1) Pebble 2) Augusta 3) Muirfield Village”

No wonder you feel Tiger Woods is a greater sportsman than Roger Federer, even though it’s argued to the contrary in my long list of articles on the issue in my post Sept 21st at 3:14 pm.

As someone who also playes tennis and golf, I can say that what you claimed is, really, an ignorant AND uninformed statement. None of those courses you cited are considered the toughest course in the U.S., much less on the planet (see link). The USGA had declared Hawaii’s Koolau golf course as the toughest in the U.S. See link and also Google “The Toughest Cuts” at Cigar Afficionado and “America’s 50 Toughest Golf Courses” on ESPN/Golf Digest.
http://www.golf-information.info/world-hardest-golf-courses.html

Muirfield Village is home of the Memorial Tournament, which is not a major golf tournament. Regardless, it isn’t the toughest course in the USA, nor is Tiger the best on it. The par is 72, but the course record is 61 achieved by John Huston in 1996, but not Tiger.

At Augusta, the par is 72 and course record of 63 is held by Greg Norman and Nick Price, but not Tiger. While Tiger scored -18, -16, -12, -12 in winning his four Masters Tournaments, other Masters winners have also shot low scores: Raymond Floyd and Jack Nicklaus shot -17; Ben Crenshaw shot -14; Freddy Couples and Seve Ballesteros -13; Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus -12. You call such a ‘low scoring’ course the “toughest course on the planet”?

None of the Pebble Beach courses are the toughest course in the U.S., although they are most well known and have spectacular surroundings. Once again Tiger does not hold the course record, even though he scored -12 at the US Open held there.


Tony Says:

SG: “You gonna’ tell me that Federe is a better athlete than a guy who can ride a bike up the Alps?”

Yes. But why seek enlightenment from me? The world’s leading sports legends and journalists twice considered Federer the better sportsman over Lance Armstrong — the Laureaus Academy awarded Federer the Laureus World Sports Awards World Sportsman Of The Year a record consecutive three times from 2005 to 2007 (for his efforts from 2004 to 2006). Lance Armstrong won the Tour De France – a single, once-a-year event – seven times from 1999 to 2005, yet he won the Laureus Award only in 2003 (for his efforts in 2002) even though he was nominated from 2002 to 2006. In other years of his Tour De France dominance, Armstrong lost out to Roger Federer in 2005 and 2006, both times when he broke the five-win record of Indurain and others (as well, Armstrong lost out to Michael Schumacher in 2002 and 2004).

Do you think you know more than those Laureus sports legends and journalists? Btw, Armstrong was plagued by many allegations of drug use throughout his career.
———————

SG: “A drug testing policy and how much a sport something is are unrelated.”

My point was that the lack of drug testing is just another indicator that golf – relative to tennis – is a less mature sport. Instead of addressing that issue, you avoid my point by bringing up the red herring of Lance Armstrong and cycling, which are irrelevant to the discussion. As well, another indicator of golf’s lack of maturity as a sport is that golf is not even one of the 28 Olympics sports, while tennis is.

Tiger and Federer may both be gifted in their respective sports, but comparing Roger and Tiger is like comparing the most gifted student in Grade 12 (Roger) with the most gifted student in Grade 10 (Tiger). Arguably, Roger faces a more advanced quality of general competition in professional tennis than Tiger does in pro golf. Why? I believe that tennis is a more advanced, developed and mature sport than golf. This is based on the assumption that far more people are able to play tennis than golf in the world (due to cost and access to play golf). The pool of talent is much larger in tennis than in golf. Thus, pro tennis players have competitively come from this larger pool and are likely to be more advanced on the continuum of potential tennis abilities… than pro golfers are on the continuum of potential golf abilities. (Ernie Els? I chuckled when you claimed “Ernie Els could have been a world class tennis player” given that his biggest victory was the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships at age 13. Els’s golf game though is most like Roger’s tennis – beautiful, effortless, great feel – but Els has been inconsistent and an underachiever relative to his natural talent. Had golf been more competitive, Els would either have been forced to train harder or else would never have made it.). The greater public participation in golf, inspired by players like Tiger playing better golf, will, I believe, lead to even better players than Tiger emerging within the next 10 or so years. They will be doing things that are more spectacular than Tiger, and it will not be because of advances in club technology.
————————–

Roger Federer: The Best Athlete Of Our Era
“(Tiger Woods is) a mental monster who always delivers in the clutch. But don’t be fooled. This is a mismatch. To say golf has the same requirements as tennis (with all its demands for eye-hand-coordination, strength and stamina, speed and explosive quickness, mental toughness and nonstop decision making, while dealing with a moving ball and a wide range of unrelenting opponents) is a bit like lumping the Soap Box Derby with the Indy 500. What’s more taxing — a stroll ‘cross the gold-green fairways of St. Andrews or grinding out a four-hour five-setter in the 85-plus-degree humidity of Flushing Meadows? Golf certainly has its physical and psychological rigors, but pro tennis (which is kind of tough to play with a pot belly) is far more demanding.

Plus, as James Blake notes, “Woods’ record is not overly impressive in match-play events — tournaments where you have one bad day [or you face one hot foe] and you’re out. That’s what we [tennis players] do every single week. Roger is winning every Grand Slam except for the French, winning every Masters Series tournament. That means he can’t have one bad day.” (Tony: Like when Tiger lost to Mike Weir at the Presidents Cup in Canada)…

Watch Roger Federer play and you know you’re witnessing something special. It’s history unfolding. It’s a reauthoring of the record books. And he’s doing it at a time when the sport is globally infused with more talent than ever. Which is why, pound for pound, skill for skill, no other athlete equals The Basel Basher. Not LaDainian Tomlinson. Not Kobe Bryant. Not Barry Bonds. Not Dale Earnhardt, Jr. And, no, not even Tiger Woods. When all is said and done, The Raja will be clustered with the all-time greats, side by side with the likes of MJ, The Great One Gretzky, Montana, Lance, Ali and The Babe.
And he’ll make it look easy.”
http://www.insidetennis.com/YB07_federer.html


SG Says:

Tony, you are the very definition of a Fed fanatic. Fed can certainly do no wrong by you. Enjoy your illusion. Perhaps, before he actually finishes “making history” as yout put it, he should be canonized.

Tennis players don’t make history, they are part of it. Tennis players had no role in the fall of the Berlin Wall. They didn’t cure polio. They didn’t run into the Twin Towers to save people they didn’t even know. Fed is a great player. Perhaps the GOAT. But beyond reproach? No one falls into that category.


SG Says:

And James Blake has no business discussing Tiger’s record. He should worry about himself because it sure looks like he will have 0 majors at the end of his career. The guy is talking about Tiger’s record when he’s never even been to GS Final which is basically the equivalent of match play in golf tournament. And Blake’s record against players other than Fed is nothing to brag about!


SG Says:

Tony Says:
SG: “As someone who plays golf and tennis, I can say that this is either an ignorant or uninformed statement… Actually, Tiger plays well on what have been traditionally considered the toughest course on the planet: 1) Pebble 2) Augusta 3) Muirfield Village”

No wonder you feel Tiger Woods is a greater sportsman than Roger Federer, even though it’s argued to the contrary in my long list of articles on the issue in my post Sept 21st at 3:14 pm.

—————————–

I actually dislike Woods as well which I think I’ve said more than once in a couple of different threads. I find him arrogant and aloof. And I’ve seen the guy with my own eyes. He doesn’t much care for golf fans. He’s in his own world.


SG Says:

Tony Says:
SG: “If you have a bad day at work and the guy who is paying your salary wants to talk with you, can you just walk out the door?”

Another assumption from you. What proof do you have that Bud Collins or NBC paid Federer’s salar? Exactly who paid the prize money for the men’s finalists at the French Open? Whose names were on the checks? Was it the French Tennis Federation or the French Open’s official sponsors: BNP Paribas as well as IBM, Adidas, Alain Afflelou, Lagadere, Federal Express Corp, Lacoste, Perrier, Orange, Peugeot and Longines?

Another assumption from you: What proof do you have that Federer refused to talk to NBC and “just walk(ed) out the door”

——————————————–

I don’t a flying flip about NBC or Bud Collins. The people who make Fed rich are the fans who play for the tickets and buy the stuff that he advertises. He owed it to them to do the interview. Since when does doing the right thing have to do with network obligations? As someone who’s made his living based on fan support and endorsements, it was those fans who he owed the interview. Those people who paid to be in the stands deserved more. He screwed up. What’s the big deal with admitting it?


SG Says:

And all those companies you listed involve themselves in the FO because the beleive that the fans who fill the stadium and watch on TV will buy their product.


SG Says:

BNP Paribas as well as IBM, Adidas, Alain Afflelou, Lagadere, Federal Express Corp, Lacoste, Perrier, Orange, Peugeot and Longines don’t give a damn about Fed. They are after the almighty dollar. So, if you have to spend 1,000,000 to make 100,000,000, you do it.


jane Says:

SG – aren’t you tired yet? Tony is a lickspittle when it comes to Federer, though he defers to the media and logic to excuse his zealousness. How else does one explain his desire to write, oh, six essays a day on the guy?

Sean said it well when he pointed out that some matters are opinion and some are right vs. wrong. The grey areas (opinions) can’t be “proven”; they can, however, be seen as reasonable. Heck, even concessions can be made. But not so for some.

It’s a shame, really: a lot of foot-stomping and ego-stroking shuts down debate. Notice how the rare dissenters (and by dissenter I do not mean “we hate Federer”) have gone away on the past few threads?

Only when we’re all gone will Fed-fanatics be happy. Because then they can coo back-and-forth all day long.

Yawn.


jane Says:

Besides which, you’re completely right about the sponsors. They’re in it for the buck. And Federal Express gets inadvertent advertising every time we hear their name co-opted for the catchy phrase “Federer Express”.

Fans, however, are in it for their devotion to the sport, or, in some cases, to a particular player.

Fans like to hear from those players – win or lose – especially number ones going after history.


jane Says:

Tony: “Bottom line, any style and fashion must be appropriate to the context in which it’s worn. As for critics, they should bear in mind that when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

“[M]ust be”? – rules are MADE to be broken in the fashion world. It’s the exact opposite – when in Rome, do as the Americans do; or when in Rome, do as the French, and so on.

Style icons are those who break the rules and don’t simply do what someone might deem “appropriate” for the context. They’re often called trend-setters. You know, the ones who wear mini-skirts to a ball. They stand out. Like Golovin’s red knickers at Wimbie.

Roger stood out, stylistically speaking, at both Wimbie and USO because he did something unusual in terms of his attire. Some people liked it; others didn’t. Both opinions are valid. Rafa has almost single-handedly made sleeveless tennis tops de rigeur. Some probably don’t like this. I didn’t really have a problem with either Roger’s suit or tuxedo shorts, although I don’t think they were pulled off quite as well as Maria’s dresses.

What some people have a problem with, as you know, is the badges. It’s not the same as a MS tournament marking wins under a chair, because in that case it’s not the player him or herself who is tooting his/her own horn, it’s the organizers. Now, it’s possible that someone at Nike came up with this ridiculous idea about demarcating wins (as if it’s necessary – every tennis fan and their dog knows how many Roger’s won at each slam – and if they don’t they can read about it in the press), but Roger still agreed to it.

There is no reason, however, to tell SG, or anyone else who finds the badges tacky or showboaty or whatever, that they should “go watch something” or “someone else”. That’s illogical if you’re a fan of the sport. If one is a tennis fan, and has an opinion that does not align with your own, does that really mean they shouldn’t watch tennis? Or that they should stop watching the player they find to be showboaty? What if that player is playing their favorite player, or what if, besides the badges, they enjoy watching that showboaty player? Or even if they think that player is the anti-christ, can’t they still watch him play tennis? It is possible, you know, to enjoy watching Roger even if he’s not one’s favorite, or even top ten favorite, player.

It’s not as simple as appropriate/inappropriate, love/hate, wrong/ right, win/lose, etc. Reality, even tennis, is a little more complicated than that.


SG Says:

Touche Jane, touche…


SG Says:

Opinion is just that. Opinion. Everyone in here is entitled to believe what they want.

I just don’t like anyone being on a pedestal so high that that they suddenly cease to become responsible for their behaviour or their choices. As a society, I think we’ve become all too forgiving of self-promoting people who just want to be be in the spotlight and don’t care how they get there. Federer certainly doesn’t fall into the category of Paris Hilton. Federer has a staggering amount of talent. Hilton has none. But, how you represent yourself says as much about you as the talent (…or lack of talent) that you have. I respect Fed’s talent. How can you not? It’s merely how he presents himself that I find less than fully honorable. When you’re as good as he is, you don’t need to remind anyone how many trophies you’ve won. Every player around him already knows how many majors he has.


Bassam Al-Bassam Says:

SG-But, how you represent yourself says as much about you as the talent (…or lack of talent) that you have. I respect Fed’s talent. How can you not? It’s merely how he presents himself that I find less than fully honorable. When you’re as good as he is, you don’t need to remind anyone how many trophies you’ve won. Every player around him already knows how many majors he has.

What Kind of statement is that? you speak like you know Federer or even was in his presence ever. You judge your books by your cover i fear. Let me tell you one thing,

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award it is given for sportsmanship and is voted on by the tennis players, or people that see the book cover and are able to judge it. Not Only does Federer remind me of Edberg in the way “he maintained his moral values and downto-earth persona despite being rich and famous” he also is the most gracious champion you will ever find, i have met him twice in dubai, and i am glad he calls dubai one of his stops. I have seen people with 1/10 of federer’s talent act like walking gods. Do you know how a day in federer is? Sometime i don’t blame him for taking a day off, but its his charactor he always does things himself so down to earth. Do you know how many yes men are there when federer goes anywhere. He choose to live in places he would not be found by such men, i swear federer is so good he could get away with murder if he wanted.


Bassam Al-Bassam Says:

Oh Btw, when did SI become the barometer for greatness? I recall O.J being on SI a lot of good that did him. SI is just the cover of who’s who in US sports, try getting on Le Equipe now thats a true magazine.


SG Says:

If Fed is so great, then he doesn’t need to remind anyone just how great he is. He doesn’t need to flaunt his major count on shoes or jackets. Stefan Edberg lost 5 major finals including a heartbreaker in Paris. He didn’t duck the oncourt interview and he definitely didn’t display his major count anywhere.

Listen, I don’t proclaim to know Federer. But, there is truth and merit to the fact that what you do and how you act speaks volumes about who you are. Nicklaus was a runner up in 19 major championships and never once denied an on camera interview after a loss. Nicklaus recognized that he plays a game for a living and that he was very fortunate to do so. And he recognized that it was the fans that made him rich. The Golden Bear brand would never have gone anywhere if there wasn’t an adoring public lining up to buy the stuff. Jack didn’t parade around his green jackets either or have PGA trophies etched on his shoes. Nicklaus has always been the very essence of sportsmanship. I don’t care what award Fed wins. He didn’t have to resort to this kind silliness. His peers rave about him all the time. I think that maybe, he was reading his own press clippings a little too much.

Even Phil Mickelson, who lost the 2002 (or was it 01 Masters), has always stepped up in front of the press. After losing another majior in 02, he stepped in front of the camera and blamed himself for his major failures. He had 0 majors at that point. Just a lot of heartbreaking defeats. Unlike Fed who’s had astounding major success, Mickelson, as of ’02, had none. Mickelson was hugely maligned by the press for not winning a major after so many chances. His willingness to do interviews after his loss at the 06 US Open even after the meltdown says something about him.

If Fed can do interviews when he wins, then he can do them when he loses. The guy wins more major finals than anyone, so on the rare occasion when loses, he can step up in front of the fans and speak. It’s not like his life is fraught with major championship disappointment. He didn’t have to say a lot after the loess. But he should have done the interview because it was what his fans would have wanted. And without those fans, Fed is a great tennis player with no money.


Tony Says:

Latest Inside Tennis has Federer on the front cover, just like Nadal was on its June cover.
http://www.insidetennis.com/current.html
————————–

jane (Sept 23rd at 3:49 pm): “Anyhow, this will be my last post on this thread.”

jane (Sept 24th at 4:44 pm): “Anyhow – this REALLY is the last post I am making on this thread. It’s pointless to go back and forth on these issues since we’re not going to change each other’s minds.”

jane’s back yet again! I’ll address your latest, new, ‘I’ve changed my mind’ posts later. I hope your arguments have improved. Oops, they haven’t.
————————–

SG: “Tony, you are the very definition of a Fed fanatic. Fed can certainly do no wrong by you. Enjoy your illusion. Perhaps, before he actually finishes “making history” as yout put it, he should be canonized… But (Federer is) beyond reproach? No one falls into that category.”

No one here, even Federer fans, has ever suggested that Federer or any human being is 100% faultless or beyond reproach. But you and some others have yet to offer any fault of Federer’s that is worthy of public criticism (I’m sure TennisMasta, grendel and I can come up with better examples of faults that you nitpickers do).

If you need to yammer about and criticize Federer to stroke your weak egos and feel good at Fed’s expanse, at least whine about a fault that is severe or even real. But you have not found any serious, significant or pervasive behaviours or character flaws really worth your squawking.

So you have been reduced to nitpicking ‘faults’, ‘mistakes’ and ‘character flaws’ that are alleged, imaginary or inconsequential. To find something, anything to condemn Federer, you have to resort to making mountains out of molehills or thin air. You don’t even have reasoning and facts to back your dubious claims that are compelling and sound.

Your nitpicking isn’t intelligent, worthwhile or even rational criticism that we have to accept lying down. And you’re still ranting about a miniscule and imperceptible issue which is aggravating only a tiny minority like you and jane but which is a non-issue to pro tennis players – SG: “It’s merely how he presents himself that I find less than fully honorable. When you’re as good as he is, you don’t need to remind anyone how many trophies you’ve won. Every player around him already knows how many majors he has.” Why are you dragging every pro player into your bitching and misusing them to justify your own mental deficiencies in being unable to accept what most of society rationally accepts? Can you not bravely stand up for yourself?

So SG, you are the very definition of an anti-Fed rabid fanatic with a pathological obsession to nitpick trivial details which most people don’t care about. Fed can certainly do no right by you whenever you see an opportunity to pettifog. Enjoy your delusion. Perhaps, before Federer actually finishes “making history” — as YOU put it — he should be burned at the stake for engaging in witchcraft just because he’s wearing those imperceptible little flags and crest and is far more accomplished than you. It doesn’t matter if you respect his talent – you have to be blind not to.

Btw, in which of your illusions does “it’s history unfolding” become “(Federer is) making history”? How does a quote from the Inside Tennis article (“Watch Roger Federer play and you know you’re witnessing something special. It’s history unfolding. It’s a reauthoring of the record books.”) become “as you put it”?
————————

SG: “Tennis players don’t make history, they are part of it. Tennis players had no role in the fall of the Berlin Wall. They didn’t cure polio. They didn’t run into the Twin Towers to save people they didn’t even know.”

Obviously, this would refer to TENNIS history, which is a part of history. Not political history, history of medicine, history of nitpicking, etc. Tennis history obviously involves tennis players making tennis history as well as being part of events that shape tennis history. The term ‘history’ can refer to acts, events or ideas that can shape immediate/future happenings that are significant, e.g., tennis history in the making.


Tony Says:

SG: “James Blake has no business discussing Tiger’s record…The guy is talking about Tiger’s record when he’s never even been to GS Final which is basically the equivalent of match play in golf tournament.”

Do you have even an ounce of Blake’s experience? Yet you tyrannically reject Blake’s right to offer his wisdom. Would you have been so dismissive had Blake supported your dubious views?

You have even less than no business dictating what Blake should or should not discuss on Federer and Tiger’s record. As a top ten player and Tennis Masters Cup finalist, Blake has earned the privilege to shae his wisdom. He has the experience to understand that tennis players lose in grand slam and other match-play events because along the way they typically have one bad day or face a hot or tough opponent, even in the first round. In golf, a bad or mediocre round can be salvaged by a couple of blistering final rounds.

SG: “Federer can also get away with playing a sub par round or two if the guy he’s playing can’t make him pay for it. Look at the US Open Final. I think Djoko played better than Fed for most of the first two sets and the guy lost both sets.”

Federer had a more subpar day in Montreal, and yet Djokovic barely won the match on a windy day when Roger couldn’t upshift at the right time. A rare loss.

As for the US Open, you believe that Djokovic looking like he was playing better than Federer means to you that he was playing better than Federer in the first two sets? It’s obvious you don’t understand what it takes to win in tennis, and what it takes to be a dominant champion.

- Inside tennis: “The young Serbian was pumped up coming into the match, claiming that he was ready to match Federer stroke for stroke. That’s what he did through the beginning and middle stages of the sets, when it looked like he could wear Federer down and out-hit him.” “But winning majors is not just about the Xs and Os and flashes of brilliance, it’s about navigating the big moments. Federer did so once again while Djokovic got a case of first-major-final jitters. With every match Federer contested from the third round on, there was talk about how some hot player could shock him on a great day. John Isner, and his 130-mph-plus serve took a set off him, and he was fresh out of college for Mirka’s sake. Lefty Feliciano Lopez took a lesson from his good friend Rafa and threw lefty hooks at his backhand and grabbed a set, too. Andy Roddick bubbled with nuclear power and rushed him for two tiebreakers. Nicolay Davydenko out-played him off the ground for much of their three sets. Djokovic’s ground strokes looked like they had a good deal more stick than his did. But, all the while, Federer lay in wait for the crucial moments, the key momentum shifts, and when they came, he put on his pointy wizard’s hat and blinded them with mental and technical magic.” “Djokovic’s mother, Dijana, later said that her son is “better” than Federer and chalked up the defeat to a long season and inexperience.”
http://www.insidetennis.com/1007_usopen.html

- The chief sportswriter of Britain’s largest newspaper on how Federer won the Wimbledon final: “Timing is everything as Federer picks moment to reveal greatness. The touchstone of champions is not how well they play at their best: it’s the timing. It’s when they actually do so. And in this glorious and enthralling Wimbledon men’s final, Roger Federer waited until the sixth game of the fifth set, 3½ hours after the start, before raising his game to the dizziest heights that even he is capable of reaching… And then. And then it happened: so swift it was hard to believe. Federer captured the game by means of a sudden explosion of pure and unadulterated brilliance. Playing what might be the finest tennis of his life, and from absolutely nowhere, he ripped Nadal’s service apart. A running forehand pass, an outlandish flip to the corner, and then a miraculous rally… To come up with something sublime at this of all moments showed something far beyond mere tenacity. It was the revelation of a character trait that very few possess. Call it the instinct for championship: the understanding of oneself not just as mere winner, but as the best of all. It is something so powerful that it more or less guarantees the occasional miracle: and in a few perfect shots at the absolute pluperfect time, Federer showed himself for what he is. A champion: a great champion.”
——————

SG: “And maybe if Wimbledon were played on clay Roger would have 4 majors instead of 12. You can’t look at “What if they plyed at a different court?”. There was a time when you could make this argument but that era is long gone.”

Even you should know that 3 of the 4 tennis majors once used to be played on grass, not clay, so your hypothesis is implausible.

But, as usual, you’re missing or evading my point.

- You squawked (Sept 29th at 2:27 pm) that my viewpoints regarding Federer and Tiger were an “anti-Tiger rant, it is garbage” because Tiger “is the only player to ever finish the US Open in the double digit red figures. No one, not Nicklaus, not Player, no Palmer, not anyone has ever done that.”

- My points were simple: If Federer had the same advantage as Tiger, he would be playing the French Open on different clay court locations each year (i.e., Roland Garros one year, Basel or Hamburg the next) and he would have a better chance to win on a clay surface that suits his game better. Tiger is only able to do well in the U.S. Open when he plays on a golf course which suits him, since the U.S. Open rotates among different golf courses each year. Tiger’s record in the U.S. Open has been inconsistent since he started winning majors ten years ago: 1997 (T19), 1998 (T18), 1999 (T3), 2000 (1), 2001 (T12), 2002 (1), 2003 (T20), 2004 (T17), 2005 (2), 2006 (missed cut), 2007 (T2). Imagine Federer being unable to make the R16 in the US Open at Flushing Meadows. As well, Tiger only won two U.S. Opens in non-consecutive years even though the crowd is fanatically behind him (versus Fed’s four in a row on U.S. soil which is a disadvantage whenever he plays Americans like Roddick).
—————————

SG: “Tiger beat the field not merely because he is a finely tuned athlete, but because he has a very stong mind and unparalleled discipline on and off the golf course.”

Relative to the relative weak competition in and relative immaturity of golf as a sport, Tiger certainly is an athlete and mentally tough. It’s requires a finely-tuned athlete to stroll from a putting green to the tie with your caddy behind you lugging your equipment. You must have a very strong mind to get coaching from your caddy on how and where to hit your shots and to have the unparalleled discipline to halt your swing if someone in the crowd murmurs or farts. And only a truly great athlete is able to remain focus watching the fight of his wayward drive while his fans scream “in the hole!”


Tony Says:

SG: “He owed it to them to do the interview. Since when does doing the right thing have to do with network obligations?…. He screwed up. What’s the big deal with admitting it?”

I’m repeating myself, but with you it’s necessary:

- You jumped to conclusions based on one side of the story which you blindly accepted, instead of keeping an open mind. Other than the claims of Bud Collins and NBC — who both have a vested interest — what proof do you have that Federer refused “to do the interview” and therefore “screwed up”? You don’t know for sure whether Federer was even asked directly for an interview. You don’t know whether Federer was giving an interview to French national TV or had to meet some potential FO corporate sponsors to get more money for the FO, and therefore couldn’t accommodate Bud Collins. You don’t know whether Federer was feeling physically sick after the match. You don’t know whether Federer was pissed at Bud Collins for saying something stupid earlier. We haven’t heard from the other two sides: Federer and, more importantly, the French Open organizers.

- Regardless, if the FO organizers do not think it is an issue, then it isn’t an issue. “Doing the right thing” depends on what the French Open organizers decide is “the right thing”. Not Bud Collins, not NBC, not the fans. Only the FO oreganizers have ultimate authority for deciding what is “doing the right thing” – what Federer should be doing after the match. It looks like Federer fully complied with what the FO wanted of him: the prize ceremony (in which he already spoke with the fans on-court) and the long post-match presser (it was as long as Nadal’s presser, with all questions answered, which is unusual for a losing finalist).

- At Federer’s post-match presser, not one journalist even bothered to bring up the alleged incident. Thus I question what really happened, if anything. As well, was Bud Collins fired two weeks later partly due to his misrepresentation of the incident? These are issues more thoughtful people would have considered. However, in their fanatical enthusiasm to put down Federer, a tiny minority have jumped to conclusions to claim that Federer was at fault. Get over it. And get a life.

- In any case, even if Federer declined – there is no independent proof to confirm Bud Collins’ sensational claims – Federer has gone over and above for tennis fans both at the French Open and at other tennis events. Sports fans want everything and more, but there are limits. Good parents teach their children that they can’t have everything…

- So there was no extra, unoffcial post-match interview to hear Federer comment on the match for a third time, this time for only a couple of minutes with someone wearing a clown’s pants. Boo hoo. Grow Up.
———————————–

SG: “The people who make Fed rich are the fans who play for the tickets and buy the stuff that he advertises… As someone who’s made his living based on fan support and endorsements…”

- Federer’s true fans, other rational fans and corporate sponsors are not the ones whining about the alleged non-interview incident.

A few nitpickers like you are the ones trying to making a mountain out of a molehill or thin air, even though I doubt that you or jane buy Gilette razors, Nike underwear or Wilson tennis rackets because of Federer’s endorsements. As usual, you are dragging other people – in this case Federer fans and sponsors – into your whining and misusing them to justify your weak arguments. Can you not bravely stand up for yourself?

Unlike you, I suffer no illusion that fans like me are making Federer rich. Last year I paid almost $600 for two tickets to see both day and night sessions of four quarterfinal matches, one of which Federer played in, and paid more for food and shopping at the event. I know that the monies mostly went to the tournament organizer’s coffers as profits.

- You avoided answering these simple questions: Who were the signatories on the prize check received by Federer at the French Open? And exactly who paid or sponsored the prize money for Federer at the French Open (give me proof, not presumptions)? For someone who presumes the fans are making Federer rich, you probably have no clue what the answers are.

- Fans paying for tickets do not make Federer rich. Federer’s prize money at the French Open did not depend on nor was it based on the number of fans Federer attracted to the tournament. The exact prize money is paid out, whether or not fans pack the stadium, because of corporate sponsors. In the French Open, the official sponsors were BNP Paribas as well as IBM, Adidas, Alain Afflelou, Lagadere, Federal Express Corp, Lacoste, Perrier, Orange, Peugeot and Longines.

Federer’s prize money does not change because he attracts more fans to the tournament. The prize money is fixed for the French Open finalists. If Peru’s Luis Horna was the losing finalist, not Federer, then Horna would get the same prize as Federer got, even though he probably attracts few fans outside South America (the rest of the world would probably change channel if Horna gives an on-court interview). As well, Federer and all players get paid equal prize money, whether there is a full house or an empty stadium. E.g., the ATP Montreal Masters was sold out while the WTA Toronto event struggled to attract a full house because of top player withdrawals. Though Federer’s withdrawal or early exit from a tournament can hurt ticket sales, Federer is not rewarded based on his ability to attract fans to the stadium and to TV.

- In any case, what does wealth mean for Federer? “The money for me is just a bonus because I love the game so much,” he said in an interview with Tennis-X. “It was always a dream for me to be a tennis pro and when I came on the Tour and I lost in the first round and got a couple of thousand dollars – that was for me just huge.”
—————————

SG: “And all those companies you listed involve themselves in the FO because the beleive that the fans who fill the stadium and watch on TV will buy their product.”

The French Open corporate sponsors are all big companies who use strategic and rational decision-making in their marketing. They have the common sense to realize that the alleged incident is a non-issue to the vast majority of the rational market for their products. The corporate sponsors know that Federer’s participation has already generated immense positive publicity for their products and the tournament. They are not going to be worried by a tiny minority who have irrational gripes… those nitpicking people are unlikely to be the type of loyal customers they want anyway.

Corporate sponsors are rational: they invest in the French Open because they expect returns on their investment with Federer and Nadal’s participation. It’s not surprising that even more corporations are lining up to be future sponsors at the French Open, which just a few years ago (prior to Federer and Nadal) had a hard time attracting sponsors in the shadow of Wimbledon.

Federer currently has nine sponsors: Nike, Gillette, Wilson, NetJets and Rolex internationally, and domestic Swiss companies Emmi, Jura, Nationale Suisse and Swiss International Air Lines. As far as I know, none of them were unhappy with Federer over the alleged incident (inappropriately sensationalized by Bud Collins for his own and NBC’s benefit). Nike even made him more clothes for Wimbledon. If anything, all sponsors probably breathed a sigh of relief that Federer’s image wasn’t tarnished standing next to a Bud Collins out to create controversy and headlines at the player’s expense.


Tony Says:

‘Last post’ jane: ‘Sean said it well when he pointed out that some matters are opinion and some are right vs. wrong. The grey areas (opinions) can’t be “proven”; they can, however, be seen as reasonable. Heck, even concessions can be made. But not so for some.’

As we have shown, some of Sean’s opinions are questionable and he claims to get worn out too when confronted with the truth of facts. Here is just one of many examples of an opinion that was proven as false and unreasonable.

jane (Sept 24th at 4:44 pm): ‘sometimes his (Federer’s) comments come across as smug to me… sometimes he seems dismissive – like when he called Djokovic’s Master’s Series win “insignificant” ’.

Tony (Sept 25th at 2:38 pm): ‘Before you accuse Federer of being “smug” and “dismissive”, it’s important to check your facts. A lot of smug critics of Federer assume he said things he never did. Federer never called Djokovic’s Montreal win ‘insignificant’. He simply made a joke (i.e., trying to display personality) when referring to the ‘insignificant’ impact of losing the Canadian Open on his number one ranking (he turned out to be right at this point). It had nothing to do with Djokovoc per se.

In the post-match interview, Federer was asked by a reporter: “Looking at the big picture and your aims for the whole year, how significant is a defeat in a final such as this? Is it significant or not?” Fed’s reply: “Insignificant (smiling)… The goal was to win Wimbledon. Done that. Try to stay No. 1 in the world. It would have helped to win today. Can’t have it all. You know, looking at the US Open, looking down the road, as well, the Masters, still a long way to go. So I can’t start being disappointing about just one match. I mean, he played well. I couldn’t get the job done.” ’
http://www.rogerscupmen.com/2/fr/draws/interviews/federer_12.asp

You call these smug and dismissive comments? Now let’s see who might have sounded ‘dismissive’ and arrogant. In his Montreal interview, Djokovic said: “Somebody scream during the match, it’s the Roger’s Cup. I think it was the third set. It was pretty funny. Yeah, nothing against the sponsor, but obviously I’m going to have to arrange somebody to call Novak’s Cup for next year.”

Oops, there is Tony again deferring to the media and logic to expose zealous jane’s ‘reasonable opinions’. Why should we make concessions to such dubious ‘opinions’? The real problem is that when you are confronted with the truth, you don’t have the graciousness to concede that your opinions are wrong but instead either dig deeper to try to find another angle or make up stuff to nitpick. It’s like you Fed-nitpickers and Fed-haters have your heads stuck in the sand on certain issues about Federer, and refuse to look at what’s outside that hole. When you get debunked, you even disappear for a while rather than face the truth.


Tony Says:

jane: ‘Rafa has almost single-handedly made sleeveless tennis tops de rigeur.’

Wrong. Carlos Moya and Tommy Haas wore sleeveless shirts long before they became more common on the men’s tour, long before Nadal.

You and SG need to understand the concept opf what is considered customarily acceptable and appropriate attite accepted by the Grand Slam committees and the ATP representing players. At the 2002 US Open, Tommy Haas was ordered to ditch his sleeveless shirt before he could play his first round match. Tennis Week’s Richard Pagliaro: “(Haas’s) sleeveless shirt was ruled in violation of the Grand Slam rule requiring “clean and customarily acceptable attire” and he was required to change to a traditional shirt with sleeves… Complaining a double standard was at work, Haas criticized the rules, which permitted Serena Williams’ skin-tight cat suit as well as Anna Kournikova’s belly-button baring adidas short shirt, yet denied the German the chance to bare his biceps. U.S. Open officials countered that Williams’ cat suit had been submitted for approval prior to the tournament, while Haas’ shirt had not. Haas and other male players believed the shirt exposed the hypocrisy of a system that allows women to show substantial skin while holding men to a different standard. ATP officials heard Haas’ complaints and have opted to allow sleeveless shirts in tournament play for the first six months of the 2003 season before revisiting the rule again… Each Slam maintains the right to issue its own interpretation of what constitutes “acceptable tennis attire” and there is probably a better chance of All England club (Wimbledon) officials allowing a player to wear a tie-dye t-shirt to the Champion’s Ball than there is of them permitting a player to wear the sleeveless shirt on Wimbledon’s hallowed grass courts. “It is genuinely right on the border of what is appropriate tennis attire, Bill Babcock, the executive administrator of the Grand Slam committee, told Kaplan. “You could say it is positive, it is creative or beyond the envelope.” The U.S. Open, which has permitted players such as Andre Agassi to wear denim shorts and the Jensen brothers to wear cartoon characters on their shirts in the past, will review any request by a player to wear the sleeveless shirt… The biggest winners in the decision may well be Nike, which made Haas’ shirt… “We will have the shirt at retail as soon as possible,” Nike’s global tennis business director Bruce Schilling said.’

As well, your understanding of fashion terms may be a bit rusty — on tennis courts, sleeveless t-shirts are not de rigueur, i.e., socially required according to current fashion, etiquette, protocol or convention (e.g., formal dress is de rigueur at weddings).

How can we trust your nitpicking of Federer’s fashion when you can’t be trusted on simple facts?

Btw, a few sports and fashion writers are relieved to see Nadal ditched those Capri pants (guess it never became a trend setter for Rafa the style icon).
——————————

jane: ‘There is no reason, however, to tell SG, or anyone else who finds the badges tacky or showboaty or whatever, that they should “go watch something” or “someone else”.’

There is no reason for you to disingenuously omit the context. The context is my comment was a sarcastic response to this comment from SG: “If yuo can’t handle watching your competitor hoist the winners triphy while you watch, play something else.”

Are you going to apply the same standards and chastise SG? After all, using your own principles and argument, what SG said is far more illogical if someone is a professional player of the sport. – not just a tennis fan. If some pro tennis players don’t like watching Federer hoisting trophies, does that really mean they shouldn’t play tennis anymore?

Yeah, reality, even tennis, is a little different than the way you dishonestly portray it.

To be continued… more lessons on fashion later.


NK Says:

I see three types of people in these threads:
One, devoted Federer fans who are simply awed by his greatness and humility — fans who not only appreciate what Federer brings to the game, but also recognize that he does not get the recognition he deserves, especially in the self-centered US of A. I would put Sean, Tony, Tennismasta, and a few others in this category.

Then, there are the smug, all-knowing I-told-you-so crowd that might not hate Federer, but they don’t hide the fact that they don’t like him, either. They talk about Federer’s greatness only in grudging terms…”oh, yes, he’s great…but”…you can almost feel their pain in being forced to acknowledge Federer’s greatness. Which is why they are only too eager to pounce on anything he does that that might even remotely suggest that he is cocky and inconsiderate. I put Jane, SG, and several others in this category.

Finally, there are the out-and-out Federer haters. They hate him not so much because he comes across as a class act, but more because he is challenging their hero’s (Sampras) vulnerable status as the greatest of all time. This group is so utterly blind and ignorant that they twist any and every fact to make their case. They appear to have no conscience, and will brazely stoop to describing Federer as talentless and classless. Imparial lion, Dr. Sincere and a zillion others belong to this category.

While much of what I read in these threads make interesting reading, the subjectivity I see here, especially in the I-told-you-so group, often defies comprehension.

Is the display of Swiss flags in Federer’s shoes in poor taste? (C’mon, guys…we are talking about something you cannot even see without a microscope, and after all all, he’s Swiss, so what’s wrong in a mute display of national pride).

Does Federer ever give credit to his opponents when he loses? Anyone who watched his press conference after his loss to Nadal at the FO will find this question nonsensical. No GS runner-up was ever more eloquent in his praise of the winner than Federer that day. Please save this nonsensical question for Serena williams, who despite being in the company of greats like Evert, Navratilova, etc. still does not get it.

I am not here to blindly support the Federer fan club. But please consider these observations:
1. Federer said after his Wimbledon win over Nadal this year that the latter deserved to share the trophy with him.
2. Federer never throws his towel for the bell boys to pick up. He always hands the towel to them.
3. Federer throws a pizza party for the bell boys at the end of a GS tournament. Think of anyone else who does this?
4. Federer gave a ride in his private jet to Nadal and his girl friend. Can you imagine Connors-McEnroe, or Sampras-Agassi doing the same?
5. Federer and a few friends were refused admission to a restaurant in Federer’s home town because they did not have a reservation. Federer made no fuss and left quietly.
6. A litle Indian girl clung to Federer during the latter’s trip to Chennai, India as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Federer was so touched that he carried the littlr girl in his arms the entire time.
7. Federer sent a “get well” card to Blake when the latter was recovering in a hospital. No one else did.
8. After a GS win, Federer does not like to climb up the stands to hug his family. He does not like to leave the runner-up alone on the court.
9. Federer does not try to “psyche-out” his opponents while waiting in the locker room (unlike Nadal). He is casual, friendly and chatty.
10. Federer is not surrounded by an entourage of his own people at GS events. He is there not to draw attention to himself but to play the best tennis he can.

Federer wears the World Number One crown better than anyone I have seen in any sport. Which his why, I am more than willing to overlook his so-called transgressions. Enjoy his game while it is there, just as you enjoyed Sampras’ game not too long ago. Nitpicking only clouds judgement and impairs the view.


Sean Randall Says:

Sorry folks, but this thread is officially in a death spiral (“more lessons on fashion” to come from Tony? Spare me. No thanks.), and I think in the best interest of everyone I’m shutting it down.


U.S. Rolls Russia; Federer Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year? Says:

[...] Speaking of the media, it’s that time of the year when Sports Illustrated announces its Sportsman of the Year. We went through this a year ago when the American magazine selected NBA Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade over our Swiss guy, which raised eyebrows a few and a ingnited a mild furor in the tennis/sporting world. [...]

Top story: 10 Things I Think I Thought About Marin Cilic, The Big Four And The No. 1 Race
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1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
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6 Milos Raonic6 Na Li
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