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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