Some Sincere Thoughts on Roger Federer
by Ben Pronin | February 13th, 2010, 8:33 am

Writing this goes against everything I’ve been saying lately, but I just have to get this off my chest. While complaining about how much people focus on Roger Federer, I’ve been called a Nadal fan, a Sampras fan, a Federer hater, and anything else that means I hate Federer and want him to disappear. ADHEREL

So for starters, I don’t think Federer is actually perfect, but his tennis and life are pretty close to it. I’m not looking forward to Federer’s retirement at all. But I’ve been reading about how great his tennis is for so long, it surprises me to see people still obsess about him endlessly. I’m pretty obsessed with Federer myself but I can stop myself from gushing about how perfect his game is. Honestly, what bugs me is how anticlimactic the Australian Open was. At the end of the day, I wanted Federer to win the most (Djokovic would be first if he was constantly disappointing).

It’s not that I want Federer to lose, it’s that I want other players to win. I’ve been watching Federer from the very beginning and I saw him soar to the top, struggle a bit, go down, come back up, go down again, come back up again, and now he’s soaring again. And even though I’d rather Federer had beaten Nadal at the French back in 2005, a part of me is glad things turned out the way they did. The 2009 French Open victory was so incredibly sweet. On match point, me and my friends stood up. When Federer fell to his knees, we were all jumping up and down like a couple of school girls who just talked to their crush for the first time. Hell, I may have let out more emotion than even Federer did. But the win was especially sweet since it not only took him a few years, but he even struggled throughout the tournament. Andy Murray said that when he does win his first slam, it’ll be even sweeter than usual because he lost his first 2. Well that’s how it was with Federer, only he lost 3 FO finals.

Before 2008, back when Federer was in ultra-dominant mode, I was a huge supporter of his dominance. People have been saying he makes tennis boring since 2004, but I always loved it. Why would you want to watch anyone but Federer when this guy plays the most amazing tennis? It was never boring for me because Federer is and always has been a blast to watch. Then he started struggling and Nadal took over and it was awful for me. But now he’s back up there and it’s hard explain why my opinion has changed. The only thing I can say is that even if I want Federer to win, I want to see other players push him. In other words, I enjoy the fighting Federer more than the super dominant one, at least nowadays. And it’s not that I want him to play bad, I want to see epic clashes between the best players in the world.

When I was watching the Australian Open final this year, I was pulling for Murray for a large part of the match because things looked too easy for Federer. I wanted a fourth or even fifth set. Nonetheless, there was something I loved a lot about this match: Federer’s backhand. From the very beginning of the match, Federer was hitting his backhand so well I was shocked, but it also made it clear that Murray was going to have to dig especially deep if he wanted to win. I saw someone say that after being pushed, Federer has managed to improve his backhand at the ripe old age of 28. Well, that’s not entirely true. Federer’s backhand was HUGE in 04, 05, and 06. But, particularly in the last two years, it’s been letting him down more often. All of the sudden he is hitting it with perfect accuracy and incredible power, and that’s what it’s all about. I don’t want Federer to suffer, but it is fun watching him struggle only to come out blazing. He’s like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It’s so hard to watch the low points but then all of the sudden it turns into the most beautiful of creatures and you just can’t turn away.

I never wrote Federer off and I never understand why so many people doubted a guy who had well over 10 slams even when he was struggling. It wasn’t easy as a fan but I always believed Federer was the best. Hell, I picked Federer to win Madrid last year in my fantasy bracket (as well as a lot of other Masters where he let me down). I’ve always had faith and I don’t expect him to go down any time soon. And that’s the thing, I’ve enjoyed Federer’s success and now I want to see other players have success. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have been doing plenty of struggling of their own. Juan Martin del Potro has his injuries and Nikolay Davydenko has his brain farts. I’m also waiting for Richard Gasquet and Marcos Baghdatis to finally live up to their respective potentials.

For all those posters out there criticizing me for hating Federer, you couldn’t be more wrong. When I criticize people for going crazy over Federer, that’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. A lot of you also ask me or even accuse me of cheering and partying after Federer’s losses. That’s also the exact opposite of reality. I get pretty depressed and usually stay away from tennis for a week or so. Some losses are less stressful than others and it’s only because some of his losses are to players I like and who I believe will be able to back up their wins. But in retrospect, only two still hurt: 2005 Tennis Masters Cup final and 2008 Wimbledon final. I still haven’t gotten over either one.

Roger Federer’s my all time favorite player right next to Marat Safin. But all of you Fed-fanatics who get insulted when someone DOESN’T like Federer or his game, relax. It’s not rude, it’s not a big deal, and it’s not the end of the world. Some people just don’t like the elegant style of Federer’s game and some people think Federer’s arrogant and selfish and whatnot. Well, I don’t agree with that but I can see why some would think that. So what? To each his own, right?

One last thing, Federer is, without a doubt, the greatest player of all time. I’m still not a fan of the idea that a GOAT exists, but if it’s got to be someone, Federer is it.

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131 Comments for Some Sincere Thoughts on Roger Federer

Gannu Says:

“The 2009 French Open victory was so incredibly sweet. On match point, me and my friends stood up. When Federer fell to his knees, we were all jumping up and down like a couple of school girls who just talked to their crush for the first time. Hell, I may have let out more emotion than even Federer did.”

That peRFectly summed up my feelings and wat i did on that day… The happiest moment of my life….when RF won his french open..that 2 weeks was the most stressful period.. every morning i used to get up and wud feel .. hope RF somehow pulls this time and it was even more intense when Nadal lost.. Oh Man… it wa san unbelievable feeling which only crazy fans wud understand ;-) Long Live the KING

TearTheRoofOff Says:

I think that was a very sincere post. Your feelings very much match my own. The only difference is that I think I’m still in ‘dominant Federer’ mode, wanting him to win all the time, which I’ll admit, could be viewed as a little sad. Perhaps it’s due to his short struggle over that year or two.

And I still haven’t gotten over the 2008 Wimby final either. The only consolation for me is the victory in 2009. If he’d lost that aswell I might have needed councelling… As much as Roddick would have earned that victory for sure.

Anyway, good post!

NVS Says:

More than his on-court performace, his off court behavior made big impression. Its not success that always gives name and fame, but how you behave afterwards.

Federer is probably the best human mind reader, that too seems self taught, in sports circles.

The author of the above article show know that…there is difference between confidence and arrogance. If federer is arrogent, such style in play and calmness cannot maintained for this long. He is confident. And, what is ripe age 28?…How many teenagers made wonders in tennis. Tennis is for a bit mature ones, not for babies, kids, and teens except rarely.



Federer is not the perfect tennis player, perfect sportsman, perfect human being or perfect husband. He is not the god of tennis or humanity. He is in my opinion simply the greatest male tennis player of all time.

Long Live The King Says:

” One last thing, Federer is, without a doubt, the greatest player of all time. I’m still not a fan of the idea that a GOAT exists, but if it’s got to be someone, Federer is it. ”

>>>> Fair enough Ben. I can understand one not believing in the concept of GOAT. The FO 09 was definitely a much awaited result as a Roger fan. Though for me, Fed winning the FO did not change much, as I believe it still means Fed was the 2nd best clay courter of his era. I guess it made more people accept Fed as GOAT and it always is good to have that official title, but Fed already accomplished so much on clay.

Wimbledon 09 was more emotional for me coz, a loss there would have given more ammo to Sampras fans and he is not “mentally tough” theories, so I really wanted Roger to come through and sure enough Roger really put them all to rest with that 16-14 win. Sorry for A-rod and his fans, though.

I agree with Ben, the elegance and majesty of Roger’s game is something so unique. A lot of times, the score and everything else is just a blur, to see Roger in action will make winning, the basic essence of any sport, seem secondary. Very few sportsmen have captured my imagination like that.

all in all,

Kimmi Says:

“One last thing, Federer is, without a doubt, the greatest player of all time.”

Did you just admit he is GOAT? wait….have you been smoking something? Hard to believe after reading almost 100 of your posts on “what is next for rafa” thread denying him this title. Hmmm!

Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t think Federer is arrogant…

28 is getting on the old side in tennis…

I forgot to mention I’ve thought Federer was the best since 04…

Skorocel Says:

„Wimbledon 09 was more emotional for me coz, a loss there would have given more ammo to Sampras fans and he is not “mentally tough” theories, so I really wanted Roger to come through and sure enough Roger really put them all to rest with that 16-14 win.“

LLTK, what does a win over a guy whose game suited (and still suits) Federer like no one else’s tell you about his mental toughness?

Steve Says:

Ben is a weird guy with weird motives in his head to keep on writing about Federer, having to defend, but at the same time loving the attention. Also his posts under other people’s blogs show ego. The envolvement of his blogs are understandable but silly, give someone else the job.

Ben you’re an egocentric guy and it’s a shame the staff allows you to write on here and to think your opinion actually matters inside a world of millions of tennis fans.

Maya Says:

Enjoyed your post. I’ve watched the game consistently since the early 70’s and in my opinion, Federer is GOAT. Federer’s ascendence has made me fall in love all over again with the sport and I feel privileged that I’ve been able to watch him play in his prime. Appreciate him now because when he is retired we will really miss him. Plus, in an era of sportsmen behaving like cheating libertines (Bonds, McGwire, Tiger, countless basketball and football players and those libidinous English soccer stars) isn’t Roger a breath of fresh air?

Vincent Says:

The two losses I still regret are Wimbledon 2008 and Australian Open 2009. I would have preferred Federer to win in 2008 and lose in 2009 at Wimby. To see Nadal suffer another crushing defeat would have been priceless, especially after having had match point, he would have needed years to get over this one. However all of this is not so important now, as Federer has completed the career slam. Just like the author I’d like to see him being pushed and involved in epic 5-set matches. I just don’t care so much about Fed winning, just seeing him playing well is enough.

madmax Says:


let’s just forget about the tennis player for the moment and think about the man.

Here is a link to him arriving in Ethiopia and the effect it has had on him. I love Federer – THE MAN.

Long Live The King Says:

Also, I have never written off Roger either, incidentally picked him to win Madrid last year. I picked him to reach the FO final, but wasn’t sure he was going to win RG 09 till Soda boy popped Nadal :D

All said and done, I am ok with other people winning slams now. I will be rooting for a slam for Roddick, apart from that, I wwant Roger to win, but if he doesn’t I will be alright. I wont be cheering them to win, but I wont be messed up like previous roger’s losses.

Admittedly, the 2008 wimbledon loss was tough to get over. It was so close and Fed needed that win real bad….. but well, olympics doubles gold and US open happened and it was a big sigh of relief. The 2009 aus open final was such a blow, and I will make a confession, I cried with Roger :D I could really feel for Roger, the pressure, barbs from critics and so on. All that seems a, well… far cry, now ;) Life can’t get any better in Federer land. He has, atleast in my book, all demons to rest and everything now is gravy. Just dont go Tiger on us Roger. ;)

contador Says:

i dunno, Steve.

i can’t be so hard on Ben. i very much enjoyed the woulda, coulda, shoulda article he wrote about the imaginary tennis world without federer.

i remember his posts here as ‘sensational safin,’ then his brief period posting as the the djoko fan’s pleaser, ‘devastating djokovic,’ and now an author here, as ‘Ben Pronin.’

he can wear a few hats, you know. it might seem like an unholy trinity or rather, 3 characters or more in one. lol..

but must admit, i am drawn to read what he posts or writes. it’s likely to make me want to respond in some way: smile, laugh, annoyed, sometimes learn something, or at least have me confused and scratching my head. :-))

KL Says:

28 is getting on the old side in tennis- Ben Pronin

Hmm but as we know age really is just a number……If people stopped saying 28, 35, over 40 is too old in sports I’m sure there would be many more maturer athletes competing at the top in practically any sport you can name.

May I remind you that in the toughest of all sports boxing a 43 year old Bernard Hopkins gave
previously unbeaten, and much touted 25 year old Kelly Pavlick a masterclass in boxing…..with the judges almost giving Berhard every round.

The age difference was 18 years between the 2 men!

Now when you talk about Federer getting “old” at 28, has’t he just soundly beaten one of the very best in today’s game, Murray who’s only 22!

So Federer is STILL more than a match for even the top youngsters in the game.

Too much is placed on age these days not only in sports but in lie in general……did you hear about the 80 year old who took up mountain climbing and became the oldest person to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro!

Age is just a number, If you are fit and healthy in mind and body and good at what you do then there is no reason why you can’t keep beating the youngsters.

Bernard Hopkins didn’t take any notice of people saying that he was “too old”….nor did the 80 year old woman…..somehow as long as Federer keeps reaching finals of Grand Slams I doubt Federer will take too much notice either!

And then there’s George Formane at 45 becoming the oldest heavyweight champ in history…. Federer at 28 is still a baby!

laadlabakdaas Says:

“what does a win over a guy whose game suited (and still suits) Federer like no one else’s tell you about his mental toughness?”

since when did this moron get the universal right to define what mental toughness is? sounds like a crying Rafito fangirl. Rafito fangirls are simply wums in all tennis forums.

Long Live The King Says:

“LLTK, what does a win over a guy whose game suited (and still suits) Federer like no one else’s tell you about his mental toughness? ”

>>>>> Skorocel, game suits or doesn’t suit, to rack up that kind of a H2H against a player of Roddick’s quality requires great mental strength I feel. Also, once it got deep in the 5th set, dont you think the 2008 final kept flashing in Roger’s head? 16-14 against anyone even olivier rochus requires mental strength – against a player of A-rod’s pedigree, and the way he played that weekend, I cant think of any other player who could’ve denied Andy a wimbledon that day except Roger. Also, 6-2 in the 2nd set tie-break. everyone talks about the flubbed volley at 6-5, but roger played one insane point to make it 6-3, can’t imagine how roger delivered that miraculous point under such pressure. Its more rocking than the back hand pass against nadal at match point the year before.

As much as it takes a lot of mental strength to win against a guy with mental hold, I think it takes considerable mental strength to keep winning against a guy so many no. of times, especially on a surface that suits the other guy as much as you.
I think you could have thrown the 18-2 record out the window once the match began. Andy’s game was firing big time and Roger really had to dig real deep to pull that out.

Also can you imagine how much fun you would be having now about roger’s mental strength if he lost that 7-9 in the 5th, again ;)

contador Says:

great read from reuters canada link, madmax.

absolutely no one can convince me roger federer is not as amazing and for real off court as he is on court. that’s why i end up cheering for him, even if i try to cheer for an opponent i’d like to see win a major title; and why i feel lucky that he continues to love tennis enough to be so generous to his fans and keep playing.

contador Says:


LOL reading your 12:04 pm post! soda popping nadal, hehehee

soda pop, pop might just pop the federer, i know, his reputation. confirmed federer worshipper…

and federer going Tiger on us? no chance. if he falls from grace, please have it be a different one of the 7 “deadly sins,” roger!

skeezerweezer Says:


I’m actually put back by your article. Like someone said earlier, your many many posts of the “anti-FED GOAT” doesn’t convince me. Your writing is to wishy washy. I don’t think Skorocel is gonna be on you side on this one…..

mem Says:

Ben Pronin, tell me i’m interpreting this article wrong, but are you apologizing for recognizing other players for a change? if so, have you no guts? what was wrong with you writing an article about other players! if fans don’t want to read it or don’t like what you said, so be it! after all, federer is not the only player on tour! why is everybody so afraid to speak the truth and give other players credit. you already know that if you mention another player’s name these fruitcakes fedfans are going to come out the woodworks with their usual illegitmate claims about how you hate fed, you’re antifederer, you’re diminishing fed’s achivements! you should know to expect that by now. that’s all they know! they turn every article written about some other player into something about federer! they are a bunch of sick, immature, insecure fans. they act like members of a indoctinated cult!

honestly, you allow these neurotic fedfans to put pressure on you to change your views. where is your backbone?

i welcome the day when you guys will step up with integrity and conviction and do what is right and not what federer supporters want to hear 24/7. in fact, believe or not, a whole lot of people are vomiting sick hearing and reading about the perfect roger federer. my goodness, his achievements are open to everyone to see, we don’t need to be reminded everytime another player’s name is mentioned.

do you think these posters are going to respect you for changing your views to appease them? NO, they will not because they know that all they have to do from now on is to forced you to write what they want to hear and that’s sad!

dc Says:

One fact ,which probably every one (including the tennis greats) agrees to is that when they noticed Fed play years back, they know there was none like him and probably will never be.

I don’t say Fed is a goat because of his records, he is more of a goat because of how he plays. It seems as if he is genetically designed to play tennis.

Win or loss or records is immaterial – some times the journey is more enjoyable than the destination.

I’ve watched a lot of sports, lot of greats in various sports, but no one WOW-ed me like fed did.

I had lost interest in tennis when Sampras was at the top, then back in 2005 when i accidentally happened to watch a Fed – Agassi match, i was shocked to the core – i had really never seen anyone play a sport as gracefully and effectively like Fed did.

I would say FED is the GOAT of all sports.

Long Live The King Says:

mem, please take your meds! you are the one who appears neurotic.

thanks for the laughs. nadal injured his knees and his fans seem to have damaged their brains – atleast those who have one….

I pray for the sake of neuortics like you, that rafa start playing soon and hopefully play through the end of the soon. Man! the poor guy hits a rough patch and you have psychotic zombies questioning the guts and integrity of bloggers who want to talk about their favorite player. This is nadal’s homepage where you can tell every one not to talk about roger.

Long Live The King Says:

contador :

yea soda pop is a roger fan, like most of the atp…. thats another thing about roger, inspite of all this domination Everybody loves Roger. Remember that story about Isner being pleasantly surprised when Roger congratulated him on his 1st title in the locker room. Its just amazing how Roger loves tennis, haven’t seen another person who enjoys “work” so much :)

Long Live the King

madmax Says:

Long Live, Hi. If you dont mind me saying, ignore the likes of mem. This is a forum for everyone, and if it means that federer is still the topic of conversation and people dont like it, then to me, when people like mem come on and froth away. Let them. It can only be jealousy, right? Why else?

Like you say, every decent likeminded tennis fan would wish the rafa a recovery that allows him to play some decent tennis and get back to the top of his game – problem is, some people cannot understand that you can have a favourite player and respect others. I dont know whether this makes any sense, but dont lower yourself. You give plenty of insight most of the time, and that’s the longlive I really like.

skeezerweezer Says:

For me, IMO this really started with debating FED GOAT. This got melded into other articles, and then the writing came back to Fed, NOT necessarily the posters. Despite this, hey, he is the dominant player of our era, so he is gonna get ALOT of attention. His game is not boring either (Disclosure: Not to say others are ).

But even when you start discussing other players in this era Fed’s name is eventually going to come up. He has dominated the Slams( semis, finals and titles ). I for one am done with fed GOAT and H2H stuff, and would like to see some more writing on what if’s for the future. For ex;…..

“We are starting of this year with a lot of injuries with the players, why? The season just started?”


“Outside of Fed, who is going to have the breakout year, and why?”

Just suggesting.

I’m out


jane Says:

Good suggestions for articles Skeezerweezer; hope someone takes you up on them.

Another interesting one would be: are JMDP and Cilic going to overtake the likes of Djoko and Murray? Or what about the continued efforts of Roddick and Davydenko? They are of Fed’s generation and still in the top ten too.

There are plenty of possibilties for things to write/talk about.

But you’re also right that given Fed’s results and status, his name will often come up. Only the GOAT and H2H debates tend to fire those 400 plus threads though. LOL!

skeezerweezer Says:


“are JMDP and Cilic going to overtake the likes of Djoko and Murray? Or what about the continued efforts of Roddick and Davydenko?”

Niceeeee :)

Cilic kinda crept up on everyone. When he first came out he made a splash then sputtered. Then got a hold of his groundie game and kicked some butt. My breakout guy this year “hopeful” pick is Roddick. I liked what I saw a the AO and think at his age he has got the mojo workin, just not get to distracted with that beautiful wife, lol!

He is playing Sam Querry (who buzzed through the draw) in a semi final tonight at the SAP OPen, for those Roddick fans….

jane Says:

Yes, skeezerweezer, I hope to watch that semi. I too think Roddick looks ready for another slam. He’s fit, he’s rounded, he’s focused, he has a good coach, and lovely wife. So it might be this year? Too bad his shoulder was a problem at the AO or he might’ve gone all the way to the final?

skeezerweezer Says:


Agreed :)> Enjoy the match….

Ben Pronin Says:

I didn’t change my mind, I’m just clarifying how I really feel about Federer. Ask Jane and Von, I’ve always felt this way.

“If people stopped saying 28, 35, over 40 is too old in sports I’m sure there would be many more maturer athletes competing at the top in practically any sport you can name.”

I don’t agree with this at all. It has nothing to do with what people say. Players retire from sports either from mental fragility or from physical problems. Agassi is often cited as a guy with great longevity but look at all the injuries he sustained at the end of it all. He stopped playing because his body had to quit.

In Federer’s case, you’re right, 28 is meaningless.

mem Says:

Long Live The King, your comments are by no means surprising! you’re the kind of person who would be perfectly fulfilled shining roger’s shoes or washing his car! what’s the problem, you having a tough time dealing with truth!

maxi, i won’t dignify your comments with a response! everybody knows something is wrong with you upstairs!

madmax Says:


say what you like about me. be insulting to me. I’m here to discuss tennis, not to bring people down. That’s your job. In fact. aren’t the oscar ceremonies up soon? Am sure you will be awarded Best Actor 2010 or Worst, depending on your mood.

Long Live The King Says:

maxi @ 3:22:

I will keep the advice in mind :)

just between us, worst is what a certain someone1 deserves. lol

madmax Says:

gotcha longlive. enjoy rest of evening/day – am going to get some rest. catch you tomorrow for the final?

Long Live The King Says:

take care maxi. ciao tomorrow. send your cheers for a-rod, am cheering for him at San Jose :)

mem Says:

maxi, you’re here to discuss tennis, is that right? i thought you were here to make sure no one calls federer’s name without you posting stats that we are already aware of or some long, boring article about what the experts say about federer.

did you know that experts have favorite players too and they also support their favorite player by what they say or write and their favorite player happens to be roger federer. you didn’t know that did you? you thought all these good things experts are saying about roger was because they are completely honest human beings,and because they are objective and they wouldn’t fabricate the truth! seems to me you are the one that should be nominated for an Oscar!

Cbeast Says:


Ok ….
So let me get this strait.

Sports writers are being dishonest human beings because they write articles about how great Roger Federer is ?

Great Hat that’s funny.

mem Says:

Cbeast, interpret it the way you see, that will be fine!

Von Says:

Ben: “Ask Jane and Von, I’ve always felt this way.”

Yes, I can attest to that in the affirmative. Now can I take the Fifth, as in ‘no comment’ on anything else? LOL

This is an aside, but considering how much heat Skorocel and Ben have taken for their posts, to which some have taken umbrage, them, et al.; — I can sincerely and unequivocally state, that BOTH of these guys have been staunch Federer supporters throughtout the time I’ve posted on this forum. Granted, they’re not fanatical Fed fans, but nonetheless, they are Federer fans, and I respect them for their ability to call a spade a spade, when, and if, it is warranted.

On another note, I’d like to see Maxi take a stand and stick with it — not vacillate as it suits her mood or when the occasion so warrants. And, none of us need to be lectured on the trivial stuff of insults and impeccable manners, by her standards. As far as insults go, I think you, Maxi, have won the award, hands down. You tell people to leave the forum, when you disagree with their opinions, as you did to Ben, and one of the writers here on Tennis.X, a month ago. I see that as insulting and even worse, dictatorial. TT is rife with your rants. anyone who reads TT, can attest to this statement.

Further, please, talk tennis, not Miss Manners, we, or I should state, I don’t need it. And, while I’m at it, could we just have links to the articles you post instead of the whole nine yards of it, if that’s not too much trouble??

skeezerweezer Says:

Geez you guys…take it easy…looks like a cat fight up here not a fun debate…

Stick to hitting above the belt line and will call it fair…ha!

Love the passion!


skeezerweezer Says:

Hi Von,

Nice to see you up here, ya gonna watch Roddick tonight? Should be a good match :)

Cbeast Says:

I was watching a repeat of the AO final today and notice how the commentators kept referring to Fed and Murry as the two best in the world etc..

What the hell ?

How exactly is Murray number 2 ?

Since when is Murray number 2 ?

And that nut Simon Reed said the same thing in this article after apologizing to Fed fans for talking rubbish about his predictions for this year concerning Fed.

Very rude considering Djokovic is currently number two. I mean some of these irrational Murray fans must wake up, smell the coffee and look at the rankings for crying out loud!

What ticked me of further was when the Murray lover went on to state that the best two sets of the tournament where played by Murray vs Rafa.

Anyway on the Murray note, he did gain a lot of respect from me after that speech at the trophy ceremony but still a lousy intentional error from his fans (commentators or whatever).

Von Says:

Hey Skeezer:

Thanks for the welcome!

But of course, I’m going to watch Roddick — he’s my swetheart. BTW, did you manage to get over there to see one of his matches?? I was hoping you’d invite me along. LOL. I would have had to charter a plane, had you done so, but for A-Rod, money’s not a problem — I wish. ha ha. That match vs. Berdych was a good one.

skeezerweezer Says:

Just for the record my debate has been with others about FED = GOAT, and whatever goes with that SPECIFICALLY. Nothin else. Ben knows……uh…right Ben? Ya know? :)


Haven’t yet, but I might be going tonight I got an invite :) Let you know if I go….:)

Cbeast post at 6:08

Yeah I noticed that too. I think they were saying that to hype up the match and also could be taken as these two guys were playing like 1&2 in the world, at the moment :). I agreed that they should have given a little more respect to the actual rankings…..

Von Says:


“Let you know if I go….:)”

Give me all of the details, every little bit. LOL. I’ll be watching the match, also, but it’s going to be difficult to look away from the Olympics, as figure skating will be on tonight… Anyway, if you do go, enjoy!!

Ben Pronin Says:

I know what we debated but you also called my writing wishy washy.

Cbeast Says:

What I really find interesting is the combination of :

1. Youzhny defeating Djokovic

2. Soderling defeating Davydenko

3. Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro pulling out of Marseille due to injury or fatigue.

Wonder if this is a tell tale sign for what’s to come this year ?

skeezerweezer Says:


You’re right I did! It was in the context of this article and your previous posting between you and me. It’s not that I don’t like your other writings. Regardless, we all have our right to critique articles don’t we? See below:

February 11th, 2010

A World Without Roger Federer

by Ben Pronin

skeezerweezer Says:


Actually, nicely written, entertaining article!……….

Von Says:

The trend I’ve been seeing with Djokovic, when playing a lower ranked opponent, is that he’s just content to stand at the baseline and play very defensively, while waiting for his opponent to hit UEs. Murray is criticized for doing this, but is Djokovic any better? Further, due to Djokovic’s MO of waiting for the other guy’s errors, instead of going for winners, when he faces an opponent who is a good returner, he seems to experience difficulty in raising/changing his defensive MO. And, on the occasions when he tries to do that, he incurs a lot of UEs, plus he gets broken several times in the match.

skeezerweezer Says:


Wanted to get this straight, I posted the same time you did about the cat fight stuff and it seemed to have maybe included you. Not intended.
It’s Just what I was observing prior to your post :).

I’ll let you know what happens if I go tonight, I always have fun actually listening to Roddicks serve and FH, quite the smack!


Cbeast Says:

Still seems a little strange to me considering how well he played at the US Open and Basil.

But I suppose loosing to someone ranked 20 isn’t the end of the world right ?

Andrew Miller Says:

Just re-watched the AO highlights from Murray-Federer. Murray did play darn well. I think he has some improvement in him yet. He actually played quite like Federer in the 3rd set. I think Murray’s only going to get better.

Some doubts about Djokovic. Some large doubts on Nadal and the injuries. Some concerns about Tsonga’s lack-luster play against Federer in the semifinal. And some huge doubts about Cilic – I think Del Potro is a better player. Some big doubts about Davydenko, who I picked to win after Roddick lost to Cilic at AO. And some doubts about my man Roddick, who, despite a solid showing to make the QF, was injured again.

If history says anything (and history says health is important), it looks, from now anyhows, that the near future belongs to Federer and Murray, with Djokovic just behind (but FAR behind). If del potro’s OK, he’s #3.

Del Potro

and everyone else…Murray should take away that his last set against Federer was well-played. This should be an excellent year for Murray – he’s already achieved his best Australian Open after such high, high expectations. He’s out-performing his other rivals at this point.

Andy Murray, Grand Slam champ in 2010? Could happen.

Andrew Miller Says:

Federer has made tennis better! When he loses it’s because he’s brought out the absolute best tennis in other players.

Federer and Nadal’s rivalry made the ATP’s players much, much better. Though few of them still volley well, all of them have to know how to volley.

That’s more than I can say for the WTA at this point, thinking of Azarenka in her 4-1 up in the 2nd set melt-down against Serena Williams, following up behind short balls into bewildering situations.

You could even call them “Victoria’s adventures at net, dont try this at home or on a tennis court.”

Azarenka had no volley to speak of – a few swinging volleys but those arent volleys.

scineram Says:

“the greatest male tennis player of all time.”

Which means the greatest tennis player of all time.

skeezerweezer Says:

Andrew Miller Says:

“Federer and Nadal’s rivalry made the ATP’s players much, much better.”

Totally right on. That is why IMO Nadal and FED should be more concerned about the rest of the field more than ever. Murray still has a mental thing with Fed, but not with Nadal. The mental edge is tennis is sometimes so overlooked. These guys are getting more confident and less scared as time goes by. Watch out this year……

Cbeast Says:

Andrew Miller

How come you have huge doubts about Marin Cilic when he beat Del Potro and Roddick at AO (both in five set matches )and went on to make the SF and pushed Murray to 4 sets ?

Cilic 2010 results

Aircel Chennai Open title

Australian Open SF

PBZ Zagreb Indoors title

Sorry but these seem like good results to me

And what do you make of the fact that Soderling just beat Davydenko in Rotterdam ?

Kimmi Says:

Andrew Miller: i am on your boat re: Murray. I agree he play magnificent in that third set, as they say sometimes you need just a little luck to win and I though federer had a little luck on that third set.

Anyways, we will see what happens when he is back on court again. It will tell us if the AO has any lingering effect that could affect his game in the near future.

Cbeast Says:

Also if you compare Cilic to Delpo’s 2010 results you get

Del Potro:3-1

Cilic :15-1

Also worth a mention is that out of those three Del Potro won two went to 4 sets and the other to 5.

skeezerweezer Says:


I agree man with Cilic. Right now he has arrived in the mix…..

There are 6 guys or so that good break out. What will determine who? Consistency, Fitness, Confidence ( Boy I wish had all of those, lol )

Kimmi Says:

“And what do you make of the fact that Soderling just beat Davydenko in Rotterdam ?”

Soderling game for some reason matches up VERY well with davydenko. with the win today soderling will have a whooping 7-4 advantage on H2H against Davydenko. davydenko always seem to be pushed back further the baseline when playing davy (mind you it is someone who always plays inside the baseline with other opponents)..those short angles he is used to do with other players are no existent.

Funny, I was listening to the commentators today during their semi match and they said it must be the flat balls that are coming from davy racquet that soderling likes..I think so too.

Cbeast Says:


I don’t know what it is but I just have this feeling about Cilic, seems really dangerous to me and is improving really fast.I mean from how I see it if that Fourth Round and QF match went to 4 instead of 5 sets he could of had a real chance against Murray.

Then again who knows ?

Maybe i am wrong .

Cbeast Says:


Thanks for the reply.

That’s really interesting.

I wonder how Davy feels ?

I mean he was on such a role after beating Rafa and Fed last year I was really worried lol.

Now he looses to Fed and then Soderling..

Cbeast Says:

soz loses not looses :)

Kimmi Says:

Cbeast, I also expected davy to beat soderling today, especially with the form he has come with. But, because of their history, I am not too suprised he lost, soderling also loves indoor courts.

but I still think davydenko will always be dangerous to federer..he has figured him out..if he does not choke (lol) I think he can still beat him.

skeezerweezer Says:

“but I still think davydenko will always be dangerous to federer..he has figured him out..if he does not choke (lol) I think he can still beat him.”

True. Davy was on fire against Fed, but I have seen him do that before. When Davy is hot, he can blow through anybody. The problem is all in his head, kinda.

He hits a flat ball, so he can hit through most anybody, but margin for error is very small. So if the wheels go off a little, you’ll see him drop like a rock….

Anybody remember Conners, Davy reminds me of him…

skeezerweezer Says:

Now Soderling is a crack up. Proven World beater. Anybody out there got him figured out? If your a betting person, would not want to bet when he is playing……who knows? I know he plays great indoors, but hey he got to the finals in the FO…go figure :)

Ben Pronin Says:

Soderling was one of the biggest disappointments at the AO. I mean losing in the first round is one thing, but blowing a 2 sets to love lead? Soderling is a tough one to figure out. What I find most surprising is that he’s 3-0 against Davydenko on CLAY! I know you can say he got to the FO final so it makes sense, but his first 2 clay wins were long before anyone thought Soderling knew what clay was.

What’s particularly strange is that I’d expect Soderling to match up well to Davydenko rather than the opposite. Davydenko likes pace and flat balls and that’s how Sod plays. Look at what Davydenko did to Delpo in London (he beat Sod there, too, even more interestingly enough). 7-4 is a pretty healthy rivalry but Soderling does look like he’s got the edge.

TennisMasta Says:

“it surprises me to see people still obsess about him endlessly.”

Are you talking about yourself? You can’t seem to write an article without Roger Federer in the title, let alone in the article.

“It’s not that I want Federer to lose, it’s that I want other players to win.”

You mean you want any player other than Federer to win? And you say that is not the same as wanting Federer to lose? You are splitting hair here. It is childish to write an article on that -the better player wins, so what is the point of your article? That the not the better player win?

“things looked too easy for Federer”
easier than Djokovic’s draw until quarters? easier than a walkover or a retirement? So if he outplays the opponent through brilliant play that is “too easy” and so bad?

“Some people just don’t like the elegant style of Federer’s game and some people think Federer’s arrogant and selfish and whatnot. Well, I don’t agree with that..”

If you don’t agree with that why are you writing it? And repeating it?

Clearly I disagree with you here. So that gives you a right to call me names (“Fed-fanatic”)?

Fot Says:

Wow Ben… I enjoyed reading your article (but I like Reading about Roger anyway) lol! Nice job. Just remember – you won’t please every reader… but you’ve pleased me!

Andrew Miller Says:

Davydenko looks a little like Agassi to me. A little more limber and a little less solid on the backhand side. Quicker, less powerful than Agassi with a worse backhand.

Baghdatis also mirrors Agassi – matching him backhand for backhand (opposite Davydenko), but without as good a forehand.

The only player that, to me, innovated off of Agassi was Nalbandian – he could do more with the forehand and two handed backhand.

Off the left hand flank, really there was one innovator: Marcelo Rios. And then only one who took it to a new style of domination: Rafael Nadal.

Andrew Miller Says:

Cilic definitely earns his wins – he beat up on Del Potro and Roddick fair and square. I think Del Potro is a better player ultimately and tougher. Cilic’s win over Roddick causes major concerns for Roddick.

But I dont see Cilic over the other players: Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Davydenko, even Tsonga. I don’t think he will beat those players. I dont think he will beat Del Potro the next time they play.

That said: it doesnt matter what I think! Cilic has made incredible strides and is winning big matches. He and Del Potro are in the Marat Safin mould.

(without the humor and minus the love-hate relationship with tennis – they both seem to like it out there on tour.)

As for a player who is probably, at the moment, the player that has not reached any potential: ERNEST GULBIS. He hits harder than any soul alive. And it doesnt matter whatsoever.

Gulbis is a guy that makes Cilic look amazing.

rusty Says:

“Roger Federer’s my all time favorite player right next to Marat Safin.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Andrew Miller Says:

I am definitely concerned for Roddick. He is now faster and more mobile (necessary to compete against Djokovic and Nadal and Federer) but he now gives away heft to Isner, Cilic and Del Potro – even to Tsonga (the player that combines strength and athleticism best; I exclude Federer because he feeds more off of other players shots – he intelligently uses the speed of other players’ games against them. I would argue that Tsonga and Del Potro bring additional power to the game).

Andrew Miller Says:

I have to say it though: the new most under-achieving player on the ATP tour is ERNEST GULBIS.

Andrew Miller Says:

Soderling is definitely for real. He is not as good as Murray though, and he will run into trouble against power players – Tsonga, Del Potro, Cilic.

I dont see Soderling doing much this year.

Again it doesnt matter what I think…it’s all on Soderling’s racquet!

t.ks Says:

I was wondering there would be an article from you telling us what you thought if Roger didn’t win the AO 2010. Maybe your writing will change to the way it used to be. Roger’s draw this year in AO is so tough from the first round which is different from Nadal’s and the rest of the big four. Especially Nadal, he faced the players rank under 70 or qualifiers till the quater final that he met Murray.
You can change the way you write or show your good attitude to Roger but definitely in your mind you still hate and don’t want to see Roger’s success. I would like to know why you don’t make a comment about Nadal’s injury(real or fake because he played so well before facing Murray)or the time that he always takes advantage from other players when serving. It’s against the rules I think you know but I never see anyone write about it. Does Nadal have that privilege? Most tennis players admire Roger and respect each other, only the columnists always write something they have in their own mind and let people misunderstand what is right or wrong.

Ben Pronin Says:

Wait so I’m still anti-Federer?

Shailesh Says:

Well-written article. Doesn’t really matter whether you’re anti-Federer or not, hell those who don’t like him can’t find reasons why they feel that way :). I guess the guy’s calm demeanor both on-court and outside draws everyone to him, and that’s why everyone, including his rivals, likes him.

I’m really thankful that Nadal rose in the same era as Federer, because I feel that he actually made Federer a far better fighter. Yes, without a Nadal, Federer would have probably surpassed all tennis records by now, even at the FO. But I guess losing four times at the FO to Rafa motivated him to constantly improve, and made him a more mature player.

I hope Rafa can improve his health so that these two greats can start where they left off, and in the process give us more tennis masterpieces. In all those matches, I will undoubtedly be rooting for Federer, but I really want him to be pushed for his victories.

Here’s hoping Federer never retires :D LOL

blah Says:

Some thoughts-Soderling IS a power player. Nalbandian is closest to Agassi but lacks in the power and fitness department, with a better net game. I see Cilic passing DelPo and Murray. Fed will get 18-20 if someone doesn’t step up soon. Please, someone step up soon.

madmax Says:

Mem do go away.

Von, try not to come across as the holier than thou person you pretend to be – after going to ground for what? months because your tongue got the better of you.

Me? Yes. I like manners and there is nothing wrong with that. Because I dont sink to your level, (that’s name calling by the way), you call me Miss Manners. I would rather be called that than the names people have called you and vice versa. And you call yourself a psychologist? Ummmmm. In training I think, and still a looongggg way to go.

So unless you want to discuss proper tennis and be a proper lady about it, then I dont particularly want to PAR TEEEE with you.

And as for stats? Well, am not a statitician. So Von, on that you are right. I try Von. I really do. But I am nowhere near as good as Ben, I am it, Been there, or Long live.

But I am prepared to learn Von and I’ll try to take your advice to improve. After all, how on earth could I ever reach your dizzy heights of success. Dizzy being the operative word.

madmax Says:

‘On another note, I’d like to see Maxi take a stand and stick with it — not vacillate as it suits her mood or when the occasion so warrants’.

I’ll try not to be miss prissy knickers Von. And I am trying to be more assertive, so when I grow up I can be like you.

madmax Says:

the above link is a running video for about a minute – and its well worth seeing roger federer SPRINT with the children at the school!

margot Says:

Andrew Miller@13/02 7.12: as a Murray fan,I of course, I really liked your post and your optimism about Andy. Totally agree, his game is still developing, he’s a bit of a late starter. However, alas, alas he’s all too prone to injury, especially in the wrist department. He was out for months 2007 and again last year. I really hope he is pacing himself wisely this year.
BTW I think Cilic is the real deal, I think he moves much better than Delboy too. (Ref Brits!)

Duro Says:

Maxi, do we live in a different time zones!? Whenever you get surprised by seeing me here you leave a post and then disappear! It’s like third time at least! I have always answered you! You seem to forget the actual thread where we were in… :-)

About your Mighty Rog… He should be careful using his right arm for pumping that water in your vid! He might change the balance in his precious tool and not be as precise as he is when painting and brushing with his Wilson. See you, Maxi. Lucky you these days regarding tennis…

Heather Says:

Hi Maxi,

Thanks for the links-In Maxi’s defence I have never found her to be anything other than very respectful of other players and, like me, a Federer fanatic. If anything Maxi has always been the one to tell me to show respect to the other champions. The two concepts can live together.

Ben, I really appreciated your article and respect your views. I have never seen any hatred of Fed in your posts.

I would like to see Roger win everything but hear what you say about seeing someone else winning or giving credit to those champions like Nadal, who have pushed Fed. For all the heartfailure we have when Rog is a set down to Davy etc, there is a side to him that we love to see when he turns it around.

I have just come from Federer’s site where I was chastised for posting something on the wrong thread, and I adore the man. The majority of his fans are kind and thoughtful, you get a handful who believe they stand equal with the angels and have assumed the role of self apponted moderators.

We are not all like that and maybe it is because of this small minority of his fans that people believe him arrogant.

I do not believe that about him but many do for reasons I cannot understand.


I think that was a very sincere post. Your feelings very much match my own. The only difference is that I think I’m still in ‘dominant Federer’ mode, wanting him to win all the time, [which I’ll admit, could be viewed as a little sad-not sure I agree with this]. Perhaps it’s due to his short struggle over that year or two.

And I still haven’t gotten over the 2008 Wimby final either. The only consolation for me is the victory in 2009. If he’d lost that aswell I might have needed councelling… As much as Roddick would have earned that victory for sure.”

Great post. :)

Competition is good, and I believe has forced Federer to ‘improve’ [if that is possible]

madmax Says:

Heather Hi! And thank you for your emails too! Hope you are well.

Duro! Again I missed you. I know what you mean about the water pump! I thought the same thing! though, he is in Ethiopia for only a day, so perhaps that was a bit of training for him! :)

Heather, Von is just someone (from what I can gather), who likes to stir it up a bit. Duro warned me about her, but I didnt believe him.

Now I do, and his advice to stay away from her, is good advice. So that is what I intend to do.

I think when you are respectful to other posters, those disrespectful ones (like Von), become the bullies and like the war with words, I dont particularly like that, but each to their own I suppose.

That was exactly what duro warned me about, and his words are ringing true.

adly Says:

your post is poor the analysing matter is good but you are masking that you dislike the man well , you have to admit that Murray, and the joker want to burrie Federer the player and the man , and you try to help there well my dear Federer will remain for ever the best tennis man in history . all great player admit it who are you to change history .
the gentelemen beside tennis is a great man polite emotional at least he has manner not like other who where catch on T saying the F world etc… and other bevavio
Nadal respect Fed and vice versa but other they dont that good for them, and good for Federer because he ignore them and will remain a master forever

Deborah Says:

The dilemma posed by Roger for tennis pundits and bloggers is surely one for sports psychologists. On the one had, if you know and love tennis, how can you not be an admirer of his game and all he has accomplished with it. On the other hand, you have run out of ways to make his story compelling and interesting. Last year, the pundits were salivating over the “changing of the guard”. They wrote Roger’s career epitaph. They happily crowned Rafa. The eagerness to write him off was so unseemly, some tennis writers with a concious felt compelled to comment on it. Yet it didn’t stop. The drumbeat continued. Ah, but the maestro took us to another place and dismantled the tennis punditry just as he had his on court opponents during his dominant years. Yes there is more to tennis than Roger Federer. There is also more to literature than Shakespeare, more to music than Mozart, and more to art than Vermeer.

madmax Says:

Deborah! what a great post! so romantic on valentine’s day too! About time!

contador Says:

Deborah- great retrospective description.

dying for roger to retire and ringing death nells when he loses, any match he loses, is what certain corners of the media are paid to do. and it is disrespectful of the champion, imo, even though i admit to moments, like during the AO andreev match when i was screaming, “no roger, you don’t have to do this, i love you! go home and enjoy your wife and kids. you really have done enough already!!

but then i make a fool of myself as he goes on to win # 16! amazing, i have to constantly remind myself to just appreciate he is still generously treating his fans to more federer tennis and accept that he may go out in a first round and give many media and the numbers of fans salivating over just such a humiliating loss another opening to celebrate. the reality i guess is all this is way more troubling to me than roger federer! he’s above the fray, Deborah! thank God.

DMB Says:

Deborah, heir heir, good post.

I love coming to tennis x but sometimes i am amazed at how off topic the comments can become. All this dumping on the writers makes me less eager to join in the conversation because i know that pretty soon it will be again about a. Ben needing to choose (what on earth for?) what camp he is in b. Sean begin too Fedloving or otherwise jinxing tournaments (yes, the force is strong with that one) or c. some messed up battle between americans and europeans. (globalisation be damned!)

however, whenever the conversations do keep on-topic, sometimes wonderfull thoughts and reflections appear like yours did today. More of those please,

in other news; Soderling just won his first tournament of the year in rotterdam

jane Says:

“There is also more to literature than Shakespeare, more to music than Mozart, and more to art than Vermeer.”

Indeed. I love Chaucer (for his humour), Dickens (for his story-telling), and Kafka (for his weirdness) – I love the Stones (for their debauchery), the Ramones (for their speed) and Johnny Cash (for his soul) – and I love Picasso (for his experiments), Cindy Sherman (for her wit and creepiness), and Warhol (for his 15 minutes).

Love the variety of beauty and talent in the world; we’re so lucky!

And that applies to tennis too. : )

contador Says:

the sean randall jinx thing is a joke, DMB. unless of course, you seriously believe in jinx’s, lol…

madmax Says:

Ugh – Jane – Chaucer! I studied for A level, so hard – the canterbury tales! Never again! Never! But Dickens – yes, always great to read Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol – my favourites.

Yes, this could turn into quite the literary site for us all – the imagination – onto a different level –

this is where federer takes me – watching his tennis, into an imaginery world, which is REAL. an oxymoron I know.

jane Says:

madmax, you must just read Chaucer in translation (ditto for Beowulf, a great gothic piece), and stick to tales like the Miller’s and the Wife of Bath’s – they are hilarious and full of intelligence and transformation. So incredibly ahead of their times. Dickens was like the Stephen King of his day, a popular writer who could spin a yarn and bring in the masses. Now he is capital “L” literary, but he wasn’t then. I went to a very dark rendition of “A Christmas Carol” in the theatre at Christmas; my 9 yr old loved the dry ice and ghosts. :)

DMB Says:

Hi contador; i know its a joke:), but some people actually go into it seriously and quite hefty at that.

i don’t know, maybe you’re right, i too, can overreact. I guess i’m just getting old. For me, if Ben says he likes federer, devotes a whole post to it and then he gets so much crap from people that seem to have no manners and no coherent thinking going on (a little bit like teenagers that can think only in black and white) i just want to speak up.

Even though i am not even a particular fan of his writing, btw. But that has to do with a subjective preference for a different writing style.

Dino C Says:

It can’t be all Federer. Let others have their ways too.

I am just sorry to see that some people can’t enjoy watching him play. Maybe they are more into what surrounds tennis than tennis itself e.g. nationalities, personalities..etc

Marco K Says:

Being a Swiss citizen myself living in the U.S. it’s really hard to explain what Federer has meant to tennis.
I remember for years Federer being called out back home for not living up to his talent. We started hearing about him in 1998 and how he was going to be the greatest talent tennis has ever seen etc.
For him to actually do it and then along the destroy any lingering doubts about his ability has been a joy to watch.
I’m glad Nadal came around. It would have gotten awfully boring without him. But it was clear early on to me that Federer, eventhough he is the older of the two, just doesn’t have the wear and tear on his body. Sometimes I wonder if Nadal can ever get back to his 07/08 playing… Murray just doesn’t have it mentally. He is going to keep beating Federer in warm-up tournaments (much like Davydenko and a few more) but at the crucial points of a Grand-Slam final, Federer has something that hasn’t been here before. It’s almost outterworldly.
Of all the athletes to be associated with the word CLUTCH, Federer stands without competition. 2010 could be his best and maybe last shot at the Grand Slam.
I also believe with his nack for scheduling fewer and fewer tournaments he could actually keep on winning for years to come.
Are there any better role models today than Roger Federer for our kids?

Andrew Miller Says:

Anyone else think Ernest Gulbis is the most under-achieving player on the ATP Tour?

Verdasco and Flopez had my votes but redeemed themselves since winning Davis Cup and showing some very inspired play since 2008.

Andrew Miller Says:

Federer is such a smart player. He uses Gulbis’ speed against Gulbis. Talk about turning an opponent’s strength into THEIR weakness!!!

Deborah Says:

I love the variety too and that’s why I enjoy watching Roger’s infinite variety as he masters all sorts of players. When I think about all the different types of games he plays over a tournament, I am in awe of him all over again. Everyone on the tour prepares for him. He has to prepare for everyone.

Andrew Miller Says:

Role models are a whole other conversation. I would spare Federer that conversation. I would appreciate him, in my opinion, as someone who specialized in a skill and performed it better than anyone ever will. Maybe appreciate him for, through his focus and will and mastery of a sport, transformed the sport.

In other areas though I would not say, “this is how you should be.” You should…live in Dubai, a place not well known for its freedoms? That’s not role model material. You should…dismiss your opponents out loud (Federer often does this in the press room – in some ways it’s Federer just being honest, but it can rub opponents the wrong way). You should talk about yourself in the third person?

Seriously, I think the role model conversation is kind of an idealized Federer.

It’s better for me anyway to say, “this guy is the best a player can ever be on a tennis court. If I do anything as well as Federer plays tennis, that would be pretty incredible for me.”

Andrew Miller Says:

As for someone that scales back the number of tournaments…it’s the Serena/Venus Williams strategy and it works. They get better in the tournament’s later stages, and that is definitely the time to peak.

Playing the best match in the first round is pointless – they have to play best in the semis and finals. That’s Federer every time in a slam. He saves his best tennis and seems like a whole different player. He certainly showed Andy Murray a different way to play in the finals of the AO.

Federer actually played unlike I have seen him before! He really caught Murray off guard in the first few sets, pulling the trigger early on winners (almost like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!). I had become accustomed to Federer hitting “straight down the middle” of the court (vs. Djokovic, US Open 2007) or playing an angle game (vs. Del Potro, US Open 2009) but I had not seen anything like how he played in the AO 2010 final.

It was a different Federer out there – a better Federer! Unbelievable, but that’s the best I’ve seen him play in a long time.

Andrew Miller Says:

All that said: Andy Murray matched Federer in the third set. I think Andy Murray has more levels in him and I think through the finals loss, he’s getting the best lessons from the best player the world’s seen.

If Murray is as smart as they say he is, Scotland will have its first grand slam champion soon.

Kimmi Says:

Andrew, thanks for that federer v gulbis link. Did not see the match so it was a pleasure to watch this. I agree with you Gulbis a really under achiver.

jane Says:

Deborah, yes, one player can have a lot of variety, ditto for one artist, writer etc. (e.g. Shakespeare wrote tragedies, comedies, even horror). But for me, I like the variety of more than one player (writer, artist etc), the different styles and personalities are what make the sport of tennis so fun to watch imo. I guess our take on variety is different: variety in one versus variety in many. Both have their appeal for different reasons.

Fot Says:

On the ‘race’ Roger had with the kids – you could see that he wasn’t going all out. Can you image the headlines “Federer pulls hamstring in race in Africa?”! lol! So I don’t blame him. He went along with the kids but he didn’t care if he was first or last in that race.

On role models. Whether athletes want it or not; whether some fans want them to have that title or not – they are. Kids look up to ‘stars’ whether athletes, singers, rapers – whatever. So to me, if the star know that – maybe they will act more ‘responsible’. Roger has acted “responsible” in a lot of things. He’s not ‘perfect’ but at least he is aware that others are watching him which is all that we can ask of them. I’d rather Roger acts like he does vs T.O. or some of the NBA players or some of the rappers – lord help us there!

Von Says:

“Thanks for the links-In Maxi’s defence I have never found her to be anything other than very respectful of other players and, like me, a Federer fanatic. If anything Maxi has always been the one to tell me to show respect to the other champions. The two concepts can live together.”

Maxi: The operative word in Heather’s post is *players* NOT *posters* I was speaking about *posters*. Telling another poster, Skorocel, to be exact, that he has contracted *scurvy* because you disagree with his statements, or for Ben and another writer to leave the forum due to your dislike for their statements, is NOT being respectful. Your rants on respect and decorum are ANNOYING and a FARCE. PRACTISE WHAT YOU PREACH. Addititonally, chasing away other posters, Mem, is not your prerogative to do so because you don’t like her opinions. And, I have seen instances of you berating other players on TT. More posters should visit Tt and then they’d see what I’m talking about.

BTW, I have my own special thoughts with respect to you and your other friend, and I keep away from you both, so touche. You bad mouth TT here, and you fight with the posters there. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practise to deceive.” Ponder that one Maxi.

Von Says:


Thanks for the clarification on your post with respect to the ‘cat fight’. I knew you weren’t speaking about me, considering the times our posts were entered, but thanks for taking the time to make things crystal clear.

KL Says:

“I don’t agree with this at all. It has nothing to do with what people say” Ben P

Ben I think you missed my point.

I am saying that “people” i.e commentators, media, public constantly go on about age, and this in turn creates a kind of mental barrier for some atheletes and sports people.

For example someone like Serena Williams might say to herself, I’ll retire at 30, not necessarily because she can longer compete but because mentally everyone has told her….well beyond 30 and your going downhill.
I’m sure Bernard Hopkins was advised by many not to box beyond 35, but he is still going strong and beating the youngsters and is currently ranked No.1 in the world.

Like I said in my previous reply IF you are fit and healthy unlike Agassi then there is no reason why you can’t compete at top level well beyond the supposed “best before” date imposed by the media and so called expert commentators.

KL Says:

Added note

Bernard Hopkins is 45 and yet is No.1 in the world!

Skorocel Says:

„Anyone else think Ernest Gulbis is the most under-achieving player on the ATP Tour?“ Verdasco and Flopez had my votes but redeemed themselves since winning Davis Cup and showing some very inspired play since 2008.“

I would say Nalby, Haas, or Youzhny could’ve done FAR better. On the other hand, the two guys who you mentioned below are perhaps the most overachieving (especially Verdasco). Gonzo falls into that category as well. Take away their power (especially on the FH side), and what you get are two mediocre players.

Deborah Says:

On the issue of variety, people seem to have forgotten that Roger only won four tournaments in 2009. Lots of other players were successful in 2009 and while I expect Roger will do well in 2010, he won’t win every match, although I am pulling for the Calendar Slam!

jane Says:

Deborah, I think a lot of people are right there with you pulling for Roger to do it!

I kind of hope we see one new slam winner this year, and maybe a new-old one. : ) There’s certainly a nice wide field these days.

dc Says:

It seems a lot of the top players are getting injured, in-spite being supposedly at their physical peak. I think Federer is to blame.

Few years back, once Federer started beating everyone left right and center, the field realized that the only way to put up a respectable fight or win was to push your body to the limits, either running and retrieving or hitting shots that were not physically friendly.
In the process, few of these players won a few critical matches, some fought hard without luck and some did get win at times.

The more a guy tried to fight Federer, irrespective of the result, the worse they had to physically abuse themselves in the process.

-Nadal fought successfully, however physically is battered.
-Del Potro won a slam against Federer and has been injured for some time now
-Hewitt & Marat Safin fought hard with Fed and are now fighting with injuries or retired
-Roddick was also injured after the 2009 Wimby final
-After the AO 2010 final, Murray has also withdrawn from tournaments, he is either physically or mentally injured.

Federer seems to designed by nature to play tennis.Maybe his physique, reflexes, strength, natural limb movements and other genetic,physical and mental aspects are more suitable to tennis than anyone else.

It amuses me that at 28, we have big army of youngsters fighting to take the spot from Federer.However most of them seem to be injured more often than not.

No disrespect to the others in the field. It’s not that suddenly the species has become physically weaker. They are probably stronger than the previous generation, however no generation earlier had to face a Federer.

Federer has raised the bar of the game to such heights, that it is not physically possible for the rest of the field to beat him without being butchered themselves

Ben Pronin Says:

Dc, apparently Verdasco once said that 2 sets against Federer is like 4 sets against anyone else. I heard a commentator say that so I’m not entirely sure of it’s validity, but it goes along with what you’re saying.

Michael Says:

Of late I have developed more tension in seeing matches and that is because one does not know when any of the players will go in the middle of a match and have a hand shake with the umpire calling it “off”. That has become more frequent now-a-days little to our comfort in particular and the spectators in general. Although we had this problems in the 80s, 90s and early 2000, it was not as intense as it is today. I think this has become a habit with the players even if the injury is not serious just to limit the shame of a defeat though I would not venture to say that all such injuries are fake. If this tendency has to be nipped in the bud then I propose that a stiff fine may be to the extent of 40% of their prize money be imposed on the players who fake their injury and a medical team constituted to check the seriousness of their claim. May be such a step is necessary given the way this injury factor playing a spoil sport in many tennis match.

Last but not the least, why FEDERER is the GOAT is simply because of his fitness level and I have never seen him get treatment in a Court for any injury. It is his physical fitness which makes Federer the GREATEST.

Ben Pronin Says:

2008 TMC 3rd RR match against Andy Murray, Federer was getting treatment on his back during the match.

dc Says:

@ Ben Pronin Says:

2008 TMC 3rd RR match against Andy Murray, Federer was getting treatment on his back during the match.

Yes, he has got treated a few times. With the Mono followed by the back problem, Fed was in serious trouble in 08-09. He thought he would be ok, but then things really started getting bad. Not only did he loose a GS semi final, he lost two of the next three slam finals and also dropped to number 2.In the past few years , Fed is the only player to have lost two consecutive GS finals (Wimby and FO in 2008).It must have been really tough on him on him and his family.

Michael Says:


Ofcourse he got the treatment, but the point is did he withdraw himself from the match ?? I do not think that happened with Federer of late.

Ben Pronin Says:

That was the only time Federer’s ever done that (I think). And he has withdrawn before the start of a match only once: 2008 Paris QF against Blake. Other than that, Fed’s pretty much perfect in terms of not pulling out/retiring in matches.

Michael Says:

That is amazing Ben. May be the Gods made him for Tennis.

dc Says:

God created everyone equal.Everyone looses more or less equally to Federer.

Ben Pronin Says:

Hahahaha that’s great. Call the Pope!

madmax Says:

Von, you are without doubt a very nasty woman. I never really believed duro, I like to make my own mind up about people. Dont draw me into your argument with duro which from what I can remember goes back years – that’s your fight not mine. Duro warned me about you – I didnt believe him. And the one thing you are good at is twisting words to make them suit. That is clever but also devious. I am neither that clever, nor that devious. You win on both scores.

But dont portray me as a different person. I can disagree with people but I dont think I am rude – if you perceive that, perhaps you see yourself, rude and condescending. Dont bother writing long apologies von here, they are all over the place on TT and you know it. I have never had to do that because I am not as critical nor as nasty as yourself.

“Do go away mem” is hardly insulting. I see that as a request. You dont. But I see this turning into a ridiculous, silly, unattractive, unintelligent war of words – which I dont like and I sit here and wonder, why people call you a troll. Now I know.

madmax Says:


your comment above had me laughing this morning! haha!

telepatic Says:

It’s funny, Ben, how whenever someone writes an article criticizing Federer, they have to spend half the space apologizing for it to his fans.

When they criticize any other player, they can just blast away without any retribution.

madmax Says:

jane Says:
madmax, you must just read Chaucer in translation (ditto for Beowulf, a great gothic piece), and stick to tales like the Miller’s and the Wife of Bath’s – they are hilarious and full of intelligence and transformation.


I’ve only just read this properly! I will, I will and thank you!

But really? Am I going to learn to love Chaucer? (in any way shape or form?).

Clay Says:

There are other players out there for this Ben to write about. Why bother with the greatest player to ever pick up a racquet..yawn!He’s so boooring! I mean really 16 slams and counting.Who cares!!!

Write about Murray or Djokovic or Nadal. Give their fans a blast!Surely there is something interesting about them, don’t you think?

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