Roger Federer Is So Chill He Decided To Practice On The Public Courts At Central Park [Video]
by Tom Gainey | August 31st, 2017, 1:22 pm

Despite a back injury and a shaky opening 5-set win over Frances Tiafoe, Roger Federer opted to avoid a packed Wednesday schedule at the US Open and instead show up unannounced for a practice session on the public courts at Central Park!

Imagine Lebron James showing up at your local basketball court, Lionel Messi coming by for a pick-up soccer game at the park or Taylor Swift appearing at Karaoke night at your local bar or restaurant.

They have never done that. But that’s what Federer just did. That’s why Federer is so beloved.

We’ll see if the session paid off. Federer takes on 2-time US Open semifinal Mikhail Youzhny this afternoon. He’s 16-0 against the Russian.

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24 Comments for Roger Federer Is So Chill He Decided To Practice On The Public Courts At Central Park [Video]

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Awesome. Saw the headline and assumed it was a big PR stunt- but watching it, there’s no TV cameras just a bit of cellphone video, and no crowds. Very cool.

skeezer Says:

He is the man. Public courts all over the world would have loved to have this happen. This is where the recreational player hangs out, so to have a top pro just show up and play/practice is awesome!

Leo Says:

So cool! This is one of the qualities that makes him so special.

t4t Says:

Leo, the organizers agree he is special and give him special treatment all the time!

chrisford1 Says:

Props to Fed for delving into “man of the people” territory.

In fairness to LeBron, he has shown up on city courts when he was in Cleveland, doing 3 on 3 with decent amateur players. Not “cute” half court stunts with 4 foot 6 year old boys and girls. Serious adult male amateurs.

Watching some of the best play in practice is almost as good as seeing one in a match. It’s mesmerizing just to be sitting or standing at the back and seeing the ball coming at you when Tomas Berdych is serving. Then it goes up 8 notches watching Fed and Marat Safin playing practice and getting serious at the USO after Safin was dumped in an early round and decided to stay in NYC another week to get some practice in with tennis and the local super models.. Djokovic practice with Stan or Stepanek and interact with the crowd at times. Or some of the more gorgeous women. Flavia Pannetta was stunning in person, for example..

Best wishes for the top men still able to play and not in the ranks of the wounded.

Oh – and Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga even more can show up at a dive or small venue for some new band or singing talent that has caught their interest – and jam with them. Gaga, NYC based, has over 100 clubs she has sang or played piano at, sometimes doing an hour set for free. Swift liked to do duets at lesser known performers shows by way of ‘surprise appearances’ back in her country music days.

madmax Says:

Fed is indeed the man.

An amazing warrior. Hoping the next round he is a little kinder to himself. I can really see his lack of preparation, missing the previous tournament has meant his game is very up and down. But, somehow, he finds a way.

He must have to really dig deep and the psychology of this, I read is that he goes back to the beginning, he strikes out the set he has lost and convinces himself that the tournament begins the next set. It works.

Come on Federer! Come on!

Giles Says:

Lol. Looking for yet more publicity no doubt. Is there any security there? Watch your back fed!

Van Persie Says:

Good one, Giles!
Please 6 sets for Roger form now, the crowds would love the idea :)

Van Persie Says:

^ from now on

Giles Says:

VP. Lol.

Tony N Says:

It was incredibly foolish and nonchalant of Federer to be practicing under (USTA?) security on Central Park courts that are different (in speed, material, colour, age/quality, etc.) from the US Open Arthur Ashe stadium surface. The US Open court surface is Decoturf, and I think their courts are refreshed or resurfaced before each US Open. The four Central Park hard courts I think are acrylic-coated asphalt (unless there is a Decoturf, Plexipave, Plexicushion, etc. coating in-between). It takes only 20 to 40 minutes for Federer to be driven from his hotel to the US Open practice courts. Any high-performer – whether in business or professional sports – should have a sense of urgency and practice under as real-life conditions as possible.

I had posted the following four hours before Federer’s match with Youzhny (in the blog “Roger Federer: If I Enter A Tournament, I Believe I Can Go Deep”):
“Federer has made several avoidable mistakes since after Wimbledon that make me question how serious he really is about winning the US Open (or whether his focus is more on his company’s Laver Cup). And here is another one…
Less than 24 hours after a sloppy five-set match that brought up a lot of questions about his back, fitness, footwork, mobility, timing and rustiness from lack of practice… the link shows Federer choosing to practice on Manhattan’s Central Park tennis courts which are different in speed, condition and material compared to the US Open courts. Seems to me to be milking Twitter publicity than making a better effort to focus on winning the US Open… unless he’s super confident about the shape he’s really in (or maybe he knows his back is probably not fit enough to last all seven rounds). Only Federer and his team know the real status of his back, since Federer rarely reveals his actual fitness, just plays through the pain without retiring.

Four hours later, Federer plays another mediocre match which he might have lost had Youzhny not gotten cramps in the fifth set.

The consequences for Federer: Against Youzhny, Federer played an often sloppy 317 points, ran almost 11,000 ft (10,971 ft) and made 68 unforced errors in 3 hours 7 mins. Against Tiafoe, Federer played an often sloppy 254 points, ran almost 8,000 ft (7,704 ft) and made 56 unforced errors in 2 hours 37 mins. Given his back injury, this is a very difficult hole to dig himself out without a much greater sense of urgency and some help from his next two rounds opponents, who have had much easier matches.

BBB Says:

Maybe Federer just realizes he’s not 100% and wants to enjoy as much of the experience as possible, knowing that injuries can end your career at any moment.

Tony N Says:

He’s not an amateur or kid playing tennis as a hobby or pastime. Federer is a professional athlete — and one of the highest-paid pro athletes in the world. Act like one and have a sense of urgency and focus on what’s important: the Grand Slam championship. If, on the day of the NBA finals, LeBron James went to a city court for some practice instead of practising with the team and posted pics of his practice on Twitter, his coach would be right to discipline him for doing this side-line entertainment. The same goes for any 36-year old high-performer working for a big high-performing organization — you focus 100% on getting the job done, cut out distractions or get fired. That’s the reality of what people in the real world face.

If Roger wants to enjoy the ‘cool’ experience of Central Park — he can do it any time after he has retired. Just hop on his private jet, call Andy Roddick, and do play in Central Park then go for dinner at a nearby restaurant.

BBB Says:

Who are any of us to tell Roger Federer how to live his life? I don’t even like the guy, but I wouldn’t presume to tell someone with that many majors under his belt how he’s obliged to prepare.

Tony N Says:

Like I said, he’s a professional athlete not an amateur playing a pastime. This is not living his vacation life — this is performance in a high-performance sport. Many ticketholders have paid a lot of money to see the performer and many sponsors pay a lot of money for his performance. Commentators and sports analysts presume to tell someone with that many majors under his belt what he’s obliged to do — all the time. This is the real world of high-pergormance — if you can’t understand this, you should not presume to tell others what they can and cannot say.

BBB Says:

You’re assuming you know better than Federer how he should prepare to maximize his performance. Or, worse, you’re suggesting that it’s not just actual preparation, but the optics of the preparation.

Say anything you like. If I think it’s nonsense, I’ll challenge you. Or would you prefer I not, in which case you’re the one presuming to tell others what they can and cannot say?

Tony N Says:

BBB: You want to ‘challenge’ me if you think what I say is… ‘nonsense’? Lol, go ahead if you want.

Federer – like all popular players with a large, diversified fan following – has a subset of obsessive devotees who cult-worship him. For these devotees, Federer can do no wrong: only Roger knows best how to maximize his performance, Roger must always be allowed to do whatever he wants, and no criticism of Roger is permitted. These devotees consider it’s blasphemy for anyone other than Roger to know how to maximize Roger’s performance – even though Roger after 2010 Australian Open went through many Grand Slam events where he has underperformed relative to his talent level. Federer could have easily won several more Grand Slam titles than he has, but under the cover provided by his cult-worshipping devotees and his ever-increasing financial success, Federer has felt less sense of urgency to do so.

This subset of fanatical Fedfans is really no different from Donald Trump’s base of fanatical core supporters who will support Trump no matter what he does/says and who will disregard/twist inconsistent facts to fit their warped worldview (even though Federer is the positive side on the character spectrum compared to Trump).

Who am I to assume that I might know something about how the GOAT Federer should prepare to maximize his performance? Well, since the 1990s, I have been considered a ‘best expert’ in the fields of high-performance organizational strategy, performance and development by the biggest American and international professional organizations. I worked with several big multi-billion dollar complex business organizations that are the best (or among the best) in the world in their businesses – I have advised their top managers and experts ‘how to prepare’ to maximize perfomance. It is child’s play to analyze a single person’s performance and deficiencies, even if he happens to be a Federer.

madmax Says:

BBB Says:
Who are any of us to tell Roger Federer how to live his life? I don’t even like the guy, but I wouldn’t presume to tell someone with that many majors under his belt how he’s obliged to prepare.

September 1st, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Sorry BBB, but you have said enough derogatory comments on TX, so now the nice guy approach kinda doesn’t suit you.

J-Kath Says:

I trust I am allowed to say that I have always respected BBB’s comments whether they are intended as light-hearted jokes, or personal convictions/views and have never found them deliberately nasty/derogatory. As for Roger, he’s only human – if some tennis fans disagree with his conduct off-the-court they have the right to say so, but it’s also his right to tell them that it’s his life and to ignore them.

Margot Says:

I can’t believe Roger at 36 has the same love for the grind of the pro tour that he had at 26.
Hey, if he wants to play in the park, why not?

Wog Boy Says:

I am with you, to my memory BBB has never crossed the line, no derogatory comments whatsoever and I had myself arguments with her (BBB).

Sharp shooter, with healthy and factual arguments, very much like jane (best Nole fan) just different style, it must be Canadian thing. She has the players she likes and dislikes and doesn’t hide it, that’s her sin, unforgivable one for the cult members :)

The only objection I have, more often than not she is using top shelf words that I have to google to find out the meaning, the bright side is that she is forcing me to improve my English…though I keep forgetting them.

J-Kath Says:

Ditto Wogboy + Margot.

Tony N Says:

The reality is that, typically, less than 0.5% to 2% of any group of performers (e.g., ATP World Tour) are truly exceptional high-performers (e.g., Federer, Nadal, Djokovic). The rest are a mix of good performers, mediocre performers and poor performers. The ATP tour is a competitive meritocracy, not a socialist commune.

Of course, even people who are mediocre or poor performers in their own jobs are able to spew opinions and prescriptions for high-performing sports professionals, e.g., some may believe that these high performers should do whatever they want to do without being judged or they should disregard criticisms of their approach to their professional work. Those are childish views. The reality for grown-ups is that the vast majority of high-performers in pro sports (e.g., LeBron James), business companies, etc. work within organizations where they cannot just do whatever they want to do without being held accountable by their organization as well as being judged and criticized by their organization and its supporters/fans.

Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is of equal value (since informed opinions hold more value than uninformed ones) — few are qualified to be foisting such prescriptions on high-performers. If their opinions and prescriptions were really sound — and whatever they say works — they would have been high performers themselves :)

Why has Federer continued to stay on tour since 2010? Of course every high-performer wants suckers to believe it is for the love of the game or job. The reality is that (a) Federer’s unmatched natural talent enables him to remain on tour with relatively less effort and grind than anyone else and (b) by remaining on tour he continues to generate huge publicity for the Federer brand – regardless of whether he wins GS titles, plays five setters, loses close matches or suffers injury or other drama – which in turn attracts a lot of money to the Federer brand’s various businesses and makes him one of the richest sportsmen on the planet each year. Duh, why retire permanently when you can much more money working part-time?

Back to the more important issue. Having played a mediocre match against Youzhny after practicing at Central Park, yesterday Federer was at it again in preparation for tonight’s match against Lopez: this time he practiced at his Laver Cup captain John McEnroe’s tennis academy at Randall’s Island, making sure to publicize it with pics on his Twitter account just as he did with Central Park. Once again, it’s a bad idea to be practicing on a court surface, material, speed, condition, etc. that’s different from the Arthur Ashe stadium court. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that McEnroe just happens to be a big part of the Laver Cup.

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