Saturday, December 16, 2006

Say It Again!

"What the [heck's] up with men's tennis? If I didn't know better, I'd think these guys all want to get Roger Federer in the sack. That buddy-buddy stuff has got to go. Don't they realize he's taking food off their table?"
—Prominent NBA trainer, as told to John Wertheim,

"Has any tennis writer who wrote that Roger Federer deserved the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Awards over winner Dwayne [sic] Wade actually sat down and watched the Miami Heat superstar play at great length? Does anyone realize that a brilliant writer who covers a fair amount of tennis, Scott Price, penned the article? Does anyone realize that there are at least five SI staffers who love tennis? Is anyone concerned that when easily dismissing a player from another sport, that tennis looks more parochial that it already is?

"First off, SI doesn't give the award to foreign athletes. Secondly, it doesn't give the award to tennis players anymore. Third, even though I would give a slight edge to Federer, too, Wade is a true superstar who played a super-human level to lead the Heat the NBA Championships level last year. He carried his team past three excellent teams with legitimate superstars: the New Jersey Nets (Jason Kid and Vince Carter); the Detroit Pistons (Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton); and the Dallas Mavericks (Dirk Nowitski and Jason Terry). Forget Shaq, the Heat was Wade's team through and through. They were awful before Pat Riley came in to coach again at mid-season and, at that point, no serious analyst imagined that they could win the title. But they did due to Wade's remarkable ability to come through in the clutch....

"Truthfully, you can't compare individual and team sports anyway, Next year, maybe SI should split the award and give out a separate award for individual sports. For goodness sakes, for all the complaining that Federer didn't get the award, Americans Pete Sampras and Serena "Serena Slam" Williams never won, either."
—Matt Cronin,

"Federer's fluid style seems built to last, even though his small-boned frame might not seem to agree. For a sportswriter who comes across so many world-class athletes, most of whom are larger-than-life figures with larger-than-life figures, what separates Federer from the norm is his normalcy.

"Sit next to him and look at his slender wrists and forearms, and it is difficult to believe that this is the envelope-pushing athlete who can generate such phenomenal spin and forcefulness with his forehand. But it is the backhand that often made the difference in 2006."
—Christopher Clarey, International Herald Tribune

"I think Federer has been disinclined to trash-talk or use other "intimidating" techniques on his opponents simply because he just doesn't need to. It's like Garry Kasparov having to intimidate Kevin Federline before a big chess match (OK, that's a stretch). I just think, besides his own natural temperament, Federer is so much better than his opponents right now that all that stuff that is useful in emotional team sports like football and basketball is wasted energy for him. Maybe I'm being too psychoanalytical. Thoughts?"
—Neil Grammer, Toronto, as posted on

"It's amazing how people are so easily drawn into the lies! The best way to hide something is truly right out in the open. Sort of like those childhood puzzles where you had to find the things in the picture. They were in there all the time, but your eye wasn't trained to see anything beyond what was put in front of your face. This to me is the mindset of those who genuflect at the shrine of Roger. They don't see his cattiness, his arrogance, his disrespect, because they are too busy seeing what Roger wants them to see. He is a clever one. He plays nice to the big guys with the weapons to beat him (Roddick, Blake). He's nasty and snide regarding those who don't believe the hype, but are mentally fragile (Safin, Haas). He plays the martyr to Nadal and makes Nadal the villian in his self-imposed "ride to glory". Ahh, but Nadal is just as crafty as Federer, thank you Uncle Toni! He's disdainful of those with the weapons, but weak fortitudes (Ljubicic, Nalbandian, Blake again). Surprisingly, you won't hear of [Federer's] niceness below anyone in the top ten. Coincidence? I don't think so. It is by design. But many want to believe in his supposed "humility" although words don't lie and his attitude speaks volumes. People despise the truth and all too eagerly consume the sugar coated lies with veracity. Far too many want to believe in fairy tales, not only in tennis, but across the wide spectrum of life. A pity really, because reality isn't all bad. If only others would get a taste of it, they might find it better for their overall diet!"
—TheTruth, messageboard poster, All Court Game

“Being so dominant in all the other slams, I know I can win the French. Nadal or not, I know I could beat him too because I was so close.”
—Roger Federer, International Herald Tribune

tags: Roger Federer, tennis


motha_trucka said...

Good job!

savannah said...

I think that poster "The Truth"'s statement should be echoed on every tennis board. I just read an interview with Gasquet in the original French where he too genuflects at the altar of the Fed God.
I think The Truth is right that Federer, failing at mental intimidation of Nadal, has gone the catty route. Thanks to Tio Toni that hasn't worked either.
No doubt the Fed God is a great player. No doubt he had a good year. But he can be beaten. He has been beaten. And he will be beaten in 2007.

Craig Hickman said...


TheTruth's statement at once elucidates and stands in start contrast to the statement that precedes it. Amazing how people perceive the same thing so differently. I've already made my feelings about the field genuflecting to Federer quite clear in my Masters Cup preview, so I don't need to say it again. Not right now, anyway.

Yes, Precious Rog is a great player. And yes, he can be beaten. While I'd like to see history made, I'd also like to see someone other than Nadal defeat him in a Slam.

bogledance said...

Nice one Craig.

The Truth's comments are great and I really think the NBA trainer's comments sum up the bird's eye view of the men's tennis situation for those who look too close to see the reality. Put in terms of one literally taking food off your table you have to wonder when the happy-to-lose zombies will wake up. I don't care if they still lose, just don't act happy to do it. It's an embarassment to pro sports in general.

oddman said...

Love The Truth's post. Listening to Precious Roger's post-match comments, I interpret him as arrogant, egocentric, and catty most of the time. Must be because I'm not a fan. I'm believing 2007 will be the year that he starts losing a few more matches (or perhaps it's just wishful thinking, sigh...)

sykotique said...

As I understand it, Safin and Federer are the best of friends. They often have nothing but compliments for each other, so I don't know how it could be thought that Roger is "snide" to him.

In any case, if players "genuflect" to Federer, that's really neither his problem nor his fault. Federer for the most part seems no more arrogant or no less arrogant than any human being in his position. Federer, like most players, has managed to let his flaws show, but I don't think we should categorise him as "catty" or "arrogant", considering how little we know about him.

Considering the Nastasies, McEnroes, Lendls etc. that use to be number 1, it still amazes me that people still attempt to find something wrong with the comparatively well-behaved Sampras' and Federers. He's a tennis player, not a catholic priest. Let him have his minor flaws like all other human beings.

Anonymous said...

And I don't think it's a coincidence at all that we only hear about Federer's niceness from only top 10 ten players...after all, when you reach the final of a tournament 99% of the time and usually only play Tier 1 events, you're hardly going to meet anyone else outside of the top 10, so they'll see you a lot more than anyone else.