There's been so much talk about the World No. 1, a fan named the recent public events in Roger Federer's life As The Fed Turns after the long-running American soap opera As the World Turns. In the spirit of storytelling, I decided to post a version of the Federer story as written by TheTruth, a poster on one of the forums I frequent. If you're a Federer fan prone to explode when a negative opinion of him is expressed, consider reading no further and just enjoy the art above. The following is not a perspective you will like. But I'm including it in today's tirade because, well, it's a tirade. And it's timely.
I've watched Federer for a long time. Initially, I was a fan. I was looking for someone to replace Pete since Pete was nearing his retirement. I liked Federer's game, although he was a choker, but more importantly I liked his words. He seemed humble and grateful and deserving. Because I had an interest in him I used to read articles about him.
Meanwhile, the pundits were growing in their love of him. They ranted and raved about his many gifts. If only this young man could reach his potential, they would sigh.
And so they started pumping him up. They put the power of positive thinking in the wind and finally Federer caught a whiff. He began to believe those around him who told him he could be a god, and for his obedience to their hype he was rewarded with a man-made aura.
Soon, everyone began to believe the hype, and those who had previously snacked on him did an about face and bowed before him. A few pretty shots diverted their attention from the multitude of shanked returns and wild, errant forehands and backhands. Whenever he produced the "magic" they said, "oh, it must be true what they say," and they divested themselves of their own abilities and capacity to reason.
As the pundits glorified him, Federer himself began to believe them. He became arrogant and cocky and retracted many of his earlier quotes. He started dancing for those that created them and the entire court paid attention. Professionals forgot they too were professionals in his presence. They didn't compete because, why bother? Is he not a god?
And then along came Nadal. A boy sent to slay a giant. A mere manchild who knew and understood that no matter how "pretty" a shot the master delivered, it was still only worth one point, and one point does not a match make. But, being a phenom himself, it was dismissed.
That is...until Canas reappeared. And Canas opened their eyes to what had been apparent all along. Roger Federer is just as vulnerable as the next guy. When pushed, he will fold. He does not have the type of championship mettle that is required for a heavyweight, like Martina he uses sleight of hand, but when the opponent is not dazzled, he too falls.
The fear is in Roger's eyes. The strut is noticeably absent. His claims about being so ready for the French and how the rest of the field had better watch out rings hollow. He is frightened, not just about this year's French, but about his own legacy. Roger has been exposed for the imposter that he is. He gained his strength from the media, and slowly the media is taking it away. Without them, he is nothing, and Roger's recent forays onto the court illuminate his insecurities.
Roger will not recover, because the one that he admires the most is consistently getting better (Nadal), but even worse than that, Nadal has what Roger pines for: courage, tenacity, and will.
Roger is done! I have seen it coming for some time now.
I'm not sure what TheTruth means when she says that Roger is "done", but for me, it doesn't mean he won't win another Slam or stay atop the game a while longer. But his all-out dominance of the tour may not continue unchallenged. Lest we forget, many of the greats won their last Slams at age 25.
Federer is a rhythm player playing with no rhythm. Of course he can rebound. But I also think that he might lose a few more of those tight matches early in events that he used to win because his aura of invincibility has taken a hit. Will that mean he plummets in the rankings? Absolutely not. But it could become increasingly more difficult for him to maintain his mental edge over the other players.
How Roger responds to the recent events of his career will tell us alot about the heart of the man. In his own words from Hamburg (emphasis added), "I'm definitely not going to take a coach for the French Open and Wimbledon because I know what it takes and I don't want anybody interfering with my preparation and with my tournaments."
"In Monaco, I reached the finals. I'm very happy the way I played there from the quarters on. Last week was obviously disappointing and I wasn't happy with my performance [in Rome]."
"But it's basically one tournament, because at Indian Wells I had a bit of a blister and then in Miami I think I played well but ended up losing. So nothing really happened in my point of view." [Source]