Saturday, April 04, 2009

Quote For The Day II (Updated)

“DON’T feel too sorry for Roger because none of us do. He’s spent far too long getting right into our heads, now let’s see if he’s going to be subjected to a little anguish and self-belief problems.”--Andy Roddick, just before last year's Queens Club event.

Stunned doesn't even begin to describe my initial impression of this quote. And then there's the article itself, which left my jaw on the floor.

(Thanks, Helen W)

UPDATE: I found some words in response to this quote, as I wrote in the comments:

It almost seems as though people have been sitting on this stuff just waiting until Raja fell.

Quite frankly, I have a problem with that.

Don't build a person up and then take pleasure in kicking them in the gut when they're down.

I don't want that for anyone, whether I like them or not.

Yes, Raja has the titles and the records.

But too many people propped him up. Not because he didn't deserve to be propped up, but there was virtually no critical insight into the majestic world Raja had created, not just through his tennis, but through his obvious efforts to "get right into [his competition's] heads." Many of these writers and analysts painted that world with saturated colors. Safe to say some even did their part in trying to ensure that the technicolor world never ended. As though they had a personal stake in its longevity. As though they couldn't live with themselves if Raja didn't break every record in tennis and wanted -- no needed -- to do all they could to help.

Andy said this last year and it's just coming out now?

That in itself is a story that someone needs to tell.


Tennisfan said...

Good stuff from Andy. Who can blame him? (If the article is true) He spoke of his mind and rightfully so. As a Fed fan, I could only say I sure hope Fed could overcome his issues.

oddman said...

My jaw's been a bit out of alignment myself, CraigHickman, for there have been a few articles penned about what Fed showed everyone yesterday. And the writers haven't held back any more than this one. Good stuff.

Craig Hickman said...

It almost seems as though people have been sitting on this stuff just waiting until Raja fell.

Quite frankly, I have a problem with that.

Don't build a person up and then take pleasure in kicking them in the gut when they're down.

I don't want that for anyone, whether I like them or not.

Yes, Raja has the titles and the records.

But too many people propped him up. Not because he didn't deserve to be propped up, but there was virtually no critical insight into the majestic world Raja had created, not just through his tennis, but through his obvious efforts to "get right into [his competition's] heads." Many of these writers and analysts painted that world with saturated colors. Safe to say some even did their part in trying to ensure that the technicolor world never ended. As though they had a personal stake in its longevity. As though they couldn't live with themselves if Raja didn't break every record in tennis and wanted -- no needed -- to do all they could to help.

Andy said this last year and it's just coming out now?

That in itself is a story that someone needs to tell.

Graf_sampras said...

Craighickman said it very well.

it is in fact WRONG for the media to have sat by silently while some or most of them placed federer on a pedestal - and for example NEVER saying much about how OLD and DECREPIT andre agassi was in some of roger's most important matches - two of them CRITICAL to TWO of his 13 majors...

or in fact how SERIOUS mark philippoussies' many years of loss of form was -- CONSIDERING that HE was the finalist and therefore the QUALITY of the competition in wimbledon was indeed -- POOR...

or many other instances of such "players with SERIOUS defects" the main challengers....

and all that SILENCE about the background surrounding roger allowed the pedestal to be created .......

fine...but NOW they also get on him because he is falling.

I AGREE that this is NOT right.

it is better that they had been more "down-to-earth"

call him great, talented, very very good, whatever....

but ALSO point out that part of it was why he LOOKED that way against many of his seriously handicapped opponents.

and then people have a better perspective.

now this "monster i've created" -- according to roger -- has come biting back . and NOT without a grreat deal of advance notice by the media -- in fact -- SINCE 2000.

it influenced the WAY OTHER players were SUPPOSED to think of their challenge across the net to roger:

"THEY" were NOT the "elected one"

THEREFORE -- "once roger comes into his own"

"they" better stand back and WATCH roger .

and it is EXACTLY what has happened in the men's tennis...until nadal came and fought for every point...saying today:

"we all like to WATCH roger , no? because it is so beautiful no? but I have to FIGHT, no?"

dapxin said...

the reason why humility is such a powerful phenemenon that's never taught in school.....

*lol* at Craig. I saw it coming.


I am proud, that is coming from the Brit-press; This is 'our' stuff here....

Pushing you up, in order to slam you down, really hard when the time is ripe.

Terrific + brave quote from Andy tho

kraa said...

I am sure few if any feel awful sorry about Roger, but I bet none feel sorry about Andy's problems either.

P.S. Just wait few years and something similar will happen to Nadal as well. No one stays young forever.

sG said...

Just from the quote alone: Damn. So much word, Craig. Yes, Kraa, Rafa's time will come too; hopefully not for a while yet. But as a Rafa fan I am so used to others writing his tennis obit that I think I'm a bit more prepared for the eventuality. ^^

oddman said...

I recall you writing about this a few times, Craig - hype. Maybe not directly related to Fed, but you've mentioned it before. And I recall us discussing JMac's comment a few years ago, the bit about Mirka asking the press to quit on all the excess praising. JMac said then, 'Roger must read his own press', well, Roger made that quite clear after the 08 USO, and despite him denying he reads anything bad about himself, he knew exactly what the press were saying these last few weeks.

Do I feel pity for him? Not really. It's interesting, I'm wating to see what he will do.

sic said...

Evidently, Rafa's time will come someday too - nobody stays on top forever. There are different degrees of dignity when stars fade though; I kinda suspect that Rafa won't feel so entitled when his star begins to fade. And I really doubt we'll ever see him break a racket.

I also think that the press won't be as hard on him, because although Rafa has become a tremendous force and may end up being the greatest ever (if he wins the slam this year...) he's never had an aura of perfection about him like Federer used to have. He's always seemed more human, more fallible - to my eyes there was always something too perfect about Roger; the press celebrated it back then, and now that he is diminished, it seems almost vulgar watching him without the aura. The reaction of the press really doesn't surprise me.

Helen W said...

The Press is The Press is The Press. If Federer had not been so complicit in this situation I would feel for him. But he has conspicuously basked in their adulation, and that of The Worshipful.

Here's a snippet from Charles Bricker (Warning to The Worshipful -- SACRILEGE AHEAD):

"His eyes were red (had he cried again after this 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 semifinal defeat?) and his ostentatiously monogrammed baseball cap was pulled down tight over his forehead as Roger Federer delivered a lot of predictable answers in his post-match press conference Friday."

"So where in his career is Mr. Monogram (he also carries a script F on his shirt sleeves and the back of his shoes, though it isn't known if he also has a monogram F on his underwear or his velvet smoking jacket) as he struggles on to find that record-tying 14th major title?

"I've been marking his slow decline since he was pushed to a fifth set at the 2007 Wimbledon by Rafael Nadal, though the legions of Federer worshippers have been in denial for months about his retreat from No. 1."

To my eyes Federer is a Greek Tragedy writ large -- a hero undone by his own character flaws.

As for Nadal, since he is almost as opposite as a person can be in this regard, I cannot see him aging in any way except gracefully -- as do most athletes, after all.

Tennisfan said...

Well, press is not that surprising really. We saw it coming since 2007, I am hardly moved by what has been printed nowadays. My only concern is how Roger would deal with them. If he couldn't over come this transition and pull a Borg, I would sadly have to agree with Helen_W (with a little less emphasis on character flaws of course) because I still think he could still play decent tennis to beat any players on a good day.

Craig Hickman said...

I think Federer is teetering on the brink of delusion. He better be careful.

His comments in recent interviews are nothing less than insane.

He doesn't need a coach, he needs a shrink.

After all, he has a baby on the way and that baby will need a father who can see himself with clarity.

Karen said...

Well, I guess we have now reached the next chapter in the Roger Federer story - The Tearing Down. They did it to Serena, to Venus, to Andy Rodick, to Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi - yes the media does do it to everyone. Yes, Roger wears his name on his sleeve - hey guess what Justine, Serena, Venus, Sharapova most of the big names in sport do it - some even God forbid have it sold in stores (see Michael Jordan for reference). I see that with Rafa they have decided to forego his name and just put a raging bull on his clothes and accessories. They have changed his bag since he won the AO and Wimbledon (yes there is a green bull and a hardcourt looking bull). They put his little red stars on his bag to denote his French Open titles - they do that to everyone. It is called branding. In relation to Andy's comment about no one feeling sorry for Roger - and why should they. I saw a post here once that said that the other men in the ATP were so in awe of Roger that they were allowing him to take away the food from their plates - I guess that was a lie and another media spin because clearly from what Andy said these guys never felt sorry for him neither were they in awe of him - which do you believe - the media or a fellow player. Then if you believe the players then it all makes them a bunch of hypocrites because they have been voting him sportsman of the year every year since I can remember - bunch a hypocritical yellow bellied curs. As to the so-called media - the next thing is going to be that Roger was suspected of using drugs to accomplish his feat and that all of his competitors were yellow bellied curs who could not play tennis because they were: sick, injured, past their prime, etc etc etc. I guess this is really how you tear down champions - just get into their minds with words and see how fast they crack. Roger, if you ever come to this place and read stuff like this, pick up the phone and call Venus or Serena or better yet Richard and Oracene. They will tell you what to do because surely fans of tennis certainly wont. They want to see you dead and if they can dance on your grave a little bit while doing so - YES!!!! the mission would be accomplished

edma1022 said...

"Their cry of pain floats on the wind.
Echoing from the ridge,
Calling for aid and comfort, but alas,
The spans too wide to bridge.

Only God can help these souls who have
Fallen at the line,
Build no monument to these men, this
Ground shall be their shrine."

-"Fallen Warriors", James Richardson.

And here they are, older, wiser, still struggling. Some of their comrades (Hewitt, Safin, Ferrero, Gaudio, etc.) in deep ringside seats, some (Nalbandian, Moya, etc.) still fighting the good fight. Roger will keep it up, although he's now in the company of newer, fresher, more hungry grown young men. He should avoid falling into the mental trap that he owns these kids, the same way he owned their fathers. This is the start of retribution to all those long sleepless losses, frightful beatings, and tearless weepings he inflicted on those ghosts long past.

(what am I saying??? slap, slap! wake up!)

Consolation to fellow Fed fans keeping the flame alive - his record in 2009 is better than 2008, he's still in the finals of the last 4 slams, he still owns comfortable ranking points... etc., so does that mean he's getting better? Not so fast.

It's his turn to weep.

Tennisfan said...

Now I am sobbing, Edma..

tangerine said...

Craig, spot on with your comments, and I hope you don't mind if I quote you for my own blog.

It is interesting that Andy's comment from last year is only now being reported. Why is that? The media, as you say, acts as if they have a personal stake in Federer's grand slam success. They never hid their extreme bias and cheerleading for Roger. They went so far as to openly resent Nadal's presence and interference of Roger's master plan for greatness. It was only just this year they finally realized that Nadal is no interloper, but possibly a future GOAT of his own making. And even now you can sense they are not happy about this.

As for Andy's comment, he is also spot on. I get annoyed when people say they "feel sorry for Roger". Why? This is a 13 grand slam winner, the most dominant player for 3-4 years at the expense of other players' careers (notably Roddick's), a multi-million dollar millionaire, and beloved by millions around the world. No, I don't feel sorry for Federer at all. All good things must come to an end, and his tennis legacy is secure anyway. He may not go down as THE Goat, but he's certainly one of them. No sympathy here, and none needed.

oddman said...

Have to tell you, Craig and Helen W, you guys are a hit on VB! They're lovin' ya'll!

Graf_sampras said...

for me it is like this:

Federer is already one of the very, very greatest players of tennis and champions who ever picked up the racquet.

he needs NOT to surpass or tie pete sampras in majors to be acknowledged as a player and champion against whom players -- the very best ones - of ANY era can be measured against for roger federer--despite what everyone has seen in due time (i often said that for years) is not QUITE the "perfect" allencompassing player he was sold as - roger federer IS the GENUINE article in being at the highest order of greatness in sports and tennis.

I - as a sampras fan that has been known among fedfans "far and wide"...(lol) as a harsh "TROLL" who has nothing to "say good about roger".....

will say this , however:

for all my own criticisms>

I consider it a PRIVILEGE to have seen roger federer -- rise, achieve his dominance like no one has seen before, show his vulnerabilities and , perhaps show something else even better than just winning and winning and winning...

I consider it a privilege as much as it was - to have also followed and seen pete sampras in his time.

I know one thing -- when federer eventually declines for good and leaves the sport - i will be grateful to him for his great tennis and his pride in his achievements and his dedication and the way he defined his own era to challenge others to be as good as they can be so as to enrich the sport.

I happen to think that he will win more majors. and I think that he will be the better for it, as well as tennis will be , as well as other players will be for that example if he can or does it.

that's all.

he is a true

Graf_sampras said...

Beth said...

Graf_sampras, I completely agree with your last comment here. Absolutely, it has been a privilege to see Federer play and to witness the beauty and grace of his movement (really like no other that I've seen in over 25 years of being a fan). However I disagree with one poster who said that it was disingenuous to be lauding his achievements by voting him sportsman of the year and then to say they don't feel sorry for him. You can appreciate and be amazed by someone's obvious, superior talent and still NOT feel bad for them when they lose or have difficulty in their game. Two very separate issues. I don't doubt that players have been in awe of him. Don't doubt it at all. And I also fully believe they don't feel sorry for him. Why should they? I doubt he is sorry for the losses they've experienced. It's part of being a professional athlete. There are wins and losses. That's life. But to imply that they are exhibiting poor sportsmanship by voting him sportsman of the year and then saying they don't feel sorry for his troubles is comparing apples and oranges. Federer still has plenty of game left. No doubt. He will win more majors, he just needs to rethink some aspects of how he is managing his tennis. He is far, far from gone.

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie said...

Right now, for me, Federer is one of the greats. But he's going through a rough patch right now and this will define whether people argue him as just another great or THE greatest.

He had everything. A loving, dedicated girlfriend; he would go weeks, nay, months not losing a match; he was adored the world over, unlike his predecessors; Sampras, Borg, McEnroe, all of them had their "haters".

And the media loved him. He was never the most handsome fellow, but on becoming a major winner and potential great, he cut his hair, controlled his temper, redefined his image and became - in most person's eyes - not only the perfect tennis player, but the perfect gentlemen.

He was the combination of Andre Agassi and Sampras, the success and the fan base all in one.

And now, his empire is crumbling. Do I feel sorry for him? Of course I do. I felt sorry when Jordan embarrassed himself with the Wizards, I felt sorry when Zidane made an ass of himself in the World Cup finals of all places. I feel sorry for everyone, which is tough, because someone has to lose, so obviously I feel sorry a lot.

But I feel no more sorry for Roger Federer than I do for Rafael Nadal when he lost his first Wimbledon final and I saw the tears in his eyes and the desolation in his body language.

Champions will always rise to the top. But the truest champions are capable of rising from the ashes. If Roger Federer rises again and goes on to win another 3, 4 majors, then in my mind, he's the greatest. He limps out of the sport and breaks down, then he's just another great player in the conversation.

It's up to him to prove himself.

Leslie said...

I also think it would be in his best interest to make it back to the #1 spot, but that does not seem even remotely likely at present. Nadal has a death grip on it for the time being and Murray is gaining ground - fast.

Graf_sampras said...

beth - of course part of the problem with roger is also that ,, so unique from other world number ones (except perhaps hingis who had a similar way of remarking about her rivals and THEIR GAMES) ---

roger keeps coming up with stuff that just reveals how LITTLE he really thinks of his rivals DESPITE the clear reasons why someone like nadal has deposed him so convincingly....


6 Apr 09, 13:28
Graf_sampras: in other words -- IF ROGER had not had "mono" or back injury or this or that HE WOULD HAVE WON 2 GRAND SLAMS ALREADY and now be holding 18
6 Apr 09, 13:27
Graf_sampras: didn't i say that Roger Federer had an ALLPURPOSE reason to COVER the PAST 2 years?
6 Apr 09, 13:27
Graf_sampras: "The Problem wasn't really Rafa, or Murray or Djokovic or other was my Injuries and health for the past 2 years" ROGER FEDERER after the loss to Djokovic

Graf_sampras said...

the IRONY in roger saying these things -- that basically are a summary of the last 2 years of losses --

which in effect are a dismissal of the wins by others over him

is that these "excuses" such as bad health, injury, or whatnot

are the SAME KINDS OF THINGS that can more legitimately be said FOR the players that roger had defeated:

OLD AGE? pete sampras and andre agassi, as well as goran, rafter, kuerten -- injuries even more severe...

mark P, Safin, Hewitt, Ferrero,

we can include even the current ones, NADAL, Roddick, baghdatis, gonzales, dent...canas, etc...

in other words -- far more than the losses by Roger to OTHERS -- OTHERS lost to roger DUE to

the VERY THINGS that roger cites TODAY about himself....

and he is NOT even an OLD man as andre or sampras were when roger defeated them with ten years between himself and they. \

i have always said the time will come when ROGER or his fans WILL use the VERY SAME EXCUSES they denied to sampras and andre

when those older players were being "dethroned" by roger in HIS ascendance during THEIR decline.

and I am NOT surprised that the LEADER in saying these things about roger federer's "losses" DUE to "injuries and health"

if not YET "old age:"


I should know -- because Roger Fans - especially in ESPN had told me

i am A TROLL for saying EXACTLY these things for years and predicting that it will come around .....just as it HAS.


Graf_sampras said...


great stuff in your comments there .

Roger has the goods to win more majors, imo.

but we know also that in some part - tennis is also a "mind game"..a "confidence game"...however that confidence was brought around.

so roger just has to try and find his "confidence" back - no matter what the opposition is like.

andre agassi found HIS confidence KNOWING that after he fell so low (1998) and had to end up
"picking up my own balls from all over the court"...

he was STILL going to have to face sampras, korda, rafter, etc...and other newer players....

and THAT to me was a sign of greatness..and look at what he did -- he won about the other HALF of his ENTIRE majors haul AFTER 1998. ! and was a real threat - except for roger -- in the majors right up to 2005 despite his age and back and hip.

IF roger gets PAST this -- he COULD conceivably create a GREAT , GLORIOUS DUSK in his career...

pete sampras observed quite knowingly:

"with andre...he won and improved and had a resurgence late in his career because he had some patches of going off might say - he saved himself from burning all the way...which is what happened to my case -- i just burned continuously all the way and had nothing left to give in the end".

ROGER CAN use this "patch" as a way to "refuel" in fact...

so it is NOT all "hopeless" .

he could even use this is a launching pad to "hang around" for years and just do the things that really matter to him:

keep winning more majors. ...whether or not he is number one or two or TEN.

Graf_sampras said...

if there is ONE thing that Roger could use as "inspiration" (though he has a high opinion of himself already to probably need or want that) -

it is that his predecessor, whom he conquered, Sampras....

won his last 2 wimbledons when HE was NO LONGER as dominant as he used to be...

and had already arrived at a period of what would be many humiliations...

and that inspite of those ..whether in injuries, or personal commitments which sampras denied was the cause ("it wasn't my wife's was mine. i was simply unable to bring the injuries were also my fault because I never believed in proper warm-ups so i paid the price, like in USO 1999")

ROger might remind himself....

if the man whose 14 majors he is trying to surpass or tie soon could still come up with just one last 2-week run of "what I used to be, a good tennis player"...after 2 years of NOTHING...

and after 2 years of being the object of derision in some circles..

Roger has all the opportunity in the world to not just take good care of himself and his tennis ..but to also put things in perspective :

that "being number one" is not the be-all of it ..he has done that and proved himself...

but PLAYING WELL like "i used to" even if less often - and enought to win more majors is what matters.

if roger can do this -- come to terms with this -- and not BLAME things on his injuries or circumstances or "other players" or even RESENT being less than number one or the "perfect" "everyone's darling"....

he will be able to concentrate better on court , enough to do what Novak Djokovic said yesterday:

"Roger just needs to REGAIN his ability to CHANGE tactics in the MIDDLE of a match".

STICK to it and let things fall where they may.

sampras was no longer as sprightly as he used to in the midnineties when he won his last USO ...

but for a 2 week spell -- he regained his BELIEF in himself -- of what Annaconne reminded him in their last 2 or 3 weeks together as a "team" --

"pete, remember who you ARE. let your game COME to you"..

and pete did what he did best and better than anyone:

"i'd do it all over again...if i was young again today...i wouldn't change a THING...against all players...i'd just keep coming and coming and can't change your stripes from who you are".


roger should remind himself of this. and of his "ability to change tactics in the middle of a match".

dapxin said...


I dont quite get your flow. You seem to presume that people are Tennis fans, they dont know how to see a great champion ?

I disagree.

Its hard, but the real test of a champion, doesnt stop, at Winning. But it does begin at Losing.

Andy's quote is perfectly spot on, imo and he shouldnt be derided for saying that.

As for fans, I guess people who are die hard Raja fans, may be hurt seeing the nose-diving fortunes of theirs. Quite entitled to that.

But there are neutrals, who may feel sorry for the onslaught of pounding Raja will get now, not because of love for the chap, but because no one deserves to be slammed down, the way the kid is gonna get done already..

And there are haters, who are over the moon.

I personally think Raja's spent too much time believing the 'world' the media create for him, so much that when reality sets in, as it was ever going to be, he would be too lost, to know his friends.

And Craig psyhchoanalyses him bothering on the delusional. I gotta say thats all the symptoms suggest.

If I were him, I will take a break, and yes! get a coach - someone who can find you how to deal with hurt, in sports, which is to find your own flaws, and deal with them...