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View Full Version : Did anybody else not like Fed until he was an underdog?


musicalmedic81
01-18-2009, 08:10 AM
Ive always respected Roger but I'll admit it, I didnt like him, especially that season he went something rediculous like 96-4. But now that he actually has to fight hard to win matches and tournaments, I like him a lot better. Plus, like me he's in his late twenties trying to stay at the top of a young mans game, which is very inspiring to me. 5 years ago I never imagined that I would be a Federer fan. He used to just completely blow everybody off the court to where it wasnt even fun for me to watch because I knew exactly what was going to happen. Now, we get to see some heart and some fighting spirit that has shown me a new side to Roger. Anybody else feel the same?

David L
01-18-2009, 08:13 AM
Ive always respected Roger but I'll admit it, I didnt like him, especially that season he went something rediculous like 96-4. But now that he actually has to fight hard to win matches and tournaments, I like him a lot better. Plus, like me he's in his late twenties trying to stay at the top of a young mans game, which is very inspiring to me. 5 years ago I never imagined that I would be a Federer fan. He used to just completely blow everybody off the court to where it wasnt even fun for me to watch because I knew exactly what was going to happen. Now, we get to see some heart and some fighting spirit that has shown me a new side to Roger. Anybody else feel the same?
What makes you think he did not have to fight hard before?

Mick
01-18-2009, 08:16 AM
i am a federer fan but whenever there was a federer-nadal match up, i would always root for nadal because i always thought of nadal as the underdog and federer as the favorite.

the only tournament that i would root for federer over nadal was roland garros.

EPaps
01-18-2009, 08:16 AM
Ive always respected Roger but I'll admit it, I didnt like him, especially that season he went something rediculous like 96-4. But now that he actually has to fight hard to win matches and tournaments, I like him a lot better. Plus, like me he's in his late twenties trying to stay at the top of a young mans game, which is very inspiring to me. 5 years ago I never imagined that I would be a Federer fan. He used to just completely blow everybody off the court to where it wasnt even fun for me to watch because I knew exactly what was going to happen. Now, we get to see some heart and some fighting spirit that has shown me a new side to Roger. Anybody else feel the same?

I think I know what you're saying, although I've been a fan for a while. I think because he was so dominant, people (I think Andy Murray said this) said that they were afraid of him, so maybe they didn't play their best and that's why the matches were so lopsided.

madmanfool
01-18-2009, 08:17 AM
I liked the young Federer the most. Before he became so dominant. He was so up and down back then. Some great wins and then horrible losses. That made it more fun. His game wasn't perfected yet, but the talent was so obvious. It was very frustrating at times because he would lose to players he shouldn't have lost to. But that all added to the fun. He wasn't the overwelming favourite. He was a young guy with a flashy game.

R_Federer
01-18-2009, 08:20 AM
I've always liked him, I would love him to start dominating again (i.e. winning 3 majors out 4 in a year) as now people wont complain about the competition "not being good". They know Djoker, Nadal, and Murray have good game and if he is still able to dominate then he is just....well something else.

But ya its also good to see him have to work really hard and still win like he did at the US Open and almost at Wimbledon. I really think he can get Wimbledon back.

bolo
01-18-2009, 08:22 AM
lol, sometimes it's not underdog/overdog.

Sometimes it's there is no way he is as bad or as good as people on tv and messageboards say he is. You want to go against the wrong view. :)

Leublu tennis
01-18-2009, 08:32 AM
I liked his game but I just got tired of his bland personality.

SchreckTennis
01-18-2009, 08:32 AM
Ive always respected Roger but I'll admit it, I didnt like him, especially that season he went something rediculous like 96-4. But now that he actually has to fight hard to win matches and tournaments, I like him a lot better. Plus, like me he's in his late twenties trying to stay at the top of a young mans game, which is very inspiring to me. 5 years ago I never imagined that I would be a Federer fan. He used to just completely blow everybody off the court to where it wasnt even fun for me to watch because I knew exactly what was going to happen. Now, we get to see some heart and some fighting spirit that has shown me a new side to Roger. Anybody else feel the same?

That's how I feel. I remember that (it seems to me, maybe I just wasn't watching good enough matches) while watching matches involving Roger Federer and being in awe of his amazing shots, he seemed robotic in emotions. If he won an amazing rally, he might fistpump or say something like "come on", but other than those little things, he was silent. But during and after the epic Wimbledon match vs. Nadal, he yelled and cursed on a few occasions and it really looked (emotionally) like he would do anything to win. And since then, it seems watching close matches involving Fed have more emotion on his side of the court. And this is what makes me a new fan of Roger.

That probably sounds stupid, but that's how it seemed to me.

Ocean Drive
01-18-2009, 09:04 AM
What makes you think he did not have to fight hard before?

You've obviously not watched much tennis if you think he was busting a nut a few years ago in most tournaments, he may train hard, work hard, but that doesn't mean he was having to fight to win matches.

Ocean Drive
01-18-2009, 09:07 AM
I liked his game but I just got tired of his bland personality.

Theirs a difference between being humble and respectful than being bland, not everybody needs to run around and perform ridiculous fist pumping knee jumping performances like Nadal. He's a grown man and acts like one, not a 5 year old who has just woke up on Christmas morning.

egn
01-18-2009, 09:09 AM
I think I know what you're saying, although I've been a fan for a while. I think because he was so dominant, people (I think Andy Murray said this) said that they were afraid of him, so maybe they didn't play their best and that's why the matches were so lopsided.

I think that is what made him so dominant, he was destructive but he became even more destructive because people simply felt like they had lost going out on to the court. Federer was this casual figure in his prime, never seemed to care about the score just came in did his job and left. It was that attitude that powered him through tons of other players and made them all so scared which is why Federer is as great as he was.

Now Federer is more worried, he has to check the score, he can be beaten he is older. I must admit I like Federer now more not only because he is human, but it also has changed his game. He has become more risky he goes for things he has started to improvise. No longer does Federer simply play the same game he switches up. I mean he one serve will be back baselining and then next serve he rushes straight for the volley. Federer I think now is going through what Agassi underwent this sort of mental maturing. He has experience, not as much skill but a lot more experience. Though I do not think He will be more successful than his youth like Agassi was but I think he can be just as successful. However at the same time I am starting to dislike Federer off court as he is still not ready to accept that fact that he is no longer on top.

R_Federer
01-18-2009, 09:18 AM
Theirs a difference between being humble and respectful than being bland, not everybody needs to run around and perform ridiculous fist pumping knee jumping performances like Nadal. He's a grown man and acts like one, not a 5 year old who has just woke up on Christmas morning.

Well said haha lol. By the way for everyone thinking he is "old", he is 28...Sampras won a Slam in mid 30s? He's got like 8 years of great tennis left in him. He will easily reach 20 Slam titles. Remember how easy Federer used to play, he hardly had to break a sweat or play long points. His body has not taken much toil. The opposite is true for Nadal, so even though he is younger, he will break down eventually much quicker.

oneleggedcardinal
01-18-2009, 09:23 AM
Theirs a difference between being humble and respectful than being bland, not everybody needs to run around and perform ridiculous fist pumping knee jumping performances like Nadal. He's a grown man and acts like one, not a 5 year old who has just woke up on Christmas morning.

QFT.

10 char

GameSampras
01-18-2009, 09:36 AM
Make the game more exciting as opposed to Fed just having a guaranteed win at the slams it almost seemed before. Its nice to see the guy who dominated for so long be the underdog. Its a breathe of fresh air

David L
01-18-2009, 09:38 AM
You've obviously not watched much tennis if you think he was busting a nut a few years ago in most tournaments, he may train hard, work hard, but that doesn't mean he was having to fight to win matches.
You obviously have not watched much tennis yourself or maybe didn't fully understand what you were seeing. Just because it's easy to watch, does not mean it's easy to do. There were many instances when Federer had to battle to win matches. Let's take one of his strongest years, 2006. Have a look at the Australian Open, Rome, Roland Garros, Halle, Canada, the US Open, Tokyo, Basel, the Masters Cup. There are quite a few tough matches in there and elsewhere Federer could have easily lost. He even had to face match points on a few occasions.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/5/en/players/playerprofiles/playeractivity.asp?query=Singles&year=2006&player=F324&selTournament=0&prevtrnnum=0


This is what Federer had to say in his press conference on Sunday.

"They never come around easily. Let's not forget who I had to beat on the way."

SmAsH999
01-18-2009, 09:46 AM
it seems that in years such as 07, Federer got what he deserved; a great record and tournament wins. Yet this year, I am routing for him, because he really has worked harder than before, it seems to me. As it is said: success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom. Now we just have to see how Fed does in a year where tennis will most likely be very competitive.

Leublu tennis
01-18-2009, 09:59 AM
Theirs a difference between being humble and respectful than being bland, not everybody needs to run around and perform ridiculous fist pumping knee jumping performances like Nadal. He's a grown man and acts like one, not a 5 year old who has just woke up on Christmas morning.

How about boring. Is that better than bland? He just has no personality on or off the court. Ever seen his interviews? I have to suppress a yawn before he finishes talking. Sorry, he may be, and is, a great tennis player but he is just another Lendl.

ESP#1
01-18-2009, 10:00 AM
Its kinda boring when the same guy wins all the time, hence federer became boring, its also kinda annoying making him that also, now that the game is exciting we dont project those traits on to him and can really appreciate his game for what it is

All-rounder
01-18-2009, 10:01 AM
You've obviously not watched much tennis if you think he was busting a nut a few years ago in most tournaments, he may train hard, work hard, but that doesn't mean he was having to fight to win matches.
then what happened in 05 season when he lost his aussie open lost to safin then lost to nadal for the first time at roland garros then david nalbandian at masters cup

All-rounder
01-18-2009, 10:02 AM
Its kinda boring when the same guy wins all the time, hence federer became boring, its also kinda annoying making him that also, now that the game is exciting we dont project those traits on to him and can really appreciate his game for what it is
hmm just wait until nadal keeps winning french like 12 times then you will soon see

R_Federer
01-18-2009, 10:04 AM
I dont think he was ever boring. Is painting the lines boring? I bet all you tennis players playing out there DREAM about that and find that exciting. Painting the lines is like bending it like beckham in football. How is that boring lol :)?

saram
01-18-2009, 10:06 AM
I have always respected the Fed's game and his greatness. But, I'll agree with the OP--I like him more now. Or, maybe I should say I root for him more now. I have always found him to resemble Sampras in the fact that he had unbelievable greatness, strokes, and domination of the sport-but I always wanted to see more personality.

Like mentioned above--the only time I have ever rooted for Roger in the past was in Paris--outside of that, I have never rooted for the guy.

I'm a guy that prefers personality within a player--ala Baghdatis, Tsonga, Monfils, etc. I just tend to root for the guy playing with a smile on his face for some reason.

saram
01-18-2009, 10:07 AM
How is it boring? Is painting the lines boring? I bet all you tennis players playing out there DREAM about that and find that exciting. Painting the lines is like bending it like beckham in football. How is that boring?

His brilliance is not boring--but his personality is just flat. At least Beckham has personality.

Racer41c
01-18-2009, 10:08 AM
Nope, I don't agree. In my view, he's always been himself which I can respest. While overly confident, I didn't think of him as arrogant which wear out it's welcome in about 2 seconds.

If your a formula 1 fan, there are a couple of perfect examples.

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 10:17 AM
Theirs a difference between being humble and respectful than being bland, not everybody needs to run around and perform ridiculous fist pumping knee jumping performances like Nadal. He's a grown man and acts like one, not a 5 year old who has just woke up on Christmas morning.
I like Nadal's boyish energy. It's refreshing and exciting, particularly when contrasted to Federer's seriousness and impassiveness. I don't think Federer has reached the status of underdog yet. I still expect him to win every match, I'm still surprised when he loses.

tacou
01-18-2009, 10:21 AM
I've never disliked Roger, but I always rooted against him just because it seemed silly to root for him-- OBVIOUSLY he was going to win.

but now that's it not a certainty I feel like I'll enjoy his matches a bit more. so yeah, I agree with OP

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 10:31 AM
I dont think he was ever boring. Is painting the lines boring? I bet all you tennis players playing out there DREAM about that and find that exciting. Painting the lines is like bending it like beckham in football. How is that boring lol :)?
It can be boring if the way it's done is too mechanical, predictable or passionless. Actually I found a perfect metaphor for Fed, he's a Swiss watch: precise, infallible and soulless.

tacou
01-18-2009, 10:45 AM
It can be boring if the way it's done is too mechanical, predictable or passionless. Actually I found a perfect metaphor for Fed, he's a Swiss watch: precise, infallible and soulless.

I disagree... I think Fed's game is beautiful, I don't know how anyone could describe it as mechanical. especially the way he moves around the court, it's like he's on ice or something!

Mansewerz
01-18-2009, 10:52 AM
I guess I've always been a fan. As I got more serious about tennis, I liked Fed, but I was also more of a Fed and Nadal fan (maybe cuz he was the underdog). I started liking Fed more as I got more into tennis, and he was also becoming the underdog at that point.

Mansewerz
01-18-2009, 10:54 AM
Fed shows more emotion when he's against Nadal. Also, the Igor match at USO was, well, intense.

DoubleDeuce
01-18-2009, 11:00 AM
You've obviously not watched much tennis if you think he was busting a nut a few years ago in most tournaments, he may train hard, work hard, but that doesn't mean he was having to fight to win matches.

In his book "Quest for Perfection" Rene Stauffer, writes and interesting prologue. Read it, it may change the way you think about "having to fight to win matches" when you speak of Federer, even many years ago.


Encounter with a 15-year-old

It was September 11, 1996. I was on assignment for the Tages-Anzeiger and was supposed to write a story about the World Youth Cup, a sort of Davis Cup for juniors that was being played in Zurich, the location of our editorial office. I was skeptical. A story about a team tournament involving obscure 15 and 16-year-old tennis players—who
would be interested in that? I viewed this assignment as a tiresome task, thanks to the Swiss Tennis Federation since they had charitably taken on the tournament for its 100-year anniversary. No, this certainly would not be an interesting assignment.

On this day, I met Roger Federer for the first time. He played on a far away court surrounded by wire mesh at a tennis and recreation facility called Guggach. Officials from the Swiss Tennis Federation told me that Federer was a pretty good player and that there was little to criticize except that he was sometimes very temperamental. He just turned 15 and was actually too young for this tournament, but his credentials were impressive—he had already won five Swiss national junior championship titles, was the best Swiss player in the 16-and-under age bracket and was already ranked No. 88 nationally.

On this day, he played against an Italian named Nohuel Fracassi, who since this encounter with Federer, I never heard from again. Fracassi was more than a year older, bigger and stronger than Federer and he had already won the first set when I arrived. The mood was reminiscent of an insignificant club tournament. There were three or four spectators, a referee and no ball boys. The players fetched the balls themselves. However, I was instantly fascinated by Federer’s elegant style. I had already seen some players come and go in my fifteen years as a tennis journalist but it appeared to me that an extraordinary talent was coming of age here in front of me. He effortlessly put spins on balls so that the Italian—even on this slow clay court—would often just watch the ball fly past him for winners. With hardly a sound, he stroked winning shots from his black racquet, moved fast and gracefully. His strokes were harmonious and technically brilliant.

His tactics were also quite unusual. There were no similarities to the safe and consistent “Swedish School” of baseline tennis that was very common back then and usually resulted in promised success on clay courts. Federer would have nothing of that. He looked to end points quickly at every opportunity. He appeared to have mastered every stroke, which was quite unusual for juniors in his age group. He dominated with his serve and his forehand, but his powerful one-handed backhand and the occasional volley also looked like something taken from a tennis textbook.

Roger Federer was a diamond in the rough, no doubt. I was astonished and wondered why nobody had yet seen him or written about him. Was it perhaps because the media had so often prematurely written in superlatives about talented young players only to discover later that they did not measure up to the task of international tennis? Not every Swiss tennis player could be a new Heinz Günthardt, Jakob Hlasek or a Marc Rosset, perhaps the three best Swiss men’s players ever. Perhaps because hardly anybody was scouting for new talent in Switzerland since our little country was already over-proportionately well-represented in professional tennis with Rosset, the 1992 Olympic champion, and the up-and-coming 15-year-old Martina Hingis, already a Wimbledon doubles champion and a semifinalist in singles at the US Open.

But perhaps the reason was also that Federer’s athletic maturity stood in stark contrast to his behavior. He was a hot-head. On this September afternoon, his temper exploded even from the smallest mistakes. On several occasions, he threw his racquet across the court in anger and disgust. He constantly berated himself. “Duubel!” or “Idiot!” he exclaimed when one of his balls narrowly missed the line. He sometimes even criticized himself aloud when he actually won points but was dissatisfied with his stroke.

He didn’t seem to notice what was going on around him. It was only him, the ball, the racquet—and his fuming temper—nothing else. Being so high-strung, he had to fight more with himself than with his opponent across the net this day. This dual struggle pushed him to the limit and I assumed he would lose despite his technical superiority. I was wrong. Federer won the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

I found out later that Federer already won a hard-fought, three-set match the day before against a tenacious young Australian player by the name of Lleyton Hewitt, with Federer fighting off a match point to win by a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 margin. This Federer-Hewitt match occurred in front of a crowd of 30 people who purchased tickets for the day—plus the four people who bought a tournament series ticket for all sessions. Nobody could have known that these two players would become two of the greatest players—both earning the No. 1 ranking and going on to compete on the greatest stages of the sport in packed
stadiums and in front of millions of television viewers around the world.

I wanted to know more about Federer and asked him for an interview. He surprised me once again as he sat across from me at a wooden table in the gym locker room. I feared that the young man would be reserved and taciturn in the presence of an unfamiliar reporter from a national newspaper and he would hardly be able to say anything useful or quotable. But this was not the case. Federer spoke flowingly and confidently with a mischievous smile. He explained that his idol was Pete Sampras and that he had been training for a year at the Swiss National Tennis Center at Ecublens on Lake Geneva. He
also said that he probably was among the 30 or 40 best in his age class in the world and that he wanted to become a top professional but still had to improve his game—and his attitude.

“I know that I can’t always complain and shout because that hurts me and makes me play worse,” he said. “I hardly forgive myself on any mistakes although they’re normal.” He looked in the distance and said almost to himself—“One should just be able to play a perfect game.”

Playing a perfect game—that’s what motivated him. He didn’t want to just defeat opponents and win trophies, even if he liked the idea of becoming rich and famous or both, as he admitted. For him, instinctively, the journey was the reward and the journey involved hitting and placing balls with his racquet as perfectly as possible. He seemed to be obsessed with this, which would explain why he could become frustrated even after winning points. He didn’t want to dominate his opponent in this rectangle with the net that fascinated him—he wanted to dominate the ball that he both hated and loved.

Federer had great expectations—too many at that time that he would have been able to achieve them. His emotions carried him away in this conflict between expectations and reality. He seemed to sense his great potential and that he was capable of doing great things—but he was not yet able to transform his talents into reality.

His unusual attitude towards perfection had a positive side effect in that he did not consider his opponents as rivals who wanted to rob the butter from his bread, as the sometimes reclusive Jimmy Connors used to say. His opponents were more companions on a common path. This attitude made him a popular and well-liked person in the locker room. He was social and someone you could joke around with. For Federer, tennis was not an individual sport with opponents who needed to be intimidated, but a common leisure activity with like-minded colleagues who, as part of a big team, were pursuing the
same goal.

He became terribly annoyed at his own mistakes but he had the capacity to question things, to observe things from a distance and to put them in the correct perspective after his emotions had abated. He was also willing to admit weaknesses. “I don’t like to train and I also always play badly in training,” he casually observed during this interview. “I’m twice as good in the matches.”

This sentence surprised me as well. While many players choked under pressure, he apparently maintained a winning mentality. This strength that abounded in the most important matches and game situations really drove many opponents to distraction and enabled Federer to escape from apparently hopeless situations. It also helped Federer establish one of the most unbelievable records in sports history—24 consecutive victories in professional singles finals between July of 2003 and November of 2005—double the record held by John McEnroe and Björn Borg.

DarthFed
01-18-2009, 11:04 AM
Fed got me into tennis to begin...so my stance should be obvious

His off court personality is not bland...he's made me lol quite a few times

after beating Roddick in cincy he once said "Andy's a great guy..i like playing him...not just because i win"

It was funny because we know he was just joking, anyone who calls him a robot is BS he's one of the most emotional players on tour who is good at suppressing his emotions...he cried after his first wimbledon and and wimbledon 07 and even after last years US open if that isn't passion i don't know what is..even after beating Agassi he almost teared up

For some who doesn't even speak english as a first language he comes of as elegant sometimes i forget the guy is swiss

aphex
01-18-2009, 11:08 AM
His brilliance is not boring--but his personality is just flat. At least Beckham has personality.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 11:13 AM
In his book "Quest for Perfection" Rene Stauffer, writes and interesting prologue. Read it, it may change the way you think about "having to fight to win matches" when you speak of Federer, even many years ago.


Encounter with a 15-year-old

It was September 11, 1996. I was on assignment for the Tages-Anzeiger and was supposed to write a story about the World Youth Cup, a sort of Davis Cup for juniors that was being played in Zurich, the location of our editorial office. I was skeptical. A story about a team tournament involving obscure 15 and 16-year-old tennis players—who
would be interested in that? I viewed this assignment as a tiresome task, thanks to the Swiss Tennis Federation since they had charitably taken on the tournament for its 100-year anniversary. No, this certainly would not be an interesting assignment.

On this day, I met Roger Federer for the first time. He played on a far away court surrounded by wire mesh at a tennis and recreation facility called Guggach. Officials from the Swiss Tennis Federation told me that Federer was a pretty good player and that there was little to criticize except that he was sometimes very temperamental. He just turned 15 and was actually too young for this tournament, but his credentials were impressive—he had already won five Swiss national junior championship titles, was the best Swiss player in the 16-and-under age bracket and was already ranked No. 88 nationally.

On this day, he played against an Italian named Nohuel Fracassi, who since this encounter with Federer, I never heard from again. Fracassi was more than a year older, bigger and stronger than Federer and he had already won the first set when I arrived. The mood was reminiscent of an insignificant club tournament. There were three or four spectators, a referee and no ball boys. The players fetched the balls themselves. However, I was instantly fascinated by Federer’s elegant style. I had already seen some players come and go in my fifteen years as a tennis journalist but it appeared to me that an extraordinary talent was coming of age here in front of me. He effortlessly put spins on balls so that the Italian—even on this slow clay court—would often just watch the ball fly past him for winners. With hardly a sound, he stroked winning shots from his black racquet, moved fast and gracefully. His strokes were harmonious and technically brilliant.

His tactics were also quite unusual. There were no similarities to the safe and consistent “Swedish School” of baseline tennis that was very common back then and usually resulted in promised success on clay courts. Federer would have nothing of that. He looked to end points quickly at every opportunity. He appeared to have mastered every stroke, which was quite unusual for juniors in his age group. He dominated with his serve and his forehand, but his powerful one-handed backhand and the occasional volley also looked like something taken from a tennis textbook.

Roger Federer was a diamond in the rough, no doubt. I was astonished and wondered why nobody had yet seen him or written about him. Was it perhaps because the media had so often prematurely written in superlatives about talented young players only to discover later that they did not measure up to the task of international tennis? Not every Swiss tennis player could be a new Heinz Günthardt, Jakob Hlasek or a Marc Rosset, perhaps the three best Swiss men’s players ever. Perhaps because hardly anybody was scouting for new talent in Switzerland since our little country was already over-proportionately well-represented in professional tennis with Rosset, the 1992 Olympic champion, and the up-and-coming 15-year-old Martina Hingis, already a Wimbledon doubles champion and a semifinalist in singles at the US Open.

But perhaps the reason was also that Federer’s athletic maturity stood in stark contrast to his behavior. He was a hot-head. On this September afternoon, his temper exploded even from the smallest mistakes. On several occasions, he threw his racquet across the court in anger and disgust. He constantly berated himself. “Duubel!” or “Idiot!” he exclaimed when one of his balls narrowly missed the line. He sometimes even criticized himself aloud when he actually won points but was dissatisfied with his stroke.

He didn’t seem to notice what was going on around him. It was only him, the ball, the racquet—and his fuming temper—nothing else. Being so high-strung, he had to fight more with himself than with his opponent across the net this day. This dual struggle pushed him to the limit and I assumed he would lose despite his technical superiority. I was wrong. Federer won the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

I found out later that Federer already won a hard-fought, three-set match the day before against a tenacious young Australian player by the name of Lleyton Hewitt, with Federer fighting off a match point to win by a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 margin. This Federer-Hewitt match occurred in front of a crowd of 30 people who purchased tickets for the day—plus the four people who bought a tournament series ticket for all sessions. Nobody could have known that these two players would become two of the greatest players—both earning the No. 1 ranking and going on to compete on the greatest stages of the sport in packed
stadiums and in front of millions of television viewers around the world.

I wanted to know more about Federer and asked him for an interview. He surprised me once again as he sat across from me at a wooden table in the gym locker room. I feared that the young man would be reserved and taciturn in the presence of an unfamiliar reporter from a national newspaper and he would hardly be able to say anything useful or quotable. But this was not the case. Federer spoke flowingly and confidently with a mischievous smile. He explained that his idol was Pete Sampras and that he had been training for a year at the Swiss National Tennis Center at Ecublens on Lake Geneva. He
also said that he probably was among the 30 or 40 best in his age class in the world and that he wanted to become a top professional but still had to improve his game—and his attitude.

“I know that I can’t always complain and shout because that hurts me and makes me play worse,” he said. “I hardly forgive myself on any mistakes although they’re normal.” He looked in the distance and said almost to himself—“One should just be able to play a perfect game.”

Playing a perfect game—that’s what motivated him. He didn’t want to just defeat opponents and win trophies, even if he liked the idea of becoming rich and famous or both, as he admitted. For him, instinctively, the journey was the reward and the journey involved hitting and placing balls with his racquet as perfectly as possible. He seemed to be obsessed with this, which would explain why he could become frustrated even after winning points. He didn’t want to dominate his opponent in this rectangle with the net that fascinated him—he wanted to dominate the ball that he both hated and loved.

Federer had great expectations—too many at that time that he would have been able to achieve them. His emotions carried him away in this conflict between expectations and reality. He seemed to sense his great potential and that he was capable of doing great things—but he was not yet able to transform his talents into reality.

His unusual attitude towards perfection had a positive side effect in that he did not consider his opponents as rivals who wanted to rob the butter from his bread, as the sometimes reclusive Jimmy Connors used to say. His opponents were more companions on a common path. This attitude made him a popular and well-liked person in the locker room. He was social and someone you could joke around with. For Federer, tennis was not an individual sport with opponents who needed to be intimidated, but a common leisure activity with like-minded colleagues who, as part of a big team, were pursuing the
same goal.

He became terribly annoyed at his own mistakes but he had the capacity to question things, to observe things from a distance and to put them in the correct perspective after his emotions had abated. He was also willing to admit weaknesses. “I don’t like to train and I also always play badly in training,” he casually observed during this interview. “I’m twice as good in the matches.”

This sentence surprised me as well. While many players choked under pressure, he apparently maintained a winning mentality. This strength that abounded in the most important matches and game situations really drove many opponents to distraction and enabled Federer to escape from apparently hopeless situations. It also helped Federer establish one of the most unbelievable records in sports history—24 consecutive victories in professional singles finals between July of 2003 and November of 2005—double the record held by John McEnroe and Björn Borg.
This is nice literature but really, we're supposed to believe that the writer was that dazzled by Federer when he was 15? I watched Federer's matches when he started on the tour (from 1998 onwards) and honestly he wasn't that good at all and he didn't win much until the end of 2003. I doubt that he was that unforgettable at the age of 15!

DoubleDeuce
01-18-2009, 11:16 AM
This is nice literature but really, we're supposed to believe that the writer was that dazzled by Federer when he was 15? I watched Federer's matches when he started on the tour (from 1998 onwards) and honestly he wasn't that good at all and he didn't win much until the end of 2003. I doubt that he was that unforgettable at the age of 15!

Can't blame you. Not everyone has an eye for talent.

There are videos from when he was 17 and commentator was predicting him going far in the game.

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 11:22 AM
Can't blame you. Not everyone has an eye for talent.

There are videos from when he was 17 and commentator was predicting him going far in the game.
Going far in the game maybe but be a completely dominant #1? I don't know, I don't think anyone really expected what happened. He was just one good player among others at the time.

aphex
01-18-2009, 11:25 AM
This is nice literature but really, we're supposed to believe that the writer was that dazzled by Federer when he was 15? I watched Federer's matches when he started on the tour (from 1998 onwards) and honestly he wasn't that good at all and he didn't win much until the end of 2003. I doubt that he was that unforgettable at the age of 15!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GipXOIxjXA8&feature=related

you're right...

Thats him at 17

i say he's about a weak 3.5

DarthFed
01-18-2009, 11:27 AM
Going far in the game maybe but be a completely dominant #1? I don't know, I don't think anyone really expected what happened. He was just one good player among others at the time.

Can you give him credit for anything?

Your post are generally satirical when it comes to federer :(

DoubleDeuce
01-18-2009, 11:29 AM
Going far in the game maybe but be a completely dominant #1? I don't know, I don't think anyone really expected what happened. He was just one good player among others at the time.

Yes, to predict exactly what will happen requires the crystal ball, of course. This reporter and others most likely interviewed others that they considered gifted and have a good chance of exceptional success in their careers.

certifiedjatt
01-18-2009, 11:30 AM
the day he got an RF logo on his shoes, and started coming to wimbledon in regal outfits, i started to dislike him.

DarthFed
01-18-2009, 11:35 AM
the day he got an RF logo on his shoes, and started coming to wimbledon in regal outfits, i started to dislike him.

What about the Bull on Rafa's shoes?

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 11:43 AM
Can you give him credit for anything?

Your post are generally satirical when it comes to federer :(
Sorry, I can't help it! I give him credit for becoming one of the best tennis players in the history of tennis and for achieving so much but a- he will never be one of my favorites (that's just personal preference, I didn't like Lendl's style very much either even though he won a lot) and b- a lot of guys beat Federer in his early years, I honestly remember thinking he was top 10 material, but the huge superstar he later became? Frankly I would never have thought.

saram
01-18-2009, 11:43 AM
What about the Bull on Rafa's shoes?

A bull on your shoes and wearing a white sport coat and slacks to centre court are completely different, IMO.

R_Federer
01-18-2009, 11:45 AM
A bull on your shoes and wearing a white sport coat and slacks to centre court are completely different, IMO.

How about dressing as if you're a boxer and then running around as if you're Muhammad Ali? :neutral:

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 11:47 AM
How about dressing as if you're a boxer and then running around as if you're Muhammad Ali? :neutral:
Are you refering to Tsonga?

DarthFed
01-18-2009, 11:48 AM
How about dressing as if you're a boxer and then running around as if you're Muhammad Ali? :neutral:

Tsonga is a dead ringer for Ali though...can't be helped

TheTruth
01-18-2009, 11:52 AM
Are you refering to Tsonga?

Lol! That was my exact thought! Tsonga's face swam into my consciousness as I read those words. Glad to see we're on the same page!

David L
01-18-2009, 11:53 AM
This is nice literature but really, we're supposed to believe that the writer was that dazzled by Federer when he was 15? I watched Federer's matches when he started on the tour (from 1998 onwards) and honestly he wasn't that good at all and he didn't win much until the end of 2003. I doubt that he was that unforgettable at the age of 15!
Watching tennis in the flesh and watching it on TV are two completely different experiences.

DoubleDeuce
01-18-2009, 11:54 AM
the day he got an RF logo on his shoes, and started coming to wimbledon in regal outfits, i started to dislike him.

Look at other superstars for a comparison, say Tom Cruise. The guy drives a $1million Verion car to his red carpet events, for playing only two movies he gets paid more than Federer ever maid in his entire career, never having to go through the pressure and the hard work a professional tennis player, or any other pro player, sells his new babies photos for several more millions etc etc... now you are disliking him for having a logo on his Nike hat and shoes?

R_Federer
01-18-2009, 11:57 AM
Actually I was referring to Nadal he also tries to be like a boxer ala Ali by that run/jumping up and down he does at the start of a match.

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 11:57 AM
Watching tennis in the flesh and watching it on TV are two completely different experiences.
Did you watch him in the flesh when he was very young (17 or 18)?

David L
01-18-2009, 12:06 PM
Did you watch him in the flesh when he was very young (17 or 18)?
No I didn't. That's the point. I wouldn't scoff at the impression a live witness had of a player, based on the impressions I gleaned from TV. Live experiences are always very different from TV experiences, in everything, and world class tennis players, be they juniors or seniors, are far more impressive in the flesh than anything you can see on TV.

fgzhu88
01-18-2009, 12:49 PM
I liked the young Federer the most. Before he became so dominant. He was so up and down back then. Some great wins and then horrible losses. That made it more fun. His game wasn't perfected yet, but the talent was so obvious. It was very frustrating at times because he would lose to players he shouldn't have lost to. But that all added to the fun. He wasn't the overwelming favourite. He was a young guy with a flashy game.

AMEN!!!!!!!!

someone who feels the same as I do. Back then, he either made you shake your head in disbelief or in disappointment

rubberduckies
01-18-2009, 12:51 PM
Actually I was referring to Nadal he also tries to be like a boxer ala Ali by that run/jumping up and down he does at the start of a match.

Good point. Running and jumping only happen in boxing.

I respect people who route for the underdog. Too many Federer fans are people who were just drawn to the idea of routing for a dominant athlete.

Leublu tennis
01-18-2009, 12:53 PM
Watching tennis in the flesh and watching it on TV are two completely different experiences.

Boy, isn't that the truth. My real pleasure in life is the opportunity to travel to tennis tournaments. Its an experience I would never have believed.

saram
01-18-2009, 01:45 PM
How about dressing as if you're a boxer and then running around as if you're Muhammad Ali? :neutral:

Yeah, that Tsonga rocks...with personality as well. Sorry, I just don't think a man should wear a suit to a tennis match....it is just a little vain.

TheMusicLover
01-18-2009, 03:07 PM
The OP obviously isn't the only one who feels like this. Look at the reaction Roger got from the crowd at the USO 2008 - everyone was rooting for him, while in the past couple of years before he barely got any recognition as he isn't an American athlete.
The numbers of people that have registered at his site have almost DOUBLED since the past two years - actually, since he's not the ultimate dominator of the game anymore.

I guess that a lot of people that disliked him or didn't care about him now realize that he won't be on the tour forever - and be sure, he'll be missed when he's gone.

I liked the young Federer the most. Before he became so dominant. He was so up and down back then. Some great wins and then horrible losses. That made it more fun. His game wasn't perfected yet, but the talent was so obvious. It was very frustrating at times because he would lose to players he shouldn't have lost to. But that all added to the fun. He wasn't the overwelming favourite. He was a young guy with a flashy game.

I bet you are a Gasquet fan! :)

okdude1992
01-18-2009, 03:36 PM
Ive always respected Roger but I'll admit it, I didnt like him, especially that season he went something rediculous like 96-4. But now that he actually has to fight hard to win matches and tournaments, I like him a lot better. Plus, like me he's in his late twenties trying to stay at the top of a young mans game, which is very inspiring to me. 5 years ago I never imagined that I would be a Federer fan. He used to just completely blow everybody off the court to where it wasnt even fun for me to watch because I knew exactly what was going to happen. Now, we get to see some heart and some fighting spirit that has shown me a new side to Roger. Anybody else feel the same?

yea i like fed more than i once did. like nadal less now that hes not as much the underdog.

miyagi
01-18-2009, 04:55 PM
What about the Bull on Rafa's shoes?

I started to dislike Roger too when he started with that Blazer/man bag/ RF on the cap thing....

Roger has that RF logo prominantly place on his caps and it looks self indulging and stupid if you ask me.

The "Rafa" and "Bull" at least are on Nadals shoes which we would never see until the cameraman zooms in on it!
Plus the bull represents his county and not himself!

Also I don't think Tsonga looks anything like Ali they look distinctly different....

veroniquem
01-18-2009, 04:57 PM
yea i like fed more than i once did. like nadal less now that hes not as much the underdog.
It 's a natural instinct to root for the underdog

LeftySpin
01-18-2009, 07:56 PM
I couldn't agree with you more. I like it now that he actaully looks human. Its no fun watching him just sweep every single game. Now that everyone is around the same level it is a lot more interesting. Maybe I just didn't like it because he won too much. None the less I still admit that he is one of the greatest players in tennis history. But it is definatly more enjoyable to watch him play because now I really dont know who is going to win. Thats why I like watching Nadal. He is great but not unbeatable (except on clay). I am always wondering if his body is going to give out one of these matches. But back to the point, now that everyone is on even ground, it is much more thrilling.

certifiedjatt
01-18-2009, 08:06 PM
What about the Bull on Rafa's shoes?


oohh i'm sorry, have i offended your sensibilities????
i didn't know rafa was the subject. i thought it was federer.

your mommy: darthfed, you failed Stick to the Topic 101 again!!
you: but mom, the dishes are still wet!

lesson: stick to the topic.

certifiedjatt
01-18-2009, 08:09 PM
Look at other superstars for a comparison, say Tom Cruise. The guy drives a $1million Verion car to his red carpet events, for playing only two movies he gets paid more than Federer ever maid in his entire career, never having to go through the pressure and the hard work a professional tennis player, or any other pro player, sells his new babies photos for several more millions etc etc... now you are disliking him for having a logo on his Nike hat and shoes?


tom cruise?
tom cruise gets paid as much as he does because we want him to get paid as much he does.

ThugNasty
01-18-2009, 08:37 PM
I guess I've always been a fan. As I got more serious about tennis, I liked Fed, but I was also more of a Fed and Nadal fan (maybe cuz he was the underdog). I started liking Fed more as I got more into tennis, and he was also becoming the underdog at that point.
Dude i seriously thought you were nadal freak :shock: and as I read the comment i was like wth? haha

R_Federer
01-18-2009, 09:06 PM
This underdog, favorite etc is nonsense to me. I like a player if they are good. Period.

That's why I chose Federer ever since he burst onto the scene. Now I will always cheer him and he will always be my favorite. Even if he is underdog. Even if he is favorite. Even if he is winning 4 slams in a year. Even if he isnt winning a single slam in a year.

doublebreak
01-18-2009, 09:24 PM
I'm excited about 2009. I've always been a fan of Fed's game and now more than ever I want to see him come back. There are many things about him that I don't like, but anyone who has played tennis at least at the intermediate level can not ignore that his game is -was- brilliant and there's nothing mechanical about it. I like him enough to want to see him get all those records. I guess the main reason I feel that way is that his game seems like almost the perfect blend of classic and modern tennis. I like the 90 in racket, one hand backhand, efficient service motion, good volleys - great by today's standards -, spin/shot versatility, fluid motion. I just feel that all those things are being lost one by one and maybe the future of tennis is a steroids version of Nadal. I just think that would be a really really sad day.

So, while I wait to see how the future of tennis unfolds I would like to enjoy a few more years of Fed's game and hopefully he can keep it up there. I think these are definitely very interesting times with everything going on besides Fed. How long will Nadal's body withstand? Will Djokovic keep climbing or fade away? I think Murray's has the most enjoyable game to watch as of right now, when - if at all- will he get his first major? I think Federer is the main reason these players have gotten the motivation to step up. Hopefully Fed does not get complacent and find the drive to get back in the fight.