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View Full Version : No sympathy for Federer (The Times, UK, and A Roddick)


Benhur
04-04-2009, 06:59 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6036419.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

From Times Online
April 5, 2009
Roger Federer demise earns little sympathy
World No 2 is locked in a crisis of confidence that has left him tantamount to powerless against trio of young challengers
Barry Flatman

“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.” The words were those of Andy Roddick, somebody who has suffered more than most at the hands of Roger Federer.

Just a day earlier the Swiss had been subjected to such an emphatic French Open final annihilation by Rafael Nadal that many who witnessed it admitted to a sense of sympathy for a player revered as a legendary champion and potentially the greatest player to pick up a racket.

Roddick may claim to be many things but prophetic is not one of them. However, his lunchtime conversation in the players’ restaurant as the first balls of the main grass court season were being struck outside at Queen’s Club in London have a distinct resonance today. Ten months on and Federer is undeniably locked in a crisis of confidence that has left him tantamount to powerless against the trio of young challengers who have thrust repeated daggers into his greatness.

To lose one match or two against such stunning talents as Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray is understandable. But to win only one in the last 11, a sequence that stretches back almost a year to the day when Djokovic pulled out midway through the Monte Carlo semi-final complaining of dizziness, seems to serve as irrefutable evidence that a player once regarded as simply imperious is on the downslope of his career.

There was a time the numbers stacked so emphatically in Federer’s favour. He held the world No 1 ranking for a record 237 weeks. He appeared in 10 successive Grand Slam finals, winning eight of them. He registered 65 consecutive wins on grass courts and 56 on hard. As Roddick admitted, Federer delighted in giving those who preceded him as world No 1 the most nagging of inferiority complexes.

In 18 meetings with his nemesis, Roddick, who was dislodged by Federer from the top spot on February 2, 2004, has won only twice and suffered 11 straight defeats until clawing back one win at Miami last year.

Federer was unquestionably an admirable victor but his demeanour in defeat is not quite so becoming. Last year in Dubai he was positively disparaging about the game of Murray after the Scot had beaten him in the opening round. Then of course there were tears many construed of self-pity as he failed to equal Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles at this year’s Australian Open. On Friday the adolescent anger he was thought to have banished certainly returned as he was put into a spin by Djokovic. A racket was left buckled and broken before he refused to shake hands with umpire Fergus Murphy.

So what has gone wrong with Federer and where did the demise begin? After all, once majestic and largely unbeatable players do not become ordinary overnight. It is probably overly simplistic to say but when the game is being played at the very highest level, so much of it is actually played in the brain. Managing to collect just four games in that French Open final was a crushing blow to his morale but was minimal to what was to follow a month later as Nadal added the Wimbledon title in that cataclysmic final.

Before both matches, there was the bout of glandular fever and a return to action that was undeniably and unnecessarily rushed. More recently there have also been some problems with the back, which is not unusual for a tennis player who has spent the past decade flying around the world and, by virtue of success, playing more matches than most of his peers. Just ask Andre Agassi, who in the end had to resort to a succession of cortisone injections in the spine.

A combination of illness, injury and dented confidence is a debilitating handicap for even a legend and while Federer’s basic approach to technique has not radically altered, he is far less inclined to take risks. Many is the observer who implores him to attack the net more with serve and volley and stresses that the most apparent weakness in his game is the backhand played deep in court when he is forced to take the ball high above his shoulder.

When he is confronted by a trio of such accomplished baseliners as Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, who all delight in hitting a heavy ball with plenty of top spin, the Federer withdrawn game is found wanting. And he does not have sufficient belief to attack when he knows all three are supremely acquitted to hit the most withering of passing shots.

Perhaps the most crucial area is that Federer has opted to play without a permanent coach since dispensing with the services of Peter Lundgren at the end of 2003. His liaison with Tony Roche was largely a long-distance affair and a breakdown in communications finally proved its undoing. Since then he has occasionally sought the advice of the Californian-based Spaniard Jose Higueras, who is now contracted as the United States Tennis Federation director of coaching for elite player development. For the most part, the Swiss Davis Cup captain, Severin Luthi, travels to administer such things as booking practice courts but does not appear to have a say in technique or tactics.

A month ago Federer accepted the need to resort to respected guidance and worked in Dubai on a trial basis with Darren Cahill, the Australian who guided Lleyton Hewitt to the top and ensured the autumn of Agassi’s career was fruitful. Just as Tim Henman’s former fitness trainer Johan de Beer did a year or so earlier, Cahill thanked Federer for his offer but decided to take another option and is now working with the adidas Development Squad so he can spend more time at home in Las Vegas with his family.

Ironically, family issues will soon also become a factor for Federer with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec expecting the couple’s first child in the summer. History unquestion-ably proves that fatherhood and winning major titles do not mix.

In recent years only Agassi and the 1998 Australian Open champion, Petr Korda, have celebrated a Grand Slam victory by returning to the hotel for a cuddle with their offspring and singing a lullaby. Perhaps a lament might be more appropriate for Federer — just don’t expect any of his rivals to be singing.

FEDERER’S STRUGGLES: ROGER AND OUT
Related Links

* Federer's invincibility lies in pieces

* Djokovic lifts Serbian spirits

* Djokovic feels Murray closing in on him

Roger Federer’s psychological grip over his rivals has crumbled and he even smashed his racket on Friday. He has won only one of his last 11 matches against his three biggest rivals

Top four

He has been beaten in each of the past six confrontations with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray

Murray’s wins

Murray has beaten Federer in their past four ATP World Tour meetings since the 2008 US Open final

Nadal’s wins

Nadal is even more dominant, winning the last five including Grand Slam final wins at the French Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open

Federer drought

Federer’s last title was at his home-town event in Basle last October and he has not won a Masters 1000 Series title since Cincinnati in August 2007

Sampras record

At a comparable age, 27 years and eight months, Pete Sampras had won 11 Grand Slams, compared with Federer’s 13. The bad news for the Swiss is that Sampras was never again the world’s most dominant player — he had just lost the No 1 ranking. The good news is that the American did go on to win three more Grand Slam titles.

icedevil0289
04-04-2009, 07:09 PM
I love how they used what roddick said last year before wimbledon for the article. Interesting.

Bud
04-04-2009, 07:10 PM
Truthful and direct article.

matchmaker
04-04-2009, 07:19 PM
A lot of truth in there.

vtmike
04-04-2009, 07:34 PM
I love how they used what roddick said last year before wimbledon for the article. Interesting.

That was exactly what came to my mind too :) trashy journalism at its best...UK press + potential British GS winner + you do the math ;)

Bud
04-04-2009, 07:39 PM
That was exactly what came to my mind too :) trashy journalism at its best...UK press + potential British GS winner + you do the math ;)

I notice you offer no proof refuting what's stated in the article. Why is it trashy journalism?

vtmike
04-04-2009, 07:48 PM
I notice you offer no proof refuting what's stated in the article. Why is it trashy journalism?

Well look at the title...Trying to insinuate that Roddick said that after he saw Federer implode and smash his racquet...taking an old quote and using it out of context to spice things up and sell his article...you don't think that is trashy?

emerckx53
04-04-2009, 08:40 PM
I notice you offer no proof refuting what's stated in the article. Why is it trashy journalism?

Yes, the statement of his record was accurate etc...but if you can't tell the slant of all of the articles was to tear down Federer you are not being very objective. The amount of stick this guy is taking is unbelievable..he is no. 2 in the world and possibly the GOAT....comparing him to 98% of the worlds top athletes his has been almost a perfect sportsman/father/husband etc for over a decade...people can have opinions but it's messed up when it's this biased

Bud
04-04-2009, 09:12 PM
Well look at the title...Trying to insinuate that Roddick said that after he saw Federer implode and smash his racquet...taking an old quote and using it out of context to spice things up and sell his article...you don't think that is trashy?

The author did nothing of the sort. It was clear to me it was a lead in to the story. Go re-read it.

Bud
04-04-2009, 09:13 PM
Yes, the statement of his record was accurate etc...but if you can't tell the slant of all of the articles was to tear down Federer you are not being very objective. The amount of stick this guy is taking is unbelievable..he is no. 2 in the world and possibly the GOAT....comparing him to 98% of the worlds top athletes his has been almost a perfect sportsman/father/husband etc for over a decade...people can have opinions but it's messed up when it's this biased

Please state some quotes from the story that are slanted against Federer.

Let's really see who is objective and who isn't.

vtmike
04-04-2009, 09:14 PM
The author did nothing of the sort. It was clear to me it was a lead in to the story. Go re-read it.

I think you need to reread it...even then poster above you agrees with me...you are just getting frustrated because you know you are wrong...its ok...this is just a forum...nothing personal ;)

Bud
04-04-2009, 09:17 PM
I think you need to reread it...even then poster above you agrees with me...you are just getting frustrated because you know you are wrong...its ok...this is just a forum...nothing personal ;)

I see no quotes from the story bolstering your argument.

Once again, you've resorted to silly statements like "you are just getting frustrated because you know you are wrong". That's your evidence in support of your point? :roll:

Because another person agreed with you that makes you correct? Great logic.

When you want to make an argument you back it up with either facts or quotes from the story that support your argument.

Bud
04-04-2009, 09:23 PM
Yes, the statement of his record was accurate etc...but if you can't tell the slant of all of the articles was to tear down Federer you are not being very objective. The amount of stick this guy is taking is unbelievable..he is no. 2 in the world and possibly the GOAT....comparing him to 98% of the worlds top athletes his has been almost a perfect sportsman/father/husband etc for over a decade...people can have opinions but it's messed up when it's this biased

WTF are you talking about? Federer has no kids and is not married. His present girlfriend is due with their first child this summer. Therefore he hasn't been a father or husband. A decade? you're going back to when he was 17? He used to throw tantrums on court when he was 17. He was notorious for his bad attitude and temper back then.

BTW, VTMike... this is who agreed with you. Lotsa credibility in those words, don't you think? This guy thinks Federer has been married with kids since he was 17.

vtmike
04-04-2009, 09:44 PM
Well look at the title...Trying to insinuate that Roddick said that after he saw Federer implode and smash his racquet...taking an old quote and using it out of context to spice things up and sell his article...you don't think that is trashy?

The author did nothing of the sort. It was clear to me it was a lead in to the story. Go re-read it.

This was your reply to my analysis...instead of giving me a good reason you just plain refute it (what was your big argument there?)...You think it was a lead in to the story and I think it was a cheap trick to take an old statement out of context to spice up his article...It's clear we disagree on that...what else do you want to talk about?? Why should I bother to explain the same thing to you over and over??

tennis_hand
04-05-2009, 12:01 AM
Even a poor playing Federer can beat a top form Roddick.
LOL.

Blinkism
04-05-2009, 12:13 AM
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.” The words were those of Andy Roddick, somebody who has suffered more than most at the hands of Roger Federer.

Just a day earlier the Swiss had been subjected to such an emphatic French Open final annihilation by Rafael Nadal that many who witnessed it admitted to a sense of sympathy for a player revered as a legendary champion and potentially the greatest player to pick up a racket.

Roddick may claim to be many things but prophetic is not one of them. However, his lunchtime conversation in the players’ restaurant as the first balls of the main grass court season were being struck outside at Queen’s Club in London have a distinct resonance today. Ten months on and Federer is undeniably locked in a crisis of confidence that has left him tantamount to powerless against the trio of young challengers who have thrust repeated daggers into his greatness

That's the lead-in to the story. There's no trickery here, the article clearly explains the context of the quote. It is not "taken out of context" and is not misleading. It is just juxtaposing a Roddick quote from a time when Federer seemed to be unbeatable and contrasting it with the current events in tennis. It is not biased, it's just interesting writing. The article is not insinuating anything, as it clearly puts the Roddick quote in the context of pre-Wimbledon 2008.

And ofcourse the article is not objective and unbiased, it's not a report or a factual article. It's not reporting a specific event, but rather it's a commentary/editorial opinion piece on Roger Federer's performance in the last year and a half and how people a reacting to it. It is just an entertaining and interesting look at the current state of events the world of men's professional tennis is currently in, with a focus on Roger Federer's decline in form.

To call it trashy journalism, however, is totally unfair.

DMan
04-05-2009, 01:17 AM
That was exactly what came to my mind too :) trashy journalism at its best...UK press + potential British GS winner + you do the math ;)

It's not just the British press trashing Fed. Charlie Bricker from Florida is on some kind of mission to trash Fed at every opportunity

mandy01
04-05-2009, 01:29 AM
I think its a crappy article..easy to kick a champion when he's down.

tahiti
04-05-2009, 01:32 AM
"The admirable victor" but "not so becoming in defeat"....sums it up perfectly for me.

rafan
04-05-2009, 02:03 AM
"The admirable victor" but "not so becoming in defeat"....sums it up perfectly for me.

Yes I 've just read the article. I think the writer was as surprised about Federer's behaviour as the rest of us were

stormholloway
04-05-2009, 02:38 AM
Fed had no business winning any sort of sportsmanship award. That's for sure.

mandy01
04-05-2009, 02:41 AM
It's not just the British press trashing Fed. Charlie Bricker from Florida is on some kind of mission to trash Fed at every opportunity
Charlie Bricker is a class A jerk :lol: ..he thinks he knows more than Roger's inner circle.

fps
04-05-2009, 02:42 AM
excellent article. often a journalist has no say in the headline above his article, an editor or some such may have decided that the "no sympathy" angle was most likely to draw the eye. however, the origin of the quote is clearly explained to anyone who sticks around for even thirty seconds. It is used to link the two nadirs of federer's career so far- the FO when Roddick made the comment and the day you're reading the article.

some people on the forum don't understand the concept of bias, judging by their accusations that this journalist is biased. bias is an irrational, unfounded or corrupt favouring of one proposition of person over another. it is not reporting a series of incidents or facts that accurately support an overall point, which is what this article does.

chiru
04-05-2009, 03:07 AM
I see nothing wrong with the article. I am a huge federer fan and I hope he gets out of the current slump, but I think basically all of the points in the article that were made were basically correct and hard to refute.

Personally, I have found Federer's grace in defeat a bit...lacking. I recall a few years back him calling nadal 1-dimensional. I remember in 2008 wimbledon final him saying something along the lines of "it's too bad that it was decided maybe just because of the dark". I remember him saying after australian open 2009 that maybe not always the best player wins. Sure, are there plenty of quotes where he gives his opponents credit? yes. are there enough where he doesn't for it to be a concern? yes. i challenge you guys to bring forth nadal quotes that are as disparaging to federer as the aformentioned were to nadal.

I think when roger was winning i was enamored with his sportsmanship. quite frankly...busting a racket isn't a big deal to me. he couldn't hit the broadside of an elephant with his forehand yesterday...it's understandable that he lost it. i think losing it while not ideal is forgivable. in an interview setting to consistently disparage the guy who owns you in H2H is downright ridiculous.

fps
04-05-2009, 03:15 AM
I see nothing wrong with the article. I am a huge federer fan and I hope he gets out of the current slump, but I think basically all of the points in the article that were made were basically correct and hard to refute.

Personally, I have found Federer's grace in defeat a bit...lacking. I recall a few years back him calling nadal 1-dimensional. I remember in 2008 wimbledon final him saying something along the lines of "it's too bad that it was decided maybe just because of the dark". I remember him saying after australian open 2009 that maybe not always the best player wins. Sure, are there plenty of quotes where he gives his opponents credit? yes. are there enough where he doesn't for it to be a concern? yes. i challenge you guys to bring forth nadal quotes that are as disparaging to federer as the aformentioned were to nadal.

I think when roger was winning i was enamored with his sportsmanship. quite frankly...busting a racket isn't a big deal to me. he couldn't hit the broadside of an elephant with his forehand yesterday...it's understandable that he lost it. i think losing it while not ideal is forgivable. in an interview setting to consistently disparage the guy who owns you in H2H is downright ridiculous.

I feel as if Nadal has had drilled into him a better mindset than Federer. As long as he plays up to his potential, Nadal seems able to cope with a loss. This is why I was not too surprised that when he played poorly against DelPotro he was clearly unhappy afterwards. However, he is young and arguably in his peak years. It will be interesting to see whether he remains gracious when peering through the dying of the light, hunted down by a crop of youngsters. And when he has the English to express more than *he play good match, no?*. perhaps he hasn't learnt the negative side of tennis commentary yet :)

tennis_hand
04-05-2009, 03:19 AM
those ungracious defeat probably is one reason that he can't change to an improved field of players.

firstly, u have to accept the defeat as you are not as good. then u can change to improve. if u can't accept but treat it as a bad luck, then u won't be willing to improve.

Fed can no longer sit on top of his 13 Slams saying he is the best. Maybe the best in history, but not at this moment.

fps
04-05-2009, 03:41 AM
those ungracious defeat probably is one reason that he can't change to an improved field of players.

firstly, u have to accept the defeat as you are not as good. then u can change to improve. if u can't accept but treat it as a bad luck, then u won't be willing to improve.

Fed can no longer sit on top of his 13 Slams saying he is the best. Maybe the best in history, but not at this moment.

so you're saying it really comes down to the same psychology as the club player who can't beat his mate, but is "better really" because all the other guy does is push? (not saying rafa or andy push).

i like that. i think roger should ditch the RF logo and all the other nonsense, be interesting to see if he turns up in a cardigan or a jumpsuit or something at wimbly this year. he's gotta Rocky III it, make life uncomfortable for himself, and come back humble, with something new.

The Pure One
04-05-2009, 06:48 PM
"The admirable victor" but "not so becoming in defeat"....sums it up perfectly for me.

I think that those who argue bias of this English reporter, have an argument in the next line of your quote where the author seems to show the purpose of the article: some sort of vendetta. Just the same day when the Scot won Miami, the reporter prefers to talk about Federer spilling his venom against RF: "Federer was unquestionably an admirable victor but his demeanour in defeat is not quite so becoming. Last year in Dubai he was positively disparaging about the game of Murray after the Scot had beaten him in the opening round."

“After all, once majestic and largely unbeatable players do not become ordinary overnight.”

Why is Federer ordinary and there is no mention of the Scot court behavior that even his country man Tim Henman publicly despised? If Federer is ordinary, what bloody is Murray? Oh I forgot, Murray is winning and now he is majestic and admirable in victor. Why the author did not write about how Murray’s behavior has change for the positive now that he is winning and that we should expect the old Murray antics when he starts to lose or decline?

“To lose one match or two against such stunning talents as Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray is understandable. But to win only one in the last 11, a sequence that stretches back almost a year to the day when Djokovic pulled out midway through the Monte Carlo semi-final complaining of dizziness, seems to serve as irrefutable evidence that a player once regarded as simply imperious is on the downslope of his career.” Wrong. Roger annihilated Djokovic and Murray in the last year USO.

BYW, I agree with most of what the reporter said, but is the little bias .. and the timing my dear…is the timing.

devila
04-05-2009, 09:59 PM
It's no more prejudiced than the Fed troll who claimed that Roddick played his best against Federer. Many Fed fans' egos are inflated so often, it's embarrassing.

rubberduckies
04-05-2009, 11:35 PM
It's exactly as I thought. Back in Fed's heyday, he was making the same type of arrogant, conceited comment he is today. The media went to lengths to excuse and cover up Fed's ego. They would quote the disgusting comments then follow with the exact line, "somehow, he said it without sounding arrogant." Many publications on several separate occasions did this exact thing even though anybody who actually heard the comments live could instantly tell that they were every bit as arrogant as what we are hearing today.

Now that Nadal and Murray and Djokovic have knocked him down a peg, people are more willing to speak the truth and call him out for his transgressions. Fed is a great player, for sure, but he has no class and has never had class. If anything, he teaches us that if you're popular you can get away with being rude and disrespectful - but only while you're on top.

devila
04-06-2009, 12:51 AM
Part of the problem was how the media
and Roddick's family members
treated Roddick--like a whipping boy. He was told that it was fine to always hug and praise Federer, things will be great after he hires a coach (Brad Gilbert), does many things (act like a spoiled brat during Davis Cup ties, drink beer, and work extremely hard for charity foundations).
He told Federer "I love to hate you but you're so nice to me."

vive le beau jeu !
04-06-2009, 01:27 AM
Well look at the title...Trying to insinuate that Roddick said that after he saw Federer implode and smash his racquet...taking an old quote and using it out of context to spice things up and sell his article...you don't think that is trashy?
i do... trashy it is ! ;)

Hope
04-06-2009, 11:57 AM
I am quite sure it is British Media having a go at Roger Federer. Roddick has always admired Roger and saying he is not sorry for him for losing at the French was no big deal. He also said he's quite sure Roger will bounce back. Why should someone bring that up right now? Does anyone really know how long it takes to recover from mono? Ancic hasn't quite come back yet. When Nadal loses they say he' tired or injured, when Murray loses he has a cold or virus, but if it is Roger Federer, it's his unforced error or stubborness. I think it's Roger's fitness level that's the problem at the moment. And by the way, he beat Djokovic in the semis at the US Open! That makes 2.

veroniquem
04-06-2009, 02:40 PM
I love how they used what roddick said last year before wimbledon for the article. Interesting.
No matter when they were said, they certainly still apply and they seem to apply more and more with time.