Federer's defeats to Nadal made him more likeable

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Forehand Of Doom, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    I've been wondering if anybody else agrees with this. I've been thinking for a while that Nadal actually helped Federer's image by being a roadblock to him while Federer was steamrolling everybody else. In the sense that I think people tend to be able to relate more with vulnerable characters than with infallible machines. Did Nadal help make Federer more likable, did he humanize him in some ways?

    Results aside, Federer has behaved with a lot of dignity regarding Nadal. There is a lot of mutual respect, and for the most part I believe it is genuine. Easy for Nadal to show respect for Federer, but kudos to Fed for being a big man and acknowledging Nadal's greatness as well. Federer has, also for the most part, behaved with dignity in defeat.

    So, even if Nadal's roadblock hurt Federer's raw numbers, did his opposition cement a stronger legacy for Federer, in the sense that it revealed a more human side from Federer, and also in the sense that it added value to the achievements Federer did reach by strengthening the competition and making it a more substantial era?
     
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  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No.................
     
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  3. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    No, I absolutely adored him when he steamrolled competition with the most complete and beautiful game that the sport has ever seen.

    Just as listening to Mozart, makes you wonder if he took dictation from God, watching Federer, it makes you wonder if this is God playing tennis.
     
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  4. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    Divine inspiration is nice, but I think it's blowing things out of proportion. If clearly wasn't God dictating, since I don't think God would have run out of ideas when Fed couldn't win against Nadal on clay. I refuse to believe Uncle Toni can coach better than God.
     
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  5. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Talk Tennis Guru

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    :rolleyes: no tennis player is a god. I really wish people would stop likening them to such.
     
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  6. Ralph

    Ralph Hall of Fame

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    Unless Uncle Toni i......
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
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  7. Backspin1183

    Backspin1183 Legend

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    True. In his most dominant years, he was expected to win almost every tournament he entered, except maybe on clay.

    I remember watching the Wimbledon final of 2006 and seeing more than half the crowd root for the then underdog 20 year old kid Nadal. Even in 2008 Wimby final, Fed had to tell a section of the crowd to "shut up!"

    He was always admired for his genius on court, but after 2008 Wimbledon final, he began to get even more crowd support.

    Now in 2013, at 32, past his prime, Fed is loved more than ever.
     
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  8. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    Exactly my thoughts. I think there is a difference between admiration and love, and I think Fed started being loved more by the crowd since he started being viewed as vulnerable. Crowds also tend to root for the underdog some times, and he has been the underdog against Nadal for a while.
     
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  9. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Well since Nadal's early losses on hard court tournaments and Federer's comparative strength on clay for so many years are most of the reason for the lop-sided head to head, meaning had Federer been a worse clay court player he would be a greater player in the eyes of the h2h muppets out there, then it probably also makes sense that Federer's defeats to Nadal made him more popular.
     
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  10. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    As another writer put it, comparing Federer with Nadal is like comparing Leonardo with a bulldowser. What's the point?

    Winning with grace and beauty beats winning with mere power, no matter what the sport. Federer's image and games will last way longer than any other player's ever will.

    Nadal showed mere mortals can do anything if they tried hard. Federer is like he cant do anything else even if he didnt try.
     
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  11. Balls

    Balls New User

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    I normally browse these forums for funny (intentionally or otherwise) postings, but this is a rare thoughtful and original piece. A related thought that I have heard a few times from commentators and journalists is that Fedal is one of the greatest, most riveting and enjoyable rivalries in sports. But I think you're really onto something here.

    When a player or a team dominates a sport for a long stretch, people will still tune in and pay attention, but a lot of them do it to see the top dog take a tumble. It's when there's a rivalry, when there's a back and forth, that people get more vested, more interested and more passionate. There's not much you can put into rooting for someone whose victory is preordained. But when there are two sides, and either can win, people will form camps and those camps will get more and more intense as the rivalry goes on (not that I have to tell anybody who browses this place).

    Seeing an athlete dominate effortlessly inspires respect and awe. Seeing an athlete get challenged and then make that climb, though, inspires devotion. For Federer, a genuine and befuddling rival meant his fans could feel his struggle and enjoy his successes even more.
     
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  12. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    Thank you very much. I agree. The last few years the rivalry has been a little lopsided in favor of Nadal, but there was a time when Federer was a viable contender even on clay against Nadal. Especially in 2006, and anybody who watched their Rome final can remember that. Even in Roland Garros. In both occasions Fed took the first set, and the match ended in both cases in a tie break. Who could have taken Nadal to that extreme at that time on his favorite clay courts?

    I also think that, as much as it has been ridiculized, the AO 09 trophy ceremony where Fed broke down in tears might have made him a more approachable figure to some. That ceremony also improved the image of Nadal, as it showed a very compassionate side of his character.
     
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  13. Incognito

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    True. I'm glad Nadal didn't rip his shirt off in front of Federer who poured his heart and soul just as much as he did but ended up losing the match.
     
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  14. Balls

    Balls New User

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    I think you make a very important point that Federer's humanity gets highlighted through his rivalry with Nadal, and that only helps make Federer more popular and more beloved.

    Now I'm sure a lot of his fans would rather Nadal never existed, or played right handed, and that Federer has 20+ slams now. But even though they may swear otherwise, if Federer never got seriously challenged in his prime, it's likely they'd just be slightly more bored, slightly less excited about the whole thing. They and everybody else would get used to Federer winning and take it for granted.

    And ya know, at the end of the figurative day, I bet Federer actually likes having such a substantial rival, too. Like most high level athletes, Roger enjoys a challenge. Nadal gave him a respectable one. I think he'd rather have that than go through his prime tennis years without opposition.
     
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  15. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    You are right, Incognito. I think it's not in Nadal's nature to do that anyway, I truly think outside the heat of the match he is genuinely humble.

    The loss for Federer was heartbreaking for a couple of reasons. For one, he had just been denied his 14th slam title, therefore tying the record set by Sampras. Also, with Federer unable to win in Roland Garros, losing further terrain to Nadal in Wimbledon and AO would have been very tough. Then, there was the fact that one of Fed's idols (Laver) was also present.
     
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  16. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    Yes, the Federer/Nadal rivalry made things much more interesting. Even this past season, with Federer's poor form, the couple times they met it generated a lot of expectation.

    I really think he prefers that too. Imagine if Sampras hadn't had someone like Agassi, or Borg hadn't had a McEnroe to challenge him. Rivalries like those are important for the players involved because they cement their legacy. Tennis (singles) is a one to one sport, and notable player rivalries tend to not be forgotten.
     
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  17. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Haha my thoughts exactly.
     
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  18. Who Am I?

    Who Am I? Banned

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    Couldn't have said it better myself.
     
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  19. monfed

    monfed Guest

    This thread is a great example of why Fed and Nadal fans can never truly get along.
     
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  20. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

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    :roll:



    .....
     
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  21. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    WHAT?? In 2006 literally every person was a Federer fan. It was like he was the only player on the ATP. I remember majority of tennis fans being nervous because Federer had 6-1 losing record to Nadal coming in to the Wimbledon final. I was on Henman Hill (now Murray Mound?) and everyone was screaming for Federer. And in the 2008 final the crowd was going nuts for Roger that Andrew Castle had to say "it's no disrespect to Nadal but we know who the crowd wants as their champion". Federer DOMINATED the fan base back then. Now even though he is more popular it is a lot closer.

    But back to the OP. Nadal brought an interesting thing to the game but I think Federer is as liked as he was back then to be quite honest. I think now he just gets more vocal support because he hasn't been doing so well. Back then even the most hardcore Fed fans were pretty casual because they almost knew Federer was going to win. Not the case anymore.
     
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  22. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    I understand. I think that a hard fought victory is always more valuable, or at least can be appreciated better, than an easy one. Then again, I don't recall ever being disappointed by any of Nadal's victories, even the very easy ones (RG 2008 Final, or RG 2013 Final for example), so I can relate to that too. But to me stuff like RG 2013 (Semi), Wimby 2008, or AO 2009 are the type of victories that will be remembered forever. They are the type of victories where the spectator has no choice but to get very involved emotionally as well, and the payoff of eventual victory resonates on a different level.
     
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  23. BeGreat

    BeGreat Rookie

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    adorable like the three legged gold retriever puppy who gets picked on by a 6 foot rottweiler.

    adorable like that kid with an 80 IQ who enrolls in differential equations III.

    adorable like that fat girl in the group of good looking girls who wears yoga pants
     
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  24. Murrayfan31

    Murrayfan31 Hall of Fame

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    I dislike Fed as much as always. Losing doesn't effect my views on his personality.
     
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  25. Forehand Of Doom

    Forehand Of Doom Banned

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    Are you saying that witnessing a broken man in a trophy ceremony didn't soften your heart? Why do you dislike Fed, anyway?
     
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  26. mandy01

    mandy01 G.O.A.T.

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    Sampras anyway didn't have Agassi for a good chunk of his prime plus Andre was a meth-head and a guy who hated tennis.
     
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  27. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    How does losing to Nadal make Federer more likable.....?
     
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  28. Murrayfan31

    Murrayfan31 Hall of Fame

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    Tearing up instead of manning up and letting his opponent have the moment? Nope that didn't help my thoughts on him. Especially someone that has won so much. And like I said I dislike him because of his personality.
     
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  29. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    Agree wholeheartedly. They just give you an amazing feeling! We Fed fans rarely have moments where Federer fights hard and finds a way out. Because in his prime he used to straight set everyone and when he was pushed to 5 later on in his career he used to crumble against Nadal. He's not the mental rock that Nadal is. But moments like RG against Haas and Benny in wimbledon are just amazing. So I totally understand.
     
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  30. baobabz

    baobabz New User

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    I have always tried to like Federer more... especially when he started to lose more. And I do respect him a lot, I think. But, to be honest, I almost always root for him to lose. And the few times I don't root for him to lose, is because he is playing Djokovic, and I would rather have Nadal play Federer than Djokovic... cuz Djokovic is scary as hell to this Nadal fan. But then again, even when Djokovic beats Federer, I am still happy, because Federer lost. I don't know why I like to Federer lose so much....
     
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  31. chandu612

    chandu612 Guest

    Dunno .. But the losses sure brought his arrogance down.. He couldn't be cocky anymore
     
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  32. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Makes me wonder how you can be a Murray fan after Roger won 2010 AO and 2012 Wimbledon.:)
     
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  33. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    OP,

    There have been a couple of posters over the years who have said that their interest in Fred increased, or they began to like him after he lost to Ralph at WO. But I don't know how small or large this community is.


    Very well put, Sir. It is indeed God playing tennis.

    Yes, he is the devil. You guessed right but keep it under wraps, please.

    p.s. Even Jesus was crucified by mere mortals. Let not Sexi's losses to infidels and heathens put doubts in anyone's minds regarding his divinity !
     
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  34. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    Maybe because you wanted some variety in his prime and he was dominating everything basically and to this day that has stuck with you. I have a friend who has the same issue with Nadal. I mean this guy used to HATE Nadal. Literally hope for a Seles stabbing...it was really scary but now he has calmed down but still finds happiness from Nadal losing even if its a ATP500 tournament that one one cares about.
     
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  35. mandy01

    mandy01 G.O.A.T.

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    The idea that Federer came off as more human because of Nadal is a bit preposterous. He was always human and never afraid to show it. Just disciplined enough to know that showing them during matches would probably affect his focus. AO 09 was certainly NOT the first time he'd broken down.

    Look at this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQM9RMRN8pI

    It's perhaps among the most poignant moments of tennis in the last decade. A wonderful show of emotion born out of genuine respect for the sport and for man who had just handed him the trophy.
     
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  36. baobabz

    baobabz New User

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    Haha. Yep. That's probably exactly it. Though I would never hope for a Seles stabbing. I didn't really start paying attention to tennis until I watched 2005 Miami final between Fed and Nadal, and I remember really rooting for Nadal as the underdog there, because I had known how dominant Fed had been in the past few years. And yah, that kind of feeling has stuck with me all of these years, though I do have more respect for Federer now.
     
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  37. Vcore89

    Vcore89 Hall of Fame

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    in response to OP,

    Why would that be? Because then Federer wouldn't be that mighty and invincible afterall (circa 2004 -2007)?

    I think Federer would be just as likable if he had 25 GSs already! Agreed, it's the way he conducts (majority of the time) himself, his gait and his disposition (at times it is evident, but a lot of times [as seen by casual observers], one wouldn't know if he'd just won or lost a match) ...

    Like all sports icon, before their ascension, sportswriters (at times in desperation) would write to build them up AND when they are on top, they'd try to tear them down, typical. With Nadal as Federer's singular roadblock, there is really no need for that ''build em up and tear em down'' stuff; made the sportswriter atypical in that sense.

    Being likable must be an innate attribute rather than a reflection of circumstance?
     
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  38. Speranza

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    BOOM!!!! You realised too ;)

    And there is no doubt regarding Fed's divinity, only delusion on behalf of the haters.
     
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  39. Vcore89

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    On the contrary, I trust Nadal wouldn't be more likable if he loses at a constant to a certain player or a series of players (whoever that/they may be)! Why is that, I wonder?:)
     
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  40. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Good point. Federer's losses to Nadal did make him seem more human and mortal. They also showed Federer is not only a fantastic winner but also classy in defeat.
     
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