Roger Federer's Tennis Will Save The World

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by boojay, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    ORIGINAL SOURCE: Roger Federer's Tennis Will Save The World

    Featured on peRFect Tennis

    Let me first begin by stating that I have no illusions of fully expressing my deepest thoughts on what I'm about to write. I am not the genius writer that was David Foster Wallace, who authored possibly the single greatest piece of literature on Roger Federer, "Roger Federer as Religious Experience," and whose talent likely evolved into depression as he took his own life a few short years after writing that timeless masterpiece. Tennis fan or not, I highly recommend anyone google that article as it will provide inspiration to any and all who read it in any walk of life.

    This will not be an essay about the artistry of Roger's game, but rather the impact he's had on the world because of it. Those who watch and play already know that Roger Federer playing tennis is, simply put, poetry in motion. By all standards currently known to the tennis world, his usage of kinematics is as near perfection as the human body can ever hope to muster in its most natural form. It's as though striking a tennis ball was never meant to be struck in any other way and unless you experience it for yourself, it's difficult to appreciate what he does on the court, but even so, the casual viewer will note that his style of play is quite different from everyone else: past, present, or in the immediate future.

    To give some context, I'm writing this after having a week to digest the "not-so-epic" clash that took place between him and his great rival, Rafael Nadal, during the semis of the 2012 Australian Open. I needed to rationalize what happened because as much as I admire Federer, I could not understand why it looked to me like he was utterly lost during the most crucial moments of a career-defining match--particularly after he had such a phenomenal re-emergence over the past few months leading up to it. Those precious fleeting moments are what give us fans a rare glimpse into the true heart of a competitor and I cannot help but feel that we missed a chance to witness something great. Roger has shown us time and time again an uncanny ability to overcome disappointment, which is why it disturbs me when he folded the way he did. The ultimate stage was set, the stars were lined up, and he blinked. Again. Which is why I hope the following thoughts will provide some insight and possibly closure to those who have also been in a funk after watching our hero fall.

    It seems the way Roger lives his life very much parallels his approach to tennis. He is always very calm, clairvoyant, and notably considerate of his peers. Admittedly, I exaggerated just a little bit in the title, but I actually do believe Roger's tennis serves as a steady framework for life (pun completely intended!!). There is a reason why Federer is considered one of the most 'respected & trusted' persons on the planet. It doesn't matter where you're from or what language you speak, you can be proud of the way he carries himself on AND off the court. In fact, Federer has always exhibited frightening wisdom beyond his years the very moment he became a recognizable figure. It's actually quite humbling when you think about it because that tells me he began seeing the bigger picture at a very early age--that is, he realized what his potential role could be on a global scale, on history, and he understood the implications of that responsibility. Whether or not that influenced his positive nature, I cannot say on his behalf, but that is certainly no different from the way he has managed his career up til now. They are undoubtedly connected for that reason. Roger has always talked about planning far ahead and I can see now; that philosophy applies to virtually everything he does.

    What's this have to do with his underwhelming performance last week? Like many of his supporters, I had to question his decision-making and worse, his heart, because it was blatantly obvious he wasn't laying it all on the line the way Rafael Nadal routinely does without a second thought. I'm sure personal pride played a role as well as Roger's elegant (read: superior) style of play cannot be bothered with the image of desperation that would normally be associated with chasing down balls, but I think the more prominent reason for his seeming unwillingness to match Nadal's intensity is deeply tied-in with his goals for the future. Perhaps we are mistaking 'lack of effort' with 'purposeful preservation'. It's no secret that grinding out every point wears down the body as Nadal, five years Federer's junior, painfully knows all too well. For years, Roger has openly expressed a desire to compete at the highest levels for as long as he can and if saving himself now means in five years he'll still be competing for championships while the Nadals and Djokovics are forced into injury retirement, a loss here and there needs to be paid for that longevity. Rafael Nadal could very well be the fiercest competitor in sports, but he's paying his own price for that choice. I thought about Federer's passiveness and realized it would take a great deal of patience and maturity to stick to such a game plan, especially when you're losing. You have to truly believe in your own skill and play within your limits, which ironically, conflicts with the very nature of being competitive as it often requires you to go beyond. I have no doubt in my mind that Rafael Nadal is willing to die on the court, but this blind tenacity could very well be the same source of his downfall that will rob him of the future. To put it another way, now that the Australian Open is over, who is the still the freshest player ready to fight another day?

    There are so many lessons that tennis can teach us about life, I could dedicate an entire section to just that, but I'll have to leave that for another time. Hopefully, after reading this, instead of getting down the next time Roger loses a big match, it will better prepare you for that disappointment when it does happen, and not only from watching tennis, but for life in general. Obviously, no one can stay at the top of the game forever. Contrary to popular belief (wishful thinking), it actually is impossible. This is precisely why we need to appreciate the moment while it's happening because it will eventually fade into memory whether we like it or not. Reminiscing is certainly nice, but nothing compares to being in the moment. Sometimes failure can drive us to do even greater things and we've seen how losses have often re-ignited Roger's insatiable desire to be the best. The same can be said after this loss, although win or lose, it will ALWAYS be a pleasure to watch him play because what he creates on the tennis court goes well beyond the scoreline for those of us lucky enough to realize it. I know in my case, Roger Federer has given me a glimpse into a world of what's possible.....no matter how impossible it appears to be.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  2. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    hope you're right, buddy.
     
  3. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    I have no doubt Nadal-Djoker battle will give Rodge the oprning he needs to win a major.
     
  4. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

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    Welcome to the Gold Circle of membership in the Brotherhood Of The Eagle (BOTE). Allez Rogi! Project 17 awaits.
     
  5. mp2002

    mp2002 Rookie

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    Epic poast BooJay. Stringertom, thanks for the heads up
     
  6. RoddickistheMan

    RoddickistheMan Professional

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    Boojay more tennis vids 2012
     
  7. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    I hope it's a French guy playing S&V...
     
  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What impact has Roger's game had on the world? People are moving away from 90 sq inch frames and one-handed backhands. I would say Roddick and Nadal with their Babs and two-handed BHs have had far more impact.
     
  9. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

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    Suresh, do you think Federer would have won more often if he had used a racket like the APD, instead of his small-headed Prostaff? We can often debate the merits of both frames, but I think most of us would agree that the APD is far easier "to use".
     
  10. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    Beautiful, boojay.
     
  11. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    To put Federer in the same sentence with Roddick is insane. As for the 1HB, we have to wait and see. Lots of kids who watched Federer dominate tennis for many years are just growing up playing with a 1HB. There's an obvious time lag.
     
  12. fotisutmost

    fotisutmost New User

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    Interesting thoughts...
     
  13. Feather

    Feather Hall of Fame

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    Nobody judges a poem by the number of words it has. Likewise, for me, win or lose, nothing is more sweeter than watching the maestro of Tennis, Roger Federer play. But that said, I don't watch him play Rafael Nadal, as it hurts a lot when he loses to Rafa

    Allez Roger, we are waiting for 17. And even if that doesn't happen, I will be a die hard Roger Federer fan till death.
     
  14. rockaholik

    rockaholik New User

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    great post boojay
     
  15. Polvorin

    Polvorin Professional

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    I still question his tactics a little bit. I really don't like seeing him hit multiple backhands crosscourt. I think that once he gets Rafa out wide on the forehand with the first backhand, the second should go straight up the line every time. I think he should play like Nadal does more often, just pounding the backhand over and over because when he does it usually pays off. But it's as if he gets bored playing that way. It is beneath him. I think he would rather play good, interesting, and beautiful tennis than win the match. Which is a bit odd, but in a way I admire it.

    It is frustrating..the extent to which he much he must outplay Nadal in order to win against him, because Roger is the one taking all the risks, while Rafa is basically taking none at all...retrieving and moonballing with heavy topspin for the most part, only attempting a winning shot when he is absolutely forced to try it. It takes such a high level for Roger to win playing the way he does. It has almost always looked in their matches that he doesn't believe he can sustain it for long enough to win, yet he refuses to change his game and try to win ugly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  16. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    fed made me play tennis. i have been watching tennis since boris becker won his first wimbledon. never once i thought i should try and play. i see fed, i buy my first racquet (ps85) and was trying to looklike him with the backhand finish.

    ditto for hundreds of thousands of chinese sporting an asian k90 and thinking they have fed's racquet.

    and how can i leave out fed polos. the most beautiful sporting wear ever designed.
     
  17. wings56

    wings56 Professional

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    interesting theory about his lack of intensity to save himself for more matches...

    i do remember many of agassi's matches where he let balls go by him... and he played phenomenal tennis into his thirties.

    only the future will tell.
     
  18. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    Nice article!

    Although I must say; this kind of adoration (there are other words I could use) has (at times) turned me off to Federer and some of his fans and made me appreciate Nadal all that much more! I don’t mean to be disrespectful, as I said it was a good article and I certainly understand the loyalty and great appreciation, but Federer’s fans (much like the man himself) comes off as a little dismissive. However, I admit that it takes extreme talent to allow for such flippancy (i.e. the presumptuousness of ‘purposeful preservation’). Its like the aura and distinct foot print of pedigree; a type of elegance and grace that only a certain type of talent seems to allow. Federer has this type of talent, however it doesn’t seemed earned (at least not to near the extent Nadal has earned his), it seems as though it was almost birthright. It’s the antithesis of the former that endears Nadal to my heart more so than Federer. Nadal clings to his intensity and his passion like a man who feels he’s always an underdog! Like the grasp he had at #1, eclipsing the best in world (perhaps the best in history), would always be a tenuous one; which has proven to be the case – so he fights and gives his absolute all, all of the time. While perhaps not poetry in motion, it most certainly is a living testament of tenacity!
     
  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I wear his Nike shoes, that is all. His racquet is too big for me (I use the PS 85).
     
  20. wings56

    wings56 Professional

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    +1 for sureshs
     
  21. celoft

    celoft Guest

    I concur........
     
  22. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Roger Federer is a tennis player, not the messiah.
     
  23. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    Will respond to some of you guys soon throughout the day as I'm at work right now.

    Just wanted to say Jonathan Mossy who runs an AWESOME Roger Federer site @ perfect-tennis.co.uk featured my essay. Check the site out because it's pretty classy.
     
  24. Magnetite

    Magnetite Professional

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    Tldr .......
     
  25. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    You have a point about talent against those who've worked hard. However, I've seen a lot of talented people waste their talent, and i've seen talented people who looked down on others and behaved as though they themselves worked hardest while others didn't, or were strong while others were weak.

    Roger has never looked down at others, and he's never pretended he was the hardest worker in the ATP. OTOH, he's admitted (although perhaps in jest) about being talented. I actually like that honesty about him.

    In most or every sport you find some people who are talented, and don't work too hard, party, smoke and drink, do the wrong things and often win. There are a lot of others who are less talented but very disciplined and hard working. The talented winner when asked his "secret" attributes it to hard work or God or some such thing which is very disrespectful to others who he clearly knows work harder.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  26. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    From G+:
    "Great response I received from an equally passionate Nadal fan on this writeup. His views are just as valid as my own and I respect his views because they are just as powerful even though they are in direct contrast to mine. It's funny how from his perspective, my points highlight his, yet from my own point-of-view, his illustrate mine. It's pretty amazing!"

    From peRFect tennis:
    It’s amazing how the qualities of one person, while a direct contrast to another person, can be construed as being praiseworthy by one group of people, yet conversely, just as much contemptible from the perspective of another group, and vice versa. That is the beauty of it all and I can respect either view without a second thought as long as it’s presented in a civilized fashion. That is really the only thing I would hope for.
     
  27. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    good for you man. hope it is working out? is your tennis improving?
     
  28. Magnus

    Magnus Legend

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    So hitting two DFs in a row is now considered grinding down balls? Choking on BPs again is considered as such? This has nothing to do with Roger's elegance or preserving energy for the future. Its the lack of the ability to keep a focused mind when playing Nadal. Go figure.
     
  29. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    It's more like "This is tennis Roger Federer has brought upon us: power baseline.".

    Only problem is that now everybody is playing that brand of tennis.
     
  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yes. I am much better now compared to the days when I used to wear the heavy Rafa shoe.
     
  31. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    Suresh's ball has begun to cross the service line. By next year, it'll cross the net.
     
  32. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    Agreed, Sent. The truth is there are plenty of talented individuals out there (in any field) that do not make full use of their gifts. While I can't provide hard evidence, there is nothing to prove that Roger doesn't work as hard or harder than Nadal. I've heard stories of his intense training regimen in Dubai and it's pretty ridiculous. He would line up player after player to hit with in the immense heat and as his hitting partners would wither, he would still be going strong. Just because Nadal exerts more effort during play than Federer doesn't mean their practices are not equally as grueling.

    I also think Roger is very straightforward in his public speaking. As far as I know, he has never been caught in a lie. He is not a user of hyperbole nor does he understate. Virtually everything he says about himself or others is the truth, based on his own views. In a world where 'colorful' language is often used to create controversy or unjust praise, I find that very refreshing.
     
  33. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Now, now Fastdunn, a few points.

    -Fed won his first title on carpet

    -Fed played serve and volley on most of his 1st serve when he won 2003 Wimbledon.

    -Power baseliners existed long before Fed.

    -Fed spoke against surface homogenization and slowdown.
     
  34. monfed

    monfed Guest

    I hope you think the same of Nadal. ;)
     
  35. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    There's a difference between an article and a forum post. Were you expecting a one-line article.
     
  36. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    Yes, because if you are not a Federer fan, you must be a Nadal fan, by definition. There are only two players in this dichotomous universe.

    That being said, I've never seen large numbers of Nadal fans express such frightening idolatry and supernatural reverence as many (not most or all) Federer fans display for him. It is seriously disturbing how people think this and the better written, but perhaps more disquieting "Federer as a Religious Experience", are appropriate discussions about a tennis player. Tennis is a wonderful sport, but when it comes to matters of life, is rather unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

    Before you go on the attack, let me ask you: Do you think Roger Federer would want you to view him as some kind of prophetic or saintly figure? Or do you think he might prefer you see him as a very accomplished, respectable, well-mannered but ultimately ordinary sportsman? Think about it.
     
  37. ThoughtCrime

    ThoughtCrime Rookie

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    [​IMG]
     
  38. monfed

    monfed Guest

    [​IMG]
     
  39. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    "if saving himself now means in five years he'll still be competing for championships while the Nadals and Djokovics are forced into injury retirement, a loss here and there needs to be paid for that longevity. Rafael Nadal could very well be the fiercest competitor in sports, but he's paying his own price for that choice."

    Ok, maybe I should've said 5 months.
     

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