A nice article about Roger by Neil Harman.


Federer a player in charge of his destiny
Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent Last updated June 21 2010 12:01AM

He is greeted by those who water the flowers, attend the courts, prise the weeds from between the paving stones on St Mary’s Walk, by the chairman and veteran members as if he is an unremarkable guy stretching his legs through Wimbledon’s walkways. He discriminates neither between one nor the other. He introduces himself to our photographer’s assistant with a “Hi, I’m Roger”.
We ask whether he would mind changing his shirt for the shoot and, without turning a hair, he strips off the one he is wearing and pulls on another. Roger Federer does want his somewhat unruly follicles to look good for the camera, though, and asks if he might see the first couple of photos to make sure he is content with his appearance. This is not vanity, just Roger being Roger. This is Wimbledon. Not a hair should be out of place.

There is a delicious decency about the six-time champion, six of the 16 grand-slam titles that adorn a career without peer. Across these spellbinding seven years, he has done tens of these set-pieces and having been privy to all those title successes, plus Masters Cup triumphs, the odd depressing defeat, having laughed with and choked up for him, one still marvels at how utterly ordinary he is for someone so out of the ordinary.

We should try not to be too gushing. He hasn’t won a title since the Australian Open in January, when he tortured the soul of Andy Murray; there have been only two finals in that time, on clay in Madrid, where he played an air shot on match point and lost to Rafael Nadal, and in Halle, Germany, eight days ago when he led Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 4-4, 40-0 on the Australian’s serve and perished. He is not the No 1 in the world any more, though he is the No 1 seed because of his grass-court supremacy across recent years.

I remind him that we share a little notoriety on YouTube, where my question after the Melbourne final as to how he keeps sustaining his remarkable record drew the answer: “Well, it’s no secret — I am a very talented player.” He laughs that incredibly infectious laugh of his: “Well, everybody says it. I’ve always been ‘that talented Swiss kid’ and I guess for me it was a matter of could I prove it and I guess I did in a big way, because that’s not just winning a grand slam and getting to No 1 in the world, but so much more.

“You always have to be very careful not to come across as arrogant or, like, the other way, by saying ‘Oh, I’m not that talented, I don’t know how I’ve done it, I’m incredibly lucky’ — so you walk a fine line. It’s important to stay humble but sometimes you have to accept who you are.”

Australia was also the venue for the quote that knocked the socks off the British contingent, when he said that Murray was trying to be the first British player since “what is it, 150,000 years?” to win a major. Roger being Roger. “It is hard for me to watch what he has to go through sometimes,” he said. “I live it, with the British press when I play Andy, or come here. I’m very friendly with you, we speak a lot, we understand each other and I know what you would like, what Andy would like and so forth. You want more and it’s hard to give more from the player’s side because there is basically only one player. He has to live with all that and he is trying hard and it’s never enough.
“I heard that people said I was playing mind games in Australia. I said ‘mind games? I’m so past that’ — actually I don’t think I’ve ever done it. I always said let the racket do the talking. But ask a question and I’ll give you my opinion.”

So we do, about his lack of success since that bittersweet night. There have been some poor losses this year — “stupid” he calls them — but he repeats that he had a lung infection, the season is long, the hazards many, challengers robust and the chances of sustaining excellence all the time are remote. Every loss is a shock to him, a stunner to us. “And who is it who usually dares to ask the question ‘why did Roger Federer lose?’ ” he says, throwing me a sideways glance.

“I can put on a brave face for the press,” he says. “I do the conferences when I’m winning and I do them when I lose but every time I lose, it crosses my mind, ‘can’t I just go home and take the fine [for non-attendance]?’ Then I say to myself, ‘Roger, don’t be an idiot, go to the press, be good, because you look so bad if you don’t do it.’ You can’t just enjoy the good life and escape from the bad. It’s important to take it head-on and maybe it is less painful because I know these days how to analyse matches much faster, to digest them.

“I’m a very positive thinker and when I was up and coming, even at the beginning of my reign as No 1, I would lose and not understand how I lost, so you get very iffy and nervous about it. Today that isn’t the case. The moment I walk off the court I know what happened, why it happened and what I have to change. That’s why I still enjoy watching myself play on TV, because I get such a different angle and my feeling on the court can be very different to how I might see it after. Sometimes I say to myself — ‘what was I thinking?’ ”
Not often, though. The invigoration of a return to Wimbledon, the memories it invokes, of the incredible highs — those six titles, a victory over Pete Sampras in 2001 when he was a kid with a dodgy complexion, a ponytail and an eye for greatness — and the occasional low such as having to watch Rafael Nadal clamber across the Centre Court parapets two years ago, lifts him. “So beautiful,” he says. “I love how the place looks, everything just blends in, how they do the new courts, the flowers, the people are always so chilled.”
Of course, his most cherished moments are here. As he practises — on this occasion against Alex Ward, the British player — he looks around, spotting who is on the next court trying to concentrate on their own game while sneaking a look at him. “There are no open questions of me here,” he says. “Everything happens naturally because there are no surprises on grass except having to react to what the opponent might give you.
“Other than that, you know what way you have to play to win and that obviously relaxes you. Points are so short on grass, you have to retain that intensity but also relax because it can be frustrating sometimes on this surface. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure.”
And what of coming off Centre Court after last year’s momentous final, to be greeted by Sampras, Rod Laver and Björn Borg, the golden age of the sport locked together in a space of not more than three square yards? “There is a bond between us that can never be broken,” Federer says. “We all know what it is like to have a hold of that trophy. Rod respects Björn, Pete respects Rod, I respect Björn, it doesn’t matter which way around you go, it comes to the same thing. I just appreciated them all being here, Pete especially because he does not come that often and I know how much his record [14 grand-slam titles, seven Wimbledon crowns] means to him. What I have done means so much to me.”
You wonder if he sometimes lulls himself to sleep counting trophies, as others do sheep. “Do you think I’m like that?” he laughs. “Actually I do sometimes.”
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Too long to read...

I'll just assume Roger went on an arrogant tirade and the interview basically consisted of Federer taking credit for inventing the game of tennis and, also, for Switzerland's win over Spain in the World Cup.


Too long to read...

I'll just assume Roger went on an arrogant tirade and the interview basically consisted of Federer taking credit for inventing the game of tennis and, also, for Switzerland's win over Spain in the World Cup.

desperate for attention much?

good article. just makes me love the man that much more.

West Coast Ace

Too long to read...

I'll just assume Roger went on an arrogant tirade and the interview basically consisted of Federer taking credit for inventing the game of tennis and, also, for Switzerland's win over Spain in the World Cup.
Spoken like a bitter Brit...


Bionic Poster
Definitely--it sure wouldn't fit on the back of a box of cereal plus there was no picture for you to color. My sympathies. :twisted:
LOL !!!

No no, he was just yoking.

Nice to see you back, Blinky. I notice you keep yourself fresh for the Slams.