How did Federer win the hearts of the masses?

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
I was rooting for Federer to win by the fifth set of 2019W and Djokovic slightly late in the 2013FO semi because I did think they were playing better particularly because they were also more offensive. But, the aura of superiority that Djokovic had established over Federer by then and Nadal had in 2013 over Djokovic at the FO definitely helped carry them over the finish line.
OK. I agree with that.
Many times I have supported the underdog in matches where they played better than the favorite for most of the match, but they end up losing and disappointing me because they can’t make that critical shot on a big point when it matters like on a break point or match point.
At such times you have to wonder if the eventual winner won because the underdog stopped getting lucky (because if you are playing above yourself, that's temporary), or if fear/doubt stopped that underdog from closing it out. I don't know.
One of the reasons I’ve believed that Djokovic is the BOAT/GOAT over Federer (apart from a better BH) and Nadal (apart from playing more aggressively closer to the baseline) is because except against Nadal at the FO in 2012-14, Djokovic seemed to be the more confident player in most of their matches since 2011 even though his level wasn’t that much higher than them.
I'll skip the whole damned GOAT thing, which I think is ludicrous. But it's pretty clear to me that from about 2011 on he had an edge over Fed. At that level, even being 1% better is going to win many important matches.
Nadal and Federer always made the crucial errors late in matches when victory was in their grasp whereas Djokovic was usually soundly beaten when he lost and rarely lost close matches.
I don't know if this is true, but I won't argue. What I do think is that the 2 hander is simply a better defensive shot. It equalizes the difference between forehand and backhand effectiveness. That's clear going all the way back to Connors, Borg and Evert, so all players. From then you when you look at guys who win defensive stats, it's almost always the two handers. So if it's so obviously effective on return, the only reason I can see for not using the 2 hander is if it somehow limits approaches and net play. For me this is uncertain. One one hand, when you look at guys like Becker, Edberg, Sampras and so on, and Mac, and Laver, it seems that the guys who were legendary at the net had that 1 hander game. Add BJK and Navratilova. When you think of the alpha fast court players, you sort of think 1 hand. At least I do.

But it only takes one player to reset assumptions. Why can't a 2 hander approach just as well, when today all 2 handers use a 1 hand slice? Is there some principle I'm not getting? If you learn the 1 hand slice, why would you have any problem volleying on that side? Even Connors had a good two hand backhand volley, but he could not be more aggressive because of his weak serve.

It seems to me that Djokovic IS the modern model for the most effective game, mostly, but a better net game would be awesome (he has improved it), and the so-called pathetic overhead is not truly a weakness, or every opponent would lobb him to death.

I don't like the look of the 2 hander as well, but it seems to me that it is the superior shot, and it goes back a LONG way.
Yes, the mental aura is real and that’s why it is tough for younger players to unseat ATG-level champions unless they are helped by technology change - grass to more hard/carpet surface, wood to metal/graphite/bigger racquets, gut to poly strings etc.
Good point. This could be why Rosewall and Laver stayed on top for so long. During their careers their equipment mostly did not change.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Yes, not the well-rounded personalities folks were a hundred or five hundred years ago.
Because back then people were so much deeper, more intelligent and better educated. :)

You only have to go back as far as the 50s to see how perceptive people were. Duck and Cover would protect you from radiation. No one was gay back then (Liberace, Rock Hudson). TV was so great. I so much miss My Favorite Martian and the Donna Reed Show. I really miss getting sprayed outside our car in a drive-in theater with DDT. And, by the way, you could trust priests back then, because no one touched little boys back then.

If only we could go back to those perfect days. :)
 
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socallefty

Legend
What I do think is that the 2 hander is simply a better defensive shot. It equalizes the difference between forehand and backhand effectiveness. That's clear going all the way back to Connors, Borg and Evert, so all players. From then you when you look at guys who win defensive stats, it's almost always the two handers. So if it's so obviously effective on return, the only reason I can see for not using the 2 hander is if it somehow limits approaches and net play. For me this is uncertain. One one hand, when you look at guys like Becker, Edberg, Sampras and so on, and Mac, and Laver, it seems that the guys who were legendary at the net had that 1 hander game. Add BJK and Navratilova. When you think of the alpha fast court players, you sort of think 1 hand. At least I do.

But it only takes one player to reset assumptions. Why can't a 2 hander approach just as well, when today all 2 handers use a 1 hand slice? Is there some principle I'm not getting?
I have a 1H-BH, but I taught my kids and my wife a 2HBH. Federer says he will teach his kids a 2HBH. I think there is no question the 2HBH makes it easier to play defense for longer periods especially on high-bouncing courts and also has an edge on returns. The 1HBH is visually more appealing and if you are an offensive player who likes coming forward, the earlier contact point and more closed stance might help with that.

All the fantastic doubles players I saw all week at Indian Wells (and in past years) have 2HBHs, but they have no problem approaching the net and making great 1H BH volleys. I think the modem players increasingly volley well compared to the last two generations and are willing to come to the net more easily to finish points. But, players who only come to net in singles are anachronistic because passing shots are too easy with poly strings unless you have taken control of the point already with a great approach shot. I saw Opelka with his 7-feet height and servebot serve S/V a lot and get repeatedly passed by Dimitrov like he was taking candy from a baby on this ultra-slow court at Indian Wells - maybe it might work still on grass where the ball stays low.
 

socallefty

Legend
At such times you have to wonder if the eventual winner won because the underdog stopped getting lucky (because if you are playing above yourself, that's temporary), or if fear/doubt stopped that underdog from closing it out. I don't know.
I play more than 200 tennis matches a year and I can tell you what happens to the underdog in the crucial moments IF you don‘t believe you deserve to win the match at that moment. Your brain seems to tell your body that you are not good enough to win and it is almost impossible for the body to execute the most basic ‘last’ shot to secure the double break or win the game points that matter. The ONLY way to win a close match is to always believe at the end that you deserve to win - the only exception to that is if your opponent doesn’t think he deserves to win either in which case it becomes a double choke fest full of unforced errors at the end like the 2020USO final.

So, if you are the underdog and you are winning, you have to “Fake it till you Make it” and find a way to convince your brain that you are better on that day and you deserve to win the last few critical points - then and only then can you execute well enough to grab that victory. Sometimes young champions have the brash self-confidence of youth and can pull off big upsets. But, if you’ve been around tour for a while as a journeyman player, it is very hard to pull off the final few shots needed to create a big upset and that’s why the top players pull out an incredibly high % of close matches.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
Marketing and success. Everyone wants to be as successesfull as him. Its not just about sport. Besides, during his rise, what were other suppose to be goats in other sport? Maybe only Kobe and Tiger. There was a void which he filled. Not to say how much sport evolved in the last 20 years in the world. His case is the best exsample how capitalism is filling every part of our life, and more.
Obviously, it starts with being great, and winning, but I also think that marketing is a huge part of it, and Roger - and those around him - have a keen sense of that, and are quite media-savvy as well.
Over the last 30-plus years, the best marketed athletes I've seen (from my perspective in The States) have been Bo Jackson (his aura is still amazing), Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Federer.
Way back when, it was Arnie Palmer - still "The King" even well after Nicklaus was much better.
From this list, although I'm crossing into team sports, I liken Roger most with Peyton Manning. Arguably, other players (and QBs) came along who were better, but in the public's mind, Fed (despite Rafa and Novak)and Peyton (despite Brady and Rodgers)
retained that aura for years.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Half the world probably haven't even heard of Federer but you jokers somehow seem to think he's beloved by "the masses." Tennis junkies may well be the most out-of-touch fanbase on the planet.
I have NEVER seen a single Federer ad except the Wimbledon Rolex one which only comes on during, uh, Wimbledon season. And I saw the Sampras Agassi ad (where they keep playing till Mac grows a beard) a bunch of times back in the day.

People have no idea.
 

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
Because he plays beautiful tennis and is generally likable and uncontroversial. Not to mention he owned the sport for the better part of a decade. Nadal and Djokovic showed up after him, so their success to some extent will always be defined - in the popular imagination - by how they matched up to him.
I don't think Federer would be too keen on that.
 

ffw2

Professional
Marketing and success. Everyone wants to be as successesfull as him. Its not just about sport. Besides, during his rise, what were other suppose to be goats in other sport? Maybe only Kobe and Tiger. There was a void which he filled. Not to say how much sport evolved in the last 20 years in the world. His case is the best exsample how capitalism is filling every part of our life, and more.
Nothing more than a perfect storm?

Who gets the lion's share of the credit for manufacturing this god among men.

Nike? Mercedes-Benz? NetJets?
 
Aesthetically pleasing. Form over Substance. Its why rich goobers elites maintain control of the population.. Humans are very shallow today. Why are cheap reality shows full of idiots, and crappy, computer generated movies the most popular thing on a TV screen now? Because we are Brain dead
Agree with this. Fed's tennis had no substance whatsoever. All flash and little else.
 

Poisoned Slice

Bionic Poster
His beautiful game won me over in the end. When he started becoming the dominant male, I was hesitant because he was beating Agassi a lot. I was like boooooo. But then things started to change and I appreciated him.

I have NEVER seen a single Federer ad except the Wimbledon Rolex one which only comes on during, uh, Wimbledon season. And I saw the Sampras Agassi ad (where they keep playing till Mac grows a beard) a bunch of times back in the day.

People have no idea.
I can remember the Agassi and Sampras commercial playing all the time. I believe Johnny Mac was in at as well, saying ''this could go on a while.'' It has been a while since I've seen the commercial.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
[QUOTE="Poisoned Slice, post: 15821008, member: 712432"
I can remember the Agassi and Sampras commercial playing all the time. I believe Johnny Mac was in at as well, saying ''this could go on a while.'' It has been a while since I've seen the commercial.
[/QUOTE]
I think Sampras had one commercial on his own(for Dannon Yogurt) and the rest were all paired with Andre. Sampras was not adored whatsoever and had limited commercial appeal in the States.


And this was the one that got a lot of airplay that you mentioned--- again with Andre:

 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Obviously, it starts with being great, and winning, but I also think that marketing is a huge part of it, and Roger - and those around him - have a keen sense of that, and are quite media-savvy as well.
Over the last 30-plus years, the best marketed athletes I've seen (from my perspective in The States) have been Bo Jackson (his aura is still amazing), Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Federer.
Way back when, it was Arnie Palmer - still "The King" even well after Nicklaus was much better.
From this list, although I'm crossing into team sports, I liken Roger most with Peyton Manning. Arguably, other players (and QBs) came along who were better, but in the public's mind, Fed (despite Rafa and Novak)and Peyton (despite Brady and Rodgers)
retained that aura for years.
What sports are Jackson and Manning competing in?
Some local things?
 

Kralingen

Legend
This really isn't much of a mystery.

I mean here he is being described as "very charismatic" way back in 1999 (1:33). Some people just have that X factor.

“He has an arrogance about him … but it’s a pleasant arrogance”

I’m kind of shocked at how well this guy captured Roger’s essence at only age 18 lol. That’s the entire draw, he is arrogant and cocky but backed it up. and with his talent, why wouldn’t you be? In his prime, he was the guy who
-is the best
-knows he’s the best
-also knows that everyone he knows he’s the best

and doesn’t do anything to hide it. I can’t help but admire how fully he embraced the spotlight, either. Many people might fumble it or misstep but he seemed to bring “the show” and deliver the goods every night, even in losses, in a way no other player has.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
i'm going to assume my federer fan trajectory was similar to millions of others: i saw a young player arrive who had all the shots, played a spectacularly appealing game, was creative, unpredictable, explosive and lethal. as a tennis fan, i'll admit it: i found that fun to watch.

it's fair to admire winners, but that's not where it started. i began rooting for him because i simply wanted to see him play another match, more than the other guy.

to elaborate on a point above, i think it's the unpredictability and creativity of his game that hooked so many people. there's a reason 'surprise and delight' come paired so often–to be pleasantly surprised is a delight. federer simply hits so many shots that you simply don't see coming, and that is a particular, and rarer, kind of thrill.
 

Swingmaster

Hall of Fame
No false humility. He's not going to pretend he's talentless. False humility is almost as bad as no humility, and self deprecation can get pretty annoying also. Exhibit A: Roddick
Like Kralingen pointed out up there: pleasant arrogance. I like that. Like brothers who are playfully competitive all the time.
 

Slicehand

Professional
Come on, isnt it obvious? Everybody wants to play like roger, hes the icon of the modern game, players after him never showed as much atributes as him, every shot hit so gracefully... some players have beautiful shots, but he has all of them
 

Slicehand

Professional
Forget about the personal stuff, dont get fooled by that, people like players when their shots make a show, thats why djokovic can win all he want, but a federers match will always be nicer to see, thats the main reason for the difference in popularity, forget the ball boys, forget the attitudes... tennis is what a tennis player is mesured on and whoever expects them to be perfect in everything else is just being silly
 

ffw2

Professional
“He has an arrogance about him … but it’s a pleasant arrogance”

I’m kind of shocked at how well this guy captured Roger’s essence at only age 18 lol. That’s the entire draw, he is arrogant and cocky but backed it up. and with his talent, why wouldn’t you be? In his prime, he was the guy who
-is the best
-knows he’s the best
-also knows that everyone he knows he’s the best

and doesn’t do anything to hide it. I can’t help but admire how fully he embraced the spotlight, either. Many people might fumble it or misstep but he seemed to bring “the show” and deliver the goods every night, even in losses, in a way no other player has.
Think about how much the world's changed since the time of that commentary.

That was even pre-9/11.

Feel like there's just infinitely more subtext now. Even to something as simple as a character evaluation of a tennis player.
 

Fedeonic

Hall of Fame
This is a personal appreciation. Federer started getting more love from the masses when he stopped being a winning machine. I remember when I was 11-12 and playing in the club and many were "this guy wins everything, it's getting boring", a diplomatic told me that when Djok beat Fedr at AO 2008, she told me that it was about time that the "alien" is defeated.
In Latin America, he was seen as a way too distant idol, in comparison to Nadal who was closer, not only to the language, but also Rafa used to do the Golden Swing. It's a pretty long story on how are the latin-american tennis fandoms.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Aesthetically pleasing. Form over Substance. Its why rich goobers elites maintain control of the population.. Humans are very shallow today. Why are cheap reality shows full of idiots, and crappy, computer generated movies the most popular thing on a TV screen now? Because we are Brain dead
Humans are shallow today because they increasingly prefer instant gratification and stimulation over appreciating highly technical beauty generated through art, architecture, or music (aesthetics). Along with that, even the standards for natural, non technically generated, beauty have also drastically changed in the manstream. Federer harkens back to geniuses of prior eras in terms of sheer mastery of a form, etc. So really your two points contradict each other. The people who appreciate Federer today are a lot of the same people who abhor mass culture for those reasons because it has completely debased what humans should appreciate and strive towards (which is really what the role of culture and "elites" is)
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Humans are shallow today because they increasingly prefer instant gratification and stimulation over appreciating highly technical beauty generated through art, architecture, or music (aesthetics). Along with that, even the standards for natural, non technically generated, beauty have also drastically changed in the manstream. Federer harkens back to geniuses of prior eras in terms of sheer mastery of a form, etc. So really your two points contradict each other. The people who appreciate Federer today are a lot of the same people who abhor mass culture for those reasons because it has completely debased what humans should appreciate and strive towards (which is really what the role of culture and "elites" is)
Indeed, shallowness would imply that people who dislike Federer do so because he lacks 'drama' or whatever. It rather requires insight to appreciate a player purely for how beautifully he plays the game. And as to the notion that Fed lacks substance compared to Sampras or Bruguera, a big LOL.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Has he won the heart of everyone posting on this thread? He never made me a fan even though I enjoy watching him play and I am always puzzled by the level of emotion and hyperbole he evokes in some people. I want him to win when he plays better than his opponents which he usually does, but I usually want him to lose if I feel like his opponent is playing better which happens only when he plays Djokovic or maybe Nadal on clay. That’s typically my attitude with every tennis match I watch though as I want the player I think is playing better to win in the end. Also, aesthetically I don’t think he is so much better to watch than Djokovic who is perfect technically and I am always amazed by how the media hypes him up to be doing ballet while everyone else is doing street dancing on the court. I’ve never felt that way after watching him play for almost 20 years at Indian Wells.

Only in a few epic matches is it unclear who is playing better and those are the nailbiters that stay etched in the memory for a long time where I didn‘t support anyone till the end - finals of 2008W, 2009AO, 2009USO, 2012AO, 2017AO, 2019W and semis of 2013FO, 2018W, 2020FO come to mind.

It seems like Federer did a great job of getting the media in North America and Western Europe on his bandwagon by winning a lot during his peak while behaving well on court and being good in the interview room along with having a great PR team. Very few of his fans have seen him play in person and the way they perceive his play style is heavily influenced by the way the commentators talk about him on TV and the tone of articles written by his fans in the media.
You say you have watched him for 20 years at Indian Wells. Did it strike your mind that in those 20 years he has won 20 slams too? So contrary to your impressions, he is not merely a PR coup. He is, uh, one of the most successful tennis players of all time. So the hype shouldn't be so surprising.

As for the aesthetic debate, it's a puritanical notion of movement where a player trying to make a shot off an awkward position, like on the full stretch or off balance, is viewed as ugly (and Nadal and Djokovic both do this a lot). As a rec player, I know exactly why they would do that and it is the most natural thing to want to get racquet on ball. But Fed somehow nearly always find himself in perfect position when he is hitting the ball (whereas you can often find Djokovic look slightly unbalanced even when he is planted). He looks balanced even when he is stretched (and he doesn't get on a full stretch like Djokovic anyway). And he doesn't grunt except very occasionally. So all this unsurprisingly creates the impression of old school elegance. He is also the only one of the three who hits a one hander and, like a lot of guys with a one hander, uses the slice a lot. Using a one hander does not make him BETTER but it makes him more elegant from a traditional point of view of tennis aesthetics.
 

socallefty

Legend
Did it strike your mind that in those 20 years he has won 20 slams too? So contrary to your impressions, he is not merely a PR coup. He is, uh, one of the most successful tennis players of all time. So the hype shouldn't be so surprising.
There are three guys who won 20 Slams each and they are all amongst the best players in history. But, Federer is much more popular with the masses and explaining that is the premise of this thread. Why is he so more popular than Nadal and Djokovic is part of the underlying theme in the thread as I interpreted it. I don‘t really understand it as I never got won over by him in any special way over Nadal and Djokovic when they are all playing well. I have played tennis at a good level throughout my life and maybe I appreciate technical excellence of all forms and styles in tennis and am not as easily swayed by 1HBHs, lack of grunts etc. in terms of aesthetics. I tend to appreciate more who has the capability to win more points and matches and all three of them are very good at that.

So, I am not belittling Federer in any way when I say that I personally don’t appreciate him any more than Djokovic in particular - for me, they are both at the pinnacle of what I enjoy watching. I enjoy watching Federer much more than Nadal though because of Nadal’s style of playing defensively from 15 feet behind the baseline. So, it is a puzzle for me when I hear many people gush about how watching Federer is some kind of poetic, balletic, spiritual experience that they don’t get from watching other pros. I have never felt any kind of elevated emotions evoking language like that watching any tennis player. But, I get a lot of enjoyment from watching any kind of advanced tennis live in person whether it is college tennis, WTA or the the highest level of ATP pros.

The modern textbook of how juniors are coached at least at the Junior Academy at my club which churns out top California juniors is much more modeled on Djokovic’s game than Federer’s style. Djokovic’s game for me is the textbook for playing a great balance between offense and defense - bent-arm SW-grip ATP forehand, 2HBH, sliding on hard courts to save extra steps on wide balls, hitting on the rise and changing angles often (which Federer does equally well), returning with a very wide, low stance etc. The BH slice technique that is taught by coaches is also the Djokovic style with more of a flowing follow through than the more abrupt chopping motion that Federer makes. I think all of Djokovic’s shots are more efficient and repeatable and that’s why coaches favor them. Federer’s game is prone to more inconsistency (BH shanks on high-bouncing courts, less balance between FH/BH and more dependence on inside-FHs, more errors on the run) and maybe that’s why coaches don’t teach it as much. Of course, Federer makes it look easy and that is part of the joy of watching him with his eastern-grip straight-arm FH and 1HBH. But, I also appreciate watching someone like Djokovic who plays the textbook way and am puzzled by so many fans who don’t find the same joy in his shots also.

I personally have a 1HBH, but have never taught it to my own kids or any juniors that I occasionally coach. I don’t like watching Shapovalov play because he has so many inconsistencies in how he hits his shots based on the ball he gets from his opponent. I also don’t think Tsitsipas has anywhere close to a textbook 1HBH especially when he changes angle and hits DTL - he also gets exposed on fast courts as his swing is too long. Wawrinka, Federer, Thiem and Gasquet have 1HBHs that I enjoy watching a lot - so, the quality of the technique matters too and not every 1HBH looks good to me if it has weaknesses.
 
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Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
There are three guys who won 20 Slams each and they are all amongst the best players in history. But, Federer is much more popular with the masses and explaining that is the premise of this thread. Why is he more popular than Nadal and Djokovic is part of the underlying theme in the thread as I interpreted it.
But is Federer more popular than Nadal? I don't think so. The Quora rule of ask whether before why applies here.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Humans are shallow today because they increasingly prefer instant gratification and stimulation over appreciating highly technical beauty generated through art, architecture, or music (aesthetics). Along with that, even the standards for natural, non technically generated, beauty have also drastically changed in the manstream. Federer harkens back to geniuses of prior eras in terms of sheer mastery of a form, etc. So really your two points contradict each other. The people who appreciate Federer today are a lot of the same people who abhor mass culture for those reasons because it has completely debased what humans should appreciate and strive towards (which is really what the role of culture and "elites" is)
this is an accurate reading on Federer’s brilliance… but I fear too optimistic.

There are a ton of people in cities wearing RF hats only because of said mass culture pushing him and his Nike products for the past 15 years. I get your point about him being one of the few who might deserve their colossal fame, acclaim, and cultural footprint, and yet the mechanisms for Federer’s fame have been modern and corporately distilled in ways that are slightly grotesque in comparison to the on court product of his tennis.

Of course, this is probably an inescapable reality for any talented person in the 2000s. The truly next level athletes (Messi, LeBron, Phelps, Tiger) are actually some of the few true traditional artisans left in our society who may have earned their acclaim. Their contributions are based on a lifetime of single-minded focus to a goal.. who else really meets that description in today’s celebrity landscape?
 

socallefty

Legend
The truly next level athletes (Messi, LeBron, Phelps, Tiger) are actually some of the few true traditional artisans left in our society who may have earned their acclaim.
Very true what you say about the commercialization of every successful sports star. Heck, big brands have even co-opted the word ‘artisan’ and apply it to the most inane mass-produced commercial products these days.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
this is an accurate reading on Federer’s brilliance… but I fear too optimistic.

There are a ton of people in cities wearing RF hats only because of said mass culture pushing him and his Nike products for the past 15 years. I get your point about him being one of the few who might deserve their colossal fame, acclaim, and cultural footprint, and yet the mechanisms for Federer’s fame have been modern and corporately distilled in ways that are slightly grotesque in comparison to the on court product of his tennis.

Of course, this is probably an inescapable reality for any talented person in the 2000s. The truly next level athletes (Messi, LeBron, Phelps, Tiger) are actually some of the few true traditional artisans left in our society who may have earned their acclaim. Their contributions are based on a lifetime of single-minded focus to a goal.. who else really meets that description in today’s celebrity landscape?
Crass commercialisation is inevitable when a sportsperson attains mass popularity. We saw the same thing in India when Tendulkar became a religion. And when confronted with bandwagoning fans, it can be easy to forget that he became a celebrity on account of how well he played. And that's such an amazing thing. As you say, sport is almost the last refuge of this pure form of celebrity and it has become fleeting in the arts. It's even more complicated in the case of the women, especially polarizing figures like Serena. Serena became famous just because she was insanely good at tennis, as simple. And that part is often forgotten now.
 

Fedforever

Hall of Fame
“He has an arrogance about him … but it’s a pleasant arrogance”

I’m kind of shocked at how well this guy captured Roger’s essence at only age 18 lol. That’s the entire draw, he is arrogant and cocky but backed it up. and with his talent, why wouldn’t you be? In his prime, he was the guy who
-is the best
-knows he’s the best
-also knows that everyone he knows he’s the best

and doesn’t do anything to hide it. I can’t help but admire how fully he embraced the spotlight, either. Many people might fumble it or misstep but he seemed to bring “the show” and deliver the goods every night, even in losses, in a way no other player has.
Yeah, I mean obviously there's been a lot of marketing around the "perfect gentleman" thing. Nobody thinks Federer's popularity is entirely natural!

But it's also clear he had something in his personality that drew others towards him. And you can't entirely manufacture that.
 
In that light, it makes it all the more remarkable.

And by the time the mask drops, it'll be too late. (n):cry:
It sure does. Mid 30s substance-free tennis player decks tennis GOAT three times in his best year, scoring half of the tour victories against him for the season.
 

ffw2

Professional
His beautiful game won me over in the end. When he started becoming the dominant male, I was hesitant because he was beating Agassi a lot. I was like boooooo. But then things started to change and I appreciated him.
I think that's the genesis of it: the practical side of the form.

Not every day that the most aesthetic athletes produce the most functionally lethal games.
 

Frenchy-Player

Professional
Beautiful game...and he cried sometimes, seriously the audience likes players who show emotions, Djokovic is seen like a cold person because he rarely did it.
 

Adman

Rookie
Jogo Bueno comes above everything. When your game is beautiful, people forgive drugs (Maradona), gambling (Jordan) or arrogance (Fed)
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
Yeah, I mean obviously there's been a lot of marketing around the "perfect gentleman" thing. Nobody thinks Federer's popularity is entirely natural!

But it's also clear he had something in his personality that drew others towards him. And you can't entirely manufacture that.
off the court by all accounts, including players, federer is a friendly, affable, classy guy. from a marketing standpoint he's great because he mostly let his tennis do the talking, doesn't say anything controversial or give you anything to disagree with, really. easygoing and effortless is aspirational--nobody dreams about grinding, huffing and puffing towards success. "without seeming to try" is the ultimate ideal, and his game embodies it.
 

Sunny014

Legend
Federer became immensely popular because

01. He was extremely stylish, as the Rolex ad says, this man plays tennis more beautiful than anyone ever did.
02. He dominated Tennis in a way that Sampras or other guys before him never could, winning 3 slams and year back to back and completely destroying al rivals with a SMILE on his face ..... now that is the death that everyone loves, swift but painless with a smile, classy as f**k
03. He carries his emotions on his sleeves by crying and all that, he looked metrosexual and that attracted everyone without looking too toxic masculine or too feminine, he was the balance of both.
 

MrFlip

Professional
Federer hit shots and played with a style that totally unique and made people who don't watch tennis be amazed by his play.


The same can be said for Nadal, not so much Djokovic.
 

Whisper

Rookie
What was it that secured his position for eternity as the most beloved figure in tennis? :unsure:



I knew I could count on me.


He’s nowhere near the all time most loved, this is just recency bias. However he is the most loved of his era. Reason? TINA.
 
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