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02/10/2018

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Gary Moser

What A Freakin' JOYOUS Interview, On Both Sides:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN5sUFX11WQ

Veglia

Rafael Nadal to reveal new racket at Mexico Open

https://www.express.co.uk/sport/tennis/918358/Rafael-Nadal-racket-Mexico-Open-PURE-AERO-DECIMA-Babolat

Veglia

Would you rather finish your career with:

a) 6 GS, 22 Masters, 3 WTF and 2 No-1

or

b) 9 GS, 12 Masters, 1 WTF and 1 No-1

Gary Moser

Without even being sure what you mean by "2 No-1" and "1 No-1" [ 2 stints vs 1 stint with #1 ranking? ],
6 GS merely ties Edberg/Becker, while 9 puts E/B plus Connors/McEnroe/Wilander/Lendl/Agassi
all in the proverbial rear-view mirror.

I vote b)

Veglia

No-1 means "year end No 1 ranking". Do you think b) would pass the GOAT spreadsheet test done some time ago? Who has that file? sperry?

Gary Moser

Thanks for clarification.

b) might very well NOT pass the GSS test,
because 22 Masters vs 12 masters is a differential of 10,000 ranking points all by itself,
while 9-to-6 GS yields only 6,000 more...

[ Of course, that doesn't take into account how many points the "other guy" got in those tournaments ---
was he a losing Finalist, or victim of a R1 upset? ]

nick

Novak Return with Madrid Masters
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/novak-djokovics-shock-return-date-confirmed-after-failings-following-elbow-surgery-1661859

Kitty

Very interesting titbit about Rafa on hard courts ---
"Nadal has won only 3 hard court titles in the last 4+ years - Doha in 2014 and US open+Beijing in 2017. In all three wins together, he has beaten 1 top 10 (dimitrov) and 2 top 20. "

Alpha

Tennis dot com is doing a 50 greatest players of the open era series. Djokovic came in at #5 for men and Evert at #5 for women. Anybody want to guess the top 4 on both sides?

Mine are Federer, Nadal, Laver, Sampras
Serena, Martina, Steffi, Court.

The people are will be there are pretty obvious. The challenge is to get the order right. Not what you think, but what Tignor is likely to say. Left to me, I put Novak above Sampras and Martina as #1.

sperry

For me, the Martina/Serena choice is more personal than most of these types of decisions... in that it all depends on what is valued. Singles slams are Queen, and Serena has got a bucket-load (5) more than Martina. But in most everything else, (most importantly, character) Martina rules. If I'm 100% honest, and I line up Martina's accomplishments with Serena's, with no names attached, I have to go with Serena. But it doesn't make me happy to do so. And I wouldn't argue with anyone who picks Martina.

Adrian

I don't think we discussed this on this site and I was curious what you guys think:

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2018/02/davis-cup-to-be-transformed-into-a-world-cup-of-tennis/72376/

Although I do think it'd be lots of fun, I think having a world cup of tennis once a year is a bit too much. I also think it undermines the new Laver Cup, no?

Alpha

I'd vote Martina for her effect on the game. She changed the women's sport in a fundamental way, bringing in fitness and power. Plus, she had Chris and then Steffi to contend with. Then there is the doubles record and her longevity.

Gary Moser

A 5TH LAUREUS "Sportsman Of The Year" Award for Roger Federer:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-5442013/Roger-Federer-wins-Sportsman-Year-Laureus-awards.html

Leon

Oh, well...
http://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Rafael_Nadal/52391/rafael-nadal-withdraws-from-acapulco-doubtful-for-indian-wells-and-miami/

Gary Moser

PRETTY FUNNY PROMO FOR NEXT WEEK'S "MATCH FOR AFRICA" EVENT IN SAN JOSE:

https://www.today.com/video/famous-friends-help-savannah-guthrie-prepare-to-face-roger-federer-1172592195586

O

Martina Navratilova: "The Greatest Of All Time - Roger Federer" 2018 Laureus
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpLCz89YLc8

Roger Federer: "Thank you to my rival Rafa Nadal" Laureus Sport Awards 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpAaaCxuVs

Roger Federer Press Conference After Winning 2 Awards At 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrUCgq6Z6bo

Gary Moser

WAWRINKA TO MISS SUNSHINE DOUBLE:

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2018/03/stan-wawrinka-to-skip-2-american-events-to-rest-injured-knee/72467/

Gary Moser

RAFA APES STAN:

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/m/192eef36-fdd2-39ca-b366-49265e37d119/ss_injured-rafael-nadal-will.html

Gary Moser

AS GOOD OF A 5-MINUTE TENNIS INTERVIEW AS YOU WILL EVER HEAR:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWZA760o3Nc

Kitty

didn't see anything STAN related?

Kitty

nevermind, I think you meant his injury is similar to STAN's

Gary Moser

Not Rafa's injury being similar to Stan's, but the fact that they each announced
they were skipping BOTH Indian Wells and Miami --- I found it curious/concerning
that neither opted to take a wait-and-see position on Miami, since it was 3 weeks away...

Kitty

Gotcha! Thanks!

harr88

You are right, as usual.

nick

Lovely. Precise and pointing things. How I miss Johny Mac's blow out in this age of neutered players.

Leon

Oh, no.
http://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/videos/Roger_Federer/52689/roger-federer-hits-twohanded-backhand/
I see, Roger is infinitely innovative, but it's over the top, no?

Gary Moser

ROGER'S 6-YEAR PRIME VERSUS THE FOLLOWING 6-YEAR STRETCH

2004 thru 2009:
Played all 24 Slams, winning 14 and losing 10
09 losses to opponents who at one-time-or-another have held the #1 ranking.
The other 01 to...DelPo, in the 2009 USO Final, after being 2 points from victory [ DelPo career-high #5 ].

2010 thru 2015:
Played all 24 Slams, winning 02 and losing 22 ---
11 losses to opponents who at one-time-or-another have held the #1 ranking.
The other 11 to...
Berdych (twice)
Cilic
Gulbis
Robredo
Seppi
Soderling
Stakhovsky
Tsonga (twice)
Wawrinka

Leon

Minor correction: JMDP career high #4 (first 2010.01.11, then twice more; 6 weeks total)

Gary Moser

I even looked it up on his Wikipedia page and clearly saw "4", but somehow my mind and/or finger produced "5".

Thanks for catching, Leon.

Gary Moser

VERY TELLING ARTICLES ON THE PHYSICAL PRICE PAID BY NADAL AND CHUNG:

http://www.marca.com/en/more-sports/2018/03/15/5aaa92c322601ddb568b4600.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/15/sports/tennis/roger-federer-hyeon-chung.html

Gary Moser

SO...why isn't ESP-freakin-N airing this in its beautiful entirety?

http://baseline.tennis.com/article/72756/tommy-haas-calls-it-career-indian-wells

Gary Moser

THE ANTI-VENUS!

Honesty and class from start to finish.

Particularly notice the end, when he's gotten out of his chair and started to walk away at screen-left,
he stops to entertain even more questions from one or more media members who have come up to him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z5oxIyY5q8

Leon

"...now he has found a true love again."
Lol.
www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Tennis_Stories/53003/radek-stepanek-and-nicole-vaidisova-to-become-parents

Gary Moser

Number of Year-End Top-2 Slots Secured [ since ATP rankings began in 1973 ]:

11 - Federer
09 - Nadal
08 - Connors
07 - Lendl
06 - McEnroe
06 - Sampras
06 - Djokovic
04 - Borg
04 - Edberg
04 - Agassi
03 - Becker

WTA comparative:

07 - The Williams Sister
01 - The OTHER Williams Sister

Gary Moser

IT'S LIKE THE END OF A (TOTALLY EMPTY NON-) ERA!

https://www.ibtimes.co.in/coach-andre-agassi-part-ways-novak-djokovic-after-differences-opinion-765439

Gary Moser

NADAL WANTED A 2-YEAR RANKING SYSTEM...THIS ONE WOULD HAVE FEDERER CURRENTLY AT #1:

http://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/23027866/a-look-possible-new-streamlined-tennis-ranking-system

Leon

In an interview with Tennis World Spanish, Nadal commented on how he didn't know that he had taken over as the world no. 1 from Roger Federer this week. "To be honest, I didn't know that I was back as the world no.1..."
http://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Rafael_Nadal/53401/rafael-nadal-i-didn-t-know-that-i-was-back-as-the-world-no-1-/

Oh, really?

Gary Moser

I saw that, too...and my initial reaction was: how is that possible?
I mean --- even if the roles were reversed and my beloved Roger had said it ---
how could that be LITERALLY possible?

I know that he's the "humble warrior" and all, and most likely would want to downplay the significance
of re-claiming the top spot, given how it came down and all, but...to quote Leon: "Oh, really?"

Leon

What we, mere mortals, know about honesty (modesty, humbleness, you name it), Gary?
Go become a celebrity, then judge, right?

sperry

If one is TRULY humble, then that doesn't change with celebrity, thinks I.

Veglia

sperry, man, where are you hiding??!! Come back to the planet.

Veglia

In my view this is not reflecting positive on Rafa.

a) He is pretending he didn't know so he's a liar.
OR
b) He really didn't know so he is disrespectful and ignorant.

In either case I'm really sick of Rafa's BS ...

Raj

Hey Hey!!

Veglia

OK, let's talk. What's your take on this?

Gary Moser

TIRIAC AT HIS PROVOCATEUR-BEST: MISBEHAVING ROGER, 198-POUND SERENA?

http://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Roger_Federer/53455/roger-federer-equal-prize-money-the-focus-of-ion-tiriac-s-criticism/

Leon

And that's after Federer having nothing against blue clay?
What an ingratitude.
Yeah, completely avoiding the surface as such doesn't look good. At first glance, this makes Federer standing above the tour competition while being within the tour, etc. Not a true acting champion position, rather like a semi-retired mode. But it's exactly what aging champions come across, and the ATP officially provides a special status for them. Federer just accepts it.
So, Ion's words sound silly, very softly speaking. Of course, he doesn't care.

Gary Moser

Pretty funny that Tiriac uses LEWIS HAMILTON as a comparative ---
a guy who is (a) several years younger than Federer, and (b) competes while SITTING IN A CAR.

Veglia

Novak's new coach is ... Marian Vajda!!! Good things may be in the basket again for Nole.

Gary Moser

Did you see an ANNOUNCEMENT? I just saw FOOTAGE...

Veglia

I just wish to believe and it's so strong in my mind that I will use The Force to make it true

Veglia

... as Alpha would say "Veglia is going Trump on us" :0) again

nick

Vajda is right choice. If Novak does not have a health issue then he is in the mix.

Alpha

:-)

Gary Moser

CONTINUING BAD NEWS FOR "THE FUTURE OF MEN'S TENNIS":

https://sports.yahoo.com/injured-kyrgios-doubtful-french-open-161057197.html

Gary Moser

ROGERS CUP VOLUNTEER AMONG TEN DEAD IN TORONTO VAN ATTACK

https://www.yahoo.com/news/toronto-van-attack-suspect-charged-10-counts-first-degree-murder-143449612.html

O

Toni Nadal: I'd be 'delighted' to coach Novak Djokovic
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=newssearch&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiJ14PdktvaAhVGslQKHelZAzAQqQIILSgAMAE&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eurosport.com%2Ftennis%2Ftoni-nadal-i-d-be-delighted-to-coach-novak-djokovic_sto6729844%2Fstory.shtml&usg=AOvVaw2bbp6IZcwu5ZQcpZT6UuOO

Leon

Serena wants to be seeded #1 at Wimbledon. Citing so-o-o solid arguments, sort of "sexist WTA", "pregnancy isn't injury". etc.
As you like it.

Gary Moser

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2018/05/novak-djokovic-reuniting-yet-another-one-his-former-coaches/73616/

Ummm...can't Novak just FOLLOW THE SAME ADVICE that this trainer gave him back-in-the-day?

What potential additional benefit is there to actually have the guy around, reiterating it?

O

Federer Nadal AO17 5th set
https://youtu.be/qlH3TIEwJ3I

Veglia

It worked again :)

Veglia

Another supporter of my "Djokovic is BOAT" theory, John Isner.

http://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/Novak_Djokovic/54638/john-isner-djokovic-is-the-best-playing-at-the-maximum-of-his-abilities-/

Leon

At the maximum of his abilities?
Why not Dustin Brown? Lukas Rosol? Robin Soderling? David Nalbandian? Even Fernando Gonzalez, for that matter?
All of them were completely unplayable at certain occasions...

Veglia

Maybe for Little Rafa, Nole would have beaten all of them on those occasions

Leon

Regrettably, it's impossible to check. Me...I simply can't imagine a human able to withstand Dustin "at the maximum...". That he never could prolong it for 2-3 sets - except once! - is another matter. Nadal as such is nothing more than a random example here. Others abound. Instead of Brown, I could take Ostapenko - not a great player, but when all the balls she bashes magically paint the lines (at worst) one can hardly do anything.
And...when one player is "at his best", the opponent as a rule is not, so...
My point is, with all due respect, that comparisons based on the his-best-vs-his best criterion aren't serious - but perhaps you also think so, or at least will not insist on the opposite.

Alpha

Yeah, comes down to duration at "maximum" level. One point? set? match? tournament" season? 5 years? To me, at the very least, they need to play at that level for a season.

Leon

...comes down to duration at "maximum" level.

Exactly.

Veglia

Exactly ... now that we agreed we can dismiss Dustin and Lucas, we can go back to serious debate. We are talking about a sustained excellence displayed by Novak during the 2015/16 Nole Slam. That is what counts as "at peak of his abilities" and that is what Isner was referring to, certainly not one match.

Alpha

The part that I think is true that Novak was probably the only player the modern game who, at some time, was the best player of his time on all surfaces. Nobody else can claim that. But, as far s BOAT goes, I'm not sure. If Earth had to play Mars and you could choose surface and player from any point in time, I go with Rafa on a clay court every time. To me, then, that is the highest level at which this game has been played by a human.

Veglia

I am not convinced Rafa's level on clay was higher than Borg's.

Leon

Don't get me wrong. My "exactly" doesn't mean that I agree with the criterion (or even with dismissing Dustin - who knows, had he so favourable conditions/guidance as our heroes from the very childhood...), as it is always subjective to choose that duration. You want the Nole slam period, I immediately respond with "cherry picking statistics", so on, so forth - hardly "serious debate". Alpha says it as "at some time, was the best player of his time on all surfaces" - sounds a bit funny, this combination of "some time" and "his time" (feel free to define the latter), but anyway, he implies smth like a year. As he notes, this doesn't mean that he is better than Roger on grass (and, sorry, on hard, too) or than Nadal on clay, OF ALL TIME.
As you might note, I never discuss the GOAT (or, all the more, BOAT) issue, as I don't believe in the validity of these terms. I am satisfied with my impression of Roger as most inspiring tennis player for me (and more or less suitable individuality), and yes, so far the best in the main statistics. The latter status might change, but hardly my perception. You prefer Novak, fine. "In the eye of the beholder" - yes, all the rest is of no objectivity, just exchange of opinions. Friendly, of course.

Veglia

Of course, no hard feelings. There is no statistical way to define "at his best" but a number of players and coaches have used the term so there's something to it. In my view it represents a period of time no less than a year long when certain player has consistently played what appears to be his/her best tennis. It is also broadly known as "in full flight".
For Federer it was the glory years of 2004-2007, for Rafa in my view it was 2010 and for Djokovic it was 2011 and then 2015/2016. I will go on to say that I believe that Djokovic at his best, as defined in this post, beats best Roger on grass but not best Rafa on clay. Even though he did beat him at RG in 2015 but I don't think that was best Rafa. I understand that the claim about beating best Roger on grass is outrageous but don't let your emotions guide you. Look back at 2014 and 2015.

Alpha

Veglia, have you actually watched a full clay court match of Borg’s?

Alpha

"Alpha says it as "at some time, was the best player of his time on all surfaces" - sounds a bit funny, this combination of "some time" and "his time" (feel free to define the latter), but anyway, he implies smth like a year."

Without great parsing of words, all I meant was that Novak was the best player in the world on all surfaces over a season. "At some time" meant at a particular point in time. "His time" meant his career. Neither Roger or Rafa or, for that matter, anyone in the open era could ever claim that.

Alpha

Roger was nowhere near his best in 2014/15. You agree to that, yet point to it as evidence that full flight Novak beats full flight Federer. Am I missing something?

Veglia

Many on TV as a kid. Borg is the reason I started watching, then playing tennis. His percentages are still the best. If you think Federer is popular around the world, boy, you should have seen teenage girls screaming when Borg was in sight.

Alpha

Teenage girls screaming had very little to do with his tennis. Please go have a look again. That version of Borg does not win a game from Rafa. Of course, technology has changed but there is no way you can predict what Borg would play like with the new rackets, strings etc.

Veglia

Dude, you can' do that. For example, do you think Rod Laver would be able to beat Diego Schwartzman? Does that put Diego on a higher level? C'mon we've spent countless hours in the past proving to each other that you can't compare players from different eras like for like.

Also, if you watched the Annual Solar System Cup for the past couple of decades you'd know that Martians can't stand teenage girls screaming while they easily tolerate but picking finger sniffing routine. It's the little things that always make Earthlings win those cups.

Cheers!

Gary Moser

If a person can wade through the ton of hatred in the internet comments out there, it's amazing what can be learned.

For example, I stumbled upon the following today:

"The longest women's match (by time) took place at a tournament in Richmond, Virginia, in 1984,
when Vicki Nelson took 6 hours, 31 minutes to defeat Jean Hepner 6–4, 7–6.
The match featured a 29-minute, 643-shot rally, the longest in professional tennis history."

Makes Rafa & Novak look like PIKERS!!!

Gary Moser

If any of these have appeared here on Tennis Planet before...please ignore this.

But, if not --- this is COMEDY GOLD that needs to be seen!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Vc3Jmx0z8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay4yk44tkv4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI-5DRoJpDs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEfQEA1jmAc

Alpha

I know this is Rafa's time of the year, but....


WSJ. MAGAZINE
Roger Federer Can’t Be Stopped
By Jason Gay
May 23, 2018 9:01 a.m. ET

BEFORE WE BEGIN, an important disclaimer: Roger Federer isn’t supposed to be doing this. Playing pro tennis, that is. Especially not pro tennis like this—as the best men’s player in the world, or awfully close. Federer turns 37 in August. A tennis player his age is supposed to be retired to the geezer circuit, lifting easy lobs to other geezers. Pete Sampras, one of Federer’s idols, played his last match at 31. Björn Borg quit at 26.

By now, Federer’s supposed to be on TV, ruffling phenoms with his cranky-old-man critiques. He’s supposed to be enjoying the spoils of a career well done. He’ll have that second glass of wine, thank you very much. Dessert? Sure. Maybe he lets a roll of belly fat grow above his waistline. Yep: Roger Federer is supposed to be at work on a Roger Federer dad bod.

Instead, Federer is here, in Miami, writing a surprising late chapter to what is already one of the greatest careers in the history of sports. When we meet, in the quiet, Zen-like courtyard inside the Setai hotel off South Beach, Federer is just a couple of months removed from winning his all-time-record 20th Grand Slam at the Australian Open. He’s amid a fresh run as the world No. 1, the oldest men’s player to do so. When Wimbledon begins in July, he’ll be the defending champion—and likely the favorite.

Federer takes a seat. He’s dressed in a set of dark Nike warm-ups and a black bubble-heeled pair of sneakers. A waiter appears, as if summoned by the ions of celebrity, and Federer orders a single espresso with a sparkling water. “And a bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce, thank you,” he says.

Pasta for lunch. Interesting. There’s not a trace of dad bod anywhere. Dammit.

We talk for a few minutes about the vibe in South Beach—the tournament he’s about to start, the Miami Open, coincides with Miami Music Week, a thunderous citywide event featuring DJs and a thumping OONTZ-OONTZ-OONTZ beat that rattles hotel windows day and night.

“It’s intense,” Federer says, laughing. “Instead of reading good-night stories to the kids, you’re looking down at pool parties. But the kids like it.”

He likes it too. In person, Roger Federer is not what you’d expect. Over his career, he’s developed an otherworldly image—the tennis star who looks like James Bond, floats like Baryshnikov, speaks a half-dozen languages and carries himself with an almost regal bearing. Off the court, Federer’s a far looser guy. He can make a joke—and take a joke. “He’s always had a sense of humor,” says his good friend, the former pro Tommy Haas. “He’s got different accents and can impersonate people quite well.” (Federer does a great Borg, Haas confides.)

Federer was not always so stylish, either. The man was not born wearing that slick, embroidered Gucci tux he wore to the Met Gala last year. There’s a funny old photograph of a teenage Federer standing in his childhood room in Switzerland. The door and walls are plastered with posters of Pamela Anderson, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan. But the best part is Federer’s ’90s bottle-blond peroxide hair, which makes him look like a lost member of the Backstreet Boys. I show him a copy of the photograph on my phone, and he giggles. “I actually wanted to do red hair at some point,” he says. “I just felt like it was a time to try out stuff, you know? I wasn’t the only guy who did it.”

That haircut was a long time ago. A lot of Slams ago. A marriage and four children ago. Today, Team Federer operates as Swiss Family Federer. Somewhere on the hotel premises are Federer’s wife, Mirka, a former Swiss tennis pro herself, as well as the couple’s two (!) sets of twins: 8-year-old girls Charlene Riva and Myla Rose, and 4-year-old boys Lenny and Leo. The children keep Federer busy—and humble. He tells of competing in intense matches, only to look into the stands and see his spawn flipping through comic books. “I’d be playing, and they’d be reading their books,” he says, shaking his head.

Are the kids playing tennis?

“Yeah, they play a bit,” he says. “It’s one of my mini-requirements with Mirka. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them to be professional players, but I would like them to play recreationally.”

Piano lessons are also on the docket, he says. But most of the time, there’s the comical madness of having four children under 10. The girls are at an age where they want to boss around the boys, Federer says—and the boys are at an age where they can now defend themselves. “Organized chaos” is how Federer puts it. “Sometimes we have to be the umpires.”

FEDERER LIKES the chaos—even if it’s occasionally hazardous. Usually tennis players get hurt, you know, playing tennis. But in 2016, Federer suffered the biggest injury of his career in the most dad way imaginable: He stretched too far when he was trying to draw a bath for his daughters and tore a meniscus. He lunges away from the table to show me how he did it—how he wanted the kids to take a shower, how they begged for a tub, how he reached for the faucet, how he overextended and heard an ominous click in his leg.

At first he thought he’d be OK, but by afternoon the knee had swelled. Federer got surgery, rehabbed quickly and made a go at playing, but he was not himself. Shortly before the Olympics in Rio, he decided to shut down his season for good, missing the U.S. Open as well. It was a devastating setback. Still, I chuckle. As a father of young children myself, I can imagine the madcap bathroom scene and bizarre parenting injury.

I apologize to Federer for laughing.

“No, it is funny,” Federer says. “It’s absolutely funny. It’s crazy.”

As it turned out, the break was a perfect opportunity for a reset. Federer had been playing for decades without pause; now his aging body was telling him to relax. So he relaxed. And recuperated. He returned in 2017 in Australia with zero expectations, only to charge to a final against his greatest rival, Rafael Nadal, where Federer prevailed in five sets. It was Federer’s first Grand Slam title in nearly a half decade—which he followed up with another at Wimbledon.

“It became magical,” Federer says.

That Slam drought had done something to Federer’s image: It humanized him. Early in Federer’s career, the game seemed almost too easy. He ripped through the competition, collecting titles at a furious pace, and though his play was elegant, there was something almost clinical about his dominance. As he got older, however, the competition widened. Federer won less. After heartbreakers like five-set losses to Novak Djokovic at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon—not to mention upsets by players we’ve not heard from since—it became fashionable to wonder if Federer could get another Slam. He became an underdog, almost. Tennis fans desperately wanted to see him relocate his former self. For the first time, Federer seemed...vulnerable. It wound up making him bigger than ever.

“When you struggle, when you’ve had injuries, when you’ve had to reinvent yourself, people are like, ‘That’s what I feel every day. That’s what I go through,’ ” Federer says.

His comeback season in 2017 was cathartic, because fans weren’t sure if they’d ever see it. While injuries thinned the top of the field—Djokovic and Andy Murray, in particular, haven’t been themselves—this isn’t the uneven Federer of a few years back. He’s a much better player. Federer has trimmed his schedule (this is the second year he’s skipped the clay court season) and remodeled his game, switching to a bigger racket, shortening points, turning his angelic one-handed backhand into a fearsome weapon. Paul Annacone, Federer’s former coach, says it comes down to belief, that Federer realized “what he is still capable of, regardless of who is on the other side of the net.”

Others close to Federer marvel at his persistence.

“He never lost faith,” says Federer’s friend and frequent courtside guest, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. “He always felt he could come back. There were a lot of people out there saying maybe it was time—but he never gave up.”

Here in Miami, a couple cautiously approaches for a photograph. Federer obliges, standing for a quick iPhone snap. This happens wherever he goes. There’s hardly a place left on earth without Federer fans, or Fedheads, as they’re nicknamed. His matches feel like rowdy pilgrimages, full of obsessives and bucket-listers eager to see him before he’s gone. He’s the crowd favorite at every tournament, even when he’s far from home or (somewhat awkwardly) on the home court of his opponent.


“He really is a living legend,” says Tony Godsick, CEO of Team8 and Federer’s longtime agent and business partner. “You want to take your kids and friends to see someone who could go down as one of the greatest athletes in history.” He mentions Federer’s recent charity Match for Africa with Bill Gates in San Jose, California. “We sold 17,000 tickets with no advertising.”

In September, Godsick and Federer will take their two-year-old Laver Cup—named for iconic Aussie Rod Laver, it’s basically an All-Star Weekend for the best men’s players—to Chicago. Last year’s Laver Cup delivered the spectacle of Federer and Nadal playing doubles together for the first time. The event was an immediate smash.

MATCH POINT When asked how he’d like to be remembered, Federer says, “Good for the game. That people enjoyed watching me—and I brought the game forward.”

Nadal will always be remembered as Federer’s top rival, but Federer’s closest contemporary may be a legend on the women’s side, Serena Williams, who was born seven weeks after him in 1981. The holder of 23 singles Grand Slams, Williams recently returned to the sport after giving birth to her first child. Federer marvels at Williams: “It’s been fascinating to watch. She had a totally different upbringing—I came up through Switzerland with the federation, she did it with her dad and her sister. It’s an amazing story unto itself—and then she became one of the greatest, if not the greatest tennis player of all time.”

I have to ask: Did Federer, considered by some to be the tennis GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), just suggest Serena was the GOAT? Did he mean GOAT on the women’s side—or overall?

“Overall,” Federer clarifies. He ticks off the staggering stats of players like Williams and Steffi Graf, which eclipse those of anyone in men’s tennis, especially when one factors in all of Serena’s doubles titles.

Federer knows that greatest-ever debates in sports are usually a fraught exercise, and in tennis, this is especially so. Changes in equipment, the tournament calendar and travel have made it a markedly different game (if you want to give Laver and Billie Jean King private jets and modern rackets and string, then we can talk). Federer points out that the early generations weren’t chasing records—they were just playing. “It’s not fair to compare, actually,” he says.

“But we know [Serena] is all the way up there. I’m probably up there with somebody, somehow. Maybe there’s a group, a best of five—and if you’re in that group, you should be pleased and happy. Tennis is a funky sport when it comes to that stuff.”

“I’m in full admiration of Serena,” he says. “And Venus, too, by the way.”

(A few weeks later, I see Williams at the premiere of her HBO documentary series, Being Serena, where I relay Federer’s GOAT comment. “I think we can say that about both of us, respectively,” she says. “He’s done amazing things in his career—I have the utmost respect for him. He’s a wonderful athlete, a great guy. I love what he’s doing [with his foundation] in Africa too. That was really impressive to me.”)

It’s incredible they’re all still at it, Federer says. “Rafa’s still playing, I’m still playing, Serena and Venus are still playing—and it seems like they love it more than ever.”

Tennis writer (and frequent Wall Street Journal contributor) Tom Perrotta has noted an underappreciated part of Federer’s makeup: He enjoys playing tennis. It sounds odd, but it’s important. We’re accustomed to tennis tales of burnout and helicopter parents—Andre Agassi’s autobiography read like a tennis version of Mommie Dearest—but Federer appears to suffer from no such demons. He’s excited to play the Miami Open for the umpteenth time (he’ll wind up losing in the first round, shockingly). He cares about the little tournaments as well as the biggest ones. Annacone says he even likes practice. Practice!

“It’s one of the most amazing things about his makeup,” Annacone says. “He still finds happiness in hitting a tennis ball, the gym, doing the work. It’s hard to imagine that, at 36, it can still be fun, but it is for him.”

Federer knows it’s unlikely he’ll get to write a perfect ending to his career. Sports can be cruel, even to the best. “I’ve long given up that it needs to end in a fairy tale,” he says. “I don’t need to be ranked [No. 1] or need it to be after a big title. If it happens that way, that’s amazing. But you can’t control it all. You have to put yourself out there, be vulnerable. I play because I love tennis, not because it needs to end with a [perfect] situation.”

Are you afraid to retire? I ask. “No,” he says. “The only thing I wonder is: How will it be, the moment of retirement? How emotional will it be? Where is it going to be? What will lead to it? Is there a process—or do you wake up and decide at once?”

Maybe you don’t get to decide.

“Exactly,” he says. “The unknown. I think that’s quite exciting.”

What will Federer’s post-tennis life look like? He’s eager to spend more time with his family, especially Mirka, who has been by his side since before he won his first Slam and remains his essential confidante. “In moments of doubt, I could go to her and ask her how she really felt, if she believed I could come back again,” Federer says. “Without her, things would have turned out very differently.” (Says Wintour: “There’s no one who’s been more a part of his success than Mirka.”)

Retirement will likely mean more time for Federer’s foundation, which has raised millions for schools and education services in Africa and Switzerland. Coaching? Federer says he’d enjoy working with young players but can’t see himself coaching on the road, not with his own children so young. What about doing commentary on TV? He laughs. “I don’t know if people would listen to me.”

He says he’s curious about the fashion business, perhaps expanding beyond his RF Nike athletic-wear line. He’ll have Wintour’s blessing if he does. “I think Roger can do whatever he wants—he’s an incredibly smart businessman,” she says. “Whatever he does in fashion, he’ll think about it carefully. He knows a lot of us in that world; he’ll take advice, and he’ll surround himself with the right people. No one would be in his box cheering him on more than I would.”

On the endorsement front, it’s easy to see Federer, who also has deals with enviable status brands like Rolex and Mercedes-Benz, having a lengthy post-sports career as a pitchman, like Arnold Palmer or Michael Jordan. “He’s got long-term agreements with most of his brands,” says Godsick.

I ask Federer how he’d like to be remembered—admittedly, a weird question to ask someone currently in his mid-30s.

“Good for the game,” he says. “That people enjoyed watching me—and I brought the game forward, like Laver and others did. I want [to know that] people who came to see me, and paid a lot for tickets, left with a good feeling. They got their money’s worth.”

It’s time to go. Nearby, there are people waiting; there’s a ride to the stadium; there’s another audience thrilled to watch him take to the court. Reborn at an age he’s supposed to be retired, Roger Federer is off to play tennis. Not because he has to, but because he loves it. •

nick

Too many details of how injury happened. Sounds being overly defensive explaining something. No one tries to show how they got injured for fear of another one.

Gary your analysis of injury details please.

O

GOAT race current status:
youtu.be/eaXmIPHrHmY

O

GOAT race current status:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaXmIPHrHmY

Sorry the first link didn't work.

Gary Moser

"He stretched too far when he was trying to draw a bath for his daughters and tore a meniscus.
He lunges away from the table to show me how he did it—how he wanted the kids to take a shower,
how they begged for a tub, how he reached for the faucet, how he overextended and heard an ominous click in his leg."

Too many details? Seems like a pretty tight set-piece to me:
HOW it happened in general...followed by WHY it happened [ shower vs tub ]...followed by WHAT happened specifically.

As for the re-enactment and re-injury risk, I'm guessing it was a slo-mo limited-range full-concentration take,
nothing like the full-speed full-range spontaneous move he originally made for his daughters.

Gary Moser

ROGER IN PARIS! [ but for champagne, not tennis ]

https://www.vogue.com/article/roger-federer-launches-a-limited-edition-champagne

Gary Moser

MEN'S DRAW FOR FRENCH OPEN:

https://www.rolandgarros.com/en-us/article/mens-draw-nadal-avoids-key-contenders-roland-garros-draw

Alpha

I had asked on a different thread "Has there ever been a more prohibitive favorite at any Slam, ever? Even Rafa in previous incarnations was never this heavily favored."

Look like I was wrong. There has been a more favored winner 3 times since 2005.

Interesting article, with two interesting claims :(1) Rafa is heavily favored because of a weaker field, not because Rafa is playing that great; (2) The current version of Rafa would lose to the 22 year old version of Rafa 2 out of 3 times (would have been worse than a h2h of 23-15 -- hehe couldn't resist)

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/05/28/rafael-nadal-is-the-biggest-mens-grand-slam-favourite-in-years

nick

Very interesting. One thing I notice that above 74% the favorite fails to win. Between 72 and 74 only one instance but Rafa won. Below 72 % the data selected is always right.

nick

And this time Rafa is favored in 70-72 % band. Lock it up

Gary Moser

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/m/0feaf511-8946-3c8a-ae45-07ab003c1a95/ss_%27sup%3F%3A-carefree-canadian.html

I like what I see in Denis Shapovalov --- on the court, and off.

But...

When THE MEDIA begins an article with "This was a milestone day in the nascent career of the rapidly rising Canadian teen"
about a 19-year-old winning a first-round Slam match after having previously appeared in three main draws in Slam competition ---
and getting past the first round in TWO of those three ---
especially when compared to certain SEVENTEEN-year-olds having WON Slam titles [ Wilander...Becker...Chang ]

"Well, I have to regard this askance!" [ NETWORK, 1976 ].

nick

And a certain 17 year old blew everyone to win Wimby '85. Unseeded. I can't find the stats that if he was a qualifier at Wimby '85

Gary Moser

Going into the 1985 Wimby, Becker was ranked #20 in the world.
Thus, he was unseeded because they only did the Top 16 instead of 32.

Pretty sure that Boris did NOT have to go through the qualifying rounds,
as an 18-year-old McEnroe famously did in 1977 on his way to losing in the S/F round to Connors...

Mircea Bumbesti

The only player from the 80's who would have beaten Nadal consistently and in his prime: Ivan Lendl, the father of modern tennis.

O

McEnroe - Rafa Doesn't Want the Roof! _ The Commissioner of Tennis _ French Open 2018 _ Eurosport

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN7MrdbkiEM

O

Roger Federer should be stripped of first title - stunning claim by unlucky loser

https://www.express.co.uk/sport/tennis/969718/Roger-Federer-should-be-stripped-of-first-title-stunning-claim-by-unlucky-loser

Gary Moser

MARY PIERCE DOING GREAT!

http://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/23692654/mauritius-mary-pierce-finds-peace-coaching-church

Gary Moser

ANDY MURRAY DOING...NOT SO GREAT?

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/m/b6d64d5b-1dab-3f8f-9a94-4cf8d7413fa2/ss_murray-out-of-wimbledon.html

O

Attack by pet lion Unprovoked

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4FD4ho_XiE

Gary Moser

Hmmmm...some people would consider "pet lion" to be an oxymoron. :->

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