Tennis Planet

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What I admire about Federer.

Posted by tennisplanet on July 19, 2007

Pure, rich, dripping and abundant talent. I have never seen that much of it ever, since boxer Mohammad Ali and soccer player Pele.

Although I have seen videos of the latter two, witnessing it first hand from Federer is like an out-of-body experience. If you have not seen him in action in person, you are not just depriving yourself of tennis genius, but also of absolute beauty in its purest form.

If you admire anything beautiful, you don’t need to know the mechanics of the form it is in, to appreciate it. Like, you don’t have to be a boxing fan, to enjoy the arsenal of shots and more importantly how effortlessly and elegantly they are executed, in the ring by Mohammad Ali.

If you love beauty and grace, you cannot miss it irrespective of the form and character it manifests itself in. If you have not already done it, go out and sell your house and that crappy car of yours, and buy the ticket to Federer’s next match in your primitive village.

It doesn’t matter if you are a tennis fan or not. You are not going out to watch a tennis match, you are watching genius at work – a once in a lifetime kind of euphoria. It is not everyday that a genius is born. History is proof that medium through which that genius is expressed is irrelavant. It is a spectacle to behold even for a layman.

And of course, if you are tennis fan, and you have not yet seen Federer in action, just go and drown yourself in the kitchen sink, right NOW.

You cannot get the real sense of what you are watching unless you are with him. If you are dizzy just watching on the freaking TV, make sure you get life insurance, before you step in those stands.

What strikes me most is, how he is able to get that sweet spot on his racket, even for the most difficult and out-of-the-world shots. That sound you hear from his racket is pure music. If you ever played any freaking sport, you will know what I am talking about.

It is the shortest distance between effort and efficiency.

The crowd is in rapt attention. They don’t want to miss a single shot from him. The wows and ooohs are constant and unending. I truly believe in what some one said, that his racket is an extension of his hand. As close to humanly possible it can be.

The comfort level, with which absolute ‘ridiculous degree of difficulty’ shots, are executed cannot exist without that precise eye-hand coordination. It is pure genius. Have I used that word enough?

Particularly startling to me is, how he is able to pull all of the above, when he is changing the direction of the ball to the other side of the court. The ball has to hit that perfect spot on the racket with just the precise force behind it, to land where Federer is able to place time and time again.

He is so dangerously comfortable with the racket in his hand, that it truly looks like his hand. He is capable of doing everything with that racket, anything that his hand can do. Well, almost. I know, I tried it and let’s just say, it was painful. Don’t get into my personal life.


13 Responses to “What I admire about Federer.”

  1. Jenny said

    Brilliant post. You’ve expressed it so eloquently, what more is there to add. I saw Federer play Pete in 2001 at Wimbledon, even then the word ‘genius’ screamed at me. He wasn’t so sophisticated then, but the talent was obvious. We know there’s much more to him than tennis genius.

    Whenever I listen to the great composers for example, the outerwordly passion of Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde, Beethoven’s power and depth, or the romance and beauty of Chopin – you cannot help but be reminded of the classical concert that is Roger Federer.

  2. Cloe said

    Yes! tennis planet, a brilliant post indeed and a worthy description of the artistry and talent we never tire of admiring in Roger. I should go drown myself in the freaking kitchen sink as I’ve never had the privilege of seeing him him play live, alas . . . I’m a professional musician, so as you say, greatness and talent appeals to something inexpressible within, however it doesn’t go without 1000’s hours of hard work. When I was just a little kid I remember being struck with awe in the very same way by Maria Bueno. Happens once in a great while . . . It was fun to see her again with the ‘greats’ in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.
    And now… you must know that Leyton Hewitt has just hired Tony Roche as his coach. What about that? Is Federer going to do the same? ‘m still a tad concerned about him. . .

  3. chieko said

    Tennisplanet san!! What can I say !! You are so good in expressing what you want to say so well. Yes I agree with Jenny and Cloe completely. I wish I can express more. But it is all said.

    Yes I am so lucky too to be able to watch him soon in Macau.

  4. Eva Kovacs said

    Re Federer greatness: I perfectly agree. First time I saw him play, on television, after a while I stopped watching the other players, and just watched Federer, because I just couldn’t believe how he moved, his power, his astonishing placement of shots, and the seeming ease with which he does all this. That is why some people have not appreciated his mental strength: when compared to nadal, who makes every ball look as if were a heroic play, whereas Fed does things effortlessly–or so it seems. Yes, he has genius, talent and skill. And when I saw him play in Toronto, it was hard to grasp his play because you really appreciate the speed with which the balls travel. I was really annoyed when some of the Wimbledon announcers–Americans–were wondering about who has more fortitude mentally, Nadal or Federer? It was such an inappropriate and ridiculous question if you look at his career. Yes, if you can, see him play in person. The earlier rounds are less expensive. I was certain he would win Wimbledon, and it gave me such a lift after the match. He played exceedingly well, clearly anticipating that there would be quite a few sets, and it was sheer skill, brains and unquestioning faith that had him turn the last set around, unredeemable in his favor. That is fortitude!
    It is wonderful to have other people appreciate his greatness. Such great and interesting, exciting players don’t come along every generation, that’s fpr sure!

  5. bunnee said

    altho we risk coming across as foaming at the mouth rabid fans, i agree, the fed is rapturous in action. & we will witness it first hand in montreal next month!!!!

  6. Claire said

    I know this is totally out of context but is driving me crazy and know one I know can answer this question and cant’ find a place to ask a question on ATP website.

    How the heck are points allocated and reflected on ATP standing.

    Why did Djokovic show an increase to 3040 after Wimbledon and Roger and Nadal points remained the same? I’m sure Roger earned more points than Nadal.
    Please please let me know, it is so driving me crazy and know you guys can answer.

  7. Claire,

    Click on question above and scroll down for the answer.

  8. Gracie said

    Claire, go back to the ATP site and on top menu: ‘Rankings’, select ATP Rankings. Page with list comes up; at top right click ‘Rankings and Race FAQ’ button to read explanation. The Race is based on YTD tournament points. The Rankings are based on a rolling 52-week system which counts a player’s best 17 results. You can click on any player’s name in the list to see their particular points breakdown. Last year’s Wimbeldon points get dropped as this year’s points get added in. Both Federer and Nadal had exactly the same result in 2007 and they had in 2006. Same points, so no change in their numbers.
    Also, if Tennisplanet would allow it, here’s a link to a page that will show you how the points break down for the Race and the Rankings by type of tournament.

  9. Claire said

    Thank you soo soo much Gracie for taking your time to respond. I LOVE this website 🙂

  10. saraunia said

    Yeah, last year I went on a quest to see Federer play. Although I had been to some of the WTA tournaments in the Bay Area (California) where I live, I had not gone to a men’s professional tourna. First I went to Cinncinatti last August (’06) and was gravely disappointed that Federer lost in the second or third round to Andy Murray. However, on the flight to Cincinnati I got the tip from some tennis players that the easiest Grand Slam to get tickets to was the Australian Open. So, I decided to plan a trip to Australia and I went to the
    Australian Open this past January (’07) and not only did I see Roger’s 7 matches in Rod Laver Arena but also his 3 warm-up matches at the Kooyang tournament which was also nearby. Fantastic, I was totally thrilled to witness such beautiful tennis and it was a “perfect 10” for Roger. And the Australian Open is a wonderful fan-friendly grand slam event. I had never been to Australia before and it turned out to be the best tennis experience I could have imagined. [with the bonus of Serena winning on the women’ side]. I tried again to see Roger at Indian Wells which is not so far away in Southern California. But ofcourse this tornament turned out to be a waste for me because Roger lost in the first round to Canas {before I even got there] as I had tickets only to the quarters and finals. Bottom line without by desire to see Roger perform in real time I probably would have never gone to Australia . . . . But what a blessing it was that trip to Melbourne to watch Greatness First Hand. So I know exactly what you mean!. . . It was truly a spiritual experience that I will never ever forget.

  11. PK said

    Muhammad Ali… not Mohammad Ali


  12. chieko said

    To Claire,

    I posted the same question to Tennisplanet in the Question Zone and got a very good answer.
    Please try that also.,

  13. Excellent description of the great man. I believe God gives talents and skills to various people so that we may all praise God. And boy, does Federer have an abundance! I have never seen any player with this much skill and talent ever before. Yes, he’s got every shot in the book and his hand-eye co-ordination is immaculate, but above all, it’s his mental strength which is absolutely unreal. How he can hit the shots when the points are tight, the match is tense, he’s at break or set points, is just unbelievable. I can’t even bare to watch at home on the TV, yet Federer remains so calm and continues with such ease and relaxation.

    And talking about calm, his face is the same throughout the entire match – he doesn’t give anything away in terms of his emotions to his opponent. This is a huge advantage. If you’re playing Roger and he misses a shot or loses a set, you look at him and see his face exactly the same, no sign of frustration, what in the world do you think? “How the hell am I going to rattle this guy?!”

    For all his divinely given talent which we all love to watch, open-mouthed, in utter appreciation, it’s his mental strength which is his biggest asset.

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