Like all of us – correction – like all of you, Federer has his good and bad side (Me? I just have the good one. Don’t drag me into this).
Here are some of what I like and dislike about this superstar.
-His movement on the court. Man, is that poetry or what, specially compared to ‘someone else’? It is an absolute pleasure watching him run around the court, with so much ease and poise. At times, it seems he is not even touching the ground.
No matter how far away the ball is from his reach, his shots never look ugly. They all have a touch of grace and balance. With balls flying around with so much speed and power in today’s game, it is unbelievable.
-Shot making: Man, have you ever seen that creativity ever? Whether he breaks Sampras’s record or the career / calendar Grand Slam, he is undoubtedly the most ingenious human to ever pick up the racket. His sick and hilarious angles on that rectangle are breathtaking both to the fans and his opponent.
Just attempting shots of that ‘degree of difficulty’ would be considered professional suicide. Not only does he attempt it, it is done decisively, but more importantly he is able to pull it off, with clinical precision. It is simply mind boggling.
I particularly love the backhand crosscourt flick, that dips vertically after barely clearing the net, and lands on the freaking sideline. It probably is his most deadliest shot after the furious forehand.
-Pace he generates from nowhere: That sweet spot he hits on the racket, particularly from the forehand, can be likened to an Olympic diver executing a perfect dive with minimal splash of water.
The sound you hear from the racket after that shot is music to the ears. If you have never seen Federer play in person, you are depriving yourself of one of the most co-ordinated and musical spectacle in sport. It can never be captured on TV.
Not only is he able to hit that sweet spot so consistently, he is also able to change direction at the same time. That’s is almost impossible to do and with every other player, if it happens, it happens coincidentally. With Fed, it is just routine. That’s why his forehand is so dreadful. Pace plus placement and you are dead.
-His respect of his collegaues: I admire that he has, and shows immense respect for other players on the tour, irrespective of their ATP ranking. If you haven’t heard of the Blake incident, reported on this site, yet – go drown yourself in the kitchen sink – and then come back and click here.
Can you even imagine how big a head, McEnroe would have, if he was in Federer’s shoes. He would be throwing people around, left right and center, in his tanturums.
It is the small things that give away, who you really are, since they are spontaneous and not forced.
I remember, after the finals at the AO this year, both Federer and Gonzalez went back to their respective chairs to wait for the trophy ceremony. Soon, Federer got up and walked up to Gonzalez’s chair and started chatting. He was bending over to be heard since Gonzalez was still sitting in his chair. Gonzalez was probably shocked to even realize what was happening. He kept sitting and Federer kept the conversation going, bending over all the time.
If you are a No. 1 player by this big a margin, you do not ‘disgrace’ yourself, bending over and talking to a lessor human, when he continues to sit as if he is the king. Federer has no such air about him. He is happy and pleased to make everyone comfortable at the expense of looking mundane and ordinary himself.
The fact that he does not spend lavishly and extravagantly like every freaking top athlete in the world, just validates that streak in him. Do you know, Tiger Woods, orders his own furniture brought in whenever he is on the road and he always rents a whole house at the location?
What does Federer do? Well, he stays at the same hotel, as the rest of the mortals from the event, stay – with whatever furniture is provided!!!!!!!!!
I always look for the small things to gauge a person’s character, since they happen so spontaneously and with so little time, that it is difficult to stage them. If you missed some of such acts from him, reported here, click here.
What I dislike?
– I simple cannot stand him devoting all that time and energy to activities that does not involve tennis. It’s like Agassi going out of his tracks and making acqaintances with Hollywood broads to pump his ego at the expense of his career. I believe he is one of the biggest underachiever there is, since he could have done a lot more if not for his detour. I cannot stand waste of talent. It should be considered a crime.
-His lack of motivation to improve physically: There have not been many instances, where he has been tested. Lack of many 5-setters in his career is ample evidence. But all those losses, I feel were mainly due to deficiency in that department, more than anything else. Hope he now, more than ever, realizes and fixes it, as he gets ready to launch the second part of his career.
Once again, sell your house and your car, and the buy the ticket, next time Federer plays at your village to truly appreciate the genius.