Today is my birthday and I thought I’d use this opportunity to dedicate a post to you, my readers. I started this blog back in December 2008, right after Roger had his his worst year on tour since he started dominating tennis. I think after three years of blogging it is about time I open up more to you about myself. I have an ‘About’ section on my blog, but it doesn’t say much. When I started this blog I had just quit playing tennis a year ago myself, and I wanted to stay involved in the sport in some way. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life after tennis either. To be honest I felt like life had used me up, and I just wanted to get away from everything. So that is what I did. I went to live in a small, quiet town by the sea, away from everyone and everything. I have lived here for more or less four years now, without much of a life to speak of.
When I was a tennis player tennis was my big love. I did not have much of a life outside of tennis, but I was willing to pay that price. At least tennis was always there for me. It was that one constant in my life and I really loved it. When I was done with tennis it left quite a big hole in my life, and I needed something to fill that hole with. That is petty much what this blog has done. When I started this blog I was getting around 10 hits a day. These days when Roger is playing it’s between 1000-2000. It took some time to build a reader base, but it was fine because I enjoyed the writing. But my resolve was tested very early on. When Roger lost in the final of the 2009 Australian Open I was completely shattered. I could still take the Wimbledon 2008 loss because I knew Roger was not at his best. But after he won the 2008 US Open I felt that he was back.
There were no excuses going into that 2009 Oz Open final. And on top of that Nadal was involved in a brutal five set marathon in the semis against Verdasco, while Roger had an extra day’s rest. The stars had aligned for Roger to get his revenge on Nadal for that Wimbledon 2008 loss and set the record straight again. He even had Nadal at his mercy late in the third set when he had break points. You can read all about it in the post I did way back then called ‘The End of an Era‘. It was a demoralizing loss and really felt like the end of an era. I even thought about quitting my blog, only two months after I started it. But already at that early stage it was my readers who convinced me to keep going. I had a very small reader base at that point, but knowing that there was even one person who wanted to hear my thoughts was a kick.
That was the only time I thought about quitting the blog, but there were enough reasons to continue. I’m glad I did not quit, because Roger came back in epic fashion soon after, completing the career slam at the French Open and breaking Sampras’ slam record at Wimbledon. Those were also his biggest achievements in the sport as far as I’m concerned. The career slam has been cheapened somewhat ever since Nadal completed it and the courts have been made homogeneous, but Roger would have won it in any era anyway so it was a massive achievement. From then on the pressure was off Roger since he achieved the two biggest things in tennis. But he was also not the player he was in his prime anymore, which in a way made his career more interesting to follow. He was more human and easier to identify with.
Also he was on the verge of breaking many more records. But aside from the tennis itself it was great to build a reader base and getting to know different people on my blog. Some of you have been here almost since day one, while the rest I gathered as time passed. I have always enjoyed sharing my thought with you and when someone said something positive about a post it always gave me a kick. It was a lot easier to deal with tough losses, knowing that my readers are there to read my thoughts and that we could discuss it afterwards. I have given a fair amount of criticism to some players, but I have always tried to keep my blog pretty civil. I have also tried to keep it objective. RF.com never really interested me. I joined the site but never took part in any of the discussions. I just felt like Roger could never do anything wrong in the eyes of the Fedfans over there.
I never wanted to be that kind of ‘blind’ fan. I wanted to be able to criticize Roger if I felt it was necessary and not have to apologize. I also felt like I had unique tennis knowledge to share as a former tennis player myself, and combining that with my love for Roger was ideal. I have always felt that my readers are very knowledgeable about tennis. I often learn things from you guys and I find the discussions interesting. I also find that you are classy people and keep things civil in your comments. But that is to be expected from people who idolize Roger I guess. Fans are attracted to players who they have things in common with, and the nice thing about a fan blog is that you can have that kind of community where you share your love of a player with like minded people. Having said that, I don’t see my blog as just a fan blog.
I’d like to think that it is a blog about the best that the men’s game has to offer. That includes mostly the top four players in the world. So I’d like to think this is a blog that is on the cutting edge on the men’s game. I also like to think that this is the best tennis blog in cyberspace. I write about the best player in history, I have the best readers, and I know a lot about tennis. I may not have the best writing skills and English is not my first language, but I have improved as a writer and I don’t think I’m doing too badly. This blog is something I am proud of. I am proud of Roger, I am proud of you, and I am proud of me. I have to say a special thanks to a reader called Veronica who made a comment the other day that deeply touched me. She really is a huge asset to this blog, making interesting comments and making everyone around her feel good.
Allow me to share and excerpt from her comment here:
I echo commentators here in thanking Ru-an for providing us this forum to share our common love for Fed. This is the best Fed blog, EVER, Ru-an. The most level-headed, intelligent, civil, informative, insightful, thoughtful, respectful, objective and at the same time, the most fun and supportive blog. You have done well, Ru-an and no one can take this away from you. Don’t say you haven’t done much with your life. This blog is enough to make up for all that you feel you may not have achieved. It has brought so much happiness, joy, hope, positive vibes, friendship and just good feelings/emotions to everyone who reads here. I’ve also noticed the readership has gone up a notch this year and more people are commenting. And the commentators here are so classy, just like you are classy, Ru-an. I suppose Rog’s classiness rubs off on us, eh?! Happy birthday Ru-an and what a present from Rog! I will be lurking at this blog as you have promised to keep us happy during this off season – haha! Blessed Christmas everyone and happy holidays!
Seriously, how can you possibly receive a better comment than that?! It is just more proof what classy people Fedfans are and that I have the best readers in cyberspace. This comment deeply touched me because I feel like I have pretty much failed at everything I have attempted in my life. That is why I ended up in this town, alone and isolated. I felt like I had tried so hard and failed so much that I just wanted to escape from everything. The last four years my life has kind of stagnated because of it. It could be viewed as wasted time in which I have still achieved nothing. So now you can understand why this comment means so much to me. I mean my blog has always been something that I’ve been proud of, but I would have never seen it as some kind of achievement. I saw it more in terms of a hobby.
So receiving this comment made me feel like I did in fact achieve something and that in the last four years of my life I have done something useful. This blog has given my life meaning the last few years. People have come and people have gone but you my readers have remained. It has been the one constant in my life. It has been the one good thing about my life. I have been on Twitter for a while now and I have been a member of tennis forums before, but those places often bring out my ugly side. On my blog I am in control and I feel like I can just be myself. I don’t have to pretend or prove anything. So in a way you guys are very much like a family to me. In terms of family I only have a sickly mother and a sister who I lost contact with, and I don’t have any close friends offline either.
So you guys really are important to me. I want to thank all of you for supporting my blog and being such loyal followers. I don’t want to thank you by name here because there are so many and I don’t want to leave anyone out, but you know who you are. Some of you have been with me for a long time while others have only joined us recently. I appreciate all of you for contributing and making this blog what it is. That does not include just those who leave comments of course. I know I have many regular readers who don’t comment and you guys are just as important. We are all here for our love of Roger and tennis and we all share in that. Now I want to get to the future of this blog. My life is about to enter a new phase. I told you my life has somewhat stagnated in the last four years and it is time for me to move on.
That does not mean it is the end of my blog. But it does mean that I may blog less. I will be busier and therefor may not be able to see some of Roger’s matches. But I am working on a solution. I have thought about adding a type of forum to my blog where you guys can chat about Roger and then I can join you whenever I am free. The main thing is I want to keep my readers because it took a long time to gather a reader base like you guys and I have already said what you mean to me. Even if I blog less it doesn’t mean I will be any less of a fan. I am still very excited about Roger’s future and I still want to share my thoughts with you. So please don’t lose interest if I blog less. I will still try to watch as many of Roger’s matches and blog as often as I can. And as I said I am gonna try to create more of a community here where we can have discussions and interact better.
I want to say thank you once more for all the joy you’ve given me and I hope we can keep sharing our love for Roger and tennis for many more years to come. You guys are Fedtastic!