I’m not sure which interview this quote comes from but I found it on twitter and thought it was worth making a post about. Not just because I want to reach 1 000 000(997,652 currently) views before the end of the year but because I thought this quote is loaded, and since ‘Mirka’ has been back I feel more inspired to blog as well. Roger has made some noteworthy quotes during his career and this one is certainly right up there. I think it tells us an awful lot about who he is and why he is playing tennis. It also tells us why he is still playing tennis. Of course 2013 has been a testing year and the dreaded ‘r’ word has been raised by critics and fans alike on several occasions. Even I went as far as to use that word, and you know it would take an awful lot for me to use that word when it comes to Roger.
Of course I never said he should retire, but when Roger lost to Monfils in Shanghai things had just gotten to a point where I had to see a fast improvement from Roger toward the end of the year. I’m sure some people didn’t like what I said in that post after the Monfils match, but they underestimated how accurately I can predict what Roger is up to. I said Roger should qualify for London and make at least the semis there, or else he should consider retirement. Well I was so sure he could do it that I could afford to say those words. And yes, it was extremely important how he ended the season. Just look how much brighter everything seems now that he got those results. All of a sudden people think Roger will win a slam next year. Personally I have no idea whether he will. I am definitely not gonna say that he will, but at least there is a possibility now.
My point is you would not have thought that after Shanghai. I always knew and stated that Roger plays tennis for the love of the game first of all. I was just beginning to wonder towards the end of the year whether he was really still enjoying it, and whether his heart was still in it. No one could be certain of that anymore. He often didn’t look interested or that he was enjoying himself. Now we know the injury had a lot to do with that but we couldn’t always be sure. And the quote above pretty much sums it up and makes it all clear. I’m not saying no one had the right to criticize or even call for retirement. Yes that is Roger’s business, but as a fan you are in the dark. You don’t live inside Roger’s head. You just see the way he plays and look at his results, and then you wonder at times why he still bothers showing up.
There is nothing wrong with that in my view. That is just how the relationship of fans and their favorites work. Fans support their favorites and in my view that gives them the right to criticize too. Without fans a player is nothing. I do think it is wrong when people are glory hunters however. Some fans have no compassion with their favorite at all and at the first sign of trouble they dump them. That is low. It shows lack of character. So there are two sides to the story and indeed players can’t just have it all their own way, while fans should not be gutless either. It should be clearer now than ever that Roger plays for the love of the game. If not he would surely have quit this year when he was having such a torrid time of it. And of course part of that love is the competition, which goes hand in hand with winning.
But it’s only a part of it. I think it’s also a shame when everything is just about winning. I definitely think love is a better motivation than competition. This is why Roger is such a great champion and why he is so popular. He loves what he does and it attracts people to him. He is not a cold killer like Nadal for instance. It has cost him dearly on some occasions but it is another reason people are attracted to him. People are naturally more attracted to love and life than they are to death and killing. This is not a judgment against Nadal. Roger was blessed with enough talent that he could still be very good despite not being such a killer. Nadal doesn’t have much of a choice. Roger’s love for the game is also why he will probably play for many more years. Even if you are not as good as you used to be, why would you quit if you love what you do?