Is Federer Arrogant?

You damn well bet he is! He wouldn’t be much of a tennis player if he wasn’t arrogant now would he? You see what people don’t get is that tennis players are in the winning business, not in the people pleasing business. I don’t think I have ever met a tennis player in my life that was not arrogant. It’s part of our nature. Unlike team sports you rely entirely upon yourself. Professionals may have a team around them off court, but on court it is they who have to do the business. The pressure players are under compared to team sports are much higher. In a team you rely on your team mates as much as you rely on yourself. When you lose in tennis the blame only goes on yourself, while when you lose as a team your teammates must take responsibility as well.

But when you win in tennis you take most of the credit yourself, whereas in a team you can’t take all the credit. Because I am a perfectionist and could never leave my fate into the hands of my teammates, I preferred an individual sport like tennis. That isn’t to say individual sports are better then team sports of course. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. You can also say that in a team there is more pressure on you because when you mess up you mess up for your team mates as well, whereas when you are a tennis player you can only mess up for yourself. In the end it’s about preference I guess. I didn’t want to answer to anyone when I didn’t perform my best and I didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t in full control.

In tennis it’s actually beneficial to be arrogant. It gives you an edge over your opponents. Again it is very important to remember that tennis is not a popularity contest, it’s not showbiz. Tennis is mental warfare. It’s all about winning. Now I don’t think winning is everything in life, but in tennis it is. Being arrogant can get under the skin of your rivals, and that is what you want to do. That is why you will find there are very few true friends on the ATP Tour. The ATP is not a social tennis tour that travels around the world and party. It’s a bunch of professionals that make a living by winning. Their livelihood depends on winning. Therefor when you are on court you do whatever it takes to win.

You can’t have sympathy for your opponent if you want be good. You must have that killer instinct, no matter who is across the net. And again I’m not saying competition is either good or bad, I’m not making any judgements. But it is what it is. I believe there are higher values in life then rubbing your opponents nose in the dirt, but this is the business Roger is in, and being arrogant is not gonna hurt. But I also realize that people who call Roger arrogant are haters and fanatics. It’s people who are jealous and who can’t appreciate tennis. They are just in it to criticize a great champion who have legions of fans around the world and is respected by all the people that matter. Sampras was the same, he had this air about him that made it clear to all his rivals that “I am the best”.

I think Roger is actually much more humble then Pete was. Roger has a certain humanity about him that Pete didn’t have. He is a more social guy then Pete, and he wears his emotions much more on his sleeve then Pete used to do. Moreover, Roger is brutally honest. And that’s something I really identify with in him. If you are that honest, there will always be people who takes offense. That is just how people are I guess, although it’s not something I understand. I can understand if someone takes offense when someone lies about them, but why takes offense over the truth? Of course if Roger is asked about Djokovic’s fitness and he says there is a problem, the Djokovic fans will take offense. But do you think that bothers Roger? I doubt it!

Or else he wouldn’t keep making true statements. Another recent example I can think of was in the Wimbledon post match speaches, where Roger said to Roddick that he knows what it feels like to lose in a tight match after his loss to Rafa last year. When he said it it didn’t sound right, but there was no ill intentions. Afterwards I realized it just came out wrong, it was clumsy. That is Roger, he may say things at times that seem uncalled for, but there is never a bad intention behind it. Another nickname that I have thought of for Roger is “The Truth”. When he plays against an opponent he seems to always bring out his opponents true colors, win or lose. He exposes his opponents for what they are. Not because he tries to, but because that is the nature of his game and personality.

And I think it is the same for him off court. He is just a very real, no nonsense kind of person. I think all in all he is actually quite humble. With everything he has achieved it would be easy to have a severely inflated ego, but he still treats the media and people with respect. I mean he doesn’t really have to, the guy is god in terms of tennis, he has achieved everything. Yet he has moral values and can actually be very down to earth. After breaking Pete’s slam record he said that he almost felt bad, because he has so much respect for Pete and Pete was his idol. Those kind of things are signs of humility. But of course the haters and fanatics ignore it and they will use every little thing they can to discredit Roger’s accomplishments.

They hate the fact that he is the best ever yet still so grounded. I mean I never cease to be amazed how level headed and stable the guy is. He takes nothing for granted and appreciates every little victory. He is just a great servant of the game. Like he said after winning Wimbledon, he is not in it for the records in the first place, but for the love of the game. If he was overly arrogant he would now retire and bask in his glory. You know if tennis players were celebrities then maybe I would have agreed with the critics. But this is tennis and there are absolutely no grounds to what they are saying. They are nothing more then sore losers and bitter haters who enjoys reading the tabloids and taking part in meaningless gossip. It’s time for them to get a life!

My Conclusion: Roger is humble in the context of being a professional tennis player, and happens to be the greatest ever.

Now that I have silenced the critics, check out the following article. It says Roger is the embodiment of Swiss values. It also says that Roger doesn’t just rely on talent, but that he has shown of late what a fighter he is and that he had to overcome a lot of adversity. Vey nice article.

PS. Again I’d be interested to know what you think. This is what I think but it doesn’t make it absolute truth. And if you could Digg my post that would be great as well!

Update: I just found this excellent article from a blog that is on my blogroll. It’s about the 15 that was on Roger’s jacket after he won Wimbledon. Can you believe people are making a fuss over this??? And apparently he didn’t even know about it! When I hear things like this I lose all hope for humanity.

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  1. Hey Ruan,

    I think you make a good point about tennis players, especially the great ones, “needing” a bit of arrogance. Another word for arrogance is confidence, or self-assurance. Had Federer not had his “arrogance” or incredible self-assurance, he would’ve listened to all the media claptrap about how he was done and dusted a year ago, and retired/hired a coach/adopted a double handed backhand/skipped the clay season etc … Had Federer not had his “arrogance”, he probably would’ve given up when he got down 1-5 in the second set tiebreak against Roddick. His ability to block out criticisms, and to believe in himself even when he’s down a set or two, down a break – is part of his success. He’s ‘arrogant” enough to say “I’m Roger effing Federer, I can win this.”

    And thank god for that.


  2. The US and UK are like two cousins. They are the best of friends who share the same values (dominating the world and thinking that there ways of existing is the best) and feel that if you are not in with what the US and the UK does business, than you are the hated enemy. If Roger was American or British and succeeding like this, you would not hear the end of it. That is why they keep hyping up Andy Roddick and Andy Murray ALL THE TIME. Even, Rafa, who is from Spain “humble type of people”, and Nole “who’s country, Serbia has been to hell and back”. But since he is from Switzerland, who’s image is of rich county who’s people are “high society” The US and UK sees him as “arrogant”.

    I also feel like this “global economic recession” has alot to do with people’s anger and hate these days. Sports are used as a vehicle for entertainment and they see athletes being sucessful and making alot of money, while Mom and Dad are being laid off, starving and home being foreclosed on. People expect athletes to be idols who are to be worshipped and role models. I can not think of a greater role model in sports than Roger, We are spoonfed all the negative role models in sports who chase girls, get all boozed up, drugged up and I hope that he gets this recognition that he deserves.

    Roger is a leader and all people who play sports should recognize this. ROGER IS NOT ARROGANT.


    The Binocular Reply:

    How could you possibly know this?

    Roger presents himself well, but there is a distance between how you are in public and how you are privately.


  3. After everything Roger has achieved, two majors and both of them so historical and important, I think it´s sad that the topic of discussion is the jacket,people like to tear others down, all this seems so insignificant compared to Roger´s achievement…
    I really didn´t see anything wrong with his speech either.His true fans will allways be supporting him.
    Look another message I read on Roger´s t-shirt after an interview to TyC SPORTS of my country:”VICTORY IS FOR EVER”.


  4. Of late, I have reached ‘zen’ like attitude when I read silly sport articles especially those slamming Roger from his tennis, his arrogrance, his fashion and his family. They write with intent to stir emotions, get more response and of course more hits at their website (go figure). I have watched a lot his speeches – win or loss. He is humble, honest and diplomatic. If his speeach is taken out of context, then try to speak in front of thousands spectators and see if you can string greant sentences to the loser.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Dips, great comment, u shoulda posted earlier so could have used it in my post! I think you make a very good point about the writers writing crap just to get more hits. I already wrote about it in my ‘About’ page, and i intend to make another post about it. Maybe i can use your comment then :-)


  5. Thanks, too bad I was a little late with my comments. I forgot to mentioned that it was from you that commented these writers wrote in such manner to get hits. Lot of travelling this few coming weeks. I promise I will try to read yr blog as often as I can. I think it has become a habit for me of late. You sure you didn’t you didn’t do any chants to make your site that popular :-p


    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol no, my readers are the ones making it popular. You should ask them ;-)


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