UK Media Takes Federer Out of Context Again

“I’m not taking anything away from what Andy did, but was Asia the strongest this year?’ asked Federer in the Daily Telegraph. “I’m not sure.

“Novak [Djokovic] wasn’t there, I wasn’t there and [in Shanghai] Rafa lost early.”

“It has been a good effort by him after losing to Kevin Anderson in Montreal [in August],” Federer offered. “Don’t forget how things were looking then.”

“I think he’s past that tough hurdle – “Oh, I haven’t won a grand slam” – that stressed him out more one-and-a-half years ago,” Federer said. “I think now he is a bit more laid back because he has gone through these ups and downs and knows how to handle them.

“I’ve always thought he is plenty good enough to win a grand slam and he will have a good year in 2012. It’s crazy how small the margins are in tennis.”

“I was thinking this way three years ago when I felt like every match he played was a massive grind, standing way back in the court,” said Federer. “Today he is playing much more offensive, up on the baseline.

“He still spends a lot of time on court but that’s more to do with him playing slow. Today I have less of a worry for him for some reason. Even though he has accumulated a lot of matches and his body obviously feels that, I’m not so pessimistic about his chances of playing longer.”

http://www.espn.co.uk/tennis/sport/story/121913.html

Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a return to Mardy Fish of the U.S. during their round robin singles tennis match at the ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena in London, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

You may remember two posts ago I did about an article from the same website that this quote comes from. In that case, the title of the article was ‘Murray a major obstacle in London – Federer‘. In this case, it is ‘Candid Federer picks holes in Murray successes‘. It just goes to show how the media blows things up. In both cases, Roger was just being honest, yet the same website made it appear like he said two completely contradictory things. I already commented on the first article. Roger was simply saying that Murray will be one of the tougher guys to beat, yet they made it seem like he was this major obstacle for him. But OK I can still live with that one. But saying that Roger is picking holes in Murray’s successes is just plain wrong. You can read for yourself how much he praised Murray.

Again Roger was just saying it the way he saw it, which is what he usually does. This wasn’t the first year Murray did well in the Asian swing due to the fact that the top guys weren’t performing. The fact is Murray has never won a slam or a Masters Cup. And there is no reason to believe that he can until he does. I feel like Roger was actually very generous in this interview. Is Murray really past the hurdle of never having won a slam? I don’t think he will ever really be past that hurdle until he does actually win a slam. Like Roger, I have always thought his game is plenty good enough to win a slam but is he mentally good enough? He seems to become too defensive in the important moments. I haven’t really noticed that he has become a more offensive player, but even if he has, he still has to prove that in the important moments.

It’s easy to be more offensive when there ins’t anything big on the line like a slam or a Masters Cup. I think Roger was just being very generous, and personally I feel like Murray still has a lot to prove. As for the longevity, he has a defensive baseline game and there is just no way he can last as long as Roger for instance. I mean he does an awful lot of running himself. Almost as much as Nadal. Once these kinds of players reach the age of 26 their bodies start breaking down. I think Murray probably needs to win a slam in the next two years if he is going to win one. And of course it won’t be easy with Djokovic, Nadal, and Roger still around. Then there is also new talent coming up all the time. Anyway, the point I want to make here is that Roger was not ‘picking holes’ in Murray. If anything he was being very generous.

Ps. The last two quotes of the article was about Nadal. I missed that. So in fact he was praising two players, not just one. I do agree there that Nadal is being more aggressive these days, but he is also still grinding an awful lot. Just look at the US Open final. I mean it was absolutely brutal on the body. I have my doubts about Nadal’s longevity, unless he is doping. Then I guess he can keep going.

Roger Federer


Posted in Uncategorized.

29 Comments

  1. Thanks for bringing this up Ruan.In general the press interprets everything wrong besides often askin Roger inane and sometimes rude questions. I do not see where Roger was saying anything but the truth about Murrays game. Don’t players need to face the truth about how they play if they want to improve and win. It’s a no brainer that any tournament Roger, Nole and Rafa aren’t in make it possible for a number of players to win. In Rogers interviews of late he has been just as honest in what he needs to do and change for his game. Sensational press gets tiresome. Trying to create trouble where none even exists. So excited about Sunday, can’t wait. Looking forward to you upcoming posts. Gooooooo Roger.

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  2. It’s hypocritical of Roger to downplay Andy’s fantastic Asian swing by claiming that the top competition wasn’t there especially when he himself won back to back titles in Basel and Paris without facing anyone in the top 5. Though it is true that Fed and Nole were not in Shanghai, the fact remains that the Rafa, Nole or Andy were not in Fed’s path in Basel and Paris either. The comments just end up making Roger look bitter and are unnecessarily provoking. I mean, everyone knows that some paradigmatic shift in tennis did not occur just because Andy won Shanghai, so there really is no need for comments like these, especially since the event in question is already weeks past. The tired adage “you can only beat who is in front of you” applies equally to both Fed’s and Andy’s respective title runs.

    And just as a note, the last two quotes from the article by Fed were in reference to Rafa and not Andy.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Difference being Roger won 5 Masters Cups and 16 slams. I think he knows what he is talking about. Also, why do you look just at the negatives? Didn’t he also praise Murray? It makes you look like a hater.

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    Isabel Reply:

    That is the point. Fed’s supremacy is unchallenged and not the issue here. I was just pointing out that in this particular instance, Roger downplaying Andy’s run based on lack of competition is shortsighted particularly when he himself benefited from the same scenario a week later. I was not claiming that Fed is not the champion he was, just pointing out the fallacy here in his logic. Just because you won 16 slams does not mean you can sidestep logic. Anyways, I am not a “hater” as you labeled me- just an objective observer. Clearly Andy is not in the same strata as Fed in terms of achievements, but that should not have a bearing on the issue at hand- namely the lack of top tier competition at the Shanghai, Basel and Paris fields.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Roger did not gloat about his performances in Basel and Paris did he? Murray has done well in MS events before, but did he win the WTF or a slam?

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    Isabel Reply:

    Yes…Andy did not gloat over his success in Shanghai either. I don’t recall Andy proclaiming that he is the next dominant force in tennis after his Asian swing.`The point here is why Fed even felt the need to dismiss Andy so pointedly over a tournament that is long past over? It makes no sense and honestly just paints Fed in the negative light of being bitter that Andy surpassed him in the rankings after having won the Asian swing. And the issue of Andy not having won a slam or WTF is irrelevant in this context. Having none or 16 slams does not give one the given prerogative to be consistently hypocritical. He should realize that he is indicting his own title runs in Basel and Paris when he is denigrating Andy’s run in Asia.

    And thank you FeddyBear for getting where I am coming from. Fed is a great champion; he really does not need to stoop to such levels especially in relation a pointless tournament that is almost a month old.

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    FeddyBear Reply:

    Isabel, i totally agree with you. i don’t like it when Fed talks with such arrogance. it’s nice of him to praise Murray’s game but when it comes after he is diminshing murray’s achievements in asia it just looks like he is trying to do some damage control. i hate it when he is being so cocky.
    Ruan – the fact that sometime we critisize fed or being aware of his flaws (like any other human being he is not perfect) doesnt make us haters. i still want him to win with all my heart.
    plz fed just shut up and win ;-)

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    Anna Reply:

    Actually, Andy and Novak were in Roger’s path in Paris. He was meant to face Murray until Berdych beat him. Taking Nole’s results this year into consideration, he should’ve faced Novak in he finals of Paris AND Basel.

    Unlike Shanghai where Roger and Novak simply did not play. It’s not as though Roger swept in to a mediocre field to win the title, two of his last opponents were top right players he’s had problems with in the last two years.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said. Look what happened to Murray when Roger and Novak was in the Paris draw. He couldn’t beat Berdych. And in Basel Murray didn’t even make it out of bed.

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    Susan Reply:

    Can’t stop laughing over “Murray didn’t even make it out of bed” hilarious.

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    Isabel Reply:

    How exactly does this not equate with Fed having an easy draw in Basel and Paris? It does not matter if top tier competition does not play at all or get beaten in early rounds…the fact remains that Fed did not face top five competition in either Paris or Basel just like Andy. Just as it’s not Fed’s fault that he did not face either Novak or Andy similarly, it is not Andy’s fault that Fed and Novak did not show up to the Shanghai tournament. You can defend him all you want, but he is being hypocritical when he dismisses Andy’s run.

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    FeddyBear Reply:

    very true, Isabel.
    also let us not forget the murray beat Nadal in tokyo. Fed has yet to win against Rafa this year.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You still don’t get it do you? Roger was asked this at the WTF and his comments has to be seen in that context. How many times have Murray done well in smaller events, only to mes it up in the slams and WTF? He hasn’t proved that he can win any of these. Now at the WTF Roger and Djokovic is back, and Murray won’t be able to avoid them. How often does he lose to the big names in the big events?

    I hope you get it now.

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    steve Reply:

    No, Federer’s not being a hypocrite at all.

    Federer is not putting himself as the favorite in London–to the contrary, he’s said that the field is wide open.

    He’s not claiming that his two titles in Basel/Paris mean he is playing well enough to win the championship.

    What he’s saying is that the field is very different at the YEC than it is in smaller tournaments, and that one can’t extrapolate success for Murray in London from what he did during the Asia swing.

    Federer himself is co-holder of the Open Era record for YEC titles with Sampras and Lendl. If anyone knows what it takes to win this title, it’s he.

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    Muhammad Reply:

    “And in Basel Murray didn’t even make it out of bed.” LoL :-)

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    Kit Reply:

    I depends on why Roger brought up Murray’s Asia swing. If he was asked by a reporter, “…hey Roger, Murray is the best player in the fall, what do you think of his chance here in London.” Then Roger can be excused for being so blunt. I don’t think Roger or anyone for that matter would trash talk Murray out of the blue. So I believe his quote is being taken out of context by some skillful editor.

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  3. The way I read that, Fed is one of Murray’s biggest supporters in relation to Fed saying that Murray’s time will come to win a Slam. Fed could have easily had Andy in the semifinals of Paris had he not lost to Berdych (whom Fed humiliated) and he also had Djokovic lurking in the finals before he selfishly withdrew. And not to mention that Murray was going to be in Basel before he withdrew.

    Roger is an honest person and he always will be an honest person. I see nothing wrong with what he said, and he continually backs Murray to win a Slam.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Kyle, spot on. I am amazed at how much he supports Murray. I mean here I am thinking tennis is competitive and he should be psyching Murray out, yet he is boosting him. I guess he is so secure in what he has achieved that he has no problem building his rivals up. Really nice guy.
    Also, as soon as the big guns were around Murray folded as usual. He couldn’t even beat Berdych, who as you said was humiliated by the Fed.

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  4. Regarding Roger’s comments on Murray, he was just stating the facts about Andy’s Asian swing. And I totally agree with Ruan, Roger isn’t chest-thumping about his last two victories in Basel and Paris. Why should he? He knows the score. He’s won everything there’s to win many times over. Now Murray, on the other hand, epitomizes insecurity itself. Every time he goes on a little run, the press falls over backwards, hailing him as the Next Big Thing. At such moments you can practically see the ego-gas over-inflating the dour Scot’s head. Yet when he steps on the great stage of the Majors, he just lays a big egg. So now we’re supposed to get excited again? Forget it. Furthermore, there have been numerous instances during Murray’s pumped-up phases, when he’s been rather disrespectful of Roger’s accomplishments, almost acting as if he was the superior tennis player since he had the slightly better head-to-head record. How’s that for delusion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Andy Murray’s head turns to mush on the Big Stage. And probably always will.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Excellent comment from you Balthazar as usual.

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  5. I agree with Balthazar that Andy has lacked some respect in the past, especially in the course of 2009, when he was – at some point- enjoying a 6-2 positive head-to-head record vis-à-vis Roger Federer, before loosing some hard court matches afterwards. But the AO 2010 made ANdy a more humble man in my opinion. I’ll never forget his emotive words “I can cry like Roger but I can’t play like him”. These are very nice words to pronounce. An arrogant man doesn’ say things like that. Andy was being very honest at that particular moment and had cleared his mind.
    On the other hand I don’t think we need to take offence of Roger’s interviewwords either. He’s the one who has won the Masters Cup 5 times and knows exactly what it takes to win this tournament. Winning preparatory tournaments in Asia or EUrope don’t make you necessarily a top favorite right away for winning the Masters Cup. As Roger said in an earlier interview, this edition is more open. Their is no clear favorite. Although the bookmakers put Roger on top of the field, he feels like the other contenders have all tehir chance.

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  6. Fed won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award (as well as Fan’s Favorite!) at the ATP awards. the players voted for him and its the 7th time he has won it. makes rethink these comments of him. well done Rog.

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  7. Hi Ruan – I very much enjoy your blog although I’ve never posted here before. Just saw on The Tennis Channel that Yannick Noah was interviewed in Le Monde. He stated he thought Spanish players were guilty of widespread doping, due to them being consistently “beefier” – not my favorite word! – than their French counterparts. He didn’t offer any other evidence but interesting nonetheless. Keep up the good work.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks AnimalFriendly ;-)

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  8. How many times does this doping issue have to come up before everyone (the ATP, the WTA, and all the players) demands a more vigorous drug-testing regimen THROUGHOUT the year and BEFORE and DURING every tournament? I’m amazed, with all these suspicions bandied about in the press for years, that there is not more of an outcry for action.

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  9. I think Federer’s comments about Murray’s Asian swing were unnecessary unless he was trying to get in his head…think AO 2010.
    Nice to see Fed win Fan Favourite and Sportsmanship Award from the players. I’d love to see the numbers though.

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  10. I didn’t love the Murray comments. I generally think Fed has been maligned way too much by the media and not given nearly enough credit, but I did think the Murray comments were a bit tacky, especially since the same could be said about his recent victories.

    Perhaps it was psych warfare in which case I am all for it. If it’s just arrogance, even if it is honest, I think it’s unnecessary.

    Just looking forward to the tennis.

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  11. Well Roger could have handled the situation better. Really he didn’t have to say much about Andy’s competition during the Asian Swing. (I am also not sure if any of us know what the original question is) Roger is too much of a straight shooter which does get him some bad press from time to time. Roger has also claimed later that he didn’t criticize Murray’s competition during the initial interview, which makes the whole thing quite strange.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/nov/18/andy-murray-world-title

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