Someone posted this news on my blog a while ago already, but I wanted to do my own post paying tribute to Roger. This study is obviously a great tribute to Roger. He is the most respected, admired, and trusted personality in the world second only to Nelson Mandela. As a South African myself this makes me proud, since Mandela is South African and Roger is half South African himself. Roger is obviously a fantastic idol and ambassador for tennis. This study goes to prove all the haters and critics wrong once more. The angle of the haters are so fond of is that Roger is arrogant and a bad loser. They point to things like his crying after losing to Nadal at the Australian Open, the 15 he had on his jacket after winning his 15th major at Wimbledon, or to the fact that he makes ‘arrogant’ statements in the media.
They latch onto whatever criticism they can find, because it is just in the nature of humans to be jealous and despise great people. This study once again proves that these haters are miserable people and that their criticisms carry no weight. To illustrate what I mean I will use Serena Williams as an example. You probably know about Williams’ recent outburst at the US Open. In the final against Sam Stosur she shouted ‘Come on!’ in the middle of the point right after the ball left her racquet. It was after she lost the first set and she was trying to intimidate her opponent to try and get back into the match. But of course it was against the rules and the umpire awarded the point to Stosur which caused Williams to lose her serve. After this Williams kept running her mouth at the umpire, trying to intimidate and unnerve.
This all happening after Williams was defaulted in 2009 after telling a lines person that she would ‘shove a fucking tennis ball down her fucking throat’. Serena Williams provides the perfect contrast to illustrate what a class act Roger is. There has been zero controversy around Roger in his career, while Williams’ name is tainted. Roger is a class act and respects everyone around him. It is unimaginable to think that he would threaten someone with violence. Nor has he ever cheated on his wife like Tiger Woods has. He just has a very clean image which makes him the ideal role model. Why is Nadal not on the list? When I have written about the Fedal rivalry in the past I have pointed to the fact that being a top player is more than just about your results. Winning titles and trophies is just a part of the whole package.
It has always been obvious to me that for Nadal it is all about winning. For him the means justifies the end. Therefor he will use gamesmanship without fail to win. Nadal is a lot more classy than Williams. He will not break the rules to win. But he doesn’t hesitate to use unsportsmanlike conduct to secure victory. This is one of the overlooked reasons why Roger has struggled against Nadal. Roger is too classy to lower himself to the levels of bad sportsmanship. For him it is more important to have integrity as a human being than to win titles and trophies. A true Fedfan does not love Roger for the incredible records he has set as a tennis player, but for who he is. The fake fans are the ones getting off the bandwagon, now that Roger is declining and more human than in his prime. These fans were never true fans to begin with.
The true fans will stick with Roger until the bitter end because they love him as a person. It is about honesty and integrity. These are values I put a high prize on in my personal life and which Roger embodies as well. If Roger really wanted to beat Nadal he could have started to employ gamesmanship as well, but he remained true to who he was. He did not sell out. In this sense Roger and Nadal are utter opposites, which makes me feel you can’t be a serious fan of both. When it comes to human values they stand for utterly different things. Nadal stands for worldly values like fame, fortune, and fear, while Roger stand for spiritual values like truth, honesty, and love. Roger plays tennis because he loves it. It is that simple. Whatever else he gains from the sport is just a bonus. There just isn’t a better idol in sport than him.
And it doesn’t seem like there are many better idols in the world either. Of course Mandela is an extraordinary individual and it is hard to compete with what he endured. But as a sports figure Roger is certainly right at the top of the pile. We are very privileged as Fedfans. We take for granted how lucky we are when Roger isn’t winning as much as he used to. It tests our own integrity. Why did we support Roger all this time? Was it really just because he was winning? Winning is nice, but it is ultimately superficial. There are more important things in life than winning. The world is in the state it’s in because everyone wants to win. There aren’t enough of the values which Roger embody around. If good values came first and winning was just a bonus, then we would live in a drastically different world.
I salute you Roger.
Ps. Roger has withdrawn from Shanghai and I am sure it was the right decision.