It’s becoming a weekly tradition: shocking Federer news followed by an opinion piece by Peter Bodo. Bodo is definitely a closeted Fedophile – he worries about Roger’s future just as much as any die hard Fed fan does. He just does it in a more journalistic way (meaning, no emoticons :P). I’ve excerpted the best parts of his latest article, or click here for the original.
On Roger’s current place in the game:
It’s absurd to suggest that he can’t win another major, perhaps three or four. But it’s just as wrong-headed to argue that he’s the same player he was pre-Wimbledon, 2008, or that his place at the center of the tennis universe is reserved until he declares that he’s ready to move on. He’s moved on. He’s been pushed on. Now, only one thing remains to be seen: how hard he wants to fight for what he wants, or thinks he owns. This is going to tell us a great deal about whether Federer looks at his place in the game as some form of entitlement, or an honor he’s going to have to fight to keep.
Bodo says Roger’s going to have to lower himself before he rises again (get thee to Darren, Roger, RF cap in hand!):
You know the old expression, Pride Goeth Before the Fall. . . But just as pride drives the very best players early in their careers, it can also be a formidable obstacle in the final stages. A champion who isn’t willing to sacrifice his pride is a champion with a fatal flaw. Who can forget Jimmy Connors acting as if notching a win over Paul Haarhuis was the crowning moment of his career? Sampras making that phone call to a man he hurt and perhaps wronged, Annacone? Boris Becker, caught red-handed consulting with his trainer in the loo at Wimbledon? Low farce or high drama, such incidents just go to show the lengths to which the warriors will go to have one more shot, one more hit of the glory.
I think the word “ragged” captures Roger’s current on court demeanor perfectly:
These days, Federer’s game looks ragged, drained of commitment. He seems torn between desiring change and resisting it, and succumbing to the seductive tune of denial. He can drift on to Miami, convinced that he’s just a little rusty and short of match play. In the short term, because there’s nothing much he can do to stop the bleeding before Maimi starts, that may be the best attitude. But I think his best play will be to leave Florida, with or without the trophy, realizing that the game has changed, and he needs to change with it.
Sorry folks, but sometimes tough love is the only medicine. We hold Federer to high standards because we know how great he is and can still be in the future! And awesome players like Nadal and Murray give Roger more opportunity to prove his greatness, not less. So come on Roger, eat your Wheaties, drink your Tang, take your Flintstones vitamin and start kicking ass again!
(This is Coach FreakyFrites, signing off. . .)
Awesome Roger Photo: REUTERS/Michael Fiala