Roger Federer addressed the so-called “bulletin board material” that he offered up to Andy Murray before the Australian Open final. Here’s his quote from Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger, taken the day after he won the trophy (my Google-assisted translation):
“It was not my intention to influence Andy before the match. It would be a pity if the British press would drive a wedge between him and me. I could already feel this danger at Wimbledon, when they said: Look what Federer wears. Or in Dubai (2008), when I said Murray could play more offensively, that he just played by waiting (for his opponent’s mistakes). This was criticism at the highest level, almost a compliment. But they used it differently. But I understand that the 25 journalists who have come from England to Australia need to write something. And then the whole world gets it. If something’s in Switzerland, it’s not necessarily taken up by the New York Times. It’s the extremes of the British press.”
Thanks to GTT reader JFK for passing this along.
To review. . .
Roger Federer’s remarks after beating Tsonga in the semis and setting up the final vs. Andy Murray:
Q. Normally the guy who plays you has nothing to lose at all. Andy is in a slightly different predicament. Do you think that will affect his game at all?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, don’t know. I mean, look, he’s in his second Grand Slam final now. I think the first one’s always a bit tougher than the second one. But now that he didn’t win the first one, I think doesn’t help, you know, for the second one around.
Plus he’s playing, you know, me, who’s won many Grand Slams prior to that, been able to win here three times so I know what it takes and how to do it, which is definitely an advantage.
I don’t feel like the pressure’s really on me having to do it again, because I did it before. I think he really needs it more than I do, you know. So I think the pressure’s big on him.
But we’ll see how he’s gonna handle it. It’s not going to be easy for him, that’s for sure.
Q. You’ve won finals against Andy, but he’s got the better record. Why do you think that is?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, because, first of all, he’s a good player. I don’t think otherwise you’re just gonna start having good records against me.
But, no, without having any ‑‑ taking anything away from him, but I think a few times he played me I wasn’t at my very, very best. I think I played him on a couple of occasions. Dubai the first time we played, I just came back from resting, my mono, and everything. I know some don’t like to hear it. Some still don’t believe me for some reason.
I played him maybe at times when I wasn’t at my very, very best. We had some close matches on many occasions where I thought I was in control and I ended up giving the match away by making errors of my own. That was definitely because of his play and the way he plays.
So I think the head‑to‑head could be quite different. But that’s why I don’t really care too much about how the head‑to‑head stands. Every match is played differently. Best‑of‑five is anyway very different. He’s done well against me to win so many matches when he was able to beat me when he was supposed to.
Andy Murray’s response (via Scotsman):
“I have always been pretty respectful about his game,” Murray said. “He’s probably the greatest player that’s ever played. But if every time he loses to me he thinks it’s because he hasn’t played his best, well, every time I have lost against him I don’t think I have played my best either.
“He obviously deals with these situations his way and he’s played very well in these circumstances. But in the last few years he’s also lost a lot of close matches in five sets, including slam finals.
“That sort of gives you the belief you can win against him in these situations. If I play my best I have a chance of winning. I’ll try and do that.”
Was that trash talk? Really? Oh, please! (I liked Jon Wertheim’s quip on SI.com: “When do we get to the part where Federer was wrong?”)
Now this is trash talk: (Roddick at the 2008 US Open)
And this is a response: (Djokovic after beating Roddick at the 2008 US Open)
Andy Murray was victim to some good old fashioned “yo’ mama!” style trash talk in the past:
And it’s not just the “gentlemen” – the ladies of the WTA can dish it out!
Maria Sharapova’s classic from last year’s Tokyo tournament:
That wasn’t technically trash talk, perhaps, since it wasn’t meant to be heard by the opponent. Or was it? Take a look at the photo from the trophy ceremony:
Here’s Serena’s infamous “Dinara deserves to be No. 1” line from last year’s Wimbledon – wait for it at the 1:50 mark:
Thanks again to JFK for contributing this gem:
Please come back, Martina, Serena needs a real rival. . .in the press room!
Here are just a few of the many, many more examples from tennis history (found in You Can Quote Me on That by Paul Fein)
“Gilbert, you don’t deserve to be on the same court with me! You are the worst. The fucking worst!” – John McEnroe after losing to Brad Gilbert at the 1986 Madison Square Garden Masters event.
“Ten Grand Slams.” – Pete Sampras when asked what separated him from then No. 2 Pat Rafter (1997).
Think it’s just the Open Era brats? Here’s Suzanne Lenglen in 1926, upon hearing that American up-and-comer Helen Wills Moody was hoping for a showdown on the European Riviera circuit:
“This girl must be mad. Does she think she can come and beat me on my home courts?” – Lenglen hadn’t lost a match in seven years and didn’t lose to Moody when they met for the first and last time that year in Cannes. She won the match 6-3, 8-6 in front of a packed house.
How’s this for some inter-sport trash talk?:
“It’s all the time, ‘Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods.’ I am better than he is. I’ve been on top longer and I am younger. I’m just better.” – Martina Hingis, 1997
Speaking of other sports, the Roger Federer of basketball says: “No matter what trash you talk, we’re going to talk the most trash, and we’re going to back it up!”
This piece would be incomplete without something from the original and the best, often imitated, never duplicated, undisputed master of sporting trash talk, Muhammad Ali:
And even though he really looks nothing like Ali, I’ll end with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whose sweet smile and soft voice couldn’t temper what has to be the Top Zinger from this year’s Australian Open:
Q. Novak (Djokovic) talked about his problems (after losing to Tsonga in the semis). He had some problems during the match. When did you first notice that he was having problems?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Five years ago. (Smiling.)
Ouch, that hurts so good! Keep the smack talk coming, guys (and gals)!