Quotable Quotes: Fought and failed.


Every once in a while, a tennis journalist out there feels the need to write a piece singing praises of Federer for no apparent reason, other than to generate incoming traffic from RF.com.

So it appears that Pete Bodo has decided to use some of his quota for Fed-lovin’ today and wax poetic about Federer, as the “anti-special”.

Great players are supposed to be complicated, a la John McEnroe or Martina Navratilova. Or detached and inward-turned, a la Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf, or Bjorn Borg. Roger Federer is simultaneously uncomplicated and outward-turning, a deadly anti-special combination. Roger Federer is regular. When it comes to filling out that line on the job application, he writes “champion” and then goes and sits down with all the others to await his turn to be called. What makes Federer special is that he’s anti-special.

The “anti-special”. I’m not sure if I agree with the prefix, but it’s a nice, inoffensive piece that praises the Fed for being a balanced human being. Nothing we haven’t heard of before. Except for perhaps this part:

A part of me would prefer to see Djokovic win this semi, to spare us another version of a spectacle that has become somewhat disheartening—the sight of Nadal beating the tar out of Federer in yet another French Open final. I’m just being honest here, and of course we all know that anything can happen. But it probably won’t.

Source: Pete Bodo, tennis.com

This has been annoying me for some time, and it comes as much from fans as it does from the media in general.

This incessantly pessimistic, cynical and resigned attitude that Roland Garros is simply a ceremonious march to the trophy for Nadal, and that everyone else should just piss off and concentrate on bigger and better things, like Womblyton.

Roland Garros may very well be a walk in the park for Rafa. Come Sunday this weekend, it is far more likely than not that Rafa will be the person sinking his fangs into the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

But the point of tennis is not to give up simply because your opponent is the overwhelming favourite, or to turn your back on a tournament when the odds are stacked against you. I’d rather see Federer/Novak fight and fail, than to have never fought at all.

So grow a backbone tennis fans. There is plenty of tennis still to be played.

xx doots

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10 responses to “Quotable Quotes: Fought and failed.”

  1. naughtyT says :

    yeh plenty of tennis to be played .. sadly it will be tedious and unattractive in the main. We need look no further than the semi currently on hold right now.

  2. Luna says :

    Looking forward to the *pretty* match..at least one side will be pretty. The other, well~~no comment. Hopefully Federer can pull it out. :-)

  3. mattzemek says :

    In Rome, there was a strategic reason for losing in the semifinal, but in every other conceivable situation (situations other than #OPERATIONTWOSEED ), it is pure idiocy to get sucked into the notion (I think Americans give it more fuel than anyone else on the planet) that losing in a semifinal is better than losing in a final, because you avoid losing in event X (“The Super Bowl” or “The World Cup Final”) or to player Y.

    At majors, I will always prefer losing a final to losing a semifinal. Always. A-L-W-A-Y-S.

  4. Sanket Puranik says :

    Hi Dootsiez,

    I’ve been reading your blog for last 2-3 years (at least) but I have never commented before. (You can say, I’m a closet fan :-)). This comment is pretty much impulsive.

    You have described Peter Bodo’s comment as pessimistic, cynical and resigned. I cannot really disagree with you.

    But I think this attitude stems from the fact that it is hard for fans to see him lose. Every-time he loses to Nadal it feels like “oh no, here we go again” etc. Mind you, Fed may not be feeling the same. Hell, the fighter that he is, he won’t feel anything remotely like that till he hangs his racquet but it’s not so easy for us fans. The scars of 19 losses go too deep to be healed. And honestly, it doesn’t pain as much if he loses to Djokovic (I don’t know why…).

    I think you know all this already but still… ;-)

  5. marcoiac says :

    I like your attitude, Doots. You always have to fight, no matter how many times you’ve lost with a guy. I wish Fed had fought today in the third set as he did in the first two. The outcome has been the same for every set played today, but in the third set he didn’t even fight much and that’s not right. One must fight for every point. Shall I have to mention the fabulous Sara Errani? Of course, being italian, I can’t help myself :)
    Sara yesterday fought down 5-0 in the second set as if she could actually win it. That’s the kind of attitude players and fans should always have. Why? Because it’s not the outcome that matters, it’s the process. The joy of hitting (if you are on court) or of cheering (if you are just watching). In both cases you must give all you have, and always hope, and always fight. Otherwise the whole thing becomes pointless.
    In science major discoveries are really rare and very often don’t happen in a lifetime. Yet scientists keep working day in and day out because what they really enjoy is the process, not the discovery itself (which is never an endpoint anyway, because it generates even more research). In life, we would be constantly in despair if we were to think about its outcome. Because, let’s face it, the only outcome of life is death. And yet, we can enjoy every moment of our lives in its fullest gloriousness, be aware and present, give all we have.
    Which I am sure is what Sara will do tomorrow, no matter how the match goes. She’ll fight until the last point. Shall we have another italian player champion at RG? We’ll see. Forza Sara!!!!!
    (couldn’t help myself) :D

    • Kyle Johansen (@KJOttawa) says :

      Here are my thoughts on this tournament. Last year, Roger went all out and gave it everything he had. He played the best clay court tennis he has ever played and still fell short against Nadal. I think heading into this match with Nole, he was questioning whether it was worth the effort to wage a battle with Djokovic and win and then wage another battle against Nadal and lose. Last year’s French drained him for Wimbledon, and he doesn’t want to be drained this year heading into this big summer with Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the US Open up for grabs.

      Throughout the entire tournament, Fed looked frustrated, annoyed, distracted, and “off.” I honestly think that subconsciously, Fed was thinking about having to play Rafa in another grueling and disheartening final even while he was focused on Djokovic. At this stage in his career, it’s more about picking and choosing your battles than anything else. We saw what happened last year.

      Now, hopefully, Roger will be very fresh heading into Wimbledon, which I doubt he was last year. Plus, Novak and Rafa will wage another lengthy war in the final and then will have to come out and be sharp two weeks later for Wimbledon.

      I don’t think Roger would mind playing Rafa in another final and losing, but it comes down to the toll it would take on his body after the match, both physically and mentally. I, as a Federer fan, am perfectly alright seeing him lose to Novak in the semis because it seemed like his heart wasn’t in it – the entire tournament. I feel much worse about closer losses like the AO to Nadal and USO to Nole because Roger was there, and in it, and had chances to do great things. This Slam, not so much. Wimbledon and the USO is where glory lies for Roger now in his career.

    • qtaro says :

      Great point about Errani. I thought the way she played the first set was methodic and determined, but I missed the rest of the match. From what I’ve seen that is the fighting attitude that makes tennis so amazing – and my admiration wouldn’t diminish even if she lost that match.

      As for Bodo’s post…I would not mind at all seeing Fed getting into the final and fighting hard against Rafa and eventually losing. Again. I absolutely love him even more in his fragility, as long he believes and fights hard like all great champions do..

      Switching the perspective from spectators to players, I think they need a subtle balance between being reasonable and confident (otherwise known as “delusion” or “arrogance”). Ferrer’s post-QF interview, for example, in my view fell too much on the former side. Fed in today’s third set seemed resigned as well – but I can’t blame him in this specific context, since he never seemed to find the flow and movement throughout the tournament, plus the incredibly tough draw in Madrid, and the sudden transition from quirkily quick to slow clay…

  6. Flo says :

    i have to assume that Bodo was talking about his perspective as a tennis writer on watching another version of a play he’s seen six times versus the intriguing new play that will have massive buzz. a fan of Federer will obviously want him to advance as far as possible in a slam but Bodo is not writing as a fan (I don’t know if he has a favourite apart from Sampras.

  7. cali says :

    anti-special?? Federer is so special that he changed the notion that to be special you have to be complicated. After him, today, no one dares to be a Diva. Once when asked how come he was so nice, he answered: “Why should i be unpleasant if i can just as well be nice??”
    I see no reason why do you?

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