Picspam: Age cannot wither him, nor custom stale his infinite variety.

My initial reaction was one of shock and revulsion. But I think I am starting to get this photo of Roger Federer that was chosen for the Italian Tennis Magazine front cover.

It’s aged. It’s flawed. It’s vulnerable.

It harsh and unpleasant on the eyes, to say the LEAST.

It contradicts the smooth, bourgeois, Don Draper Cary Grant image he normally portrays in photo shoots. It undermines talk of the maestro, the master, the king … It’s the kind of photo that is the very antithesis of his usual Men’s Vogue airbrushed spreads.

But the point as I see it, is that it is aged, and that it is flawed, and it is vulnerable-and-harsh-and-the-very-antithesis-of-his-established-image. That’s where the poignancy lies. Or was supposed to lie.

As much as I enjoy perving over his Vogue shoots, I do appreciate his … bravery or indifference to doing something like this. A different kind of Federporn.


Happy Friday.

xx doots


53 responses to “Picspam: Age cannot wither him, nor custom stale his infinite variety.”

  1. FortuneCookie says :

    After all these months of no Federporn,*this* is what we get?! 😛
    I think it’s a brave style of photo too (although if this was a proper shoot and not just one photo,I think I may curl up into the foetal position and barricade myself in my room for forever and ever),the one thing that confused me too was the headline,why that,and why is it in English?!Weird…

  2. Matt Zemek says :

    He’s old, he’s washed up., he’s in decline. He’s done. He’ll never be relevant again.

    Oh, and Nadal’s in his head.

    Signed, far too many global tennis writers who can’t break from the meme.

    • dootsiez says :

      You forget – he’s losing motivation. He’s too stubborn to make changes to his game.

      And the Mighty Bébés ate his brain. >:O

  3. Lost in translation says :

    To tell the truth – I love this photo :-).

    It’s different and it’s great that it’s different. One of the main reasons I love Roger is because he is not afraid to be different.

    BTW inside there is a chapter “performance of the year” or something like that – it’s Roger at the WTF ::-)

  4. abrnyc says :

    this is great… and reflects Roger as athlete/artist…
    what art allows (not unlike what Rog allows) is for us to see things – differently, unvarnished and raw and question what we “think” we know him/tennis/legends. I am not sure what the article is about (would love to if there are any Italian translators out there) but, I would imagine that this image reflects the article. Now more than ever Roger seems so comfortable in his skin and desire to break rules, records and ideas about himself and how he plays the game.

    just great to see roger not as “Bond” but as “Picasso”! Bravo Italiana!

    • Alex says :

      Now more than ever Roger seems so comfortable in his skin and desire to break rules, records and ideas about himself and how he plays the game.

      Which has to scare the bejesus out of the field. What people don’t seem to understand is Roger is no normal superstar. Even Tiger Woods doesn’t really compare to this level of bravery.

  5. dari says :

    Thanks for finding and posting this! I may be stating the obvious, but I guess this is a PhotoShopped pic of Rog, taking the “he’s old, dry, washed up” bit and staring it in the face, poking fun at it.
    I’m cool with this, its nice to see variety. boy do I wish I could read Italian!

  6. Jack says :

    I don’t actually mind the raw, edginess of the photo. I just feel the lighting didn’t have to be that harsh to achieve it.

  7. xta says :

    he looks (in the pic) like john c. reilly — and i LOVE john c. reilly !!!

    • dootsiez says :

      xta you just made me see something I would rather unsee.


      • xta says :

        but i ADORE mr. cellophane…
        it’s heartbreakingly perfect…
        did you see kurt do it on glee ???
        (i believe it’s actually the song he sang when he auditioned for glee)…

        • dootsiez says :

          Hehehe indeedy I have! I do like the song. It’s ridiculously catchy once you get it into your head …

  8. jfK says :

    I hate the photo, but I get the message. Roger as the eternal #1 in tennis.
    Ps. Rog as Don Draper would be a great theme for next times FPF. hint hint. 😀 😛

  9. marcoiac says :

    As somebody else already posted, the mag gives fed the performance of the year (WTF) and call him ‘the master of the masters.’ I doubt this cover was meant to signify a fed in decline. I like it coz shows a mean fed. He needs to be mentally mean, to crush his opponents in 2011. I like the 6-1 to nadal in the final set. Lately fed tends to be too complacent when ahead. Guys don’t fear him much. He needs to reestablish the aura he had few years back. And needs some meanness for that. When I say meanness I am talking abt killer instict, nothing else. Being ahead and closing the match quickly, not looking back, not getting complacent. For full disclosure I am Italian. I may be biased. 🙂

    • abr says :

      I am Italian too… but, my Italian is not good enough to translate some of the piece. can you? grazie!

      • marcoiac says :

        I will. Stay tuned. Later today. However, it’s a brief thing with mostly quotes from players praising le fed. Most likely taken from their presses 🙂

      • marcoiac says :

        here’s the translation. i was tempted to put a few “no?” in rafa’s quotes, coz i am pretty sure the original quotes had them 🙂
        anyway, after reading it again, i am convinced that the cover means some positive, and i like my ‘mean spirited’ interpretation. and yes, let’s re-establish the aura, maestro!!!

        Master of the Masters

        With his victorious effort in London, Roger Federer earned his fifth WTF title. He’s now level with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras, who also won 5 WTF titles. In the WTF final, Federer defeated Rafael Nadal, his longstanding rival and friend, a feat that he had not accomplished since the Madrid final of last year. In London, Federer won because of a memorable performance, well described in the quotes below, from Federer himself and his opponents.

        “If you play a guy you always defeated, you want to play your game and eventually you will prevail. But when you play guys like Murray, Djokovic or Nadal you need to find new strategies, new game plans every time you play them, if you want to prevail” Roger Federer

        “When you play Roger you can’t win if you don’t serve at your best” David Ferrer

        “Roger is the most complete player in the world. When he plays well it’s really hard to beat him” Rafa Nadal

        “Federer is the greatest of all time. It makes sense that when he plays the crowd is behind him” David Ferrer

        “When he plays the way he played in London, you can’t stop him” Rafa Nadal

        “This was the best Federer of 2010” Novak Djokovic

        “He played an unbelievable match. I can only congratulate him for the WTF title. He played the whole week at a very high level” Rafa Nadal

        “When you play Roger, you need to be a bit lucky to win the match” Robin Soderling

        “I am happy because I ended the season playing my best tennis. I played a lot in the last few weeks, the goal was to be ready for WTF. On top of all this, to win the final against Rafa makes this title even more special, considering how well Rafa played the whole year” Roger Federer

        “He didn’t make any mistake. It seemed that the ball was under his spell” Novak Djokovic

        End of translation. The things we do for Fed love and fedfans camaraderie!!!!

        • jfK says :

          Thanks marco! 😀
          Also did you see that quote about Mirka under her pic on page 54?
          “My idea of sensuality?” Mirka in slippers whispering: “I’ll make you melt right away, my … ice-lolly (original: ghiacciolone)”. Roger Federer, Swiss refrigerator (?)”

          Is that an actual quote from Rog and correct translation?

        • marcoiac says :

          yes, it does look like an actual quote from le fed (although i doubt he defined himself as swiss refrigerator, that’s certainly an editorial joke). and the translation is quite accurate. did you do it or used google? coz if you did it, it’s pretty good!

        • FortuneCookie says :

          That Mirka quote is so fucking with my mind right now…
          She calls him an ice lolly?!Roger would tell a magazine this??HIS IDEA OF SENSUALITY INVOLVES SLIPPERS?!
          So many question,so few answers 😛

        • marcoiac says :

          isn’t that what sensuality is about? mystery, open questions, unclear answers….

        • marcoiac says :

          CORRECTION! i initially went straight to page 54, after reading jfk post. but i just flipped the page to the beginning of the article, and there is a disclaimer (titled POST SCRIPTUM, right under the title) that says that all the quotes are actually made up by the author of the article. that’s not an actual quote. FortuneCookie you can relax now 🙂

        • FortuneCookie says :

          Hahaha ah okay!

        • steve says :

          Thanks for the translation!

          In answer to your question, I am an American living in America.

    • ClayBuster says :

      Very interesting take on that picture. I like it too – it shows MEAN Fed, and I’m surely looking forward to see lots of him come 2011! “Reestablishing the aura”, indeed.
      BTW, one of the things I like so much about Roger is that he’s genuine. He’s not a dumb ‘posterboy’, and doesn’t need sappy photoshopping at all for me to find him attractive.

  10. Alex says :

    Come on guys, this is photoshopped. I mean we all just saw live Rog in London and he didn’t look THIS old!

  11. Alex says :

    I mean they made him look 40+ here. What makes you think this is how he’ll look in 2021?

  12. Alex says :

    This is basically Fed v3 – a merciless killer who will eat the (future)children of his opponents and display the still beating heart of his opponent at the end of the match as if it were a Mayan ritual.

  13. steve says :

    I’m not sure I like the photo, but then again I don’t think one is necessarily supposed to “like” it. Saying you “like” something is such a facile and easy response, it’s almost become meaningless. People “like” apple pie, romantic comedies, fuzzy bunnies, etc. The purpose of this photo is to be more challenging and complex than that, and it must have taken some overcoming of pride and vanity on Federer’s part to do this.

    I wouldn’t say it’s more truthful than the usual images of him, rather it expresses a different aspect of the truth of Roger Federer, an aspect that is usually on display.

    He looks like a grizzled old king, weathered and bearing the scars of many battles, but still defiant. Which, of course, he is, in addition to being many other things too.

    • Alex says :

      He looks like a grizzled old king, weathered and bearing the scars of many battles, but still defiant. Which, of course, he is, in addition to being many other things too.

      I LURVE, LURVE LURVE that interpretation!!!!!

      *not worthy*

    • steve says :

      “an aspect that is NOT usually on display.”

      Damn, I hate it when I make typos.

    • lost in translation says :

      Perfect interpretation !

    • dootsiez says :

      Agree with your interpretation.

      This photo was not meant to be hot. This was not even meant to be “truthful”, in the sense that Federer actually *does* look very young in real life. I’m almost shocked every time I see him live and realise that in normal age terms (as opposed to tennis age), Roger Federer is still just a young man.

      I’ve seen too many reactions to this photo basically accusing Italian Tennis Mag of taking a horrible photo of McFed.

      This of course misses the point of this – which is that *there is a point* to this photo.

      It wasn’t meant to be another “Esquire” cover, portraying him as eye candy. It was meant to be confronting from the outset, and they sure went for it.

      They took some commonly overused themes re Roger Federer – decline, vulnerability, age – exaggerated it in one photo, but went on to call his the master of masters, his WTF win “performance of the year”.

      That’s defiance. That’s “in your face”. And I do appreciate the point being made.

    • Alex says :

      It reminds me of that image of King Conan on the throne, having fought many battles. Still the King, but grizzled and battle scarred.

  14. Lady B Good. says :

    Yes this photo of Roger is very startling, upfront, and bold, its a study, rather than the usual glossy photo of him, it would win any photo competition, there is a deep underlying sexuality about it, its a dont mess with
    me look, the more you look at it, he draws you in further into his world, and like the suave and debonair
    Cary Grant, ours is “An Affair to Remember”!
    By the way there is nothing like wearing a good pair of bedroom slippers! Comfortable and reassuring!

  15. abr says :

    grazie grazie grazie marco!
    damn… I was so hoping the “slippers” quote was real… it’s hysterical! are you sure it’s not real?

    this image of Roger is amazing for the very reason that it has caused all this “thought”. it questions form and reason, image and the “ideal” and asks us all to “see” Roger differently. I can’t imagine that he didn’t love the idea behind this photo shoot!

    bravo Roger!

    • Alex says :

      So do you think it’s untouched photo, just some harsh lighting and no makeup?

      • abr says :

        as an artist, but not a photog… it is probably a couple of things: mostly lighting, but there was probably some digital manipulation of the photo, as most magazine images are digital now and anything is possible. I don’t have access to the magazine to see it first hand, but it looks like the photographer might have used, not make-up per se, but textural powder (but that stuff can all be digitally manipulated).

      • Katarina_YYZ says :

        I’m not an expert but I think most of the ‘effects’ were done when the photo was being taken — lighting and shadow, also there are lenses that can do interesting things. Like if you’ve ever looked at yourself in a 10X magnification mirror, your pores look huge! And every tiny line looks like a scar from a knife wound. It’s a scary sight! It’s just you magnified, so yes you really look like that, but not in any way that anyone will ever see with normal eyes.

  16. Alex says :

    I think why this photo is powerful is because it challenges our notions of tennis players. We tend to think of them as the epitome of youth, vitality, smooth-skinned and all that. Seeing this challenges it and makes us very uncomfortable, which IS the point. We have to come to terms with Federer aging from a visual standpoint, but realize that doesn’t mean he can’t dominate on the tennis court.

  17. dari says :

    THAnks, Marco for the translation! I also wish that little slippers/lolly quote was true. I bet that it is close to the truth, though!
    I cannot wait for a mean fed in 2011!

  18. girl_from_mi says :

    That’s just a fugly pic. The ‘artistry’ of it is totally lost to me. When I fantasize about Fed (not that I do that on a regular basis, mind you), I would rather have Jura Fed or Nike Fed.or smezy Daddy Fed or …

    • Alex says :

      That it provoked such a reaction is proof of it’s artistic success. It was designed to challenge your usual notions of Roger.

    • dootsiez says :

      Jura fed and Nike Fed are advertisements.

      This is claiming to be Art.

      Which is not the same as a sexy-timez fantasy.

      • Alex says :

        It always disappoints me when a person will ONLY buy into the Madison-avenue view of the world, rather then opening up their mind to other possibilities. This photo is that other possibility which it a far richer thing then all the ads.

        girl from mi – expand your horizons!

        • girl_from_mi says :

          Ahhh, Alex! I want to expand. I really do! But Here’s the thing… I’ll never meet Fed. I’ll never partake in breakfast with him, the day after a lovely evening in which the two of us … ahem… got to know each other better. All I have is the Fantasy Fed. So I want sexy-timez fantasy Fed.

          I’m not completely opposed to looking ‘outside the box’ at him, but this photo just doesn’t appeal. It’s just so very harsh.


  19. dari says :

    Don’t you just love that Swiss SCHNOZZ?!!!!

  20. Alex says :

    New Jura campaign with Don Draper Fed:

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