Okay, okay, I know. It’s been a while. If this was in real life, my picket fenced patch would be overgrown from neglect and infested with deadly Australian snakes. But it’s no coincidence that this blog went into its dormancy at the same time as the start of my career. A great time in the life of Doots, but some silent years for my little patch of cyberspace.
I was going to leave it like this, unloved and haunted by words from the past until “that post” when Federer retires. But strangely enough I was somewhat inspired today. Inspired in a way that I hadn’t been for a long time, and by a Federer loss no less.
It’s a strange phenomenon when you’re a Maestro fan who hopped on the Mothership during his years of triumph: learning to deal with mortality becomes the greatest lesson he’ll ever teach you.
So here goes five thoughts that couldn’t be contained by the 140 character limit on Twitter:
- The scoreline wasn’t close. And the first two sets certainly weren’t close. Federer is not the only player capable of “God-mode”. For two sets, Djokovic was in free swinging full flight – his groundstrokes met the lines from whatever position he was in, his passes always seemed to land in, even his defensive lobs seemed to come back in awkward positions for Federer. For a second, I (and many others) felt like this was going to be a repeat of the 2007 Australian Open semifinal, except this time, Federer was the one getting Roddicked. The commentators cried “poor poor Roger”, as if a losing fight against age and mortality, and attempting to beat a younger opponent at the pinnacle of his career was somehow making Roger less dignified. I don’t believe that, and I don’t believe in pitying anyone, least of all Roger Federer, who’s losing a fair fight on court.
- But it felt close in the end, didn’t it? Unlike Nadal at the French Open final in 2008, Djokovic snapped out of “God-mode” in the third set, and returend to being a mere mortal – albeit a formidable one still. But you could feel the tide turn when the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena chanted “Roger! Roger! Roger!” You could hear the deafening sound of hope when they cheered a Djokovic double fault in the third set just before Federer broke, only to shush themselves in embarrassment. And when Federer held off a tight service game to take the third set, it felt exhilarating. It felt – as tennis should – like anything could happen if you just keep at it. And suddenly, all of your reasons for sticking with “the Old Man” seemed to justify themselves in the roar of that crowd.
- Sport can be so cruel, and nets can be Serbian. It felt so wrong after Federer played the point of the tournament that the let cord should conspire against him. But credit to the player who had put himself in a 2 sets to 1 position in the first place.
- Was the third set fight back futile? Was it a mere salvaging of dignity when the end result was certain? Roger Federer could have walked off court today in a 3 set defeat, with the dominant narrative would have been that he has a new rival in his head; that he was past his prime and getting beaten by the young’uns. Instead, he walked away still defeated, but knowing that he was in it til the very end, that anything could’ve happened, and Djokovic didn’t get to Roddick him a la Australian Open 2007. It might matter very little in the ultimate result, but it could matter a great deal in a future match ups to know that he took God-mode Novak to 4 sets.
- Bring on that H2H. Federer will end his career with a losing record against many of his younger “rivals”, and that’s fine. Because he was truly peerless in his own generation.
There’ll be no return to “normal programming”, but I hope to pop up now and then when the occasion inspires.
Ride or die bitchessss.
For a few years now I’ve yearned for that photographer media pass. The one that will get me me closer, allow me to bring into a venue; longer and better lenses, perhaps a monopod and other extras… But I realised, especially this year, that a press pass has its own restrictions. When you shoot for publication, there’s no meandering, no breathing room, no time to focus on just a singular player, a singular moment. And I’ve realised over the years that as long as this old bloke is playing, it’s going to be hard for me to focus on any other player. However with limited equipment and access comes a sense and the need to be better, to shoot better, to keep improving over the years and to be original in visual quality. The benefit of added post-processing time also means an opportunity to finesse, to refine and to make a shot memorable.
As I reflect on my photography at Brisbane International and the Australian Open this year, I didn’t yearn as much for media legitimacy as I did in previous years because I understood the limitations of what I thought I wanted and instead decided to EMBRACE the restrictions of what I had and try to create the best work out of what I had available. As from the previous Federporn posts, I hope that you guys can recognise my efforts to be different to your usual Reuters, Getty or AP sports coverage. And I hope my passion for the tennis of Roger Federer and also the man comes across. I don’t often like to self-congratulate but I think at least for some of the shots this year, I really think I did myself proud.
Anyway, enough chat, enjoy the photos and I hope to take more in the future…
From me…Au Revoir Roger… until 2015.
You can see all my tennis images and more here.
Previous Federpornery here
I know y’all are facing the Fedal jitters, the palm sweats, the neck hairs, the lingering unease in the pit of your stomach, the desperate need to attack the xanax, stillnox, valium, moscato or other drug/alcohol of your choice to cope with the stress that Fedal brings.
The thing is… I never used to stress this much about Fedal, but then Wimby2008, AO2009, FO2011, AO2012 and the ENTIRETY of 2013 happened and now I want to vomit my guts out at every Fedal matchup.
But even though this inexplicable and unnecessary stress blankets everything, there is always a faint sliver of hope. And as we Fed fans struggle through it, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, we somehow…somehow come out alive the otherside.
I braved the intense, insane Melbourne heat of Australina Open 2014, to bring you hopefully some of the best and most interesting Federer photos that you’ll see on this side of Getty Images. Waiting on court 17 in 43 degree heat for hours (thats like 109F to you imperial peeps) is something that I only do for one swiss potato nosed dude. Read More…
Don’t you miss that feeling when Roger Federer comes out of the players’ tunnel and quickly shimmy-shimmies his way around court like he was made of SHINE?
It’s been so long since Federer’s played a match this clean against a top quality opponent. So long since he’s made it to the quarterfinals (okay, two slams. But that’s so long for Mr Shiny). So long since we’ve heard the clichéd use of terms like “vintage Federer”, “full flight” and “majestic” by commentators lacking in vocabulary. Read More…
Well it has been a long time since we had one of these right? Well we’ve decided regardless of the result of tonights semi against Murray, we’re celebrating the fact that old man Fudd made it this far with the draw from hell.
So here are a few (okay a LOT) of my favourite pictures I took at AO2013. Again I’m pining for that photographer media pass one day…but until then I’ll have to be content with just hitting a lot of other people in the head with my giant canon 70-200mm F4L.
With the GFC lurking offshore, the Australian Open has been losing sponsors faster than Jelena Jankovic’s losing ranking points. Key sponsors like Mastercard, Garnier, and GE Money have all dropped their deals with the Australian Open next year.
You don’t mean to tell me there’ll be no “Garnier World” at Melbourne Park next year? Dude, that’s like the only reason I go …
Good news from Tennis Australia today though: the ANZ has signed a 3 year deal with the Australian Open. Clickey for a boring read.
With Kia Motors, Rolex and Lacoste staying on board too, I guess we’re not completely screwed. Yay?
For the second day in a row, I’ve been getting my tennis related news fix from the mX, the vainest possible excuse for a newspaper in Australia. But this made the front page today and was the cause for much alarm on my behalf: the Australian Open set to lose $10m in sponsorship next year. Other sponsors like GE Money, Optus (so much for supporting Australian Tennis) and Garnier are also reconsidering their involvement with the tournament. Yikes, the Oz Open won’t be the same without Garnier World. 😦
Given the success and record numbers at the tournament in the last two years, the experience Melbourne has with running large sporting events, as well as the general sports-crazy character of the city, I find it surprising that so many sponsors are thinking of backing out of the tournament.
This of course comes at a time when our city’s evil (but admittedly more flashy) twin Sydney is hoping to steal the tournament from its sacred home in Melbourne Park. The Middle East is also ambitiously running it’s own season-opening circuit at the same time as the “Australian Open Series”. Oi, back off!
mX Tues May 5, 2009
Next year’s Australian Open is in dire financial trouble after MasterCard pulled out of the event today.
It follows reports major sponsors GE Money and Garnier are also unlikely to be part of the tournament, arguable the most prestigious on the Australian Sporting calendar.
And an Optus spokesman confirmed today that its commitment was ‘under review’ on the back of the global credit crunch.
The sponsorship losses are estimated to total more than $10 million.
MasterCard Worldwide spokeswoman Melissa Devine said the company would look at other ways to push the brand.
‘MasterCard Worldwide will not be continuing its sponsorship of the Australian Open,’ she said.
‘MasterCard has enjoyed a great collaboration with Tennis Australia and the Australian Open event organisers over the past two years sand we will continue to explore various opportunities to deliver consumer and shareholder value.’
MasterCards withdrawal puts extra strain on organisers already under pressure from rival cities hoping to steal the season-opening tournament.
In January, Premier John Brumby committed $5 million to upgrade Melbourne Park after officials said they were struggling to cope with the event’s increasing demands.
Australian Open officials declined to comment today.
Melbourne Park’s contract to host the Open expires in 2016.
I could be highly biased, but the Oz Open won’t be the same if it weren’t held in Melbourne. It just won’t. =(