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On Roger's behalf.
The bad press shouldn't surprise me, and it doesn't really; but I'm so angry at these fuckers on Roger's behalf. It's pretty much not disputed that he's been the most gracious #1, or indeed tennis player, period, in terms of how he freely gives his time to the press and how accessible he is from the press' perspective. Sometimes I wonder why he bothers wasting his time when the minute he loses and says something less than congratulatory about his opponent, IMMEDIATELY AFTER HE GETS OFF THE COURT AND IS WHISKED INTO THE FUCKING PRESS ROOM, the media is all over his comments, takes them out of context, and makes it look like he's a whiny, petulant sore loser.
I have no doubt that Roger was sore about losing that match. I have no doubt too that he's fucking human. If I were him and I lost to fucking Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon, I'd be so goddamned pissed that 1) I wouldn't shake his fucking hand at the net; 2) I'd run off immediately and wouldn't bother waiting for the asshole that just caused me to lose my favourite tournament; and 3) I sure as HELL would NOT attend the stupid post-match press conference and would just cough up the fine instead.
Aren't we all so glad Roger Federer isn't me? I always look out for his net handshake when he loses a match, and I was very heartened to see him look Berdych in the eyes and congratulate him while shaking his hand firmly. Obviously it wasn't an overwhelming display of congratulations, but think of how the man must've been feeling. And in the midst of all the pain, physical and emotional, he still waited for Berdych to leave the court together, and still waved to the crowd before he disappeared into the corridors to the locker room.
And when he's asked in the press room what he thought of his defeat, he gave his honest answer - and he gets ripped a new one for it. It's funny to see the haters coming out of the shadows when he loses a big match like this one, because their silly comments seem only to reinforce the high standards that Roger has unwittingly set for himself. Roger isn't allowed to feel sad or sore or pissed off about losing, because apparently Roger Federer is always gracious, always perfect. See, even I'm not that deluded, and I'm a foaming-at-the-mouth Federer Fangirl. People say he's arrogant, but how is it Roger's problem that these people don't bother reading his entire interview or watching him say the words, taken out of context, that they read in the newspaper? Any Federer fan will tell you that he's always been straightforward, hardly ever minces his words, and he'd tell you exactly what he thinks. People like to say that he's an arrogant bastard when he makes comments like, "People love to watch me play." But then, I have to ask the question: Isn't it fucking disingenuous for Roger to even pretend to the contrary when the crowd predominantly chants his name wherever he goes to play a match? Isn't it ridiculous to the point of downright fake for someone like him to deny he's talented and say retarded things like, "I'm not actually talented; I'm just lucky"? When he's clearly the favourite to win a tournament, would the haters prefer him to pull a Nadal and say, "Rafa is the favourite, no?"
I like Roger the way he is, thank you. I appreciated his honest analysis of his disastrous match, and I thought that he didn't give enough credit to Berdych. But I also thought that I'd hate Berdych's guts forever and blame the loss on myself if I were in Roger's shoes. How do you really put things in perspective immediately after a loss? That press conference was his most immediate reaction. He wasn't comfortable, he obviously wasn't playing well (no way in hell his play could ever be characterised as "good" when he dumps forehands after forehands into the net and can't serve himself out of trouble), and he played poorly on the big points. Who wouldn't be upset and irritated?
And his leg injury didn't come out of nowhere. Some people have noticed that he bandaged his thigh in his first-round match against Falla. Has the press bothered to mention this? What about the fact that his back problem isn't anything new? What about the fact that he didn't bring up any injuries when he lost to Robin Soderling in Paris? Maybe he didn't because there was none, and in the same vein, the reason he mentioned injuries in London was because they actually exist.
Roger sometimes does himself in with his strict adherence to the rules and the underlying principles of the rules. If he'd taken a medical time-out to massage whatever part of his body was bothering him, no one would be questioning the legitimacy of his injuries and accusing him of using it as an excuse for his loss. But he's just not that kind of player. And that's one of the many reasons I admire him so much. I like people who have clearly-defined principles and stick to them - Roger is definitely one of them. He's said before: Roger Federer never retires. Otherwise he just doesn't step on the court. He could've retired against Nalbandian in the Tennis Masters Cup final in 2005 when he sprained his ankle, but he played on, all the way to the bitter end when he lost in the fifth set. That's giving your opponent the due respect - hanging in there until they win the match. And he's ALWAYS quick to step up to serve the next point, no matter whether it's a normal point or a big point.
I feel sad for all the haters who can't see all this, because there's no one else like him. Forget the things he says to the media; his greatness can be judged by the way he conducts himself on court alone. And we're talking about a man who threw temper tantrums as a kid, who got scolded by his parents not for losing matches, but for behaving poorly on court when he was losing. It's incredible how he's managed to tame his temperament, and it's even more incredible how he doesn't EVER succumb to the temptation to take longer time between serves or take medical time-outs. (The time he allegedly resorted to gamesmanship against Davydenko in Australia this year, he was actually joking. But of course the press chose to ignore that. Apparently they're incapable of picking up tones of voice.)
You know, I don't even know why I'm wasting time writing this because I'm really tired and the press is always going to be the fucking press. I'm just really protective of him after such a horrible loss, I suppose. But I suppose, too, it speaks volumes of his stature in the sport if people are so eager to cut him down: the higher you fly, the harder people want you to fall.
I, for one, would be content seeing him at the top of his game for the rest of his career.
ONWARDS ROGER! The US Open trophy is waiting for you!