UNBURDENED BY GREATNESS – THE FEDERER FILE
• We think of Federer as a flowing virtuoso. But he’s also a gritty, street-fighting man. Like a charismatic politician who wins despite what the polls predict, or a movie star who shines even though the script is wretched, elite stars like Roger can sometimes (but not always) win – even when they’re far from their best.
• Federer won the Aussie Open and then prevailed in Rotterdam to become the oldest No. 1 ever. He won 17 matches in a row, raised $2.5 million, reached the Indian Wells final and is packing stadiums like crazy. But what’s more stunning? He couldn’t win three championship points at Indian Wells. He couldn’t hold his serve to win there. He twice double-faulted in the final set tiebreaker. In Miami, he lost to a qualifier, No. 177 Thanasi Kokkinakis. He lost two third-set tiebreaks in a row, is on a two match losing streak and lost his No. 1 slot to Rafa.
• Ted Robinson noted how the supposedly super-human Roger was struggling and said, “We’ve seen longer stretches of humanness from Roger than expected.” Then he added, “In this big booming era of tennis – strength, power, great groundies, huge serves – Roger’s backhand slice may be the shot I most remember.”
• Roger did what McEnroe, Borg, Sampras, Agassi and Roddick never came close to doing. He drew upwards of 15,000 to a Bay Area tennis match.
• Tennis World quoted Roger saying, “When you are a husband and a dad, you don’t do everything perfectly. It’s a battle on a daily basis…To always stay calm, it’s just almost impossible. But I try to be the best dad I can be, the best husband I can be, the best player. I make a million mistakes. I try to learn from them. I’m definitely not perfect. I am happy that all the hard work paid off. I take a lot of small, big decisions with my team. My positivity, my love for the game, maybe my clarity as well in those difficult moments helped me to be here today.”
• Ted Robinson said, “If you wear a crown it can weigh heavy. GOAT does not look like his crown weighs heavy on him. He walks lightly.” Justin Gimeslstob added, “Federer just seems unburdened by greatness.”
• “We are coming.” – Dasha Kasatkina on the surge of the WTA’s young players
• “She’s 37. You’re 20. So make her work. You agree with me, yes? So I go back to my office and sit.” – Kasatkina’s coach Philippe Dehaes on how to play Venus
• “He’s just a big teddy bear.” – A voice in the Indian Wells press room on Juan Martin del Potro
“There is a core sadness in the ITF moving to essentially dismantle the Davis Cup.” – insidetennis.com
• “For all his interest in spiritual matters, today he just couldn’t read the Taro [Daniel] cards.” InsideTennis.com on Djokovic’s loss to No. 109 Taro Daniel
• “Naomi Osaka is the most enchanting cross between a valley girl and a zen master that tennis has ever given us…She’s spontaneous, loopy, blunt and beyond inventive. Her dazzling non-sequiturs wake up the sleepiest of reporters.” – InsideTennis.com
• “I just tried to be annoying and to return a lot.” – Naomi Osaka after her Indian Wells semi
• “Everyone thinks I have to win a Slam in a few months, otherwise it’s a disaster.” – Sascha Zverev
• “It’s amazing for me and my heart. It’s difficult to manage all this love.” – Del Potro
• “I was just trying to get myself pumped up.” – Federer on tapping his inner McEnroe during the Indian Wells final
• “Federer is betterer, but not today.” – InsideTennis.com
• “This isn’t a tennis match. It’s an international event.” – James Blake on the return of Serena
• “You’re my queen, Serena!” – Indian Wells fan Aziz Rubakovic