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Roger Federer in Shanghai
November 24, 2012 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Roger Federer in Shanghai Federer is inescapably beautiful, but most of the time he does nothing extraordinary. Then there is a shot that makes people let out sounds and imitate, with imaginary rackets, what they just saw. In a way, Federer is like a good novel—it does not try to achieve genius in every line, that would be amateurish; it is unafraid of the lull, accepts the importance of the ordinary, and then there is a sudden moment of greatness.
posted by dhruva (16 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fed is without a doubt the best I've ever seen.
Although his top rival, Rafa Nadal, is years younger and has been more dominant in their matches the last few years, I sometimes wonder if they were closer in age, or both in their prime at the same time who would have the advantage.
posted by nickthetourist at 11:31 AM on November 24, 2012


Sorry to snark, but:
It is a city that appears Western at rest, but something about the movements within is Third World.
The woman with the golden hair has a soft mature smile. She is a beautiful woman, in a tight white top and jeans.

Ugh. The entire article has a sickly sheen of Orientalism (non-Western = 'Third World') and casual objectification. As a result, I find it hard not to view his praise towards Federer in a similar fetishizing light.
posted by suedehead at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know if this changes your feeling about the article, suedehead, but Manu Joseph is an Indian writer.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:22 PM on November 24, 2012


Whatever the author's ethnicity is, the author's put-downs of Shanghai and of the lack of English fluent citizens (ex. Perhaps that is why people scream out his name, as they do here, “Roger… Loger”) were truly off-putting.

Which really is too bad, since Federer's game really is something to marvel at.
posted by comradechu at 12:26 PM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is a city that appears Western at rest

So this person has never been I take it.
posted by cmoj at 12:34 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


compare this to DFW's sublime Roger Federer As A Religious Experience which is more about Federer as a legend, rather than Shanghai as some place.
posted by raihan_ at 12:36 PM on November 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I liked the bits that treated Federer's game and training and all of that, but everything else--the comparison of tennis to writing, descriptions of Shanghai--was not great writing and sort of annoying.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:39 PM on November 24, 2012


Hmm, didn't really love that article. Kinda felt like it was a bunch of Federer cliches tied up in a little bow. Also, I dunno, I think the whole "Federer decline" meme is a bit tired also. Imho, objectively, his competition is much stiffer now, than when he dominatd. Nadal and Djokovic - and Murray to a lesser degree - are much better players (now) than anyone challenging him at his apex.

Obviously, he's older, has kids (twins!), and that's gotta take a toll, but I think the "Federer decline" meme overstates both his peak and the subsequent drop off.

And there are so much more interesting things to write about his game, style etc than that flowery bluster. Writer was more in love with their own words than the game.
posted by smoke at 2:34 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


As noted upthread, it's impossible to read anything about Fed without comparing it to DFW's essay. Then again, nothing compares to young Fed. He's still amazing and a joy to watch, but nothing compares to that Agassi match.
posted by supercres at 2:55 PM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


but nothing compares to that Agassi match.

I dunno, the 2008 Wimbledon final between Federer & Nadal still gives me goosebumps.
posted by jmd82 at 3:59 PM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dunno, the 2008 Wimbledon final between Federer & Nadal still gives me goosebumps.

That was an extraordinary match. I remember it better than any other I've seen.
A bit reminiscent of one or two of the Sampras/Agassi matches, but better.
posted by nickthetourist at 5:13 PM on November 24, 2012


I only started watching tennis a couple of years ago, because my husband is a fan, and I mostly only half-watch semis and finals to keep him company. But Roger Federer is something else, you can tell it immediately, even if you don't know the sport. His play is so elegant and poetic and RIGHT, and sometimes it takes you a moment to remember to be startled by a startling play, because of course that's how tennis is meant to be played.

The other thing that fascinates me when I do watch tennis is how mental it is and how the players get all up in their own heads and start to choke, and that NEVER happens to Federer. He never appears to lose his cool or his focus or get tense or tight. (It's possible he outsources it all to his wife, who is always visibly suffering in the stands.) But he is as cold as ice, it's amazing. When he loses, it's because he gets outplayed, not because he gets up in his own head and chokes like crazy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:20 PM on November 24, 2012


One of the amazing things about Roger Federer is his athleticism and lack of injury over the years. Although 31 years old, he's still in the top 3 - I think he's no. 2. Yes, great players like Djokovic and Murray have come along to challenge him, but he's still in the mix. (Rafa has been out for a long time supposedly with a knee injury.) Yes, he's on the downside of his career now, yet he won Wimbledon last year. RF also has a record 23 consecutive grand slam semifinal appearances.
posted by AnnElk at 5:22 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I started thinking of Fed in the same context as Tiger before they started doing shaving ads together. Common between them is that they genuinely raise the level of play in their respective sports and have, by their skill, caused even better players to rise. This is, in my opinion, a good and even GREAT thing in professional sports.
posted by Thistledown at 6:48 PM on November 24, 2012


Federer is like a good novel—it does not try to achieve genius in every line, that would be amateurish; it is unafraid of the lull, accepts the importance of the ordinary, and then there is a sudden moment of greatness

I don't know much about Federer or about tennis, but that's a description of a dull and ordinary novel, if not a terrible one.
posted by anothermug at 11:30 AM on November 25, 2012


And there are so much more interesting things to write about his game, style etc than that flowery bluster. Writer was more in love with their own words than the game.

Yeah, when it's been as done and as famously as DFW did it ... why?

I don't know much about Federer or about tennis, but that's a description of a dull and ordinary novel, if not a terrible one.

I dunno. Sounds like War and Peace or Les Miserables to me. I liked both a lot.

I started thinking of Fed in the same context as Tiger before they started doing shaving ads together.

Federer was and is far more dominating than Tiger ever was. And in a very different way. I do agree they probably made the rest of the field pick up their games, though. As did, ugh, Jordan.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:55 PM on November 26, 2012


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