Originally Posted by Chris Seahorse
This is a tough one.
Clearly Federer was not deliberately trying to steal Nadal's moment. He cried because he couldn't control himself. No doubt Federer will be quite embarressed by his actions when he looks back them. That said, Federer didn't do anything bad or wrong as such. And no, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with showing one's emotions.
However, I have to say Federer's outburst did reveal some serious shortcomings in the Federer psyche. It is very clear, Federer derives a huge amount of his self-worth by his success. This is fine and dandy when Federer is winning everything but when he isn't it's not surprising Federer struggles to cope. I think there is a real danger Federer could end up suffering with severe depression when his career ends.
Nadal in contrast, is an altogether much more mature individual. I found some of the quotes from his winning interview very telling. "When you win an important match, but you have to know before the match who you are and after the match you have to know who you are, too. You are the same, no?" This pretty much sums up Nadal's attitude to the sport and it also goes a long way towards explaining why Nadal is so mentally strong. Nadal's self worth is not connected to whether or not he wins tennis matches. Nadal is okay with himself regardless. All he asks of himself is that he gives it everything on the court. If after that he loses, fine. Unlike Federer, Nadal's self esteem isn't linked to whether or not he wins. This means Nadal is able to play tennis far more fearlessly and with far less pressure on his shoulders than does Federer. Nadal is better at focusing on each and every point without distractions that probably any player of his generation and probably a few generations before him. Unlike Federer, who has loads of profession goals that he feels a need to achieve, Nadal's appears to play with only one goal, simply to be the best he can be at that moment. Is it any wonder Nadal is stronger than Federer mentally and indeed emotionally. And after today's events it is very hard to see this changing.
So yeah, I guess one can justify Roger's behavior, given that it reflects that Roger is not the most emotionally mature of players, it could hardly be considered surprising. But truthfully I do feel a bit sorry for Federer, not because he lost but because clearly he has some serious self esteem issues that will need to be addressed if he doesn't want to escape serious depression down the road.
I thought this was an interesting post. I agree with you that Federer's tears were not a deliberate effort to steal Nadal's moment, but rather more about the kind of person he is. I also agree about Nadal's emotional maturity and even temperament are the foundation of his on court mental strength.
Where I part company with you is that the tears are a sign of Federer's lack of self esteem. It's always seemed to me that Federer loves basking in adulation, and also that he has a tendency to feel sorry for himself. I think that he's managed to hold it together at RG (even though the first time Nadal defeated him there, he looked very pouty) because he's told himself that Nadal was a clay freak. Then Wimbledon was a bit harder, but he could still tell himself that Nadal couldn't touch him on the hardcourts. I think the tears were a product of Federer's myth of himself being tarnished. But, maybe that's what you are talking about -- someone with true self esteem and self knowledge doesn't really have this problem. Anyway -- excellent post.