Did you guys see this article yet? From tennis.x ....
Federer Filling Boring No. 1 Niche Vacated by Sampras
Sitting through a Roger Federer post-match press conference, there are times you want to shake him to see if he has a pulse -- either that, or you marvel at the thoughtful insight and wit levied by the new ruler of men's tennis. Attending to the various pressures of the No. 1 ranking on his own terms, Club Fed's cool demeanor reminds one of another laid-back former No. 1.
"I think I'm living a very exciting life right now," Federer says.
While American serving machine Andy Roddick speaks of his appearance on Saturday Night Live, dating singer/actress Mandy Moore, and parachuting out of airplanes with coach Brad Gilbert, the Swiss tells of quiet dinners with his girlfriend and checking in on his cow, Juliette, a gift from the ATP Gstaad event last year upon winning the title. Only ardent American tennis fans would recognize Federer on the street, which is fine by the Swiss.
"What is my goal in my life?" Federer said. "It's not to be walking down New York City and everybody starts screaming. It's not my goal in life. What I'm doing is enjoying tennis. And if, you know, people enjoy watching me, you know, that is for me more important than anything else. I have very many people coming up to me, you know, where I'm staying around this week, which come to me and say, 'I love your game. My son admires you. You're his favorite player.' These are the things I enjoy hearing.
"What it takes to be a superstar in the States, I don't know what it takes because I'm not from here. Only different people could help me to do that." Hello, ATP media machine?
The situation is similar to another former No. 1 who preferred to let his racquet do the talking, and thought that the artistry of winning titles was plenty enough to give back to fans and the game. Federer's view echoes that of the man he is supposed to "replace," with fans pegging the all-court Swiss as the "next Pete Sampras."
"But I don't want to be the next Pete Sampras, I want to be Roger Federer," says the Swiss.
Federer's popularity in his home country is immense, and he has been referred to as the "Michael Jordan of Switzerland" on more than one occasion. Even more quiet and reserved when he first emerged on tour in the late 1990's, Club Fed has slowly loosened up, and while appearing reserved to fans, he has become one of the more popular and likable players in the locker room.
"He's a fun guy," said American Mardy Fish, who Federer pasted 6-4, 6-1 in the early rounds at Indian Wells. "You know, he never seems like he's down. He's a very approachable guy, that's for sure. He likes to joke around. He's always laughing and stuff. Yeah, he's very easy to joke around with."
And while the No. 1 mantle, gained this past January, has forced him even further into the spotlight, it remains to be seen whether the private Swiss will take an overtly pro-active role in furthering the game, or like Sampras, keep the public at arm's length and just opt to watch some Lakers game at home on TV.
"I want to enjoy this moment while I'm No. 1 as much as I can, you know, meet a lot of people, you know, experience, take it with me for also after tennis," Federer says. "This is for me really what I've been working for hard. And obviously now that I've, you know, won Slams and become No. 1 in the world, it's trying to stay where I am and obviously reach the same emotions like I did in Wimbledon."
Those emotions involved breaking down with tears of joy during the Wimbledon trophy presentation, endearing him to fans worldwide who had been waiting for the Swiss to get "over the hump," to win that first slam and become the confident player behind the raw talent. Federer then went on to win the year-ending Masters Cup and finish the year at No. 2, just points behind year-end No. 1 Andy Roddick.
"I'm definitely a guy who is rather calm on the outside on the tennis court, but very emotional inside," Federer said. "I showed everything that was going on inside of myself at the presentation of the trophy in Wimbledon...You know, I'm happy when I make a good shot. But I always have my moments of disappointment when I miss. But for me I'm at a point where I don't need to show this. I need to keep my emotions under control. I have the feeling if I show too much, you know, it might hurt me for the next match. The emotion's left. I want to keep everything till the end. This is just the way I feel right now. It makes me feel good. I like the way I behave, myself. I think that is the most important."
After claiming the top shelf spot during the first month of 2004, Fed has had to deal with a new level of popularity, if not in the U.S., then globally.
"The media side -- before I thought I was already doing a lot, but that was mostly in Switzerland," Federer said. "Now the whole international press is also chasing me. That's just things you're not used to before. Maybe not speaking in the interviews in your proper language also maybe makes it a little bit difficult for me sometimes. Everywhere I go, people recognize me more often now. That sometimes is tough."
Even before Andy Roddick won the 2003 US Open and catapulted to No. 1, American fans and the tennis media had dubbed him "the future of American tennis," a weighty proposition at best, and a whole hell of a lot of pressure at worst. Roddick has since slumped to No. 3 on the ATP Rankings. Juan Carlos Ferrero, who with Roddick and Federer comprised the "Three Kings" in their race for the 2003 year-end No. 1 ranking, has also since fallen by the wayside, besieged by injuries and poor play after a long 2003 season took its toll.
Now Federer, after already winning at the Australian Open and Dubai this year, is looking to put his foot down and put even more distance between himself and the No. 1 contenders, threatening to make 2004 a one-man race. The Swiss' on-court game has blossomed, but it remains to be seen if his off-court persona will be embraced by Americans as it has in Europe. Tennis in the U.S. can use all the help it can get in the way of personalities, and Federer is the first to plead his own case.
"I'm a funny guy, I'm outgoing, you can have a lot of fun with me," Federer said. "I can hang out."
So here you have a No. 1 player who is misunderstood, but rarin' to go. Where are the Jay Leno and David Letterman appearances, the magazine photo spreads, the candy bars named after the Swiss? Don't they make chocolate there or something? Time for the ATP to take a break from handing out nandrolone and get Federer in a Taco Bell commercial -- there's a new tennis personality to be marketed, a guy who can hang out.