"Six-Shooter Federer aims at Nadal" and "Brand Wimbledon in search of a champion"

06-22-2008, 06:53 PM
I found two interesting articles on The Guardian website. First one on the great Roger Federer's attempt on a sixth consecutive Wimbledon title. and the second on branding Wimbledon. Let me have your thoughts on both.

Six-shooter Federer takes aim at Nadal

After five titles, the champion is under threat from his Spanish tormentor

* Jon Henderson
* The Observer,
* Sunday June 22, 2008

Roger Federer practices ahead of Wimbledon

An under pressure Roger Federer practices ahead of Wimbledon. Photograph: I Walton/Getty

Roger Federer, the tortured soul of Paris where Rafael Nadal beat him up on clay two weeks ago, is enjoying himself. 'It feels natural,' he says after playing a few strokes on grass. 'You just have to wait for your time to come. I like that. That's maybe one of the reasons I'm so successful on grass... you never know, you have to go point by point. You can't go game by game. It's a tricky surface.'

Federer, champion of the past five Wimbledons who will be seeking his 60th successive win on grass when he opens his title defence tomorrow against Slovakia's skier-turned-tennis player Dominik Hrbaty, likes tricky. He certainly prefers it to reaping the bullets fired at him by Nadal at the French Open. For the past three years now he has been gunned down by the Spaniard at Roland Garros and then come to Wimbledon to reassert himself as the world's best player. Whether he can do it a fourth time is the intriguing question of this year's championships.

Although Federer's sequence of Wimbledon titles began even before Nadal emerged as a leading player, his relief at switching from the surface on which he has never won a grand slam to Wimbledon's green carpet has become more palpable since the younger man started making Paris such purgatory for him. With the ball coming through more sharply than it does off clay, his fast hands and quick mind give him an advantage that he has exploited brilliantly since he won his first Wimbledon in 2003. Now he stands one title from being the second man to win six in a row, and when the Englishman Willie Renshaw did it in the late 19th century the number of competitive tennis players was a minute fraction of what it is today.

Federer's contentment at being back on grass - 'I feel like I have a spring in my step' - is undiminished even though his Paris tormentor is now established as the player most likely to upset him at Wimbledon, and Nadal may very well become the second Spanish male, after Manolo Santana, in 1966, to win tennis's crown of crowns. 'If I were afraid, I would end my career on grass and would have the series [of wins] forever,' Federer says. 'If it ends then it ends and I will try for a new one.'

Nadal's ability to perform so well on grass - he tested Federer in the 2006 final and came desperately close to upsetting him in last year's title decider - surprised many observers who have become used to Spanish players, resigned to not being able to adapt their clay-court games, either scratching from Wimbledon or turning up for the first-round loser's cheque, which this year is £10,250 (or more than five times the £2,000 Rod Laver received for winning the first open Wimbledon in 1968).

Nadal is a very different sort of beast, one whose habit of biting trophies at presentation ceremonies is graphically symbolic of the feral intensity he brings to his tennis. No one is more admiring than Federer of how Nadal has progressed to be a serious Wimbledon contender. 'Rafa doesn't really have to prove himself much more to show he's a good grass-court player. Every time he wins the French Open he looks more like a clay-courter, but he's much more than that.'

Federer also welcomes the fact that he and Nadal have now been joined by Novak Djokovic, the Serb who won the year's first grand slam in Melbourne, to make it a triumvirate of outstanding champions. 'It's nice that they also can back it up right from Paris,' Federer says, referring to last Sunday when he won the grass-court event in Halle, Germany and Nadal and Djokovic fought out an outstanding final at Queen's. 'I think it's exciting for tennis that we have two, three players who are regularly in the finals and fans can relate to.'

The idea that Federer's heavy defeat by Nadal in the French final suggests that his powers may be in decline was nicely ridiculed by Andy Murray last week. 'Yeah, I mean it really affected him a lot when he won Halle the next week without dropping a set,' Murray said - and, might have added, without dropping a service game either. 'He's for sure the favourite to win Wimbledon.'

But Murray made an additional, perceptive comment: 'In the past he's been a huge favourite and although he's still the favourite, there is more of a chance that Djokovic, Nadal, Roddick, myself or a few others can win against him.' Of these, Nadal's credentials are by far the best.

This article appeared in the Observer on Sunday June 22 2008 on p11 of the News & features section. It was last updated at 00:16 on June 22 2008.

06-22-2008, 06:58 PM
bit confused reading your post.

06-22-2008, 07:03 PM

06-23-2008, 09:54 AM
bit confused reading your post.

Why confused? I didn't write anything confusing, I just posted an article. Sorry about the link but the bottom of the article it says it's from The Guardian/ Observer.
You can check it on this website:

06-23-2008, 09:55 AM
Brand Wimbledon: the global sales that are helping fund search for a champion· Tennis tournament raised £26m for governing body in 2007
· 350,000 shoes sold in Japan, 34 shops in China
James Meikle and Esther Addley The Guardian, Monday June 23, 2008 Article historyBritain may not have had a Wimbledon ladies' champion since 1977 nor a men's since 1936. But the world's oldest tennis tournament wins game, set and match when it comes to global marketing .

As home fans troop to London SW19, hoping Andy Murray can defy the odds to win this quintessentially English event, few may realise that it is the young people of Japan and China who hold the cash key to realising British dreams of a successor to Virginia Wade and Fred Perry.

Last year the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which runs the tournament, gave the Lawn Tennis Association £26.3m, over half the governing body's income, showing how vital Wimbledon is to the search for a British champion.

Wimbledon started trading in China six years ago and now has 34 shops there in 14 cities, including two outlets in Beijing. In Japan, where Wimbledon's commercial appeal has been exploited for longer, the club hosts regular "Wimbledon fairs", exhibiting tournament merchandise.

The most recent one attracted 14,000 people. Last year 350,000 pairs of branded Wimbledon sports shoes were sold in Japan, compared to "low four figures" through the All-England club's retail outlets in the UK. In India, firms licensed to make Wimbledon-branded merchandise include high-end jewellers Gitanjali. And this month a partnership was announced with India's TVS Motors to produce scooters: the green, purple and white Wimbledon Class and the Wimbledon Xtreme, "an exciting red scooter with graffiti art capturing the excitement of tennis".

Wimbledon has licensing deals with 26 companies globally and, nearer to home, 15 official "suppliers" to the championships can associate themselves with the crossed rackets logo. These run from Blossom Hill for wine to Slazenger for balls (an arrangement dating back to 1902), parts of a package designed to retain "the unique image and character" of Wimbledon by not commercialising the grounds overtly.

Most recent holders of a slice of the iconic image are Evian, official bottled water (Robinsons has been the official still soft drink since 1934), and HSBC, the official bank. Its group head of sponsorship, Giles Morgan, says the tournament is "a bastion for sporting ethics and tradition for doing things the right way ... The Wimbledon championships is one of the most recognisable sporting events in the world, broadcast in over 150 countries to a global audience of more than 2 billion over the fortnight".

Closer to home, and opening its doors for the first time today in the Centre Court building, will be a superstore where fans can choose a Ralph Lauren Wimbledon-branded tennis sweater in "herbal milk" for £200, ladies' designer sunglasses for £82, "court classic" holdalls for £40 or - last year's favourite - mini tennis ball key rings for £3. This will bring the number of merchandise outlets on the site to 15.

No one will say what the event costs to stage, but total prize money is about £11.8m, with the men's and ladies' singles champions each receiving £750,000. A Centre Court ticket for the men's final costs £91, but income from the global TV audiences will dwarf that provided by the 450,000 spectators in SW19.

The surpluses (Wimbledon-speak for profits) go to the LTA under a 1934 agreement guaranteeing the club the right to host the championships. In 1980, the sum was £420,000, so last year's £26.3m shows just how much the global marketing reach has increased Wimbledon's income.

Roger McCowen, marketing director at the All-England club, says: "Merchandising is very small in the context of the income from our TV rights and our big official suppliers, but the difference is in the geographical reach, the 52-week awareness, the brand extension."

New media has opened other income streams. Subscription to Wimbledon Live for the fortnight allows fans to see live and on-demand action on their computers. "We have also done perhaps 10 or 20 different mobile phone deals and smaller broadband deals in different markets for companies to acquire material - highlights, interviews or material from our very rich archive," says McCowen


06-23-2008, 10:01 AM
Another article I found today talks about Roger determined to hold on to his title. I like the analogy of Roger as Alec Guinness in the film, "The Nan in the White Suit. I don't know if anyone has seen this film but it is one of my favourites:

Federer determined to stretch his run as younger lions sense a way through Steve Bierley The Guardian, Monday June 23, 2008 Article history

In the climax to the Ealing comedy The Man in the White Suit Alec Guinness runs through the streets with his glowing white jacket and trousers falling apart as the chemical structure of the dirt-repelling fibres disintegrate. The mob rips pieces off his suit in triumph, until he is left standing in his underwear. Could it be that Roger Federer is, metaphorically, about to suffer the same indignity at the All England club sometime during the next fortnight?

His white jacket and long trousers, the prelude to his matches for the last couple of years, have seemed to enforce the world No1's invulnerability as he collected his fourth and fifth Wimbledon singles titles, the last two against Spain's Rafael Nadal. Mr Smooth. Mr Unbeatable. But this year is different, despite the fact that by winning the title at Halle in Germany recently Federer extended his unbeaten run on grass to 59 matches, his last defeat being in the first round at Wimbledon six years ago.

Federer is vulnerable. The tennis world shifted on its axis at the Australian Open this January when he lost in the semi-finals against the young Serb Novak Djokovic. There followed defeats by Andy Murray (Dubai), Mardy Fish (Indian Wells) Andy Roddick (Key Biscayne) and Radek Stepanek (Rome), all incongruous in their own ways.

He revealed in California that he had been suffering from a mild attack of glandular fever which since, at least in part, has been offered as a reason for his patchy form. However, the 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 thrashing by Nadal in the French Open final could be seen as no more than an extension, or culmination, of a decidedly average five months.

Federer tends to bridle a little at any such suggestion. "I'm still pretty proud about reaching my third French Open final but for some I guess that's still not good enough," he said yesterday, which was as near to sarcasm as he gets. "Anyway this is now the important time for me to see what I can do: Wimbledon, the US Open and the Olympics. This is what it's going to come down to."

Whether Federer wins another grand slam title or not, he is already assured of his place as one of the tennis greats. Not only that, his wonderfully languid style, together with his equable temperament, have also assured him of an affection that by no means all champions engender. The majority would love to see him win here again, go on to beat Sampras's record of 14 grand slam wins and also win the French Open one day to join the famous five - Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Andre Agassi - who have taken all four majors.

It is Sampras's record that everybody felt might be in his grasp this year, until that defeat by Djokovic, who is in Federer's half of the draw again here. The majority of the pre-tournament talk has been about whether Nadal, winner of the Artois championship, his first grass-court title, can beat Federer in the final, having come so close last year, and in this respect Djokovic's chances of the title have been somewhat overlooked.

The 21-year-old Serb, ranked No3 behind Federer and Nadal, has been the most successful player this year and was within a point of taking what might have been a decisive 4-0 lead over the Spaniard in the first set of the Artois final. John McEnroe rates Djokovic's serve as one of the most improved and best on the circuit. He reached the semi-finals here last year, although rather tamely pulled out of his match against Nadal. However, winning the Australian Open has filled him to the brim with confidence and he now struts around the courts, the essence of a champion.

Federer knows that Djokovic believes he can beat him on any surface, which has added to the pressure of getting ever closer to Sampras's record. Only three men have won six or more consecutive titles at one slam event - Richard Sears (seven) at the US Open and William Renshaw (six) at Wimbledon, both in the 19th century, and Bill Tilden, also at the US Open, from 1920-25. Renshaw and Sampras both won seven Wimbledon titles in total.

"Novak and Rafa are obviously the guys who are the biggest challengers and they have had a good beginning to the year," said Federer. "Otherwise it's pretty much the same guys - Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, Marcos Baghdatis and David Nalbandian. There hasn't been much of a change

But of course there has. Whereas all these players would have been half-beaten before they set foot on court against him at this time last year, they now believe, after Djokovic's win in Melbourne, that they have a chance - that the aura of invulnerability, white suit or no suit, is no longer present.

"What other people say I cannot control. You'll always hear good and bad throughout your career. It's maybe a time where some people talk a little bit too much," said Federer. If this sounded a little like a threat then perhaps it was. Federer is a wounded animal. Should he lose his title here, on his best surface, then the pack, not just Nadal and Djokovic, will be at him. He must win here. He knows that.