What needs Federer to do to be really famous in the US ? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

What needs Federer to do to be really famous in the US ?

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 01:31 PM
take American nationality ?
Win Superbowl ?
Date Pamela Anderson ?
6 USO in a row ?
15 slams ?

Auscon
04-05-2005, 01:47 PM
personally, he needs to be American, simple as that

OR he needs to give French players heaps of shit after he beats them, while dating Jessica Simpson and Hillary Clinton

syd
04-05-2005, 01:51 PM
be American ?
Win Superbowl ?
Date Pamela Anderson ?

He needs to be like an american star: to make ads, go to talkshows, go to showbiz' parties....like roddick, williams', sharapova, or kournikova,...
But i don't think Roger needs it, he's the best in tennis so....

sigmagirl91
04-05-2005, 01:57 PM
I don't know. To be honest with you, I don't think it's a priority for him.

ae wowww
04-05-2005, 01:59 PM
Yeah needs to be noticed. Reality TV show?

sigmagirl91
04-05-2005, 02:00 PM
Nah nah nah nah....Roger's World.....

JeNn
04-05-2005, 02:01 PM
I don't know. To be honest with you, I don't think it's a priority for him.

Exactly. The guy is one of the most if not the most talented person ever to pick up a tennis racquet. Star status is not for serious tennis players. And yes that goes for Serena too. She's monstrously talented but it's scary how good she would be if she eschewed the allure of the diva.

It's not like the US is the centre of the world anyway :p

sigmagirl91
04-05-2005, 02:02 PM
Exactly. The guy is one of the most if not the most talented person ever to pick up a tennis racquet. Star status is not for serious tennis players. And yes that goes for Serena too. She's monstrously talented but it's scary how good she would be if she eschewed the allure of the diva.

It's not like the US is the centre of the world anyway :p

And not just that. Roger's already popular to those who matter anyway-his fans and the people who are in a position to take him to the next level personally and professionally (i.e. sponsors). Roger really has nothing to prove.

CooCooCachoo
04-05-2005, 02:14 PM
My guess is that he prefers being a bit anonymous ;)

MisterQ
04-05-2005, 02:18 PM
That FedXXX clip circulating on the web will make him famous... :devil:

RonE
04-05-2005, 02:19 PM
He needs to dress like a duck.

ae wowww
04-05-2005, 02:21 PM
That FedXXX clip circulating on the web will make him famous... :devil:

:lol: I only came into this thread just now because I saw MisterQ had posted-and he did not disappoint :yeah:

SwiSha
04-05-2005, 02:22 PM
totally agree here with JeNn and sigmagirl91

well said

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 02:25 PM
That FedXXX clip circulating on the web will make him famous... :devil:
You're talking about the one with Serena, "Serena makes Number 1" (Vision of horror !) :devil:

WyveN
04-05-2005, 02:43 PM
He needs to dress like a duck.

Should Roger go with the suit+sneakers look or maybe the bandage over the clothes label?

jmp
04-05-2005, 02:43 PM
Here's a neat story.

After the Miami final, I went shopping. The last place was a shoe store. It wasn't a sports shoe store just every day shoes. They had head bands and a lot of other stuff at the check out counter. I picked up a Nike head band and told my friend that I would play tennis just like Roger once I put on the magic head band. I asked the clerk if he knew who Roger Federer was and his eyes lit up. He said, "Yeah! He's #1 in the world, right?" I told him that I had just seen him on TV. He knew about Rafa. He asked me about the Fed/Agassi match and then he brought up Hewitt/Fed and I brought up Marat, of course. He knew Marat had won AO! It was so cool because both of the clerks knew about tennis and they were everyday Americans - maybe average looking men in their early 40s. How cool is that?! :cool:

RonE
04-05-2005, 02:47 PM
Should Roger go with the suit+sneakers look or maybe the bandage over the clothes label?

I was thinking more along the lines of doing commercials where he puts his trophies in the overhead bin on a plane and the compartment opens with the trophies falling on his head.

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 02:54 PM
Here's a neat story.

After the Miami final, I went shopping. The last place was a shoe store. It wasn't a sports shoe store just every day shoes. They had head bands and a lot of other stuff at the check out counter. I picked up a Nike head band and told my friend that I would play tennis just like Roger once I put on the magic head band. I asked the clerk if he knew who Roger Federer was and his eyes lit up. He said, "Yeah! He's #1 in the world, right?" I told him that I had just seen him on TV. He knew about Rafa. He asked me about the Fed/Agassi match and then he brought up Hewitt/Fed and I brought up Marat, of course. He knew Marat had won AO! It was so cool because both of the clerks knew about tennis and they were everyday Americans - maybe average looking men in their early 40s. How cool is that?! :cool:
So basically you met guys able to read newspapers in the richest country in the world... wow, amazing... just kidding, it shows us that the average American citizen is maybe more foreign-sportsmen-oriented than the media and event organisers believe... :wavey:

WyveN
04-05-2005, 03:00 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of doing commercials where he puts his trophies in the overhead bin on a plane and the compartment opens with the trophies falling on his head.

just as long as they use one of the following trophies.


http://www.menstennisforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=40959


http://www.menstennisforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=40964

Angle Queen
04-05-2005, 03:01 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of doing commercials where he puts his trophies in the overhead bin on a plane and the compartment opens with the trophies falling on his head.I actually thought that AmEx campaign was one of the better ones...and I give the subject a bit of credit for making two versions.

But back to Roger...I think he's not as under the radar as some might believe. Like jmp, I had a similar shopping experience in a local big-box sporting goods store when I went to get my racket restrung. The kids at the counter oohed and ahhed over it...and asked...if it was the same one Roger Federer uses. No (same family, nCode, but different model). I was floored.

It may not be his priority to be famous here...but that's probably to his benefit. American corporations (and their sponsorship $$$) are already dialed in yet he can walk the streets...in relative anonymity and have some semblence of a private life.

sigmagirl91
04-05-2005, 03:04 PM
It may not be his priority to be famous here...but that's probably to his benefit. American corporations (and their sponsorship $$$) are already dialed in yet he can walk the streets...in relative anonymity and have some semblence of a private life.

Yes....and that can only increase his drawing power.

boliviana
04-05-2005, 03:16 PM
Does Federer want to be famous in the US? He seems pretty content the way things are going . . . not sure that we in the US really are as hot as we think we are . . .

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 03:18 PM
just as long as they use one of the following trophies.


http://www.menstennisforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=40959


http://www.menstennisforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=40964
:haha: :haha:
Poor Roger, he would die within a second...
does anyone has a link on the Rod-dick Amex video ?

onewoman74
04-05-2005, 03:22 PM
Have some sick and crazy sex scandal w/ Paris Hilton or Angelina Jolie...lol

Then everyone will know his name...how unfortunate

naiwen
04-05-2005, 03:48 PM
I don't know. To be honest with you, I don't think it's a priority for him.

But ESPN won't show him if Agassi, Roddick, Williams sisters or Sharapova plays on the same day. It really sucks. :(

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 03:52 PM
But ESPN won't show him if Agassi, Roddick, Williams sisters or Sharapova plays on the same day. It really sucks. :(
yeah exactly... maybe a sex scandal with Sharapova would open the door to ESPN...
but I feel sick thinking they'd prefer a Serena-Kuznetzova to a Roger-Nadal... :rolleyes:

Action Jackson
04-05-2005, 03:53 PM
I am not sure if Roger really needs the money, then again this depends on how expensive Mirka's tastes are.

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 03:55 PM
just a sad reminder on the current trophy holder status on the USO website:
http://www.usopen.org/tickets/default.sps :confused:

sigmagirl91
04-05-2005, 03:56 PM
But ESPN won't show him if Agassi, Roddick, Williams sisters or Sharapova plays on the same day. It really sucks. :(

It's a function of this culture to be obsessed with "big stars", if you get what I'm saying.

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 03:56 PM
I am not sure if Roger really needs the money, then again this depends on how expensive Mirka's tastes are.
mmmmmmh Chanel eyewear... pretty expensive IMO. But Fed could buy tons with his current salary... :eek:

khyber
04-05-2005, 03:59 PM
take American nationality ?
Win Superbowl ?
Date Pamela Anderson ?
6 USO in a row ?
15 slams ?
A slow speed chase in a white Bronco should do the trick. :devil:

jmp
04-05-2005, 04:00 PM
I actually like Roger just the way he is. I think he is well known in the US. I don't want him 'Americanized'. And, please, no scandals.

jmp
04-05-2005, 04:01 PM
A slow speed chase in a white Bronco should do the trick. :devil:

;)

Doris Loeffel
04-05-2005, 04:24 PM
just as long as they use one of the following trophies.


http://www.menstennisforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=40959


http://www.menstennisforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=40964


Hey I actually quite like the stone one from Gstaad - maybe becouse I was there or maybe becouse I feel that stone one actually represents Switzerland quite well...

.... and it would be a shame to see that one broken ;) :P :devil:



Maybe he should wear a outfit a la Capriati with stars and stripes ;)

sigmagirl91
04-05-2005, 04:34 PM
I still maintain that he should do nothing.

Tennis Fool
04-05-2005, 04:43 PM
Answer to thread question:

Molest young US Open ballboys.

Tennis Fool
04-05-2005, 04:48 PM
Here's a neat story.

After the Miami final, I went shopping. The last place was a shoe store. It wasn't a sports shoe store just every day shoes. They had head bands and a lot of other stuff at the check out counter. I picked up a Nike head band and told my friend that I would play tennis just like Roger once I put on the magic head band. I asked the clerk if he knew who Roger Federer was and his eyes lit up. He said, "Yeah! He's #1 in the world, right?" I told him that I had just seen him on TV. He knew about Rafa. He asked me about the Fed/Agassi match and then he brought up Hewitt/Fed and I brought up Marat, of course. He knew Marat had won AO! It was so cool because both of the clerks knew about tennis and they were everyday Americans - maybe average looking men in their early 40s. How cool is that?! :cool:

Nice story. However, these guys were in their 40s. Do young, regular joes really care about tennis?

Tennis Fool
04-05-2005, 04:51 PM
I vividly recall a US Open poster in the subway last year. It was one with Federer, Agassi, Roddick and Serena. They were all in "victory" poses, with their mouths wide open. Someone drew a penis over Fed's mouth and wrote "we like dick". I think a lot of young people think of tennis as an effeminate sport.

loret
04-05-2005, 05:00 PM
I wouldn't really make any assumptions based on NYC Subway "graffiti"...

By this point, Roger is pretty well known in the US. He has earned respect and popularity on his attitude and tennis alone. Good for him he doesn't have a demeanor like Andy, Lleyton, Marat. I've been to 2 tourneys in the US in the past year and Roger certainly atttracted his share of crowds.

Sjengster
04-05-2005, 05:03 PM
I don't think Federer is crying his eyes out at the thought that he's failed to endear himself to those types of people. And "regular joes" in any country are always the death of anything interesting.

jmp
04-05-2005, 05:04 PM
Nice story. However, these guys were in their 40s. Do young, regular joes really care about tennis?

I've read on these boards that college guys think Andy is a big deal. This woman was writing about talking about tennis and the guys who over heard her were very excited about how great Andy was. I think those little tours the American tennis players do and the team competitions really help. I read that Stephanie Graf-Agassi is joining a Houston team this year. That should be a big hit.

Action Jackson
04-05-2005, 05:06 PM
Federer has now won the 5th Slam, now his biggest task is to be over in the US that is a bigger challenge than winning RG.

alexito
04-05-2005, 05:16 PM
charisma, personality, he haven't

Fergie
04-05-2005, 05:25 PM
charisma, personality, he haven't
If Rogi doesn't like the scandals or Hollywood life doesn't mean that he doesn't have personality or charisma :rolleyes: ... He is just a simple and relaxed guy ;)

Tennis Fool
04-05-2005, 05:26 PM
Federer has now won the 5th Slam, now his biggest task is to be over in the US that is a bigger challenge than winning RG.
The 5th and 6th slams ;)

It was great to see him and Nadal on CBS. Too bad it had to be against the NCAA championships and a pre-Masters golf tournament.

PaulieM
04-05-2005, 05:31 PM
If Rogi doesn't like the scandals or Hollywood life doesn't mean that he doesn't have personality or charisma :rolleyes: ... He is just a simple and relaxed guy ;)
:yeah:

Tennis Fool
04-05-2005, 05:31 PM
Exactly. The guy is one of the most if not the most talented person ever to pick up a tennis racquet. Star status is not for serious tennis players.
:confused: All of the biggest star athletes in the US are big celebrities that I can think of: Michael Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, Wayne Gretzki, Mike Phelps, Lance Armstrong, Mary Lou Retton, Michelle Kwan, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, list goes on and on.

tangerine_dream
04-05-2005, 05:33 PM
Roger is plenty recognized in the US and judging from the US crowds’ reaction to him during US tournaments, I don’t think he’ll go through life being unrecognizable and forgotten. I don’t get the impression that he wants to be superfamous here anyway. He’s already got enough ad contracts with Swiss companies.

But I still harbor a fantasy that one day he and Andy might do a ‘guerilla tennis’ ad like Sampras/Agassi did years ago. ;)

personally, he needs to be American, simple as that

Like Boris Becker was American? :lol: Yes, more anti-American ignorance, so shocking to see in GM. :yeah:

Sjengster
04-05-2005, 05:36 PM
I don't see how that's particularly anti-American, but it's no surprise that the clementine nightmare is paranoid enough to see connections that aren't there. Becker was certainly more American in his personality than Federer, and that's really the issue here.

savesthedizzle
04-05-2005, 05:39 PM
I think for Federer to be a "star" in the US, first people in the US would have to start caring about tennis. Tennis results rarely get talked about in television news broadcasts and if you're lucky, in most newspapers there might be a paragraph or two. There would only be pictures and longer articles about the Slams, if it's Andy Roddick, or in the town where a tournament was currently taking place. It'd probably help if ESPN showed more of his matches too.

Until the American press starts covering tennis as an international sport instead of an American one, Roger pretty much is only going to be known to those people who actually follow tennis.

Action Jackson
04-05-2005, 05:42 PM
The 5th and 6th slams ;)

It was great to see him and Nadal on CBS. Too bad it had to be against the NCAA championships and a pre-Masters golf tournament.

He needs to win the US Open series which is more important than Slams.

You got to see some tennis and that showed these guys, so that's a bonus for you.

WF4EVER
04-05-2005, 08:35 PM
He needs to be?

MissMoJo
04-05-2005, 08:56 PM
IMO he doesn't need to be, and judging from the way he goes about his life he doesn't want to be either.I'm sure he's had the opportunities to do so, if he did. Still, if he ever wants to acquire celebritydom in the U.S without relying on his talent, personality or accomplishments, I'm sure JLo and Britney will be considering marriage proprosals year round.

arcus
04-05-2005, 09:14 PM
He could start playing doubles with bubbles the chimp, and spending the changovers in an oxygen chamber.........

or get really fat and shrink again, like oprah (I think he's made a start on this one.....).

Blaze
04-05-2005, 09:16 PM
I think for Federer to be a "star" in the US, first people in the US would have to start caring about tennis. Tennis results rarely get talked about in television news broadcasts and if you're lucky, in most newspapers there might be a paragraph or two. There would only be pictures and longer articles about the Slams, if it's Andy Roddick, or in the town where a tournament was currently taking place. It'd probably help if ESPN showed more of his matches too.

Until the American press starts covering tennis as an international sport instead of an American one, Roger pretty much is only going to be known to those people who actually follow tennis.


I agree.

After the final on Sunday between Federer and Nadal, I actually watch a sport program on Espn (PTI) and all they talked about was Nadal's Capris Pants and if Tennis needed a dress code. No mention of the match at all.

I believe the poeple that are able to sell athlete's in US are the media. Once the sport media start taking tennis seriously, he would be known by the casual fan.

However I think he is popular enough in the States.

deliveryman
04-05-2005, 09:25 PM
You guys make it sound like a sin for countries favourite player be from the same country.

In Switzerland, Federer is god. I don't remember that much hype about Sampras in Switzerland during the mid-90's.

It's like that for every country, not only the United States.

euroka1
04-05-2005, 09:26 PM
I think celebrity is a questionable acquisition unless one needs the money. People are better without it. I don't think it helps tennis but it does help many other good and bad causes.

TheMightyFed
04-05-2005, 09:30 PM
You guys make it sound like a sin for countries favourite player be from the same country.

In Switzerland, Federer is god. I don't remember that much hype about Sampras in Switzerland during the mid-90's.

It's like that for every country, not only the United States.
Fed is not really God in Switzerland, sorry... plus Swiss superstars are quite rare, so he's a bit an extra-terrestrial in that regard.
I agree when people says that a sport must be American to be followed up by Americans, and tennis, in its long history, has almost always been international, and originally is European, so it's hard to take its place between NBA and NFL...

Devotee
04-05-2005, 09:36 PM
become a United States citizen ;)

JeNn
04-05-2005, 11:01 PM
:confused: All of the biggest star athletes in the US are big celebrities that I can think of: Michael Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, Wayne Gretzki, Mike Phelps, Lance Armstrong, Mary Lou Retton, Michelle Kwan, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, list goes on and on.

It's different though. They are Americans. For a non-American to break into that market as a star is a heap harder and requires more effort. An athlete can become a star in their home country simply by being outstanding and giving decent interviews. Internationals have to sleep with an actress, or appear at Hollywood A-List functions, or appear in an inordinate amount of stupid commercials. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't the last non-american 'star' tennis player, Anna Kournikova? She's probably the only one in a decade. Gives you an idea of what a non native has to do to get that status, and how little it has to do with tennis.

Agassi is hardly the best example by the way. When he built up his "superstar" status it was through having one eye on the ball and the other on his image, his movie star partner and his "superstar" comittments. When he started to become an all time great it was by dressing like a normal human being and generally "going straight". McEnroe, well he is one in a million, he is not the precedent for anything. Other sports, may be different but I'm struggling to think of any tennis player whose superstar status off the court, hasn't effected them negatively on the court.

NATAS81
04-05-2005, 11:13 PM
He needs to shoot commerical ads.

jasmine(usa)
04-05-2005, 11:13 PM
Well, since becoming king of the courts, I've seen more of Federer on tv than any other international player(and not just when he's playing an American). He could be famous, but Jo's right , he would have to marry someone from Hollywood.

ugotlobbed
04-05-2005, 11:25 PM
more personality

BiancaUL
04-05-2005, 11:30 PM
Honest?

He could probably overcome his not being American if he was more conventionally good looking and/or had a more 'interesting' background... but he's not and doesn't, so as it is he's just not overly marketable to the average Joe and Jane (12-49) in middle America in the ad agencies and those who hand out the major endorsements' minds.

Even if he does win 2938942543 consecutive finals.

ETA:

All of the biggest star athletes in the US are big celebrities that I can think of: Michael Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, Wayne Gretzki, Mike Phelps, Lance Armstrong, Mary Lou Retton, Michelle Kwan, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, list goes on and on

Per recent Harris polling and Q ratings, the top 10 most widely popular/recognized athletes in this country right now are Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Derek Jeter, Shaq, Tom Brady, Dale Earnhart Jr, Donovan McNabb, and Ben Roethlisberger (the order switches up a little, depending on whether your talking about popularity or recognization factor).

NATAS81
04-05-2005, 11:31 PM
more personality
Expand please.

Sjengster
04-05-2005, 11:37 PM
It's quite funny that threads like these assume such importance, as though Federer feels that becoming famous in America is a vital part of his career. When you consider all that he has achieved so far on the court and what challenges still remain, then the possibility of him not being a mainstay of U.S. tabloids and not being on billboards and on talkshows that he won't even see the vast majority of the time is hardly a crushing blow. Yes, we would all like tennis and the best practitioners of tennis to be more well known and acknowledged by the general public, but the most entertaining things in life are never popular. Popularity bastardises everything.

sigmagirl91
04-05-2005, 11:39 PM
more personality

Really? That's not saying a lot.

Skyward
04-05-2005, 11:51 PM
Why in US, not in Russia, or Spain, or China, or Australia?

Ginger
04-06-2005, 12:38 AM
It's different though. They are Americans.
Wayne Gretzky is not American... ;)

NATAS81
04-06-2005, 12:52 AM
Wayne Gretzky is not American... ;)
He owns an American hockey team.

WF4EVER
04-06-2005, 01:00 AM
He owns an American hockey team.

Oh, so maybe Fed needs to own an American player. Wait, he does. Several.

WyveN
04-06-2005, 03:22 AM
If Roger had a American rival (Roddick doesnt count) that could seriously challange him it would raise the profile of tennis and Federer in the states but as has been said, it isnt something Federer loses sleep over.
Borg became extremely popular in America but that was largely due to Macenroe.

Chloe le Bopper
04-06-2005, 03:28 AM
He needs to wear the Rafa pants.

tennischick
04-06-2005, 04:27 AM
in my honest opinion, Federer is popular enuf in the US. i am not into American-style popularity -- Federer doll, Federer lunch-kit, Federer wind-up toy, Federer as guest star on the latest mindless comedy/talk show, Federer's number in Paris Hilton's sidekick :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

no, my King deserves better than the typical American-style publicity. he already has what he needs -- the absolute and total respect of 99% of tennis fans. and 100% of the respect of those who actually play tennis. wtf else does he need? nada y nada :wavey:

MisterQ
04-06-2005, 05:36 AM
If Federer did want to become a more widely known presence in the U.S. (and as other have said, I don't think he cares, or should care!), all he would have to do is appear in some advertisements. People who don't follow golf know who Tiger Woods is because they see his face all over the TV and print media in ads. I'm sure there are people who have never seen Andre play, but who know him as that bald guy on the commercials.

Why isn't Federal Express knocking on Roger's door? The pun is so obvious, yet could be so effective in ads. :lol: ;)

NATAS81
04-06-2005, 05:37 AM
He has the respect of 70% of the non-Federer fans.

They aren't willing to admit it. ;)

NATAS81
04-06-2005, 05:38 AM
If Federer did want to become a more widely known presence in the U.S. (and as other have said, I don't think he cares, or should care!), all he would have to do is appear in some advertisements. People who don't follow golf know who Tiger Woods is because they see his face all over the TV and print media in ads. I'm sure there are people who have never seen Andre play, but who know him as that bald guy on the commercials.

Why isn't Federal Express knocking on Roger's door? The pun is so obvious, yet could be so effective in ads. :lol: ;)
I was told on this very forum that he can only work out deals for advertisements in Switzerland or Europe.

I still find that hard to believe, though. That why I said that as my reason in this thread.

Wouldn't it only result in more money for him?

jacobhiggins
04-06-2005, 05:54 AM
He's gonna have to work twice as hard for America's affection, we seem to like our heros Homegrown, but from the crowds reactions and his frequent matches with Andre, America is starting to come around and respect him a lot!

drf716
04-06-2005, 06:04 AM
i just don't get it.
he's basically american.
he's got as much or even more wind on his sails than andy. hmm....

NATAS81
04-06-2005, 06:08 AM
He's gonna have to work twice as hard for America's affection, we seem to like our heros Homegrown, but from the crowds reactions and his frequent matches with Andre, America is starting to come around and respect him a lot!
This is a very interesting point and it raises questions.

Is there any way to find out the GNP of Federer items sold in USA as opposed to other countries?

How much merchandise does Federer have on the market?

If indeed, it were possible for him to air commercials in the States, what would the GNP be of those commercials in items sold as opposed to his ads abroad?

Finally, if there is a large GNP of items sold in the US, would it be proper for the USTA to try and schedule draws to where Roger is likely to play an American opponent?

From that, can ESPN/CBS/NBC afford the costs and gain sponsorship to broadcast these matches against American opponents?

All of these questions can be asked about any country and taken into serious consideration in an attempt to marker Roger Federer to a worldwide audience.

Roger is without a doubt a rare talent that was graced the game with supreme ability, so it would be in the ATP or whoever is in charge of tennis marketing's best interest to find answers to these questions and come to a definite solution so that the world gets to see more of Roger's amazing game, and falls in love with it attracting various endorsements/fans/income.

Tennis Fool
04-06-2005, 08:21 AM
Here's an interesting article on the subject from Popmatters.com. Sorry in advance if posted already...

By David Marchese
A few Sundays ago in Dubai, Roger Federer defeated Ivan Ljubicic to win the Dubai open for the third year in a row. It was his 15th consecutive win, and 41st in his last 42 matches. He's also won four of the last eight grand slams -- in a sport where two grand slams over the course of a career pretty much guarantees hall of fame status. His peers, men and women, have repeatedly said they prefer to watch him play more than any other. Tennis legends such as John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and Boris Becker have said he could very well be the greatest player of all time.

Roger Federer is playing a brand of tennis that's never been played before, combining classic grace with modern power. He moves so fluidly that he never appears out of place and he finds angles on the court that would perplex geometry professors. His game has no glaring weakness. In case I'm not being clear, he is a supreme talent taking the practice of his sport to a new level --but how many of you could pick him out of a lineup?

The incongruity between Roger Federer's success and his popularity is not altogether shocking. The most famous tennis players in the world are undoubtedly Serena and Venus Williams and Andre Agassi. All three have tennis resumes that are beyond reproach. But that's only part of the story. Agassi and the Williams sisters have proven to be masters at placing themselves in the public arena outside of a purely athletic context. Agassi has long been a success as a corporate pitchman, particularly for his Canon "Image is Everything" campaign. The Williams sisters have proven to be even more adept at venturing into the realm of celebrity. They exist in that strange realm where people are famous simply for being famous. My sports-phobic mother knows who the Williams are, but has never seen one stroke of one match either of them has played. This comes as no surprise. Venus appears in the most recent edition of Sports Illustrated Magazine's swimsuit edition. Serena is well-known for the skin tight catsuits she wears during matches while other players stick to the tried and true tennis top and athletic skirt. I consider myself a faithful tennis fan, and I don't know of one non-tennis product or event that Federer has been associated with. Even Pete Sampras, winner of more grand slams than any other man but long derided for his lack of flair, has been a long-time endorser of Movado watches.

The notion that style wins out over substance is not new, nor does the validity of that proposition need to be debated. But has the popularity pendulum swung so far in the direction of style that a once in a lifetime athlete can toil away in relative obscurity? It's not as if the sport of tennis is incomprehensible to the average American the way that, say, cricket or rugby is. Every city is home to public tennis courts, and the popularity of players like John McEnroe, the Williams sisters, and Agassi speaks to the fact that tennis enjoys a noteworthy level of public attention. Even Andy Roddick, the top-ranked American (who Federer has beaten eight of the nine times they've played) has hosted Saturday Night Live. For comparison's sake, Federer's highest profile talk show gig has been on Charlie Rose.

If it's not the obscurity of tennis that's to blame for Federer's lack of recognition, then, is it the man himself? After all, the public success of the more well-known tennis players is inextricably linked with their ability to market themselves as personalities -- McEnroe is the hair-trigger wild man, the Williams sisters are glamour girls, etc. What does Federer bring to the table? Relatively undemonstrative on the court, Federer has shown no flair for drama off the court either. The most compelling quote I could find attributed to him was his remembrance of his grandmother telling him, "it's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." Not exactly the stuff of which media phenomena are made.

Perhaps the most obvious difference between Federer and the more spot-lit tennis stars is his foreignness. Federer is Swiss and the others are American. I'm sure it's better than Roddick or Agassi's French and German, but Federer speaks a measured, accented English -- it's obvious to anyone listening that he's not from around here. It would be sad to think that cultural otherness could preclude an otherworldly athlete from gaining popularity, but that seems to be the case.

It was not always so. Past Grand Slam champions Boris Becker (a German) and Bjorn Borg (a Swede) had more sex appeal and status than Federer enjoys -- even if it's unlikely that either could top Federer's game if they all played in the primes of their respective careers. Without judging whether or not the aforementioned two are significantly more attractive than Federer (I think they're all nice-looking dudes), there must be something else. It's not the personalities; while Becker was a passionate and fiery competitor, Borg was renowned for his utter stoicism on the court, something that drove his archenemy McEnroe crazy. Federer is cool as a cucumber, but Borg was an emotional snowman.

The difference again has to do with a selling point. Becker had a supreme self-confidence on and off the court, and also had the added cache of being the youngest man ever to win Wimbledon. He exploded on to the scene, a 17-year-old wunderkind, diving all over the court and smashing serves befitting his nickname of Boom-Boom. Then he came back the next year and won again.

Borg benefited from his rivalry with McEnroe -- a classic contest of polar opposites. Borg, long blond hair held in place by his ever-present headband, was content to stay in the backcourt and laser his groundstrokes across the net. He was the stylish and aloof counterpart to the brash New Yorker McEnroe, who fearlessly rushed to the net time and time again to put balls away or watch them whiz by in about equal number. They split the 14 matches they played against each other.

Becker and Borg captured particular saleable essences that Federer does not. Borg epitomized a certain European elegance and élan that was heightened when contrasted with McEnroe's scruffy explosiveness. Becker, riding the wave of adulation unique to prodigies, won early and often, and then played out the rest of his career in the role of living legend, which -- in the ridiculously accelerated career of tennis players -- meant his greatest victories were already behind him by the age of 24.

Unlike Borg, Federer has no great rival he can team with to capture the public's attention -- he beats everyone. Unlike Becker, a player for whom the term 'swashbuckling' was surely written, Federer's game does not appear overwhelming to the casual fan. He plays with such fluid ease that he never seems to exert himself. His shots are so consistently brilliant as to be monotonous. He doesn't explode at you, he just does everything better than everyone else. Lacking both personal magnetism and a foil to combat his cultural disadvantage, Federer seems destined to remain the idol of aficionados.

And this disadvantage shouldn't be understated. The failure of the Canadian and European dominated National Hockey League to find popularity outside of regional strongholds is evidence that the American public has trouble embracing heroes that aren't homegrown. Where is the counterexample? Yao Ming? Ignoring the fact that basketball has a built-in popularity advantage, Ming's popularity surely has something to do with his novelty. A gigantic Chinese man playing basketball is something we've never seen before. The concept of Yao is exciting. A non-descript white dude playing tennis? We've all seen that one before.

There does seem to be one way that foreign athletes can overcome the obstacle of their strangeness, though. That way is sex. Yes, Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova are Russians; but they are also beautiful blond women. The foreign heritage stumbling block can be easily avoided by the running, groaning, and sweating of beautiful young women. Let that not diminish the skill necessary to succeed at women's tennis -- a woman champion has just as much skill and trains just as hard as her male counterparts, but it would be naïve to say the looks of the players doesn't matter.

Who is responsible for sex appeal usurping skill in the marketing of talent? At a glance, everyone. Checking the Women's Tennis Association website to research this article, the second-featured story was titled, "Daniela Sizzles in Italian Vogue." And it's not just the women's tour that does this. It was only recently that the ATP abandoned its "New Balls, Please" marketing campaign. Seriously, the next generation of stars was promoted as "new balls." Excuse me for being squeamish.

It's hard to fault the players themselves. Who can blame someone for succumbing to the lure of endorsement money and the seduction of magazine covers? A player with the ability to capture the public's attention is going make a lot of people rich. Someone like Roddick, who shows up in teen magazines and has a witty, media friendly personality, plays the marketing game well. He shows up in ads and on talk shows, which gets him recognition, then the media feels compelled to focus on him because he's a known commodity -- he sells.

It's a cycle Federer is shut out of. In essence, Federer is an athlete of an order American sports fans have never been able to fully embrace. He's humble to a fault, wary of drawing attention to himself, and a Swiss polyglot. His relative strangeness is exacerbated by his seeming eagerness to be self-sufficient. At a time when most high-profile professional athletes have a battalion of trainers, coaches, advisors, agents, paid "friends," and the corporate star-making machine to lean on, Federer goes at it with a bare minimum. He has been without a coach for long stretches at a time and his girlfriend doubles as his publicist. His game does most of the talking.

Yet, to argue that Federer should be catapulted to the top of the sports celebrity heap is futile. His stature represents all that is good and all that is bad about modern sports. The good is that he is the number one ranked player in the world who has amassed millions of dollars in winnings. If you like athletic genius, you will like Roger Federer. The bad is that because he does not fit the mold of a media darling, his recognition will remain strikingly disproportionate to his achievements.

Instead, I propose a different strategy to give him his due. I say that anyone who is interested in the purity and excellence of sport, anyone who is interested in athletic brilliance, in strength of body and mind, in sport for sport's sake, should keep Federer as your special secret, your password to a largely forgotten world -- a world where the game and the people who play it is all that matters.

Let's make Federer's success something to stealthily toss around at the bar or on message boards. Put his name in play and see what happens. If you think you may have found a sympathetic partner, try tossing in a couple of spinners. Test their groundstrokes. Maybe you'll have found someone who sees the beauty and brilliance of Federer's game and what he stands for. Maybe you'll have found someone who cares more about what happens on the court than off of it. And tell them to pass the secret on. If we can't serve an ace, let's win the battle one stroke at a time.

euroka1
04-06-2005, 09:55 AM
Roger Federer is playing a brand of tennis that's never been played before, combining classic grace with modern power. He moves so fluidly that he never appears out of place and he finds angles on the court that would perplex geometry professors. His game has no glaring weakness. In case I'm not being clear, he is a supreme talent taking the practice of his sport to a new level .

Splendid posting. That's what tennis greatness means to me. The celebrity business is something else and I can happily pass over it. It does make money for a lot of people, however.

federer_roar
04-06-2005, 10:13 AM
He needs a good agency company knows how to market him. But obviously it's not on his priority list so we don't see him to make a move.

naiwen
04-06-2005, 10:44 AM
He needs a good agency company knows how to market him. But obviously it's not on his priority list so we don't see him to make a move.

Jerry Mcguire can show him the "quan" and the money as well. :rolleyes:

jmp
04-06-2005, 11:36 AM
MisterQ, I think the FedEx link up would be a fantastic match for Roger. It's an established international company. They could use footage from Roger's matches in different story lines about shipping tennis gear to him. Roger wouldn't have to degrade himself or do anything out of character.

sigmagirl91
04-06-2005, 11:39 AM
MisterQ, I think the FedEx link up would be a fantastic match for Roger. It's an established international company. They could use footage from Roger's matches in different story lines about shipping tennis gear to him. Roger wouldn't have to degrade himself or do anything out of character.

That's a good possibility. I wonder if his management would consider that.

dylan24
04-06-2005, 01:15 PM
yeah i've thought the same thing before.
federal express should sign him up if they were smart

gooner88
04-06-2005, 05:22 PM
Fantastic article.
Stick to what you do best Fedex and not get too involved in the overrated celebrity business.

RogiFan88
04-06-2005, 07:55 PM
lol wf4ever, sjengst, tennischick!!!

what's so great about being famous in the U.S. anyway???

if he must, he can just go on survivor or the amazing race, lose or get kicked off some island by the almighty "tribal council" and appear on some morning talk show the next day and be subjected to katie couric [perish the thought]... ;)

jacobhiggins
04-06-2005, 08:08 PM
I think Federer will become famous in the US if he keeps winning, but America liking him will be a different story. It happens in every sport, if there is one person that is a clear cut far away favorite, then everybody will root against that person. It will only be when he loses or when Federer retires when he'll reallly be liked. How many times have you not liked a player or athlete for whatever reason, but then you saw them lose a match or game, and you realize, wait a minute, that person is actually a really good player. You for some strange reason develop a new found respect for that person. I know it's happend to me, and I think that will happend with Federer, just like the previous great athletes in all the different sports.

TheMightyFed
04-06-2005, 08:14 PM
I think Federer will become famous in the US if he keeps winning, but America liking him will be a different story. It happens in every sport, if there is one person that is a clear cut far away favorite, then everybody will root against that person. It will only be when he loses or when Federer retires when he'll reallly be liked. How many times have you not liked a player or athlete for whatever reason, but then you saw them lose a match or game, and you realize, wait a minute, that person is actually a really good player. You for some strange reason develop a new found respect for that person. I know it's happend to me, and I think that will happend with Federer, just like the previous great athletes in all the different sports.
It's true that American people seem to like comebacks à la Rocky or à la Agassi or Pete in USO 02 in real life... not yet for Fed ;)

olliemyers
04-06-2005, 08:15 PM
why??? why does he want to be famous in US? He's the world number one and has been for a while. He's the best talent in the world, why should he care whether americans love him?

Jorge
04-06-2005, 10:27 PM
why??? why does he want to be famous in US? He's the world number one and has been for a while. He's the best talent in the world, why should he care whether americans love him?
well said :yeah:

BTW I think Roger is popular in USA, maybe not as much as in Europe, Asia or Latin America but without any doubt he is popular, or at least "well known".

TheMightyFed
04-06-2005, 10:35 PM
why??? why does he want to be famous in US? He's the world number one and has been for a while. He's the best talent in the world, why should he care whether americans love him?
I don't talk about Roger's point of view but more on the fact that medias and event organizers don't emphasize at all on him even when he would be 150% more legitimate than other guys, say Roddick (cf. USO website). ;)

federer_roar
04-07-2005, 03:28 AM
When do you see Federer rushes anything? His character, his personality , his tennis and his dominance stand out in the tennis industry. Untill people realize Federer is more than marketable, he will be a household name in USA and elsewhere over the world. It's just a matter of time. However the first bomb may not be in the US market. ;)