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Old 01-04-2012, 11:13 PM   #1591
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Tignor has nice words for Roger: http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2012...-rolls-on.html

Mr Sane Rolls On

Third in a series about players to watch in 2012.

At the start of the 2010 season, I wrote an article about Roger Federer that I titled “The Afterlife.” By that I meant that Federer, who at the time had 15 Grand Slam wins and was going to be 29 later in the year, would be entering a new phase in his career, one where he would essentially be competing against himself, rather than any historical records. I thought it was going to be interesting to see how he maintained his motivation, because few if any players had ever experienced as much success as he had, seemingly with years still left to play. I speculated around that time that Federer had three more majors in him.

Since then, he’s won one, which by his standards means that his trip to tennis heaven has thus far been a disappointment. But right now, thinking back over the last two years, and especially the way he finished them, Federer has been more impressive than I had imagined he would be in at least one way: He’s had absolutely no trouble motivating himself.

There has always been a “how does he do that?” air of the uncanny to Federer. But that question usually comes up when we talk about his game: his smoothness, his seeming effortlessness, his steady health, his ability to watch the ball onto the strings and beyond, his ability to hit a tweener with topspin—his only blemish seems to be a spot on his face that pops up every couple of years.

But just as uncanny is Federer’s immunity from burnout. There are a lot of ways in which he's unique, but this might the most important over the long run. When I try to think of other top players of the last 25 years who never seemed to lose their competitive desire or be bothered by the grind, I come back with a very short list. Jimmy Connors, of course, but few others. Pete Sampras needed time away, Andre Agassi needed even more time away, Rafael Nadal has said recently that he’s had trouble firing himself up the way he once did, Novak Djokovic, even during his best season, wasn’t as eager to get out there by the end of it.

Meanwhile, Federer rolls on. He takes his time off, but he never shows any angst about his job. He even seems to have learned to bounce back from defeat—crushing defeat—more easily. After the most crushing of them all, his loss to Djokovic at the U.S. Open, he said that he would forget it quickly. At the time, I thought he was bluffing, that no one could shake that one off quickly; that’s the type of loss that can haunt a player for months or years. But Federer flew to Australia a few days later, won two Davis Cup matches, and didn’t lose again in 2011. He really did put it behind him.

What does Federer need to do to keep winning in 2012? The most heartening aspect of his end of year surge, I thought, was the way he hung in mentally in the last match, in London, against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The past two seasons for Federer had been defined by his inability to hold leads, and it appeared that he was going to blow another one when he lost a match point in the second set against Tsonga and subsequently lost the tiebreaker. This time, though, Federer turned the momentum back around, something he'd been unable to do once things went south at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Federer said afterward that he realized that he had some issues mentally this season, that he had worked to combat them, and that the work showed in that last match.

No one would say that Federer’s 2010 and 2011 have gone exactly the way he wanted them to. Yes, he finished strong, and yes, he scheduled himself well; but I’m pretty sure the plan wasn’t to peak after all of the Slams were over. At the same time, he can be encouraged by the fact that he was close at the majors, and perhaps he’ll continue to learn from those blown leads of the last two seasons. At the moment, anyway, where I had begun to see an inevitable, Slam-less decline for him, I can now believe that Federer really will get those two majors, or more, that I predicted for him in 2010—especially if his win over Nadal in London does anything for his confidence against his nemesis. If Federer does rise again, it will be an appropriate cap to the greatest career in tennis history. Even if he doesn’t, the fact that he’s still a threat, that he still wants to be a threat as much as ever, is going to make 2012 an exciting tennis season all by itself.

Instead of looking forward toward more of his afterlife, this time I’ll finish by looking back. You’d think, after these years and all of his success, that we could learn something from Roger Federer, as we can from all the great tennis stars. From Nadal, we can learn the positive value of a realistic, even slightly pessimistic, worldview; from Djokovic, we can learn that it’s never too late to clear away the obstacles in your mind and fulfill all of your potential. What I’ve learned from Federer may be counterintuitive for such a uniquely gifted person: It’s the value of normalcy, and it's a big and underrated part of his worldwide appeal.

Federer is the star with the wife and two kids. He’s the athlete who knows his body and when to rest it. He’s the old pro who realizes the schedule is the schedule and you do your best to make it work for you. He’s the proud—different from arrogant—champ who plays the game straight up, without any need for gamesmanship, and is voted the most sporting player by his peers even as he continues to play rings around them. He’s the competitor who can take a bitter defeat and know that there will be more matches to come. Fans look up to Federer for his skill, but they also relate to him and respect him as someone who does things the right way.

Outwardly at least, Federer is uncannily normal and sane. He's worked hard to control his famously hard-to-control emotions over the years, and that says something about why he’s had such consistent success, and why we’ll probably add longevity to his career legacy when he’s finally through. The only problem for the rest of us who might want to copy his system is that it works both ways for him: You'd probably be happy and sane too if you were such an extraordinary athlete.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:03 AM   #1592
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thanks
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:41 AM   #1593
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don't know if this Paul Annacone's interview has been posted :

http://www.thetennisspace.com/on-cou...ederers-coach/

Quote:
What was the most pleasing aspect of Roger’s tennis in the autumn, culminating with his victory in London at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals?
Roger won 17 consecutive singles matches at the end of last season, so really just the level of consistency was pretty astonishing. It is difficult to sustain throughout the season, so for him to have finished on this high note with three tournament wins and 17 matches was terrific.

Some commentators have suggested that the tennis Roger played in the autumn was the best tennis of his career, so of a higher standard than in, say, 2006 or 2007. What’s your take?
I don’t know about that. It is always easy to create debate or conversation, but he played some terrific matches and then he played some average matches, for him, and found ways to get through. As a coach I always take more notice of and more pride in a player when they deal with adversity and find ways to get through. To me that is a test of character and resolve and he did that extremely well as he usually does. This is one of the main differences between very good players and great players. Clearly when Roger plays at his highest level it is terrific to watch, so I do enjoy that, but ultimately, just to see his hard work pay off is really a terrific reward.

Have you been working on any particular parts of his game? Mental? Physical? Strategy?
Not one specific thing. We generally discuss all areas of the game, what has been successful and what has had some challenges and then we map out a plan of the key things to work on, depending on court surface, time of year etc. All of those areas you mentioned get worked on, and his level of professionalism and attention to detail is terrific. He has a great team around him and we all work together to make sure no stone goes unturned to give Roger the best chance to be as prepared as possible.

How does Roger’s victory in London help set him up for the Australian Open and the rest of the 2012 season? Does Roger now deserve to be seen as the favourite?
It’s always terrific to finish the year on a high note, so during rest and recovery you feel great and I also think it helps when it is time to train again. So there are many benefits and he has been through this before, so his experience helps immensely. He understands extremely well how best to manage himself physically and emotionally to be prepared for the upcoming year, so that is very helpful. I feel Roger is in that top group of favourites. I feel good about his chances in 2012.

What would it mean to Roger, and to you, if he won another grand slam?
Hard to put into words for me. My feeling is that he understands the journey of a professional athlete very well and that understanding and objective perspective allows him to treat each event, win or defeat, in a mature way. I think that has helped with his longevity and also helped with his life. You need to deflate some of the sensationalism and drama, and really be true to the process that gets you there. He is a master of this, so when you combine his tremendous physical tools with terrific emotional stability and perspective you get extraordinary results. That being said, I know it would mean a great deal, and he would be very happy, and then I am sure he would get ready to try and jump over the next hurdle, so to speak.

How much of a priority are the Olympics for Roger? Given a choice, do you think he would prefer Olympic gold in singles or a first grand slam title since 2010?
He would love to do well at the Olympics. I know winning a doubles gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was a tremendous feeling for him and he takes a lot of pride in that, so I expect he will put significant emphasis on his preparation, just as he does with all he tries to accomplish. I don’t know about the Olympic-slam comparison.

Have you found it surprising or frustrating that some have been suggesting over the past year or so that Roger will never win another grand slam? Has that been a motivation?
Not really. I don’t mean to be a cynic but I expect it. It is part of our environment. I lived it as a player, in a minor, minor way, then I saw it with Pete Sampras when I coached him and also with TIm Henman. TIm was ranked 41 in the world when we started in the fall of 2003, and people were singing his swan song, and 11 months later he was four in the world. So, it really is the nature of the environment. It makes for good debate, conversation and speculation. So, I suppose it is something you just deal with. But I have seen too much to count any professional athlete out. It is the nature of sport; prepare, compete, deal with adversity and see how you do. You never know what can happen and that is why sport is so exciting. I definitely do not need that perspective to motivate me, and Roger does not either. He is experienced and mature and knows what he is capable of, so I think it is about taking care of our business and then doing that best you can.

How, if at all, has Roger changed his approach to the sport since turning 30?
Not too much, just being smart about scheduling, training and preparations. He is just an intelligent guy with a terrific group who are on his team who do a good job setting up the best environment. So we are aware and then we just do our jobs and he does his.

Do you think Roger can return to world number one?
Absolutely. His skills are phenomenal and his drive is there, so I think he is capable of many more great things.

Do you think Andy Murray has what it takes to win a grand slam? Does he need to do anything differently?
No question. He is a tremendously gifted athlete and has a very complex game, mental and physical. He continues to mature and get better, so I will be surprised if he does not win a grand slam title.

It has been said that Federer and Murray do not get along. What’s your view?
From my perspective, that is false. Roger has the utmost respect for Andy and really understands the complex environment Andy lives in with the media. There is a lot of expectation that has been put on Andy and with that comes pressure. Roger understands that and so I think that helps a lot. I have read some things that have been written, but as my old protege Pete Sampras said, ‘believe nothing of what you read and only half of what you see’. I think that’s a funny line, but also true. It makes for much better reading, and some would say even a better competitive environment, if there is animosity and angst between players, but really my feeling is that they get along fine and, as I said, Roger has a great deal of respect for Andy.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:43 AM   #1594
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Annacone comes across as an intelligent and level-headed guy.
Hope those who asked for his head during the past season when Rog's results perhaps weren't what they hoped for will reconsider their words.
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:30 PM   #1595
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:03 AM   #1596
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset of Age View Post
Annacone comes across as an intelligent and level-headed guy.
Hope those who asked for his head during the past season when Rog's results perhaps weren't what they hoped for will reconsider their words.
I agree. Uncle Paul is family now
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:55 AM   #1597
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:19 PM   #1598
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New York Times
12 Nov 2011

Federer's Wife at the Center of His Game

By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY

His back, a chronic but manageable concern for years, has been troubling him again, but Roger Federer is in Melbourne with every intent of returning to the court and playing in his 49th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

The record, held by the former South African player Wayne Ferreira, stands at 56. But Federer is a serial record breaker and, now third on this all-time list, just might break another one.

In an era when major injuries have caused most of his rivals to crack at some stage, he has kept the damage to a minimum, thanks to his silken footwork, sound stroke mechanics, sage scheduling and ability to respond quickly to the warning signs. Latest example: deciding to retire from a minor event last week in Doha after the quarterfinals rather than imperil his ability to play in the main event next week, the Australian Open.

He also long ago conquered a fear of flying. “I was scared when I was younger, and I used to get very sick on the plane,” he said in a preseason interview. “Today that’s all gone.”

But according to Federer, who will turn 31 this year and who ended 2011 on a reaffirming winning streak, the biggest reason for his durability and enduring appetite for top-flight tennis is his support team, above all his wife, Mirka.

In that sense, Mirka has long been the most important woman in the men’s game. Born Miroslava Vavrinec in 1978 in what is now Slovakia, she emigrated to Switzerland as a toddler with her parents. The Swiss press reported that she received early encouragement from Martina Navratilova, and then became a professional tennis player, peaking at No.76 before a foot problem forced her to retire in 2002.

She and Federer have been together since the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, when he was just a teenager with great potential but not yet a great résumé. Mirka later helped formally manage his career, travel and media commitments, typing by his side on her smart phone as he gave interviews. She has ceded that role in recent years as Federer has expanded his staff and portfolio, but that does not mean she is outside the loop on scheduling, sponsorship, Federer’s clothing and product lines, and even some pure tennis issues, although she now rarely watches matches not involving her husband.

“She still plays a huge role and has great input and impact,” said Paul Annacone, Federer’s co-coach. “She understands the big picture extremely well and does a great job in terms of letting us work but also shares invaluable information. This is a tricky balance. She’s been there since day one, so she knows very well what it takes and how to get there.”

Since the birth of the Federers’ twin daughters in 2009, Mirka has taken the family (and the nanny) on the road, rarely missing a trip or tournament. Without that support, Federer said, he doubts he would still be interested in chasing down trophies worldwide from January to November.

“I know how fortunate I am,” he said. “And maybe that’s one of the reasons that makes me very happy when I’m playing and makes me very motivated, because I know this is not a normal situation I’m in, being able to play with a healthy, happy family next to me, because the easiest thing would be to say, ‘Let’s just stay home and take care of the kids.”’

“But the kids are healthy, they are happy, and Mirka doesn’t want to be away from me, and I don’t want to be away from her,” he added, “and like this we make it all work that we are actually together all year long, and maybe miss the girls and Mirka maybe one or two weeks during the year, which is just incredible that she’s willing to make all of that effort. I’m happy that it’s this way, because anything else would make it more difficult to compete and to play at the highest levels. It would basically be impossible.”

Federer is hardly the first tennis star to travel with family in tow. Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt and Ivan Ljubicic all juggled fatherhood and the nomadic life on tour. Kim Clijsters has won three Grand Slam singles titles as a mother. But at the moment, the only other father among the top 20 is Gilles Simon, No.12 this week. What separates Federer from the crowd is that he already has secured his fortune and legacy — a record 16 Grand Slam singles titles — yet has shown no hint of losing his appetite for the game or the road, which is certainly more palatable with a private plane and other highest-end comforts.

But there is still a toll, and it is seldom the megastar who pays the highest price. “How important is the support from your wife? Hard to say, but to win Grand Slams, nothing can be more important than you winning,” said Mats Wilander, the former world No.1. “I think Roger will win again, whether he has the support or not from his wife and family, but yes, if your family travels with you, it’s harder on them than you. As a player, you’re as selfish as anything and as a supporting cast you have to be the opposite.”

The difference here perhaps is that Federer is an involved enough parent to tolerate middle-of-the-night wake-up calls from the twins during tournaments. The bigger difference perhaps is that Mirka was once a player herself.

“I think it’s a great help that she actually played,” Federer said. “I never started dating a tennis player because of that, actually, sort of 10 years ahead. But in my situation, I think it really does help, because she knows in some ways what it takes, and she did it on a level that was still very good but not at my level. And she already put in a massive amount of hours herself. So when I tell her, ‘Look, I need to go to practice,’ she’s the first to say, ‘I know, I know you need it, and you need only maybe 20 percent of what I needed.”’

Mirka, who rarely speaks publicly, declined to be interviewed for this article. But Federer said that her career-ending injury had shaped his own approach to protecting himself with the help of his longtime fitness trainer, Pierre Paganini.

“She was a big believer in me not wasting any sort of talent, because she knew herself that she was limited to a degree,” Federer said. “She was extremely hardworking, but she knew with my talents I could achieve so many more things, and she was also one that was very influential, as was Pierre Paganini, for instance, early on, when I became world No.1 and we decided, ‘Less is more; we have to take care of the body,’ because Mirka’s body went first because she maybe over-practiced.”

“So I think she could also give me some advice, sort of know-how,” Federer added. “Her body is still fragile today when she goes and does sports, and mine isn’t, and it’s incredible. I’ve done so much more sport than she has, so it’s I guess a bit of luck, too, just smartness because of the people that have surrounded me.”

Last season was sour and ultimately sweet for Federer. He played some tremendous, flowing tennis, stopping Novak Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak in the French Open semifinals, and yet slipped to No.3 and failed to win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002. He also blew a two-set lead in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and blew another two-set lead, against Djokovic, in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.

Federer said Mirka had told him during his six-week break later in the autumn that she thought he should search more deeply for explanations. “She was very much a believer that it can’t be that I lose all these matches so closely, that there must be something more,” Federer said. “She was the one that says: ‘It’s O.K. to lose one or two matches very closely, but you can’t start losing more and more and more. Then maybe something’s wrong in your corner. So you just have to question yourself and check with the entire team, see what everybody thinks.’ She had her opinions, and some were, I thought, wrong, some were right.”

Federer did not elaborate, but when he returned to the circuit, he won three straight indoor titles: Basel, Paris and the A.T.P. World Tour Finals. That was sweet indeed, but not as sweet as it would be to return to the Grand Slam honor roll in Melbourne.

Triumph or disaster, Mirka will be there, which is a big reason why the triumphs are still possible. “She’s been a rock in my corner,” he said.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:17 AM   #1599
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Article on Roger on the ATP site: ROGER FEDERER: FEARLESS AT 30
http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/DEU...r-Federer.aspx
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:45 PM   #1600
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:54 PM   #1601
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Nadal criticizes Federer about stance on tour issues

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Rafael Nadal has criticized Roger Federer for letting other players “burn themselves” by complaining about tour conditions while enhancing his own reputation by rarely making negative comments about tennis.

The pair have always been respectful rivals, but the ongoing debate about the overcrowded tennis calendar has exposed a difference of opinion on the eve of the Australian Open.

After telling a pre-tournament news conference Sunday he had no intention of being the frontman for the players’ grievances because it has reflected badly on him in the past, Nadal was then critical of Federer in a Spanish-language interview.

Responding to the suggestion that Federer disliked players complaining openly about problems on the tour because it tarnished the image of tennis, Nadal said he took another view.

“No, I totally disagree,” he said in comments translated from Spanish. “For him it’s good to say nothing. Everything positive. ‘It’s all well and good for me, I look like a gentleman,’ and the rest can burn themselves.

“Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions.”

Nadal and No. 4-ranked Andy Murray are among the players who have been outspoken in recent months on issues including an overcrowded calendar and the scheduling of Davis Cup matches. Some players have talked of strike action as recently as Saturday’s player meeting in Melbourne' href='http://tennis.com/tournaments/australianopen/australian-open.aspx' target='_top' >MELBOURNE; Nadal has said players may have to resort to “strong action” if there isn’t an “evolution” in the calendar.

Federer and Nadal, who has 10 Grand Slam titles, dominated men’s tennis for the seven years before Novak Djokovic won three of the four majors in 2011 and passed them both for the No. 1 ranking.

They’re both key ambassadors for the tour, helping with promotional work and appearances at tournaments around the globe.

Nadal thinks that when the majority highlight problems on the tour, the intention is to make it better, not run it down.

“He likes the circuit. I like the circuit,” Nadal said. “It’s much better than many other sports but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be better. It doesn’t mean there are some things about the tour that could change. The tour is fine, but there are some things that are bad. That’s all we’re saying.

“And the vast majority of players have this same opinion. He’s got a different opinion … if the vast majority have one opinion, and a small minority think differently, maybe it’s them who are wrong.”

For the first time since the 2005 French Open, Federer and Nadal are on the same side of the draw at a major, which means only one of them can reach the final on Jan. 29.

They both start Monday. Third-seeded Federer, a four-time Australian Open winner, is on Rod Laver Arena in a night match against Russian qualifier Alexander Kudryavtsev.

No. 2-ranked Nadal has the last match on Hisense Arena—the second show court at Melbourne' href='http://tennis.com/tournaments/australianopen/australian-open.aspx' target='_top' >MELBOURNE Park—against Russian Alex Kuznetsov.

Defending champion Djokovic doesn’t start until Tuesday. Women’s champion Kim Clijsters is third match on Rod Laver Arena on Monday against Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal.

Li Na, who lost the Australian final last year but rebounded to win the French Open to become China’s first Grand Slam singles champion, has a first-round match against Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan and No. 1-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, still searching for her first major title despite finishing the last two seasons with the top ranking, faces Australia’s Anastasia Rodionova.
imo, I think Roger 100% would never wish for the "rest of them to burn". Unfair and unjust finger-pointing is made by rafa here. However, I don't blame rafa for having his own opinion. I hope this doesn't affect their relationship off the court. It's not roger's fault that he maintains an almost injury-free schedule so Rafa's assumptions are really uncalled for.

anywhere here is roger's response http://www.twitlonger.com/show/fbfprb

BUT, I hope that this year's AO will run smoothly for roger and let this not bother us and continue our enjoyment for tennis.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:04 PM   #1602
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^^ Fully agree. A dumb move by Rafa, very disappointing indeed - if all of this is indeed true, and not yet another bad case of journo's riling things up, making up a story out of nothing, or words getting 'lost in translation'... it wouldn't be the first time that kind of thing happens.
Sad sh*t it is, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it all backfire at Rafa eventually.

Like you say, "let this not further bother us and continue our enjoyment for tennis".
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:00 PM   #1603
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It won't spoil my enjoyment of the AO (only thing that will do that is if a) Roger's back plays up, or b) he plays a sh*t match and ends up losing early-ish.

When I read this article earlier today, I couldn't decide if it was the media trying to stoke things up between the 2 as it makes so much better copy if one is slagging off the other.

However, I have wondered in the past that if more of the top players don't agree with Roger, why they have not been more vocal about his actual approach to the subject. And is it only the players who have a grinding style of play, and play every point as though its their last ever shot who are unhappy? Added to this is that its not as if Roger hasn't had his own injury issues ... ie back probs. And who knows if they may yet end his career before he's really ready? Nobody knows the future.

Roger made a good point some while ago that there isn't just the top players to consider - they are an elite who can add to their huge payouts with exhos, sponsorship etc. It was this point that made me realise how selfish some of the top players can be.

At the end of the day, I'd prefer to hear the opinions of the low ranked players on the schedule .. but of course, their opinions don't make good copy
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:11 PM   #1604
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset of Age View Post
^^ Fully agree. A dumb move by Rafa, very disappointing indeed - if all of this is indeed true, and not yet another bad case of journo's riling things up, making up a story out of nothing, or words getting 'lost in translation'... it wouldn't be the first time that kind of thing happens.
Yup. The reason why Rafa said nothing in the English interview.

Anyway, it is good in a way. I never liked this so called "bromance" made out of Federer-Nadal relationship. They are rivals FGS.
And while the timing for this outburst is certainly not good from Rafa's part, I am hoping Roger doesnt get provoked here.
Now is the time to concentrate on winning number 17 (and kick Rafa's ass on the way if possible!)

Hopp Roger, good luck for tomorrow!
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:42 PM   #1605
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Originally Posted by Minnie View Post
When I read this article earlier today, I couldn't decide if it was the media trying to stoke things up between the 2 as it makes so much better copy if one is slagging off the other.
Yes, unfortunately that's often the way it works in journo-land: juvenile attention seekers, and even more unfortunately, plenty of folks who take the bait. However, in this case I really believe it's Rafa being out-of-the-loop.

Quote:
However, I have wondered in the past that if more of the top players don't agree with Roger, why they have not been more vocal about his actual approach to the subject.
I think this question is self-answering.

Quote:
Roger made a good point some while ago that there isn't just the top players to consider - they are an elite who can add to their huge payouts with exhos, sponsorship etc. It was this point that made me realise how selfish some of the top players can be.
Sadly enough - yes.

Quote:
At the end of the day, I'd prefer to hear the opinions of the low ranked players on the schedule .. but of course, their opinions don't make good copy
Yep.
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