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Old 11-07-2005, 06:35 PM   #1
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Default Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

My Sportsman Choice: Roger Federer
By Jon Wertheim

For all the relentless winning Roger Federer did in 2005 -- to date, his record this year is a preposterous 77-3 -- one of his more telling moments came in defeat. In a gripping semifinal match at the Australian Open, Federer was down match point to Russia's Marat Safin. Reaching to retrieve a shot, Federer lost his footing and fell to the court. Safin lined up an easy, final winner, and, from his knees, Federer dejectedly tossed his racket toward the ball. For a split second, neither Safin nor the capacity crowd erupted. Instead, they froze for a split second and watched. To them, it was hardly impossible that Federer could somehow find a way to retrieve a shot without a racket in his hands. Such is the level of expectation for his magic.

Federer would rebound from that loss and lay claim to 11 titles on the year, including successful defenses at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Along the way he rendered the rest of the field foils. There is a collective realization on the ATP Tour that, until Federer retires, everyone is playing for second place. Lleyton Hewitt -- not usually one make to concessions -- conceded after losing to Federer for the ninth straight time: "There's no doubt that Roger has taken it to a new level and everyone else is trying to play catch-up." Or as Nicolas Kiefer put it matter-of-factly, "We play on earth, but he he's playing on another planet."

As for rest of the tennis salon, we have long exhausted superlatives to characterize Federer's brilliance. (Roger, Roget. Roget, Roger.) Broadcasters have given up trying to describe the indescribable and simply laugh an incredulous laugh when Federer reels off one of his you-gotta-be-kidding-me winners. Most fans have the reaction of my seatmate one hot afternoon in Cincinnati, who, during a changeover, whipped out his cell phone and told a friend, "You just gotta see this guy. I can't explain it. He's just un-friggin-believable."

Raw numbers don't justice to Federer's artistry and versatility, nor to the fact that the next person he antagonizes will be the first. But consider: at a time when men's tennis has never been more competitive Federer has won five of the last eight Majors. For the second straight year, he won titles on every major surface. Perhaps the most impressive streak in sports at the moment, he is undefeated in his last 24 tournament finals.

Contrary's to Kiefer's assertion, Federer does play on this planet. All over it, in fact, from Melbourne to Miami to Monte Carlo to the Middle East. He's based in Switzerland. His charitable foundation is based in South Africa. Being a global icon -- literally a citizen of the world -- doesn't always work in his favor. If, by accident of birth, Federer were from Spokane or Syracuse, is there any doubt he would reside in the same sports celebrity wing as Tiger or Shaq? If he played a full season in Greensboro or Dallas, is there any doubt he doesn't win this award?

As it stands, he gets our vote. And sooner or later, he'll be made in the U.S.A.

SI's writers offer their 2005 choices:
WERTHEIM: Roger, the relentless winner
LAYDEN: Bode's rare American feat
BAMBERGER: Philly's schoolyard footballers
REITER: Only need two letters: T.O.
WAHL: Abbas Suan did what politicans couldn't
TAYLOR: Robinson's great summer
SWIFT: NHL boss Bettman saved his sport
DOHRMANN: U.S. soccer's savior?
FARBER: Nash more than a MVP
DEFORD: Afleet Alex is my horse
LIDZ: Giambi defied the odds
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Old 11-07-2005, 06:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

thanks for posting this.
it's too bad that he most likely won't win.
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Old 11-07-2005, 06:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

i totally agree with Wertheim.

lets send positive vibes PaulieM.
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Old 11-07-2005, 07:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

There was something at the bottom of the article where you could submit your choice and a reason why. I don't know where that goes, though.
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Old 11-07-2005, 07:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

Taylor Dent should win it. Someone all aspiring tennis players should look up to.
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Old 11-07-2005, 08:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

to me it would have to be Nadal
putting federer year accomplishment
teenage Nadal has lit the tour more so than Federer & he showed his talent, determination mental strengthn & most of all ability to come back after defeat & win (def Fed in RG)
i think pple just forget what a magnificnet year he has had
sure he may struggle to repeat the similar impact next year but federer did too
at 19 he won RG , 4 MS & 6 other titles on different services
quite a feat for a spanish who should only play in clay
I am looking forward to seeinghim play Roger at Shanghai (hopefully the will square off in final)

I am a huge Pete Sampras fan but its an objective analysis really
besides the quality of the competition isnt there at the moment
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

I agree, in my opinion, Roger is sportsman of the year.

Nadal has also had a great year and I think, primarily, both he and Roger made the 2005 tennis season competitive and enjoyable.
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by almouchie
to me it would have to be Nadal
putting federer year accomplishment
teenage Nadal has lit the tour more so than Federer & he showed his talent, determination mental strengthn & most of all ability to come back after defeat & win (def Fed in RG)
i think pple just forget what a magnificnet year he has had
sure he may struggle to repeat the similar impact next year but federer did too
at 19 he won RG , 4 MS & 6 other titles on different services
quite a feat for a spanish who should only play in clay
I am looking forward to seeinghim play Roger at Shanghai (hopefully the will square off in final)

I am a huge Pete Sampras fan but its an objective analysis really
besides the quality of the competition isnt there at the moment
How can you really measure who "lit the tour" most? Isn't that going to come down to personal opinion? The hard facts are that Federer performed better in the slams and has fewer losses this year. Perhaps thats what Wertheim was basing his choice on.
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirkaland
Most fans have the reaction of my seatmate one hot afternoon in Cincinnati, who, during a changeover, whipped out his cell phone and told a friend, "You just gotta see this guy. I can't explain it. He's just un-friggin-believable."
I have to say, it's particularly impressive that this comment came in Cincinnati of all places. Which particular match of Federer's inspired such wondrous praise, do you think? As a viewer, I found him unbelievable that week in a very different sense.
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirkaland
Instead, they froze for a split second and watched. To them, it was hardly impossible that Federer could somehow find a way to retrieve a shot without a racket in his hands. Such is the level of expectation for his magic.
What is this, a f#kin fairytale.
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

fernando alonso - youngest ever F1 driver to win the championship and he even didnt have the best car
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:41 PM   #12
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by almouchie
but its an objective analysis really
No doubt. Your objectivity is not in question as you had the guts to post at Fed's forum the following "don't want to sound nasty but i dont want federer to be at 100% back in shanghai."
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bad gambler
fernando alonso - youngest ever F1 driver to win the championship and he even didnt have the best car
fluke, bet you any money he wont repeat it next year, watch out for kimmi, definately the better driver of the 2.
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Old 11-07-2005, 11:32 PM   #14
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by disturb3d
What is this, a f#kin fairytale.


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Old 11-07-2005, 11:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: Sportsman of the year: Wertheim's choice

Wow, and no mention of Lance anywhere in the article
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