Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Does "Federer" Exist?
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Does "Federer" Exist? 09/06/2007 - 5:20 PM


About midway through yesterday's second set between Andy Roddick - meaning about the time that The Mighty Fed was getting so close to having a break point that he could almost see it with the aid of the Hubble telescope - a smitten female fan somewhere behind where Steve Tignor and I sat hollered, "Federer, you're unreal!"

Now that got me thinking. TMF certainly is unreal. But what if were, well, really unreal?

What if this "Federer" didn't really exist, except as some Jungian figment of the imagination of all those aesthetes who ever had to sit through a Luis Horna vs. Mariano Zabaleta match on clay? Or perhaps this "Federer" is an android, built by a bored, unemployed, Swiss time-piece designer. I mean, come on - doesn't this whole thing about "Federer" coming from Switzerland have "Jamaican Bobsled Team" written all over it, except for the fact that the Jamaicans in question couldn't find their way to the bottom of the hill with a map, while "Federer" is already, according to some, the GOAT (Greatest of All Time)? 

Doesn't it strike you as just a little bit suspicious?

Hail, maybe this "Federer"  started out as an idea in the mind of some Sega Genesis game designer, but the algorythms just got out of hand and he leaped across the Great Divide like some character out of a Philip K. Dick novel. Or maybe he's just a good old-fashioned hologram, like on your credit card. In any event, I think it's high time we asked: Does Roger Federer really exist?

The arguments for those who suspect there is no such thing as a Roger Federer, that we're just the victims of some humongous cosmic tennis prank, falling head-over-heels for a character no more "real" than Bart Simpson, Superman, or Zac Efron, were never better articulated than last night. Andy Roddick  has a gigantic serve. He's a former U.S. Open champion, and he's been World No. 1. And he's bigger, stronger, and more experienced now than he was back then.

Last night, Roddick was playing his flat-out best tennis on a court that, if you believe what many of  the players are saying, is faster than Wimbledon's Centre Court. And he was doing this was in front of an adoring American crowd, willing him to win with a vibe so strong that it put all that harmonic convergence baloney of a few years ago to shame. And yet. . . at the end of the set, what was the score?  "Federer" was rolling toward the finish line,  7-6,7-6, to be continued. . .

Now, isn't that enough to make even the most Cartesian reality freaks among you wonder, at least a teensy-weensy bit?

How about what Roddick said after he lost in straight sets: You know,  I thought I made him play as well as he could play. . . Personally, I think it was just tact that kept him from finishing that sentence: . . . for somebody who's really an android, hallucination, psychic projection or some other weird thing.

Beyond that, do you ever notice that this so-called "Roger Federer" has perfect hair that never seems to get mussed or out-of-place - the dude looks like one of those pictures your local barber has tacked up all around his mirror, hoping you'll be hoodwinked into dropping an extra Jackson on the full "I want to look like I'm in a boy band!" look.

You ever see, oh, human being Rafael Nadal's hair? Notice how wet and stringy it gets, and how it flies all over the place when he runs around, because he's working so danged hard? Now that's genuine human hair - tennis player cum rock star hair. How about Nikolay Davydenko? Okay, he doesn't have hair. Forget him. I think whatever "Federer" is, that hair is just painted on, like on those old-fashioned, pink, soft plastic dolls that smell so cool.

Have you ever noticed how this "Federer" doesn't really sweat?

Oh, late in a third set he gets this sheen on his forehead and cheeks, but that could just as easily be some kind of cooling apparatus meant to keep the machinery from overheating, like those sprayers that keep the vegetables fresh at your local Whole Foods.  How about the fact that the guy never freaks out, pitches a fit, or, having broken serve (which he does quite a lot, actually),  rolls out one of those flying scissor kicks, punching the air and yelling  "Vamos!"

Androids only have feelings in strange movies like Blade Runner; in real life, they're probably real quiet dudes like "Federer", who's idea of an in-your-face end-zone dance is making a small fist and quietly aspirating a "Yes." Fed

Here's another thing:  You know an awful lot about "Federer," right? You'd recognize him across a crowded room in an instant, and if you exchanged a little friendly banter, you'd pick your moment to use the phrase "it's a pity", and then wink and jab him in the ribs with your elbow. But how do you know your elbow would actually hit flesh and bone? Have you ever touched "Federer", or do you know anyone who has?

Michael Barkann, you say? Ha! You wouldn't believe the things they can do at a digital video mixing board these days.

My own alarm bells started going off when I noticed that "Federer" has no known eccentricities, or distinguishing characteristics. His face is smooth, fox-like, handsome and well-proportioned. It's the kind of face you might put on a child's toy or doll, where you don't want to go with a big honkin' nose, weak chin, or Charles Manson eyes and a soul patch (That would the the Janko Tipsarevic doll).

Perhaps it's significant that "Federer's" game is equally smooth, clean and seamless. This is a guy to whom an unforced error is a challenge that gets overturned by Hawkeye. Everybody says that in order to survive on the tour today a player needs at least one weapon, yet "Federer" is so danged good at everything that you can't say he's got a weapon. Ergo, by the very logic of all the pundits and players, this "Federer" couldn't possibly survive, never mind dominate, on the tour today  - unless something  fishy is going on.

With thoughts like these in mind, I went back through some of "Federer's" recent press conference transcripts and found these telling exchanges:

Q. (Feliciano) Lopez didn't realize that you had won that many points on your serve.  Were you aware of it as you were doing it?  35?

"Federer":  "I don't know.  What are you talking about?"

Q.  From the time you were down Love-40 in the first game of the third set, you did not lose a point of your serve until that mishit.

"Federer":  "That's awesome.  What, that last game or what?"

Okay, how could "Federer" not know?  I submit to you that only a creature or fabrication without emotion or the power of abstraction (yet cleverly programmed to mimic a young human by frequently saying, "awesome!") could be so oblivious to what he/it had just accomplished.

And before "Federer" played John Isner, he was asked how he would handle the big fella's serve. He replied: "I saw he had a good serve. He's got a good second serve, too. It's going to be interesting to see how I handle that because the trajectory of a big guy like this, tall guy, it's always different."

Note how "Federer" himself expresses an interest in seeing how. . . "Federer". . . handles the Isner serve. This suggests that perhaps this "Federer" is remotely operated by someone (perhaps inside the IMG luxury box, or via Tiger Woods' Blackberry)  who really is curious to see how the machine, having been designed to handle serves from guys 6-6 and under, will handle the task.

During one press conference, "Federer" was asked how he relaxes between matches. He answered: "What do I do?  I relax. I don't know, I just. . . I'm in the city.  Take it easy.  Have nice dinners and lunches.  I have some treatment, massage, stretches, hang out with my friends and family."

Okay, work with me here.  You're a voice-software programmer, right? You're told that you'd better build in some default answers to certain recurring stock questions that have nothing to do with the Nadal kick serve to the backhand, or the Novak Djokovic injury timeout. What kind of filler would you write?

At one point, "Federer" said: I'm happy with my game, to be honest.  I've been serving well basically since the day I arrived in North America."

You know what I think he meant to say, before he caught himself?

"Since the day I arrived in North America. . . in that container ship used to smuggle me into New York harbor in order to avoid the Bush regime's religious extremist  laws against androids taking the Greatest Road Trip in Sports along with the Roddicks, Sharapovas, and Chelas!

After "Federer" beat Isner, he was asked: Was that a fun match for you today?

He answered, "Yeah, I enjoyed it actually, believe it or not."

Okay, how about that believe it or not? Why wouldn't we believe it? I'll tell you why - because we know a robot is incapable of feeling human emotions like joy.  That's why!

And finally. Remember  how  "Federer" collected a handful of second serve aces and won bushels of points by seeming to know exactly where Roddick was heading to field his shot. When he was asked about this in his press conference, "Federer" said, quite alarmingly if nonchalantly, "Well, it's good if you can read his mind sometimes."

Now, how many of you so-called regular human beings can read someone's mind?

I rest my case.

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Posted by Justin 09/06/2007 at 05:25 PM


Posted by cracj 09/06/2007 at 05:26 PM

Great fun Pete.

Posted by jb 09/06/2007 at 05:30 PM

ok Pete you're crackin' me up. I think the J&PMacs would agree with you too - as they keep saying... "eh - that proves he's human". So obviously - they've been suspecting this for ages!

And you know what 'they' say - "if its seems to good to be true - it usually isn't".

Posted by Ray Stonada 09/06/2007 at 05:31 PM

Awesome. HAhaHAHAHAHhahhahAHha.

Posted by Cheshire Cat 09/06/2007 at 05:38 PM

The android theory is a good one, but I'm inclined to believe he is from Mars. He's like a tennis-playing dolphin.

Posted by frances 09/06/2007 at 05:43 PM

Okay. But explain to me how is he foolin' Mirka?

Posted by pat 09/06/2007 at 05:44 PM

He is an android, you're onto something here I think. The black outfit brought that home to me. McEnroe referred to it as "scary." I expect he returned to wherever he's staying, we presume Manhattan, and went scampering up the sides of buildings after his matches. Maybe he's really Son of Batman!

Posted by Seth 09/06/2007 at 05:44 PM

Mirka's an android as well, frances.

Posted by beth 09/06/2007 at 05:44 PM

Pete - very funny
sometimes he does seem to good to be true!

Posted by FoT 09/06/2007 at 05:46 PM

Pete! I never thought I'd see the day that you actually have fun with Roger.... Way to go Pete!

I really do love the thing about Roger's hair. Or maybe it was that $800 hair cut hat did the trick? lol! (P.S. I did hear that it actually only cost $80 - not $800).

Thanks for having fun with Roger... That post made my day!

Posted by Bobcat 09/06/2007 at 05:47 PM

Pete I thought at the time TMF said he enjoyed the Isner match "believe it or not" it was really about how the US crowds will leave him for an American...100% of the time to their dismay. Tennis has given him an enlarged heart in many ways.

Posted by FoT 09/06/2007 at 05:49 PM

Isner, Roddick, Blake, ... they have the misfortune of being Americans. Roger hasn't lost to an American since 2003. Or maybe that's when Roger was abducted by aliens and turned into TMF...

Posted by 09/06/2007 at 05:49 PM

Pete- I dare you to to put Federer's name in qutation marks every time you post!

Posted by Ali C (Were there bananas?) 09/06/2007 at 05:49 PM

Mirka doesn't mind as long as she gets to dress and accessorize him.

Posted by voice of reason 09/06/2007 at 05:52 PM

Honestly, Pete. Getting loopy in the press box, are we?

Posted by pat 09/06/2007 at 05:52 PM

Hi peter, when i watch the match with roddick and federer i told my husband that this guy federer looks like a robot on the court.,and this is not the only time i said that i have been saying it for a while know, and guess what all these matches he has been playing he never gets injured, go figure,what ever he has been doing secrets dont stay in the dark.

Posted by 09/06/2007 at 05:52 PM

That's supposed to be qoutation.*sighs*

Posted by Andrew 09/06/2007 at 05:52 PM

I don't think "Federer" is too good to be true. But he's quite good. And he's serving out of his tree this tournament.

Posted by Pete 09/06/2007 at 05:52 PM

And this one was for Tari! Go "Federer." (I love a dare)

Posted by highpockets 09/06/2007 at 05:53 PM

Pete, love it!

When Federer flicked that sweet little lob over Andy's head and then returned his 140 mph serve TWICE to the baseline at Andy's feet, I said to husband, "this guy just isn't human."

Remember in the "Alien" movies where the android-robot guy has gushy white stuff for blood. Maybe we should ask Michael Barcan to accidently prick Fed with a pin during his next on-court interview to see what comes out. This would serve two purposes ... to find out if Fed truly is an android ... and to get goop all over Michael Barcan.

For Christmas this year, I want a Janko Tipsarevic doll.

Posted by ptenisnet 09/06/2007 at 05:54 PM

And you know the mid-match walkabouts? Garbage Collection.

It's built into the operating system that when he is comfortable up and doesnt need to dedicate as many cpu cycles to the whupass, garbage collection gets a higher priority.

Seriously i thought you were going along the lines of "Reredef is my co-pilot" or someting.

Posted by Megan 09/06/2007 at 05:58 PM

Another thing to lend credence to Pete's android theory: how calm and serene TMF's face looks in still pictures of him hitting a ball or running all out to get to a ball. With most other players, you see the strain and the facial contortions.
Andre commented last night about TMF's lack of sweat after an arduous couple of sets, and when the cameras zoomed in for a close-up, sure enough, there was just the slightest misty sheen on his skin, just like the water-spritzed designer veggies at Whole Foods!

Posted by Ray Stonada 09/06/2007 at 05:59 PM

I expect an android might be quite satisfying for his Mirka.

Posted by Paul Ryan 09/06/2007 at 06:01 PM

I don't think I've ever laughed as hard reading one of your articles than I am now. Fantastic!

Not only does this article talk about Federer, but it also offers a subtle commentary of using quotes from press conferences to back up whatever opinion you have. Very timely. Bravo.

Posted by Bob 09/06/2007 at 06:03 PM

LOL! This is a great article. He may not be Roger of America, but he's made in Switzerland, where they really know how to create precision instruments of flawless timing.

Posted by Ruth 09/06/2007 at 06:04 PM

Pete: I was taking all this so lightly as I read it until that "North America" thing. Very, very strange choice of words. I demand that all investigators be pulled from the Davydenko brouhaha and assigned to deal only with this "Federer" business!

Oh, what a nice gift to find this piece after returning home from my deadly, never-ending workshop -- which was still going when I said "Enough" and left. Thanks, Petey!

Posted by highpockets 09/06/2007 at 06:05 PM

What if they made a Roger Federer doll? It would have that handsome fox face and perfect hair with plenty of product ... just think of all the things it would say when you pushed the little button on the headband.

Posted by frances 09/06/2007 at 06:07 PM

Ali C, how many women out there wish they could be Mirka?

Posted by Pete 09/06/2007 at 06:07 PM

Dang it, Pat! You're dead on about the injury thing - I had thought of that, too, last night, but forgot to write it!

Posted by Beckham 09/06/2007 at 06:08 PM

ROFLMAO...nicely done Pete!

And the tribe comments are just killing me...*CPU cycles to whupass*

It has now been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that "Federer" is infact NOT human...

Posted by Codge 09/06/2007 at 06:09 PM

Pete you almost figured it out.
Darth Fed comes from the same model as Vader. He's part human, mostly machine :)

Posted by rgrace 09/06/2007 at 06:09 PM

"Fed" must be using John Edwards' barber.

Posted by Pete 09/06/2007 at 06:09 PM

you're welcome, ruthie!

Posted by Libby 09/06/2007 at 06:12 PM

Great balls of fire, you're right. He's a Stepford Tennis Player!

Posted by Paul Ryan 09/06/2007 at 06:14 PM

highpockets: Federer doll

Posted by L. Rubin 09/06/2007 at 06:16 PM

Bodo's winning line for the week:

"Since the day I arrived in North America. . . in that container ship used to smuggle me into New York harbor in order to avoid the Bush regime's religious extremist laws against androids taking the Greatest Road Trip in Sports along with the Roddicks, Sharapovas, and Chelas!"

Great stuff, Mr. Bodo.


Posted by Miguel Seabra 09/06/2007 at 06:25 PM

Hahaha... Roger Android!

But... the funny thing is, even though Switzerland is renowned by their precision high-end mechanical watches and sets the standard, they started out centuries ago by MAKING COPIES of much better timepieces the britons and the french were making back then. Now Switzerland is sinonym of quality watches... but they used to be the China and Taiwan and Hong-Kong of watch-production in the 17 and 18th centuries!

So, who did Federer copy to play the way he does? Well, last night he tried a Ken Rosewall-like slice backhand pass down the line (he missed, but I've seen him make it).

Another interesting point regarding swiss timepieces is: Roger endorses Rolex, a watch that -- contrary to what a lot may think -- is a simple sturdy uncomplicated watch whose most elaborated complication they have in their collection is the chronograph. In

Actually, Rolex is Roddick. Federer should endorse a brand that dominates all the high complicatios of a mechanical watch (that is, besides the chronograph, a perpetual calendar, an equation of time, a tourbillon, a minute repeater, a sonnerie, etc...). Federer is like a Patek Philippe, a Jaeger-LeCoultre. Better, Federer is like an Audemars Piguet -- both modern and classic.

Posted by rafafan 09/06/2007 at 06:25 PM

Pete- great read, incredible! you've convinced me. The guy is too...perfect. You mentioned the hair thing, but I have never seen him slip, falter, fall, look awkward at any moment on the court. I was astounded when he sort of slipped as he skid on the paint during the Flo match- I'd just never seen it before. Unreal...wait, he did put his pants on backwards at Wimby! ha!

Posted by roGER 09/06/2007 at 06:28 PM

Isn't it wonderful to be alive right now!?!

To see Roger Federer at his absolute peak - the finest tennis player of all time (FOAT). So good, that some fine tennis journalists began to question whether he was in fact, human :-)

Pete, Steve, and the rest of you lucky enough to have seen Roger play live, cherish it, enjoy it, remember it.

I envy you!

Posted by marieJ 09/06/2007 at 06:33 PM

hilarious pete !
that's probably why he wasn't progammed for the superb lefty on clay...
who could have figure out that a tiny little weakness in his bh could be exploted in that way to beat him on clay ?
sure when he was programmed rafa wasn't there, and his conceptor hasn't figure out yet how to deal whith that heavy topspin ;)
ahahahah truly enjoyable post !
need to go to bed, work wait for me tomorrow morning, i'll get a tape delay year of moya after !

Posted by mellymel 09/06/2007 at 06:37 PM

When The Raja (Federer) puts down his racket, he and Miss Mirka can have some android babies FedExed to their front door.

Posted by Cheshire Cat 09/06/2007 at 06:37 PM

And Rafa is just an oversized gremlin.

Posted by randomtester [K]ProStaff 09/06/2007 at 06:42 PM

Very good stuff Pete, I've been waiting for a "Roger" post for some time. haha If he's not real, Federer could say: "You can't see me!" like John Cena. (didn't he participate in the kid's day with Roddick, Ivanovic, and Hingis?)

Posted by Liz 09/06/2007 at 06:52 PM

Now rafafan, isn't it obvious that the pants-on-backwards (and the occasional blubbering after a big title) are just programmed in to throw the android hunters off the trail?

Posted by "DMS" 09/06/2007 at 06:55 PM

"I flove the ontological nihilism on the thread "tribe." "

Posted by highpockets 09/06/2007 at 06:55 PM

PR, just got back and saw that frightening doll ... no way!

Posted by prince49 09/06/2007 at 06:56 PM

The other thing there is the number of second serve aces he hit .. almost every time Roddick tried to run around the backhand to blast a forehand return on the AD court, "Federer" would calmly serve and up-the-middle ace .. it was like he could watch the ball toss and also see Roddick cheat to the backhand side .. unreal..

Posted by Liz (for Federer 4-ever) 09/06/2007 at 06:56 PM

Yes, he does exist. I was close enuf to see the freckles on his nose when I went to the Sony Ericcson Open in Miami this year.

That is, if androids have freckles~~LOL

Seriously, I followed a show called La Femme Nikita a few years ago and one of the main characters was called Michael. Fans of the series thought he was inhuman but every now and then the actor who portrayed him was so good he allowed us to take a peek and see that he was human even though his character was a killer, he was deep down a human being.

I haven't seen that yet with Roger--but you know we females say we like the strong, silent type it would be nice to strip away the flesh and bone of Roger and see what lies underneath. When I read articles he seems to be the exact opposite of what he portrays on court.

He likes to give his girlfriend credit for his success, he likes massages, good food. Then when you see him on the court he's all business and doesn't allow his opponents to see any weakness.

He appears to be able to turn it on and off at will. I heard at one time Fed sought out the services of a sports psychologist. I would have given anything to be present at some of those sessions.....

But I tell you something--to see him turn it on and off has certainly been a pleasure for this tennis fan. I didn't get these feelings with anyone else playing the game, maybe Stefan Edberg.

Allez Roger--pass Pete's 14 and go for the gusto, baby!!

~~oh, to be Mirka for a day...I would like to spend one day with the Fed just to see what makes him tick.

Posted by prince49 09/06/2007 at 06:59 PM

The other thing there is the number of second serve aces he hit .. almost every time Roddick tried to run around the backhand to blast a forehand return on the AD court, "Federer" would calmly serve and up-the-middle ace .. it was like he could watch the ball toss and also see Roddick cheat to the backhand side .. unreal..

Posted by Heidi 09/06/2007 at 06:59 PM

Chuckle. Poor Andy. That being said, I guess that makes his rare displays of emotion on court all the more noticeable, like his crying at the AO ceremony 2006 (though I guess that was, while on court, not during a match), complaining about Hawkeye during Wimby, etc. Then there's always a huge clamor of "omigod-it's-human!"

Posted by jb 09/06/2007 at 07:09 PM

lol - i turn on my tv, i'm logging on and i hear Courier saying on national tv "federer's not human"

Pete - you're so the trendsetter!

Posted by svelterogue 09/06/2007 at 07:14 PM


your best one yet! priceless!

rolling on the floor, laughing my a** off!

Posted by tassp 09/06/2007 at 07:15 PM

That was fun reading....thanks...

Posted by Sam 09/06/2007 at 07:29 PM

Pete: This was a great read after a long day at the office!

Posted by Tari 09/06/2007 at 07:42 PM

For me? *misty eyed* Aww. :) nailed it, Pete. This one was perfection, and appropriately so. Thank you!

Posted by C$ 09/06/2007 at 07:48 PM

He is an android that's programmed to be "in the moment" when the stakes are the highest.

btw, no question those courts are playing faster then Wimbledon. no question.

Posted by Russ 09/06/2007 at 08:24 PM

Well done, Pete. Made my first trip to the Open to attend Tue night and all day/night Wed. Fantastic experience.

Posted by Roy Joseph 09/06/2007 at 08:29 PM

Pete (if I may)
This is the best piece of sports journalism that I have read in the past few years. I hope this will turn into a classic and should be a must read for budding sports journalists.


Posted by Samina Raza 09/06/2007 at 08:51 PM

HILARIOUS!!!!! And true I am sure!!! I have suspected this for a long time and I am glad someone else also finally caught on to it!!!! By the way I am Asad Raza's sister, that lucky stiff!!!! BOY DO I WISH I COULD BE AT THE US OPEN AND MEET THIS ANDROID, ONLY to poke him in the ribs and expose him of course!!!!!

Posted by john 09/06/2007 at 08:57 PM

that's a great post pete. There's one way you can tell federer is human. Tears.


Posted by Alfie 09/06/2007 at 09:00 PM

I like the android theory but I think it's closer to an old X Files episode. Remember the episode where there was an alien who defected to play in the Negro Leagues. Made himself look human but he really was alien.
I'm just saying, TMF is other worldly

Posted by fedfan 09/06/2007 at 09:22 PM

This is fantastic!! Had me in stitches. U know u have a hit when a loyal fedfan like myself actually pauses and sez - hmmmmmm, I wonder? Thanx for the fun Pete. (I especially luv the point about the hair and the sweat)

Posted by fedfan 09/06/2007 at 09:25 PM

by the way - excellent point john. he won my heart with those tears at his first wimbledon win.

Posted by Tari 09/06/2007 at 09:50 PM

Welcome, Samina! :)

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2007 at 09:55 PM

Awe....this is one of those articles that makes me

Posted by Elevennis Anytwo? 09/06/2007 at 10:00 PM

Can't top this. Great comments too. We're having way too much fun at "Roger"'s expense.

Unfortunately for robot-perfect tennis fans and Mirka, MIT will have to seize the "Federer" android and disassemble it to figure out how it works and how to make more of them.

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2007 at 10:03 PM

Beware of "Federer" android's army.

Posted by chris 09/06/2007 at 10:10 PM

I hope Federer beats up that little snot Djokovic. Everyone is so keen on him ever since he became number 3. Yet, they forget the piece of crap things he did. His attitude towards Nadal at Roland Garross in 2006 and his attitude and fake injuries at the US OPen 2005. Now he's winning, he is nicer and everything is forgotten. Along those lines who is he to immitate anyone? When was the last time you have seem anyone cockier who looks so ugly. Classless is the best way to describe him. Furthermore, this whole Serbian background is just a front. The boy never struggled in his life. Think about this. He tells his own father not to congratulate him when he made the top 5. Boy I guess the bombings must have put everything in perspective. No, DJokovic, enjoy # 3, because you will never get into the top 2. Nice post pete

Posted by skip1515 09/06/2007 at 10:56 PM

MIguel, the guy was born in Basel, for goodness' sake.

And while I appreciate the Rolex metaphor for Roddick, shouldn't that be Hamilton, for the nationality if not the price or (overvalued?) reputation? Elgin would supply the heritage, but if that were the case (pun intended) Roddick would be way too old.

Posted by Ruth 09/06/2007 at 10:58 PM

Hi, Samina. Welcome. Your brother is a doll. I so enjoyed chatting with him on Friday night.

Now, I understand the reason for the eerie resemblance between "Federer" and the android-y "John from Cincinnati" (HBO Series) -- and why there was the loss in Cincy last year: there was some retooling going on! Aha!

Posted by jj 09/06/2007 at 10:59 PM

I never read/watched SciFi, so to me He's Plato's Tennis Player - The Form Personnified...anyway, as one of the few, or more likely the only, emotionally healthy person who is truly great at something, an android is the last thing I'd consider him to be. To be that great & gifted in all dimensions by the gods, and not be a raging narcissist, or even an unbearable egotist is unbelievable. To descend from planet perfect parent on top of everything else...

but it's bad luck to even think this before he holds the trophy Sunday...

A Fed Doll...why not a chocolate silk robe to slip into only when you watch his matches, so it becomes the purveyor of the memories. Everytime you slip it on, the wonderful memories of last time drift back. RR on pocket - maybe one R backwards, for Roger's Robe. Maybe if Anna Wintour gets him a good designer to sign w/next time in lieu of Nike's crap, they will..

Posted by drew salt 09/06/2007 at 11:06 PM

pete, sponsor me for one year and i will beat fed on a regular basis. i just need to train and i will make it happen.

Posted by abbey 09/06/2007 at 11:12 PM

pete, this was great fun. excellent piece. floved it.

Posted by Miguel Seabra 09/06/2007 at 11:23 PM

Wanna see Loco Djoko impersonating the Vain Android?

Just take a look at this video -- he does it from Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo to Andy Roddick to Filippo 'Pippo' Volandri to Rafa Nadal to Maria Sharapova to... Roger Federer, and watch out the very last senatorial gesture Nole imitates.

It is hilarious:

Posted by decency fan 09/06/2007 at 11:38 PM


Envy is an ugly feeling in a person, especially when it comes from a journalist. I felt sorry for Andy but come on! Here is another jornalist opinion (John Colapinto, in a NewYorker article):

September 6, 2007
Losing Ugly


In a word, yes. Roger Federer is a better tennis player than Andy Roddick, and that’s why Federer wins. But I can’t get Brad Gilbert’s “Winning Ugly” out of my head—a book devoted to the (perhaps misguided) notion that smart, cagey, well-prepared players can beat guys who are better than they are. This would mean, in practical terms, that Roddick should not spend two hours hitting the tennis ball as hard as he can directly into Federer’s “wheelhouse,” to use the cliché of the day.

The sheer stubbornness with which Roddick refused to change his losing approach to this match—it’s just bewildering. Sure, he drove Roger to tiebreakers in the first two sets, tiebreakers that hinged on a single mini break point each time. But you and I and the guys in the booth (John McEnroe, Ted Robinson, and Andre Agassi) knew that the outcome of those tiebreakers, and of the whole damn match, was a foregone conclusion. I’ve been going over the match on TiVo this morning, and never have I heard less tension and excitement in the voices of the commentators at a match so seemingly “close,” if you go by the scores. No, the verdict was never in doubt—and that’s because Andy Roddick walked into Arthur Ashe last night with the intention to blow Federer off the court. Can you imagine? It’s guys like Santoro, the off-speed, changeup, fleet-footed backboard with the cunning head games and underspin two-fisted forehand, who have driven Federer to distraction in the past. And it’s not good enough to say, “That’s not Andy’s game. He’s an American Boy and he pitches fastballs!”

So learn a new game! I mean, it’s not as if you’d got anything to do but play tennis. James Blake, are you listening, too? Guys, this is what you do for a living. Roger has put in the hard work—as he mentioned in the post-match on-court interview last night—to insure that he can defeat other tennis players. That work includes learning how to hit the knee-quiveringly gorgeous underspin floater backhand that he used last night, and the off-speed “girly” perfectly placed second serve with which he repeatedly aced Andy. Do Roddick and Blake suppose that Roger can just kind of do that stuff? He learned it. He practiced it. Because that’s how you win tennis games.

Man, I’m raving over here. My fingers are flying on the keyboard. And this tells me something. In my secret heart of hearts, I wanted Andy to win last night. I wanted to see Darth Federer taken down a notch—or at least be given a serious scare.

Posted by Fedexfan 09/07/2007 at 12:36 AM

Fantastic piece Pete.

In Shrek 2, when Shrek drinks that magic potion he's transformed into something who looked very similar to "Federer" to me. So I suspect it is work of some magic potion.

Posted by jj 09/07/2007 at 12:43 AM

What an assinine piece for the New Yorker. What don't they get about Roger being a transcendant champion, that is an icon, and AR being pedestrian. It's cruel to AR to even expect him to beat Fed at his peak. Next yr. when he's picking his spots, and slowing down, AR will win a few, but not where it matters. In an off yr. he may even get a few Major trophies, as he did when the Open was all but rained out, and the homer Americans made sure he was the only player to get his matches in w/more rest than the rest. But the reality is that Fed's far & away the best & Djoker & RN are Champion Level players - ie, they'll deservedly win a pile of Majors against all comers. Roddick is a guy whose career is playing tennis, not someone whose destiny is to be a Champion. He has a big serve, so as long as grass court tennis is still played, he'll have a very high ranking. Good for him. But people are unfair expecting him to play @Fed's level, until that declines. His brother loves tennis, but he got the genes, so he's earning his living living out the dreams of others. Poor kid.

Posted by federer fan 09/07/2007 at 12:52 AM

Pete : Fantastic
i mean, your ability to come up with interesting way of saying things, even if the ultimate theme is the same, is superb! Thanks for the laughs.

But I submit that if Fed is the superman, then Raf's left hand is made out of krptonite! ;)

Posted by federer fan 09/07/2007 at 01:04 AM

Shreikapova would do well to watch the replay of fed/AR match a million times. She will know how you are supposed to counter someone trying to pressurize you while serving by moving around. Moron!

Posted by Clay 09/07/2007 at 01:06 AM

Entertaining article, but, comeon, it would take millions of years to create an android as perfect as Fed. And besides, although he was as consistant as a swiss watch against Andy, we've all seen him play better. I don't think there is any reason to get excited, it is just business as usual for the world number 1.

Posted by federer fan 09/07/2007 at 01:16 AM

I heard that they are sending a patch out to fix the bug in Fedex, it will kick in for next year, he will jump 2 feet into the air to return high balls hit to his backhand.
That was favored over a 2 handed BH, to retain the grace aspect and or the andriodly suspicious running at umpteen mph to get around and hit a forehand.

Posted by zola 09/07/2007 at 01:45 AM

nice piece. I just want to add something.
Federer actually is human. He shows his human sides when he plays Rafa. What do you call his reaction after he won the Shanghai match? Or Wimbledon? He pumps his fist. He can get angry. Even say the "S" word to the umpire. like all the other"humans" can do....he is android against anybody else.

Also very nice piece about RAfa and Serena on your ESPN blog. I am glad you find Rafa so classy.

Posted by Rich Grace 09/07/2007 at 01:46 AM

The YouTube link to Djokovic is priceless. I like Novak. He just seems like a goofy kid. Sure, he's made some public mistakes over the last couple of years, but just remember how mature YOU were at 18.

Between that vid, Novak's imitations on Centre Court after the match and this great piece, we've gotten more than our fair share of tennis humor today.

Posted by zola 09/07/2007 at 02:20 AM

I think Djoko has and inflated ego. and many 18-year olds already behave much more mature. look at Del Potro, Nadal, or even the new comer Gulbis...they never talk like Djoko does. Fed said it best:" he is going through a phase" ( or something like that..not the eact quote!)

but he is a character allright and those imitations are priceless. I have to admit he is a funny guy and I hope by time he learns to act and talk more maturely.

Posted by UPS 09/07/2007 at 02:46 AM

What can all say? Sir Roger Federer Express the best in the world... no doubts about that. Unless someone change his name to DHL, then he might a chance...

Posted by Marian 09/07/2007 at 02:53 AM


Thank you for such an entertaining article. I'm glad that I looked today at TW after a long period of absence due to work and life.

Having fun with "Federer" is all-right because the main atraction to follow sportsmen and women is seeing them performing at their best to the limit of their abilities.

Roger's fans have years ago discovered that his body is human because he cries (only when he wins) and he's been injured (fortunately just a couple of times). His brain is entirely another matter because how this piece works with lightning speed to command his body seems unreal. Sixth sense is the only logical "human" explanation.

Here is a link to a video of a Dutch TV-programme (with subtitles) where Richard Krajicec and Marco van Baasten talk about this superior creature.

Posted by Or 09/07/2007 at 03:00 AM

Pete -

Smoked anything good lately?

ROTFLOL, I laughed really hard.

Posted by florian 09/07/2007 at 04:40 AM

Sorry guys, you're wrong : Roger is neither an adroid nor a martian. He doesn't come from planet Earth ! He's just a Tennisian coming from planet Tennis !

Posted by chloe02 09/07/2007 at 07:51 AM

Coffee splutteringly funny!! Really enjoyed that piece, Pete. Federer is lookingly scarily good at the moment. That backhand return of Roddick's 140 mph serve which landed right at the A-rod's feet? You're right, it's just not human. Was it against Isner that Fed played the second set and made no unforced errors, nada, not a one??? I've also realised why the guy has so few injuries - his feet are fitted with tiny air jets and he's playing while floating a nano-inch above the ground.

Posted by Helge 09/07/2007 at 08:13 AM

Given theory is correct, there is no clay in outer space...

Posted by Tired of Fed 09/07/2007 at 08:34 AM

Novak is downing Fed this Sunday! Not because i am tired of Fed, but beacuse Novak figured him out. Montreal paid off well, so i have some left over:)

Posted by Schwab 09/07/2007 at 08:51 AM

Tired of Fed,
Novak beating the 2.4 million dollar man on Sunday IS NOT happening. I would be surprised if Novak can get Fed to a 5th set unless Novak decides to take a "bathroom" break like he did when he got dusted 6-2 in set 2 to slow down Fed's rhythm.

Posted by MrsSanta 09/07/2007 at 08:54 AM

Pete is aware of the existence of Zac Efron? Pure comedy.

Posted by mick1303 09/07/2007 at 09:09 AM

It reminded me of the quote of some player, that Borg has to be sent to the moon, because he does not play tennis like everybody else, therefore he is probably an alien. Did Federer just reach that Rock-star status of Borg? At least in the media?

Posted by David 09/07/2007 at 09:14 AM

Great idea for a post, Peter. You should write a book called "The Fed Delusion."

Posted by Konstantinos 09/07/2007 at 09:23 AM

And about the Roland Garros finals?
Have you mentioned the way he acts at every last game
of every last set?
Like a malfunctioned robot.
It seems like the clay has a high percentage of Kryptonite.

Posted by Rob S. 09/07/2007 at 09:34 AM

I think the clay gets into the gears and malfunctions occur. They need to develop an "off road" model for RG. Like a Fed 4x4. An FUV, if you will.

This is fun, but getting sillier by the post.

Posted by Suresh 09/07/2007 at 09:38 AM

Pete.... this one is funny and great - there might be aliens out there, believers in UFO will believe in this article ... lol

Posted by Sam 09/07/2007 at 09:43 AM

Great column Pete. I'm happy to see some tennis writers can handle humor. I can definitely see Federer as a a robot or possibly an alien.

Posted by Black Matt 09/07/2007 at 09:43 AM

To borrow a phrase from the afore-mentioned Blade Runner, I can't wait till "Federer" is "retired." As he starts to shut down, and tennis bids farewell to him, I can almost hear him say: "...all these...moments will be in...rain."


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Wild Women of the U.S. Open
Wild Men of the U.S. Open
Roddick's Imperfect World
"It's Kind of a Dance"
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The Racquet Scientist: Canadian Tennis
The Long and Short of It
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