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No Hugs for This Bear 11/12/2010 - 4:00 PM

Fed by Pete Bodo

With a "buddy" like Ted Forstmann, Roger Federer needs no enemies. He's already had to make a public confession laying to rest rumors that he may have been somehow involved in gambling on matches he played against his rival Rafael Nadal. The headline on the Associated Press story the other day said it all: Federer Denies Involvement with IMG Gambling.

Forstmann, as you already know, is the billionaire chief executive at IMG. A lawsuit by a disgruntled former associate of his claims that Forstmann placed bets totaling $38,000 on Federer to beat Nadal in the French Open finals of 2006 and 2007—bets that Forstmann has acknowledged placing. So the first real question is, what was Forstmann smoking (if and) when he decided to put his pile of chips on the Federer square? I mean, didn't he ever see this Nadal guy play on clay?

The second and more intriguing question is, how could Forstmann make such a mess and leave Roger to clean it up?

Like his fellow icons and role models, Federer understands that it's not only important to avoid wrongdoing, it's equally critical to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing. And while nobody has hurled any accusations at The Mighty Fed, he's had to spend a few days explaining his position on gambling, his relationship with IMG, and the nature of his communications with Forstmann. Meanwhile, Forstmann dismissed legitimate questions about what information he may have gleaned from Federer before those finals with a cavalier comment of which the main import appears to be that Ted and Roger are tight—regular bros.

“I might have called Roger before the match in 2007,” Forstmann told the website The Daily Beast. “But Roger is a buddy of mine, and all I would be doing is wishing him luck.”

You know how these Wall Street alpha dogs are—if they're not on the horn with Roger, they're texting Tim Geithner, or, in Forstmann's case, scheming to sell a little tournament like, say, Indian Wells, to some sheik or other in the Middle East.

That's the bit that really irritates me about this not-so-little episode. Forstmann's acquisition of IMG, shortly after the unexpected death of IMG founder Mark McCormack, was a severe blow to the founders of the hugely popular and significant Indian Wells Masters 1000 event. Forstmann may be buddies with Roger, like he claims, but that didn't stop him from putting the proverbial gun to the heads of Indian Wells founders Charlie Pasarell and Ray Moore when Forstmann lost interest in the 50 percent stake in the tournament that was part and parcel of the deal for IMG. Forstmann wanted to cash out, and it took a concerted effort by dedicated supporters of U.S. tennis to prevent the tournament from being sold to the highest foreign bidder. This is a guy who loves tennis? (By contrast, McCormack was committed to Indian Wells, through thick and thin.)

While I'm at it, something else about all this annoys me. What the hail is a guy like Forstmann, who's got more money than godot, doing betting on tennis in five and ten-grand increments? Sheesh, what difference would it make if he won—or lost—in the big picture? It's not like he'd finally be able to buy that little two-bedroom house for his mamma if only he made one decent score. The lawsuit points toward other Forstmann habits and activities that can only be called "unsavory." So now it's understandable how some people, thinking about Federer, might wonder about the company he keeps. First Tiger, now Teddy.

Forstmann has been the beneficiary of excellent PR, and his Huggy-Bear charity tournament was an enormous hit with pro players and tennis insiders for a couple of decades. The guy has certainly spread his wealth around freely, supporting numerous charitable causes. But he's also earned unimaginable sums, and we all know that giving—especially the public giving of money—can be an act of shameless, socially approved egotism, or even hypocrisy, even if that doesn't taint the end result, which is helping others.

I have no doubts whatsoever about Roger's integrity or character, but it wouldn't upset me if he took this opportunity to cut his ties to IMG (while retaining Tony Godsick, a very decent individual) and get clear of Forstmann and company. It would serve Forstmann right, if only for what he's put Federer through.

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Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/12/2010 at 04:07 PM

I haven't been following this story, but something about it seems fishy.

How would it be possible to retain Godsick and also sever his ties to IMG?

Posted by Or 11/12/2010 at 04:17 PM

Good article. Roger didn't come down too hard on Forstmann, but I have no doubt he's ticked off at the entire thing.

I watched the youtube interview with Forstmann, man - he's slick and icky.

I mean, when I think of Roger's history with IMG, he first hired them, then dismissed them and let his parents run his affairs when he wasn't happy with them, and only agreed to rehire them after much deliberations back in 04, I believe.

I gotta tell you Pete, that I'm pretty sure Godsick's contract clearly state he can't 'steal' Roger away from IMG. Non compete clauses and all of that.

Posted by Jay 11/12/2010 at 04:21 PM

"He's already had to make a public confession laying to rest rumors that he may have been somehow involved in gambling on matches he played against his rival Rafael Nadal."

Apparently nothing to confess, Pete. Sorry for being picky about words, but when I first read the sentence, the idea of Federer confessing about something raised my pressure a bit.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/12/2010 at 04:37 PM

Hi Jay: just looked up confess since I had a feeling it doesn't always mean something negative. My webster's says it means to declare or avow. So I think pete's okay on this one.

quite frankly, if I were Roger, I'd can IMG so fast it would make their heads spin. Take tony godsick with him and get the hell out of dodge.
Forstmann sounds like a jerk. And leaving Fed to mop up the mess is poor form. I'd be furious if I were Federer. The only thing that might make Fed angrier is if Forstmann bet against him!

So that leaves can him too.

Posted by Ruth 11/12/2010 at 04:39 PM

"How would it be possible to retain Godsick and also sever his ties to IMG?"

I wonder about that, too, tina. Roger is a big "property" at IMG; but Godsick is an employee of IMG who happens to have Fed as a client (does he have others?), and I'm not sure that he'd be willing to give up his position at IMG and leave with Roger -- unless he was planning, for some time, to open his own sports/management agency with a few selected clients, including Roger. And, of course, there are usually contract provisions, preventing such "stealing" of clients by departing employees within a certain period after their departures.

Posted by Or 11/12/2010 at 04:44 PM

Ruth - I'd imagine Godsick's contract have two clauses - one that forbids them to compete with IMG for X amount of time after leaving the company, and the other which probably forbids him to walk away with IMG former clients, period.

Posted by Corrie 11/12/2010 at 04:49 PM

I don't imagine Federer can take Godsick with him. Therefore, that provides him with a dilemma since Godsick seems good.

Federer is not the only one who keeps company with unsavory types. Our State Premier is currently cosying up to Tiger - and Tiger's not even winning.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/12/2010 at 04:49 PM

Tony Godsick is a free agent. He can leave IMG and set up shop with Roger. You only need one client if your client is roger federer. I don't know, Or, it happens all the time in hollywood. Maybe Tony would just have a different job description? like manager instead of agent?

Posted by thebigapple 11/12/2010 at 04:49 PM

In my view, with what I have read of this matter, Roger should stay with IMG...

He has sufficient distraction with his family changes right now. He does not need to be working with a new business team.

This will blow over soon enough. If Forstman was found selling performance enhancing drugs to his IMG clients then that would possibly merit Roger's departure.

Betting on Roger to beat Nadal at the French suggests that Forstmann is either an idiot or an eternal optimist. (I hope I got the bet right!) Perhaps Nadal should leave IMG as the guy showed no faith in him at alll....

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/12/2010 at 04:57 PM

Roger employs IMG at his pleasure. He can fire them any time he wants. And any clauses Godsick might have in his contract would probably be null and void given Forstmann's conduct. What's the upside of staying with IMG if Tony can leave?

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/12/2010 at 05:03 PM

The "one-client shop" can get messy, too.

Posted by Or 11/12/2010 at 05:04 PM

Annie -

I don't think it is as simple as you portray it. Roger might have sound legal grounds to get out of his contract with IMG, but I'm not at all sure that's true for Tony, what affect did Forstmann's conduct had on *him*, that would null and void the none-compete clauses in his employment contract? I don't see it.

Although, if Roger insists, they might let him go, with Toni, to avoid a legal battle. Everything is possible, I guess.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/12/2010 at 05:04 PM

actually I'm surprised clients aren't leaving IMG in droves. It's like finding out your lawyer was placing bets on you. It's despicable.

Posted by Or 11/12/2010 at 05:08 PM

Um, regarding my first sentence, I take it back - Roger can probably end his contract at his pleasure, if not - he probably could now.

But, as I've said, not sure the same logic applies for Tony's contract with IMG at all.

Posted by Ruth 11/12/2010 at 05:17 PM

Or: I think that you're right about the contract clauses. (Sorry, I'd read only tina's comment when I posted and hadn't seen yours which pointed to the same type of clause -- forbidding client "stealing" -- that I mentioned.)

Annie: It all depends on what the contract says; and, though I can't be 100% sure, I doubt that a firm as big as IMG wouldn't have the kind of restrictive clauses in their employees' contracts that Or and I mentioned. Let's say I'd be very surprised if they didn't. Anyway, I think someone said that Roger's contract with IMG ends soon, so we'll have to wait and see what he does then -- or before!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/12/2010 at 05:18 PM

I have a feeling there are going to be lawsuits aplenty coming out of this mess. Who knows, maybe the IMG board is in the process of getting rid of Forstmann in order to save the company's reputation. Or, I'm only going by what I know of agencies in Hollywood where agents leave all the time to set up their own shop or join the competition. And the clients, of course, are free to follow the agent of their choice.

Posted by Ruth 11/12/2010 at 05:24 PM

"The "one-client shop" can get messy, too."

Tell me about it! As wonderful as TMF is, would Godsick be willing to put all his eggs in one Swiss basket? Would Mary Joe let him? LOL

Posted by Or 11/12/2010 at 05:29 PM

Ruth - yup. Plus, how many more years will Roger keep on playing?

Though I have to wonder how many other clients does Tony have, he travels with Roger almost everywhere.

Posted by Jay 11/12/2010 at 05:30 PM

Hi Annie--apparently I lost a posting. In any case, whenever its said that someone "had to make a public confession", there is a presumption of guilt. Clearly this is not what Pete meant, as the rest of his article and your diligence reveals.

Good points nevertheless.

(If my other posting finds its way, I apologize for duplicate comments)

Posted by Ruth 11/12/2010 at 05:49 PM

Or: I think Roger is headed for a life, even after he stops playing, during which getting 10% (or 8%) of his total earnings would be a nice sum for someone. :) But I still wonder if Godsick would be willing to dump IMG in favor of Roger. He'd really be able to write his own ticket at IMG if he stayed in his job there if or when Roger chose to leave.

Incidentally, I'm focussing on this aspect of the IMG controversy because I feel, as I felt weeks ago, that the other aspect -- idea that Federer could have and pass on "inside information" that would lead someone to increase his/her bet on him to win the FO -- is too ridiculous for words, a red herring at best, included to bring attention to the lawsuit.

It's obvious that, more than anything else, Agate, the angry former associate, wants to embarrass Forstmann; just look at the other charges he made in the lawsuit about racial slurs, comments about Tiger etc which seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with whether Forstmann owed him money.

Posted by CL 11/12/2010 at 06:05 PM

Yeah, I agree...Fed can probably tell IMG to take a hike, but I doubt it is as easy as that for Godsick. And as others have said, would he even want to? Hitch his wagon to a guy with relatively limited active shelf life.

Ruth - " embarrass Frostman..." seems easy. Just let him talk. What an idiot sleeze. During the TC coverage today of Bercy, in the crawl, they kept running a statement from the ATP regarding Forstman. It was basically, "Harumph! Boy, we sent a stern letter to HIM! That'll fix his wagon!" Or words to that effect.

Posted by Or 11/12/2010 at 06:16 PM

CL - As what Forstmann did wasn't illegal at the time, just idiotic - what can the ATP do about it, really?

The only one who has legitimate reasons to be cross is Roger. Though, at least he betted on him to win, rather than lose.

Posted by mellow yellow 11/12/2010 at 06:22 PM

I think this is a non-issue. Don't see why Fed would leave IMG over this. If this was a big deal it would be front page on ESPN & SI. No one is really touching it because there's no evidence Forstman did anything illegal.

Posted by CL 11/12/2010 at 06:26 PM

Or -oh, I know...just that the 'sternly worded letter' actually made me Harumph/laugh a bit. It sounded like a Monty Python 'letter to the Times.'

YF - well, I'm all for Forstman leaving IMG. No one that dense,flat footed and tone deaf should be allowed to run a major company. But that seems 'unlikely' ??

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/12/2010 at 06:28 PM

Ruth, Or and Jay: I don't presume to know pip about contract law so I will defer to you guys regarding Godsick's arrangement with IMG. But, I'm almost positive Fed is Tony's only client. I'm basing this on an agent I know who only has one client, a huge author. He told me representing him was a full time job and the way the author wanted it. Unless you're unfortunate enough to be Tiger's agent, being an agent to one of the greats like a Federer is guaranteed endorsements for the rest of his life, if Arnold Palmer is any indication.

Posted by CL 11/12/2010 at 06:32 PM

As for the Fed/TunaMelz match....just amazing serving by Roger through out the match. So few UFEs. Melzer was rolled before he had even adjusted to the light. So he gets extra props for coming back and making it so close in the second. He started serving WAY better and Fed floated back from whatever galaxy he was on in the first set.

I totally empathized with Jurgen sending his racket to the work that hard and biff a volley like that...make you crazy.

Interesting about Gael and Muzz...not Muzz's week, in a way. Be interesting to see if Gael can keep his new, and relative, 'sanity.' If so, he could give Fed problems, but I am guessing the faster court will help Fed more than Gael. Hope Fed keeps the muscle memory of today's serve performance VERY close.

Posted by Ruth 11/12/2010 at 06:38 PM

CL: Yes, I heard about that fierce reprimand that the ATP gave Forstman. :) And it seems that he told them that he's been a very good boy since they, belatedly (in 2008 or 2009), included people like him among those who were involved in tennis and who were prohibited from betting on tennis.

So, he escapes any penalty for his 2006 betting. I wonder what that penalty would have been if the ban that now icludes him were in place in 2006 -- a much sterner letter, perhaps?!?! LOL

Posted by FoT 11/12/2010 at 06:39 PM

I'm sad Roger's name even came up in this mess. It's sad when you are a player and you try to do everything "politically correct" then a stupid "boss" gets you involved in this mess. But if the Davydenko mess boiled over, so will this because I think this is really far less than what Davydenko went through.

On that Davydenko thing...Tennis Channel did a segment and they said something that made sense. IF that match was not a 'set-up', why did the people who supposedly won the money NOT come through and demand payment or was upset? They said when the ATP voided all those bets, no one came through to 'complain' that they didn't get paid. If I had won a lottery ticket and they voided it, you can bet I would make a big deal out of it, particularly if I knew I had done nothing wrong and it was legit! So compared to that mess - this Federer issue is almost a 'nothing' to me.

Posted by Or 11/12/2010 at 07:28 PM

You know. I forgot for a sec IMG also represent Rafa.

Now there's a guy with much to be pissed about. I bet he's happy he cost him the 40 K.

Posted by zola 11/12/2010 at 07:37 PM

I don't understand how this betting scandal is related to Federer. Someone has made a bet and he lost and it happened to be on a Fed match.

If what Forstmann did was legal, then what is all the fuss about? If it was illegal, then the whole IMG should be investigated and all the players IMG represents should be asked about it.

Posted by skip1515 11/12/2010 at 08:04 PM

Pete, I agree with everything you wrote except the implication of "we all know that giving—especially the public giving of money—can be an act of shameless, socially approved egotism, or even hypocrisy, even if that doesn't taint the end result, which is helping others."

That is certainly true, but that's not the same as it's being true in this case. Unless you know Forstmann to be that type of ass – and you might – that statement is an unfair jump. He might be like that, or he might not and just be foolishly stupid, or stupidly foolish (take your pick).

Hubris is not *necessarily* the same thing as shameless, socially approved egotism or hypocrisy. Unfair accusations undermine the power of an otherwise very credible cry of j'accuse!, for which I give you lots of credit.

Posted by Andrew 11/12/2010 at 08:28 PM

This has been a weird 10% kind of scandal. There's a colorable "appearance of impropiety" aspect to what's been reported, but to be honest, it's all been second hand smoke with no fire.

I first came across Ted Forstman's name in the classic "Barbarians At The Gate" business book on the RJR Nabisco deal. He's a businessman with more money than G-d: a $10000 or $100000 bet would mean less to him than a $20 bet would mean to me. He's a regular in Federer's box during the US Open. I have no idea how close he actually is to Federer.

Tony Godsick, on the other hand, is slap bang in the middle of Federer's inner circle. Luthi, Paganini, Reto Staubli and Tony Godsick are the Praetorian Guard (Mirka is Empress, of course). I wrote in a Bercy thread about Federer reinventing himself as a brand: I think Godsick has played a very big role in this, and I think he had a big hand in renegotiating the very lucrative Nike deal, back in early 2008 I think.

There's not been a scintilla of evidence that Federer passed any significant non public information to Forstman. If I recall right, there was speculation that Federer was carrying a twinge into the final: he had looked shaky in his SF against Davydenko, and there was an (unsubstantiated) rumor that he had flown to Switzerland for treatment (Federer would withdraw from Halle after RG, citing an adductor strain). So it's within the realm of possibility that in a private conversation with Forstman, Federer told Forstman that he felt fit to play (and Forstman may have known of concern on that score), leading Forstman to up his bet. All this, mind, is just my own pure speculation.

But there's never been any suggestion that Federer passed any information to Forstman that he wasn't making public, and Federer has always played down suggestions that he's feeling injury (see this year at Wimbledon). There's no suggestion been made that Federer played any differently (in a major final!) than he would have done in any other circumstance, and we also have no evidence that Federer knew Forstman was betting on his matches. And it's acknowledged that Forstman was not breaching any regulation, because these were introduced after the event, in 2009.

Was Ted Forstman unwise to bet on matches involving clients of his company? Yes. Does it rise to the level of wrongdoing? I don't think so, unless anyone can produce evidence that any kind of action by a player or official was influenced - and so far, none has been produced.

And just as a BTW, "First Tiger, now Teddy?" We know that Roger Federer and Mirka spent part of their holiday with Elin Woods and her children earlier this year. If Federer's still in touch with Tiger Woods, as a friend of some years, I'd see that as a more honorable course of action, not less.

Posted by Amit 11/12/2010 at 08:40 PM


This has become a sort of "Caesar's wife needs to be beyond reproach" sort of indictment. Nothing illegal on Forstman's part; merely the appearance of impropriety. It may or may not impact Federer's business relations with IMG; however, I would not bet on Forstman being in Federer's box at the next US Open.

"If Federer's still in touch with Tiger Woods, as a friend of some years, I'd see that as a more honorable course of action, not less"

Entirely agree. Disapproval of Tiger's actions is one thing; righteous indignation in public (as in Tiger's case) quite another.

Posted by CWATC 11/12/2010 at 08:48 PM

Hmmmm . . . it's up to Roger to decide of course, but IMO it doesn't make too much sense to leave IMG. He's already a bit of a victim in this case, by leaving the agency that has done an outstanding job for him he would just be re-victimizing himself. Tony's done a great job, and is true inner circle as has been pointed out. And who says he wants to leave and go independant. Anyone seen Jerry McGuire - it ain't easy. I'm sure Tony wants a future w/ more clients; he used to represent Monica Seles, now Roger, who knows who's next?

If I were on the board of IMG I would vote to get rid of Forstmann, and perhaps the players, including Roger and Rafa, could put some pressure there if they like and desire.

Posted by Jay 11/12/2010 at 09:05 PM

Just got back on line...Sorry Annie, I'd have to see the contract. We don't hear much about clients suing to get out of a representation contract, but, if Roger makes the case that the agency (through its representatives) has diminished his public standing, rather than enhancing it (which is what they are presumably paid to do), I'd bet that he could get out of it, even if there are no express terms dealing with such a situation.

I wish that I was a sports/entertainment attorney! I did take entertainment law in school, but a few years later and I can't quite remember the fine line (if there is one) between agents and managers.

Posted by fedeerer is a DOPPER 11/12/2010 at 10:55 PM


FEDERERER shoudl not acusse NADAL OF doppign he DONT SEE HIM DO


IF federerre beted on hsi own math agaisnt NADAL AND than get his behind beat.



Posted by Old man Fed fan 11/12/2010 at 11:12 PM

What is going on with the old man? Reaching 3 finals in 4 weeks and now at first SF at paris indoor???? Is he crazy all of sudden? He doesn't look tired at all, so he may win Paris indoor as well since now that both Muzz and Djoker are out.

Dare we say Fed winning 3 tourneys and reaching 1 final in 5 weeks?? Old man Fed is the new Fat Dave/baldy Davy D. who wins everything post-US open.

Posted by Old man Fed fan 11/12/2010 at 11:19 PM

who can stop the old man?

Monfils? please.

Evil Sod? he's 1-zillion against the old man. Next!

Llodra? oh c'mon.

Fed 2010 paris indoor champ and therefore becomes the only ATP player to reach all 9 master series finals. Even Rafa can't claim that title. Fed also ties the all time record with Rafa. Ouch. dagger to the Rafa's back.

Fed: reach all 9 master series finals including both Shanghai/Madrid and Hamburg/Madrid, which means 11 different master series finals!!! Only missing Monte Carlo and Rome to complete the sweep. Won 7 out of 9 series.

Rafa: reach 8 master series finals including both Shanghai/Madrid and Hamburg/Madrid, which means 10 different master series finals. Only reached SF at Cincinnati. Need to win Miami, Cincinnati, and Paris to sweep. Won 6 out of 9 series.

The only area Rafa had over Fed was the master series records... oy. that's now gone, too.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/13/2010 at 12:06 AM

"The only area Rafa had over Fed was the master series records... oy. that's now gone, too."

Except for the 14-7 lead in H2H, 6-2 lead in H2H in majors, higher winning percentage in majors finals (9-2 versus 16-6), higher winning percentage in singles on the ATP tour, higher winning percentage in singles in Davis Cup play, an Olympic gold medal in singles play versus no such Olympic medal, etc.

Posted by Kombo 11/13/2010 at 01:06 AM

moooore bloooood!

Posted by Long John 11/13/2010 at 01:11 AM

Relax Manny, R vs R is like taking sides in Michelangelo vs DaVinci.

Forstmann was very foolish to bet on tennis in any capacity. But it's a miniscule vice. The greater mystery is that someone found out about it years later. Anyone know how it was exposed, exactly?

I doubt Fed would desert him if they are friends, over this. However Teddy had better be figuring what sorts of favors he's going to do for Fed (who needs none) and for how many years. In short, Ted owes Fed big time.

It's going to cost Ted plenty, but still just a drop in the bucket. Would be best if sends jewels, big and rare ones, to Mirka, with contrite apologies to the Fed family. Until it hurts. That would help. Godsick just picked up a couple more percents, too.

Posted by Long John 11/13/2010 at 01:25 AM

Um, just saw the youtube interview. Not good for Ted. Exposed by the bet-taker. And not really sorry about the action, only the effect. Could be trouble.

Posted by fedeerer is a DOPPER 11/13/2010 at 01:37 AM






Posted by oknsadc 11/13/2010 at 02:05 AM

What? A corporate raider throwing money around doing unethical and illegal things? Who has ever heard of such a thing?
There are too many scumbags like them and Federer should've ran away a long time ago. These guys are just in it for the thrill and to show off their "abilities" (read luck), whether in sports gambling, stockmarkets, or selling toxic debt to fools like us (guess there are all the same activities). Its time they clamp down on these guys, and impose meaningful fines on criminals, ie penalties as a % of their actual wealth.

Posted by Eric 11/13/2010 at 02:12 AM

For those who wonder about the Federer implication: apparently, the bet-taker explicitly alleges in his lawsuit that Forstmann was betting more than his usual amount on Federer-Nadal. Agate claims he asked Forstmann why he was betting so much and that Forstmann said he had spoken with Federer. The idea is that he had gotten inside information.

From that latest Forstmann's interview, it's clear the guy tends to promptly put foot in his own mouth while trying to explain things away (a gambling addict claiming this was just a one-off bet):

"The facts are that almost four years, 3 1/2 years, ago, I made A bet on A friend of mine to win a tournament I was extremely enthusiastic about, and rooting for him and so on," he said, emphasizing the word A. "That's it. And I made it through this guy (Agate) because I don't know a bookmaker or anything ... The bet was larger than I usually bet ..."

After Forstmann said the bet was for $40,000, the interviewer went on: Your typical bet would have been ....?"
"Five," Forstmann said.

Posted by Or 11/13/2010 at 02:39 AM

Hi Andrew -

Full marks for remembering the 'flying back to Switzerland for treatment'. We were talking about it quite a bit at the time - I had forgotten, but I remember it well. Good pick up.

Posted by Corrie 11/13/2010 at 02:42 AM

"R vs R is like taking sides in Michelangelo vs DaVinci."

Sorry it's OT but this is a delightfully succinct summary of the absurdity of Fedal wars.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/13/2010 at 03:14 AM

Saying that, "[t]he only area Rafa had over Fed was the master series records... oy. that's now gone, too," would be like some jackass proclaiming that da Vinci decorated the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in a much better fashion than did Michelangelo.

Coming up with the above statements is not conducive to establishing credibility with anyone who counts.

Posted by gamegrrle 11/13/2010 at 03:51 AM

...and who counts the ones who count? Is that something that you alone determine?

Posted by tennis muse 11/13/2010 at 04:24 AM

Actually, comparing Federer to Nadal is more like comparing Michelangelo to Attila the Hun... although poor Attila had to do without the benefits of performance-enhancing drugs, and was at least capable of crossing the street without holding his uncle's hand.

Posted by jackson 11/13/2010 at 04:47 AM

But. But. But Old man Fed fan, I thought slams were the only things that mattered to Fed and his fans, that all these mickey mouse minor tourneys were but mere warm-ups. That Fed's 16 slams is the only record that counts. Isn't that what you and your cohorts say every time Rafa's HTH dominance is brought up?

Posted by Amalgam 11/13/2010 at 05:31 AM

"Isn't that what you and your cohorts say every time Rafa's HTH dominance is brought up?"


Posted by genetica 11/13/2010 at 07:09 AM

I have a feeling that Nadal is not going to win any gs next year

Posted by Great tennis 11/13/2010 at 08:07 AM

I have a feeling that Federer is not going to win any gs next year
He only can win when Nadal is not there

Posted by nyc 11/13/2010 at 08:10 AM

What about Nadal! He's also an IMG client and he was bet against!

Posted by Great tennis 11/13/2010 at 08:19 AM

"What about Nadal!"

RELAX!, it's a Federer's problem, no Nadal

Posted by just another troll 11/13/2010 at 09:38 AM

tennis muse,

you are awesome and spot on, a juiced up Attila the Hun indeed, i am still LOLing.

Posted by Beautiful tennis 11/13/2010 at 09:55 AM

tennis muse, still LOLing, brilliant post!

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/13/2010 at 10:00 AM

"R vs R is like taking sides in Michelangelo vs DaVinci."

Sorry it's OT but this is a delightfully succinct summary of the absurdity of Fedal wars.
Except for the fact that Da Vinci is not a surname of the artist actually known as Leonardo. (Sorry, major peeve)

Posted by Beautiful tennis 11/13/2010 at 10:04 AM

manuelsantanafan still going strong I see, good for you. It doesn't matter that with the %s in play I could come up with countless statistics Fed has over Nadal, msf just soldiers on with eyes and ears covered.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/13/2010 at 10:22 AM

Not hard to "soldier on" and prevail when addressing idiotic statements such as: "The only area Rafa had over Fed was the master series records... oy. that's now gone, too."

I thought that this thread was devoted to a topic other than the relative merits of Rafa and Federer. I'm not the poster who introduced this topic by injecting palpable absurdities.


What do you (and/or the paladins of Art Humanities classes) consider a preferable way to refer to the artist also known as Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci?

Posted by thebigapple 11/13/2010 at 10:26 AM

"R vs R is like taking sides in Michelangelo vs DaVinci."

There was a deep humour in that statement. It was quite correct in characterizing the R and R debate.

Who is DaVinci compared to Michelangelo?

Surely it was not a reference to Leonardo of Vinci. This guy DaVinci is a friend of the little known bricklayer called as Michelangelo DaItaly.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/13/2010 at 10:33 AM

Well, it would be Michelangelo v. Leonardo. As for characterizing a tennis debate, clearly there was deep humor involved. Yes, what a joke!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/13/2010 at 10:41 AM

If this thread is going to go off-topic, might as well go total walkabout and devote some attention (or not) to a Phoenix Suns/television announcer/etc. post/thread I found much more interesting and amusing.

Among some of the better portions of the thread:

Channing Frye to Steve Nash: "Hey Steve, you know something about like movies and acting, right?"
Steve Nash to Channing Frye: "Little bit, hey you may wanna pick up your guy..."
Channing Frye to Steve Nash: "So what did you think of that commercial I did for that grocery store?"
Steve Nash to Channing Frye: "You &^%$@ing sucked."

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/13/2010 at 10:48 AM

one thought about the 'ridiculous' Fedal wars... why is it ridiculous? is this not sports? why should tennis fans not act like any other sports fan, rather than politlely sitting on their hands, acting like 'oh i love both' nonsense?

Lakers vs. Celtics, yankees vs. red sox, etc etc

i just think this high and mighty judgment actin like their should be no Fedal 'wars' is a little much, and is basically saying tennis isnt a sport, and its fans should like all players equally... talk about ridiculous!

Posted by daniel 11/13/2010 at 10:52 AM


all lovely stats for rafa. sadly for rafa fans, ones tennis being effective isn't necessarily the same as being of high quality.

Posted by thebigapple 11/13/2010 at 10:53 AM

Nice match, eh!

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/13/2010 at 11:01 AM

epic fail TW! no Bercy semifinal thread?

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/13/2010 at 11:06 AM

Tim - if nobody's mentioned it, Bercy match call has been on the previous thread.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/13/2010 at 11:12 AM

daniel posts:

"sadly for rafa fans, ones tennis being effective isn't necessarily the same as being of high quality."

daniel, what point are you trying to make?

Are you insinuating that Rafa's tennis isn't of high quality?

Are you putting forth the absurdity that Rafa has won nine majors and reached the No. 1 ranking without playing "high-quality" tennis?

Posted by fedfanatic 11/13/2010 at 11:30 AM

Can people believe this kind of stuff is out there?

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/13/2010 at 11:49 AM

msf it means that rafa's style is clearly 'effective' re the 9 Slams--cupcakes aside--though not that watchable, ie, high quality, as maybe Fed's game ... its been said a thousand times you dont have to agree of course ...

i have to say, i have a good friend who loves rafa and i always ask her why, and she says 'he's so passionate!'

that really says it all for me, the guy just turns her on with his body language, competitiveness, etc. but she never says a thing about his forehand!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/13/2010 at 11:56 AM

Hi, Tim:

I beseech you to get back to watching the Fed match so that you not miss one bit of Federer's brilliance.

Just cuz he missed a volley that Roche could have executed with one hand on his walker.

What's going on with Monfils?

Already, an injury break?

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/13/2010 at 12:38 PM

im sure we're all just looking forward to admiring rafa's 'passion' in London! lol ...

Monfils is such a tool, when he can hit with this firepower, why all yera long does he hit with moonpies 20 feet behind the baseline? just shows how week by week the tour is a grind and mental powers mean everything ...

ace, double, ace, double, ugh Moonpie Monfils

not Fred's day today, low energy ... lets hope for a Monfie meltdown!

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/13/2010 at 12:50 PM

pissy Fed in da howse! what's he snippin about? eh Fed get some rest ... off color Fred indeed, and Monfils serving out of a tree, but very low energy Rog today and of course the forehand is a mess ... keep fightin Rog!

Posted by Old man Fed fan 11/13/2010 at 02:25 PM

I see that I jumped the gun too fast. Didn't see the old man losing to Monfils. oy. oy. oy. He had match points. The trend continues after a brief break for a few months.

Posted by CL 11/13/2010 at 04:03 PM

Is it possible to OD on tennis and tension?

We were w/out internet for much of today...just as well...and I am sure everyone else has already made the following points, but just in case.

- Nightmares revisited or DejaVu all over again: Fed's muffed DS in the 1 set tie breaker was a '10 Madrid re-wind, and the botched FH into the net on MP # 3(?) was The Rome final of '06 come back to haunt Fed fans.

- Necks - Gael Monfils should hire a special masseuse to GIVE him a stiff neck before matches. It seemed to concentrate his mind wonderfully.

- Somewhere Mrs. Santa is cackling.

It seemed to me that both Fed and Gael...but especially Fed, were very tight and nervous throughout the entire match. Roger never really looked comfortable out there and much credit must go to Gael for keeping him uncomfortable. But I think Roger REALLY wanted this - its a fairly big hole in his resume, and the nervousness crept into his groundies an awful lot, especially at the end. Its a good thing he doesn't have cats and I am sure Mirka will keep the kiddies in a safe zone until Daddy has found his own take out his frustration on.

Gael's serve was sensational - even when Fed started to read it better and get more returns in play, he really couldn't seem to force the issue. And even given all those SECOND serves Gael coughed up in the third set, Fred Fed couldn't make any hay out of them.

Its a good thing I have a fairly full head of hair because I pulled at it a lot as Fed choked/brain cramped away that third set. Again, full props for Gael...he looked like he was done, but he found a way back in, and although Fred gave up way too many UFEs and couldn't convert at the end, you have to acknowledge that Gael WON some of those PMs... 3.5 out of 5, I would say...the rest...Fed donated. Having MPs on your opponent's serve is no gimmee...though a couple of those FHs were. **le sigh**

Still, there has been quite a bit of upside for Fed fans this past month or so...and I would even include Shanghai in that up tick in his game. I hope PA has some words of wisdom to help assuage this pretty bitter pill. Fed is usually pretty good at keeping things in perspective...some might say he is also pretty good at denial...but this one has to hurt.

As for tomorrow's to pick? Both guys played tough physically and emotionally demanding matches. Normally I would give Robin the nod because his serve wins him so many cheap points, but the way Stiff Necked Gael served today...too tough to call.

Posted by daniel 11/13/2010 at 07:17 PM


that's exactly what im saying. thanks to the match up with federer he has so many advantages he simply needs to hook balls to a one handed backhand and its easy mode. without federer, nadal would probably have 2-3 majors.

Posted by 2kool 11/14/2010 at 01:33 AM

It's all quite simple really, Forstmann was obviously placing illegal bets for Federer, and they would split the winnings later. 20k or 30k bets is loose change for Fed, but Forstmann still felt the need to ring him just in case.Fed should know better than to bet on his matches, it is illegal and it could undermine the game. I just wonder how many times this went on, it should be investigated.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/14/2010 at 10:27 AM

At 7:17, daniel posts:

". . . without federer, nadal would probably have 2-3 majors."

Rafa has reached the finals of 11 majors. Only once has he had to go thru Federer to reach these finals.

Taking Federer out of the equation, Rafa would have reached a minimum of ten majors finals.

And according to you, Rafa would have won only two or three of those finals.

Rafa has already defeated three finalists not named Federer in majors finals.

So, according to you, Rafa would have been good enough to reach the other 7 finals, yet lost them all.

Are you enjoying your life in Fantasyland?

Posted by embug 11/14/2010 at 11:06 AM

Thanks for this post, Pete.

I don't quite understand why Forstmann would bet, like at all. Okay, anyone can place a bet. But why would he? Doesn't need the money. Is it thrilling? Does it satisfy a craving?

Finally ... isn't it a huge conflict of interest? If so, why does this guy still have a job? Ethical suicide should be punishable with a thin pink slip.

Posted by AB 11/18/2010 at 01:32 PM

Very late to this thread, but if anyone wants to read a well-researched article about the Huggy Bear tennis tournament, which was started by Ted Forstmann's late brother, Nick, read this gem from New York Magazine by Julie Baumgold:

Ted Forstmann is a gambling addict. 15 years ago, he and his ilk were tossing around 100s of thousands of dollars at this private tournament. Please note the pros who were there. Annacone, anyone? Jmac? The pros at the top know a lot more about Ted Forstmann's gambling habits and no one is talking.

Amounts are not the issue. Tax evasion and the obvious conflict of interest are the keys. The guy suing could be both a crackpot and telling the truth. These are not mutually exclusive.

There is a story here.

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