Dhe latest news from Roger Federer has not been reassuring for his fans. The current knee injury is so severe that he is likely to miss Wimbledon in 2022. With his hoped-for return to the field in the late summer of next year, he would have reached the old age of competitive athletes of almost 41 years. Federer, who has always been very interested in his position in the history of tennis, is faced with a delicate decision in a few months at the latest: Should he risk in the hope of a brilliant comeback, as he did in 2017, instead with the humiliating last one To be remembered for appearances? Björn Borg made this mistake once and he regretted it.
Federer biographers are faced with the similarly difficult question of when is the best and last time to present the authoritative book on the Swiss. After his resignation, interest will eventually wane quickly. The fact that Christopher Clarey, the experienced sports correspondent for the New York Times, is now going on the market with his comprehensive look at Federer’s career can also be seen as a kind of bet on the outcome of the Swiss’s decision.
In one word: looseness
Clarey, who enjoys access to all tennis celebrities, has spared no research efforts in the best American fashion. He talked to dozen of Federer’s companions, confidants, business partners and opponents from different generations of players in order to trace the path of the comprehensively promoted talent from Basel to one of the highest earning athletes in the world. Some things are well-known from the extensive Federer literature, others are fresh and illuminating. for example the portrayal of the photographer Ella Ling, whom Federer was initially reluctant to photograph because he mostly kept his emotions hidden on the square; Her attitude only changed when she noticed that Federer’s facial features hardly change even at the moment of impact, but appear relaxed despite all the development of strength.
This observation leads directly to the core of Federer’s effect: In tennis, he is completely with himself, his movements seem effortless. You don’t even notice how fast it is because it moves so naturally. Federer even suffered from the fact that everything looks easy for him because that suggests the erroneous conclusion that he doesn’t have to work hard.
Clarey makes it plausible that the snapshot of the tennis court can be transferred as a character study to the whole person Federer: If you had to bring your personality to a single term, it would be looseness. Just as the son of a South African mother and a Swiss father sweats little during his games, does not moan and hardly grimaces, so naturally and calmly he meets people of all prominence levels. His multilingualism and impeccable behavior on the pitch – apart from a few exceptions, his loss of composure – have contributed to his popularity, as has the fact that he comes from Switzerland, a country that arouses positive emotions almost everywhere in the world. Federer transcends patriotic tendencies: when he competes in tournaments against players who come from the respective country, it is by no means determined who the audience’s sympathies are for. In order to serve as a figure of identification for fans all over the world, Federer has always avoided expressing himself politically. An attitude that could be more difficult to maintain in the future; When Fridays for Future criticized him, the position of Federer, who flies around the globe with his family and entourage, turned out to be rather tortuous.