Every time I attend a tournament, I am struck by the fact that journalists, on the whole, have not particularly endeared themselves (er....ourselves) to players. I wish I could say that the players are being unfair. That we provide the invaluable service of exposure for the sport (which we do) and that the occasional prying question like, “Can you tell us EXACTLY what was in that personal e-mail from Rafa?” is all part of a day’s work.
But the truth is that the top players and even some of the not-so-top players are consistently asked questions by credentialed individuals who simply want to be able to say “I asked Rafael Nadal a QUESTION! And he answered me!” That would be fine, of course, if they didn’t ask things like, “Were you hot out there?” on a 100 degree day.
I bring this up because Roger is particularly deft at handling the more pedestrian questions in the press room, a fact I was reminded of again this week. And if I’m being perfectly honest, he needn’t be. Andy Roddick certainly doesn’t suffer fools lightly in there. And as much as I criticize Roddick for his on-court behavior, I can’t blame him much for what he says to journalists. What can one say when confronted with, “Do you feel like your serve is one of the keys to your matches?” We could try the patience of a saint...and Andy Roddick is no saint.
And that brings me back to Fed. The man commands a room like nobody I’ve ever seen. And I mean that in the most literal way possible. I’ve never been in a room with Prince William, but I imagine his effect on people is similar. People sit up straighter, women fluff their hair and check their lip gloss (ahem), and men lean forward when he speaks. I am not exaggerating.
He clearly knows this. He’s smart and he’s self-aware. He knows that people are trying to impress him and that he FOR SURE impresses them. Yet he does his best to answer each question seriously. Even the idiotic ones. And while he exudes an unmistakable aura of self-confidence, he is scrupulously polite, a consummate professional even while staring straight in the face of the inane.
I don’t often ask questions at pressers and I’m not one to be star-struck, but I try to go to all of Federer’s simply because I enjoy watching him “at work”. And despite what you may have heard, it is NOT because I am becoming increasingly obsessed with the perfection of his hair.
Sat 06/07 06:31
Tennistalk says farewell
Thu 06/06 04:05
Novak Djokovic's unsung hero
Tue 21/05 15:52
Another Federer and Nadal match disappoints
Fri 17/05 18:03
Bill Tilden and the effects of moral bankruptcy on a legacy
Tue 19/03 21:01
Professor Federer teaches us a thing or two
Mon 18/03 15:43
Nadal makes the cleverest comeback in tennis history
Fri 01/02 22:00
Nadal's return at Vina del Mar
Thu 15/11 16:54
Federer and company make no room at the top for youth
Tue 11/09 20:24
Murray joins the ranks of Grand Slam elite
Fri 17/08 19:45
There is something about Roger Federer
Mon 13/08 23:05
Tennistalk is in Cincinnati again
Tue 12/06 16:21
The French Open, Nadal's personal playground
Wed 09/05 14:58
Novak Djokovic takes up skating at the Madrid ice rink
Thu 29/03 14:30
Nadal and Spain give French TV a punch in the mouth
|1. Djokovic||12 500 pts|
|2. Murray||8 750 pts|
|3. Federer||8 670 pts|
|4. Ferrer||6 970 pts|
|5. Nadal||6 385 pts|
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