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Federer Fan Story: Phantom at the Swiss Indoors 2014

Thank you Jonathan for giving me this opportunity to share my recent experience of ‘how I met Roger Federer’. Well, in this post I will mainly highlight how the whole unexpected journey started rather than describing about Roger Federer's game as we all know very well and how Jonathan always writes beautifully in his peRFect blog.

Here is my story about how I met Roger Federer.

PART 1: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!

To meet a person like Roger Federer or any celebrity for that matter is not impossible. Everything is possible if you are at the right place at the right time with bit of luck. But it was not how I imagined it at the first place. It is our human nature and that’s why we normally say “it’s my dream to meet roger Federer one day.” So to meet him eventually and exchanging few words was quite a big deal for me.

Well, this is how my dream becomes reality. Few months ago my wife showed me the amazing deal from Qatar Airways for Europe. The deal was for two cities – Zurich and Oslo. Since we both love Federer and Switzerland, it was very easy for us to finalise our destination – Zurich. And the first thing came to our mind was Swiss Indoor Basel. We quickly checked the dates for the tournament and we booked our flight tickets accordingly. We were very happy that we are going to Switzerland and we would possibly see Roger play in his hometown. Though we have seen him play in Melbourne in 2013, it’s always not enough LOL. We were confident that Federer will reach in quarters as per his recent form. We were quite confident and we thought we will book the tickets later. Big mistake. After few days when we checked online, the tickets were sold out. We were shattered. We thought we are going all the way to Basel and we will miss this golden chance.

Our tight schedule started from Zurich – Lausanne – Paris and ended in Basel. As per our schedule we arrived at night in Basel on 23rd October with big hope that we might get lucky. We were positive. We went to catch the local tram and we saw all the Swiss Indoors Basel ATP 500 flags/flyers outside of the main train station. We were more existed the fact that we are now in Roger Federer's home town. It was hard to believe. Though Basel is third largest city after Zurich and Geneva, we felt like we had arrived in small town where people are not rushing like major big cities.

It was rather normal and not really crowded. After some time we realize people were giving smiles and few told us “ Are you Roger Federer Fan?” we were like “How do you know?”. Then we realize that I was wearing RF cap with RF T-shirt and definitely looked like tourist who must be here in the small town for the tournament. That was our first encounter with friendly local crowd. We reached to our apartment and checked in net whether Federer has survived his 3rd round? He did and now he was going to play Grigor Dimitrov. Later we met apartment owner who unfortunately not that big Roger Federer fan. We asked him that all the tickets were sold out; do you think we have any real chance to get the tickets for tomorrow’s match? He gave some hope.

He said there is super market called Migros (which is everywhere in Switzerland) so maybe you go there and check early morning as they also sell tickets. The next morning, I rushed to the nearest Migros market to find out whether they really sell any tickets or not. I reached there and ask the cashier lady. The problem was she could only speck Swiss German.

I said: “Roger Federer …… Swiss Indoors….. Federer …… Federer ….. Tennis..”

Now she understood but asked her coworker to check what I exactly wanted as she couldn't communicate. The other lady came and told me that they don’t sell tickets here but asked me to go to the bigger Migros market located inside the city square and try my luck. She was kind enough to rush and wrote the address for me. I was so happy, I hugged her. I was mesmerized by her nice gesture. I couldn't believe it. But the job was half done. Now I have to rushed to the city square to find the bigger Migros. We took the next tram and I couldn't help but asked the person standing right beside me about the address. He politely said he knows and he is also going there to buy his breakfast.

We followed him and reached to the ticket corner and asked whether we are still lucky enough to grab two tickets. The lady smiled and told us YES!! There were ONLY two seats available. Now we couldn't freaking believe that we are going to see Roger – Dimi match. It was like written in the stars that we will see Roger play. And it all happened for good karma – the friendly lady in Migros – the guy in tram – and just two tickets available!!!

St Jakobshalle Basel

We considered our self extremely lucky because that day we saw Nadal lost to young kid and Federer won to Dummy-trov. We reached there and saw the 2nd quarter final between Ivo Karlovic vs Benjamin Becker. Man the Karlovic guy was serving bombs. I couldn't believe with his serving speed. It was bullet. He won eventually. Now we were waiting for 3rd Quarter final between Rafa and Borna Coric to come. To be very honest with you guys, I found Dull’s game extremely boring. And it’s not that I am big Roger Federer fan but it’s true. It was very irritating to see him does his usual routine before every serve. For fun we took his photos while he was serving and send it to our friend who likes Nadal. The crowd was amazing. Everyone was supporting the 17 years old kid. We were amazed the way he played the first set. He almost gave Dull a bagel.

I was sitting beside this family who came from Germany – Father and two sons. One brother likes Nadal (who was sat besides me) and the other likes Federer so does his father. Every time Nadal lost his serves, points we high-five which irritated the elder brother. He didn't like the way Nadal was playing and he was covering his face with his cap. Eventually Nadal lost and the crowd went nuts. It was like big celebration going on. The irritated brother told me that Federer will also lose to Dimi. Well he was wrong.

Now everyone was waiting for “Prince of Basel” to come to play. First Dimi came. The atmosphere was mind-blowing. The music was going on loud. On the big screen they were showing Federer's past victories in Basel. And they announce for Federer the usual stuff like “please welcome the 17 times GS champion, the five times Swiss Indoors Basel Open champion…etc..” but the most touching moment when you are there at the stadium when the announcer said : “ THIS IS HOME … Roger Federerrrr” woooow, it was extremely emotional moment if you are there and witness Roger’s entry. We were not surprised the fact that the guy is loved so much by locals and who ever came to see him play. Priceless 🙂 . The lights were on Roger.

The Prince of Basel

They played thrilling first set and the second set was more like formality from Fed. We were sat on the side of the court and boy, we couldn't believe how fast Roger is? It was a pleasure to see his footwork and speed. The way he retrieve the ball and how deep he return to opponents. We enjoyed the matches of that day and went home happily knowing Nadal lost and Fed won. We skipped the semis as we also wanted to see bit of Switzerland and we thought we will see him in the finals since we know where to buy tickets now. (The other reason was the tickets are freaking expensive LOL)

Federer Forehand Basel

Saturday we came very late and first thing we checked whether Federer is in the final or not? When we learnt that he is in the final we thought great, now we will go and buy tickets tomorrow morning. But we realized that Sunday all the major markets were close. We were like what to do next. Though we have seen him play, we didn't want to miss this chance to see him lift the trophy in his home town. The match was scheduled at 2:30 pm. the owner told us that there is only one outlet is open and that is main tourist information centre at Basel train station. We went there to check but the lady told us “Sorry, Roger is in the final so everything is booked. Not a single ticket left. At that time my wife was bit upset more than me LOL. She really wanted to see Federer play in final and win. She really wanted to witness his victory. I was quite surprised by her reaction and at the same time happy that she was very serious about the finals.

Champions in Basel

She said let’s go to the stadium, we will buy the most expensive one if we have to. We went to the stadium. We saw many people were holding “ticket” signages as they also wanted to go inside the stadium. We were like screwed. We thought we will not get any tickets. We went and check at the ticket corner and boy oh boy we couldn’t believe that we got the tickets for finals. Some people cancelled their tickets at the last moment. The tickets that we bought were bit expensive but that time we thought who cares, the final is the most important thing right now. We both were jumping like little kids. Now we really wanted Fed to win which he did it in less than one hour LOL. It was fast – game – set – match – Roger Federer – the six time Basel Open Champion.

I am taking picture of 2014 Champion Roger Federer
I am taking picture of 2014 Champion Roger Federer

This could have been ended right there. We would have left the venue happily knowing that we have witnessed Roger Federer wins the home tourney which is very close to his heart. These are few tournaments which he takes it very seriously every year and this is one of them. While we were leaving the stadium, one gentleman who was working during this event asked us whether we are interested in the Tennis Year Book 2014. We said no but then I asked him whether any chance to get Roger Federer's autograph? Because I remember this year Jonathan posted Ruchi’s story during Halle tourney. I guessed may be he does the same in all the smaller events. The guy smiled and said Roger is a busy guy and you may have to wait for hours. He also said that Roger normally goes to meet media process/ formalities and later meet his fan but this time he has not done it this year and he usually leave stadium from the front door. We tried our luck and went to the place where all the fans were waiting. We got the location and we rushed there hoping we will meet him.

PART 2: HOLLY S#!T … IT IS POSSIBLE!

We reached there and hoping Federer will come out soon. We waited like half an hour and the first familiar face we came across was Mr Mohamed Lahyani. Extremely funny character as he liked people attention. He liked to talk to people. He approached his car where I was standing and I didn’t know why but I told him “I like the way you say ‘Rooger Fedderrr’”. He laughed, goodbye the crowd and told his driver “next stop London.”

After few minutes left, we saw Severin Lüthi came out to collect something from the car. Few people rushed to take his autograph. I was one of them and I got his autograph on my RF cap.

The next person leaving was poor Goffin. He looked unhappy but people were cheering him. He then smiled and started giving people autograph. I shook his hand and wished him luck for the future tourneys. He quietly said “Thanks you”. He was kind enough to allow me to take a photo with himself. I personally like Goffin as a person. He has this same attitude like Federer. He looks down to earth kind of guy. Hope he wins more in future.

With Goffin

It’s been two hours and it was freaking cold outside. People were kept telling security whether Federer is coming from this exit or from the main door? Is he really coming or not? I saw all kinds of people –very small kids, young couples, and old people were waiting for him with posters, tennis balls, RF hats. The exit door was accessed by VIP and club members. Every time somebody opened the door, people started cheering like it was Federer. Now more and more people are coming to see Federer.

It was already dark outside and we thought he may not come this time. He must be having media interview and then may be gym/massage etc. we thought we should leave now. And suddenly someone just opened the door and rushed to the public like he belongs to that group. When we opened our eyes, we realized “no shit, he is Federer”. Now the worst part was I didn’t have pen that he could sign, I didn’t have any sort of card or poster or photos of him that he can sighed because we weren't prepared. Also it was too late to run and collect the tennis Book of the Year. He was approaching very fast where I was standing. I was in the front row waiting for him, wanted to talk to him but I was freaking blank. He has this charisma that you want to say so many things but when he stands in front of you, you become speechless.

All I had was ticket where he could sign. When he was signing autograph to the people besides me, I realized that I am wearing RF cap. I quickly removed and wait for my turn. Now he came and stand in front of me. Now it was my turn. The whole Roger Federer saga went through my mind. I was like this is it. This is what I wanted so badly since 2006 where I became diehard Roger Federer fan. The same person who is responsible for my love of tennis game, because of the same person I started following and playing tennis. Because of the same person I left cricket/ Sachin Tendulkar and started following Tennis. He is the same guy who has given so many Sundays to celebrate.

Now He was right in front of me about 1 feet away.

Now the moment of truth

He looked at me and smiled. I gave him my RF cap where he signed his first autograph. He was so gracious signing autograph. He allow people come up to certain space and make sure every single person will leave with something which they treasure rest of their life. People were shouting: “ Roger Roger Roger”….. I wanted to say something to him. I couldn't help it but I started conversation:

“Hey Roger, all the best for your future tourneys and hope you have great time in India”

He smiled and told me: “Thanks …yes, I am extremely looking forward to my trip to India”

Now he was signing autographs to people besides me. And I was like “no this can’t be it”. I wanted more autograph, I still wanted to talk to him. I realized that I was wearing one of his RF t-shirt. I removed my jacket and ask Roger to come and sighed on the t-shirt.

I said “Hey Roger, can you sign on your RF T-shirt?”

He actually came back and signed on my left shoulder.

He told me “it’s not mine, it’s your t-shirt. Enjoy”

He smiled and left.

I was flattered. I thought he will leave very quickly and may not come back but he did.

Fed Signed

It was literally a big shock. We weren't prepared for it to personally meet Federer, getting his autograph and exchanging few lines. The life is unpredictable. We left the venue happily. Basel becomes our favourite place in Switzerland.

Thank you Roger for giving this moment which I will cherish for rest of my life. Next time I will be more prepared to meet you 🙂

Hope you guys like my Roger Federer fan story and sorry for the lengthy post 🙂

Lots of love to all peRFect Tennis Blog family.

Phantom (Priyank Desai)

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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116 thoughts on “Federer Fan Story: Phantom at the Swiss Indoors 2014”

  1. Amazing Story, what a great thing happened to you my friend, and Roger as always spectacular behaivior, that is why we all do respect him and love him.

  2. Phantom, thank you so much for this story & all the details. I love “Roger is playing, everything is sold out”. And I love that you included the photos of the items he signed! Your excitement really comes through. & it’s wonderful to hear how gracious he is in person.

    It also occurs to me that the impact of this guy is even more stunning than I had realized. Heck, he’s single-handedly having an effect on the entire economy of Basel!

    1. Thanks Thinker,
      I liked your last sentence . around this time there are platy of thing going on in Basel. Local fairs going on up to late night and of course the swissindoors open. It was extrimly lovey to go to Basel. Lovely place with good people.

  3. Great story Phantom – what a guy, always has time for his fans, and TWO signatures: your persistence paid off 🙂
    I remember a fan story (not this site) from a guy who took his grandson to Cincinatti, and Federer spent an hour signing autographs, and actually gave his grandson his own hat, signed of course: how sweet was that?

  4. Great story Phantom. Thanks for the share.

    Off topic- did you guys see the awards- Federer got the Fans Favourite (as usual) for the record 12th STRAIGHT year. And get this, he got 65% of all the votes. The ENTIRE bunch of players got to split 35% of the votes. Now that’s something. What a whitewash. 33, out of his prime and still destroying all the awards.

    Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship for the 10th time too. Dayum.

    1. Yeah Dimitrov beat Djoker too. I bet Novak is firing his PR team as we speak. Needs to arrange more camera time with One Direction to get the teenage girl vote I think 😆

      1. What was the split for the Sportsmanship award? I want to know how his peers voted this time. Someone mentioned that Dimitrov was in the running for the award? Wonder why that would be.

        I’ll tell you this; Roger’s 10 Sportsmanship awards beat Nadal’s 9 RG titles hands down.

        And…I still can’t believe he took two thirds of the fan favorite vote! I mean, the rest of the guys are fighting so hard to be loved.

    2. And , also, the so called EXPERT can say whatever they want about the GOATness…..2/3 of the world, every year express their opinion about WHO IS THE ONE….and including the rest of the tennis field express also, thru the SE Award

  5. Nice article, Phantom…the ghost who blogs 🙂

    “Eventually Nadal lost and the crowd went nuts. It was like big celebration going on.”

    This one made my day. They love him there in Basel, don’t they? 🙂

    1. Thanks Sid,

      Ya they really love Dull 🙂
      Its all media hype. Infact one of the reason that kid won because he got an amazing support from crowd except one of the brother who was seating besides me LOL..

  6. Love this story Phantom! So immediate, in the moment! I can just see you and yr wife running round Basel, that sense of panic/excitement rising up within! And what perseverance to get his autograph twice!! Great memories for yr trip! What a star he is!
    On another note, can’t believe he had to put with crummy Arsenal giving away a last minute draw!!? At least Basel won!
    The top 8 are all practising at Queens, it’s all getting very serious!!
    Fingers crossed for 5 wins for Roger, 4 wins for Stan ( Swiss final anyone?)and a massive form boost for the Davis Cup! Our own Roger Cup does indeed runneth over!!

  7. What a great story. The tennis Gods were on your side! No surprise Roger won the SE award and fan fav. He is so loved around the world. Soaking it up. Love, love, love these stories.

  8. For a second, when I read the header for the first time, I thought the ‘Phantom’ referred to Federer. Cool title, gotta say.

  9. Love your story, Phantom alias Pryank Desai.
    Thanks for sharing it with us.
    And I agree with your opinion on David Goffin.
    He’s a very nice person.

  10. Really loved this piece, great work Phantom!

    Seeing Roger play yet alone meeting him is already a very overwhelming experience so how very lucky you are! The very unique thing about Roger is that he can play any round/any match that will probably be forgettable to him but to a fan or spectator, it is one of the most single important memories they will with-hold for their life. That applies to me at least. It would be such a dream to speak to Roger, and I myself have tried when I go to Melbourne for the Open but it’s quite hard to do in a slam where there are a tonne of people and in the hot sun out in the practice courts, nevertheless I’ll keep trying. I do hope that every fan does get to see Roger play at least once in their lifetime, the moment he steps out onto the court is a moment that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Also you seem like a very good omen for Fed, you should attend more matches 😀

    Alysha

    1. Thanks Alysha, you are absolutely right.
      Roger will sure forget that XYZ matches but for us we will never ever forget.
      I have been to Oz Open in 2013 but its very dificult to meet him. Its very crowded as its GS.
      I hope and would like to attend more matches but I can’t afford tickets for all the tournaments he plays LOL.
      May be he should finance for his future chances : )

    2. Thanks Alysha,

      It was extremely overwhelming to experience this.
      You are right, Federer will not remember those matches but we will sure remember for rest of our life.
      I have been to Oz Open in 2013. But it is very hard to meet him as its GS.
      I would like to attend his all matches require he pay for my tickets LOL

  11. Surely it isn’t only me, got emotional reading the post and imagining everything Phantom went through? The excitement and joy he and his wife experienced in Basel? That’s what Fed makes his fans – emotional.

    ‘Mission impossible’ accomplished! Great writing, congrats Phantom, thanks for sharing. I liked the autograph part, especially this line; “The whole Roger Federer saga went through my mind.” 😀

  12. Nope they are wrong.

    Djokovic’s present points = 1160
    Djokovic’s present points = 9860

    Federer wins WTF undefeated – 8700 + 1500 = 10200

    Federer maximum points = 10200 + 225 = 10425

    Now if Djokovic were to win three group matches or win his semis he would get to at least 10460 assuring him of the year end number 1. Now that means let us assume he wins two group matches and then loses in the semis. Then his total will be 10260

    That means if Federer were to win the WTF undefeated and then win one singles tie then he would cross Djokvoic.

    In essence Federer just needs 75 points from the Davis Cup. Even if Federer wins both his singles matches as live rubbers it would not change the result in anyway.

    1. Not sure I understood your explanation, but just to be clear, what you’ve explained could give Federer the No.1 ranking, not the Year End No.1.

  13. FAO the Phantom! !!! May I take this opportunity to say Thank you to your account of meeting Roger Federer and what you had to do to the great man himself.
    Thanks goes out to Jonathan for letting him post your journey. So big up to Jonathan and all the other fellow who posted their account of watching and or meeting up with the GOAT. I personally think it’s generous of Jonathan for putting up these type of articles as we get to read first hand experience of emotions of the ups and downs watching a true legend of the game, and he is still not finished. . Thumbs up 🙂 and may it long continue.
    Anyway I have to say I really enjoyed reading your experiences and I almost felt that I was tooggoing through the motions with you to get the tickets tp see Federer play at his home ground. I can imagine what you and your wife most of been going through especially where you may feel like a head less chicken and yo yo just get tickets. But the light was definitely shining on you as I was actually really happy for you that you found 2 tickets. Wow. Unbelievable. Plus the reward for waiting outside in the cold you got 2 autographs. And you spoke to him, I don’t know how you did it asI would of got tongue twisted and not know what to say. Lol. Aaarrrrggghhhh!!! You have now got great memories and a good story to tellyyour children. All I can say is Cool man. Thanks for the post. Enjoyed reading your experience. 🙂 go on Phantom. The ghost who walks…

    1. Hi Serajul Islam,
      Thank you and Ya, thank you Jonathan for allowing me to post for sure.
      It was really an emotional after what we went through. Thanks for liking it.

  14. Hey Phantom, great post. I know many have written one of a “Fed-experience” and they were all beautiful, but yours was great. Very heartfelt. Especially the part you write about the crowd was waiting for the Prince of Basel…. I felt like I was waiting for him too right there 🙂

    Roger gets crowdsupport everywhere, but to see it with your own eyes in his country in his hometown…. that must be very different and more special. “Mehsoos karne layak tha”. Was worthy to experience…..

    Great post Phantom 🙂 Thank you for that…..

    1. HI Katyani,
      Thanks for liking it.
      He gets an amazing support from locals whenever he enters into arena i. It was worth experiencing.
      We all “Mehsoos” LOL

  15. Hey guys, what will it take for the “powers to be” to name the Fan Favourite Award to Roger and give the Stefan Edberg Sportmanship Award also Roger’s name?? I mean come on, he won it 12 and 10 times 🙂

    1. Hi there Katyani!!!! Long time no speak! !!!! 🙂 . Yep I was thinking myself about it?, wow 12 and 10 times and I think he has won record 29 atp trophy s in total is phenomenol. Plus the fact that there has been Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and the up and coming to constantly win plus with high percentage ( this year 65% of the vote for fan favourite) is simply a remarkable achievement.
      Anyway not long now until the end of year tournament. It would be unbelievable if he couldwin and get 7 year end titles. Plus if he did he could add number 30 trophy s with the number 1 year end ranking. Fingers crossed I believe if he gets off to a good start and momentum who knows as if he plays consistent and to a high level like the way he has been through out the season I think Federer too will be thinking to himself that of he is healthy and focused its definitely between him and the djoker for the title. Come on Roger !! All the way to Tennis immortality, take it Roger it’s yours!!!!

      1. Hey Serajul, what’s up?? What’s up?? Yep, long time no speak 🙂 You know, we are all busy with our own life and ofcourse admiring and waiting for the man himself 🙂
        I will be ready when he has to play Raonic. Some seem to think it will be an easy victory, but I don’t. Ofcourse Roger will win, but Raonic played the match of his life against Roger just to qualify. Now that Raonic is here, he will want to go all the way. So……Roger has to beat him fast 🙂

        By the way, I am watching Muzza vs Nishi. I am rooting for Nishi….

    2. Katayani, with due respect to Roger Federer, Stefan Edberg exhibited more sportsmanship. Roger is a long way behind. 🙂

  16. Agree Sid, especially when it comes to losing. The older he gets, the more sore a loser he becomes. I don’t remember him being as sore in his hey days, do you?! Anyone notice Roger has 3 kinds of losers’ handshake? First, I call it the hug or the pat at the back, for guys who look up to him, eg Cilic, Delpo, Nadal, Tsonga, Monfils, Ferrer; or guys from his generation, eg Haas, Hewitt, Roddick, etc. The second kind, a cold professional quick shake is especially reserved for guys who piss him off, specifically Djoker; or for guys whom he thinks he shouldn’t lose to, eg Gulbis, Raonic, etc. All in-between guys will get the third boring professional normal handshake, and if they are lucky, they might get a pat on their back from The Mighty Fed! He is so predictable, isn’t he? Mr sore loser!!! But nothing’s gonna stop me loving him or stop voting SE for him!! Lol! Great write up by the way, Phantom! Awesome name! Love your childlike, excitable, expressive way of writing! And Jonathan, BEST Roger blog ever! Period. Love your fan column and how fast you come up with posts and how cool a head you have!!

    1. I don’t think I agree. While I definitely agree that a lot of players, including Fed, could learn a thing or two from Novak when it comes to his attitude on losing a match/ applauding a point (Note: NOT during a match. His behaviour can be appalling at times, save for when he is genuinely acknowledging a good shot, which is lovely to see from him), I don’t think Fed is a sore loser. He is as professional as it gets when he loses. He never makes excuses and inadvertently shifts the focus on some supposed “injury” like a certain other player(s). And I’ve never noticed a problem with his handshakes after his losses (true, I do switch the TV off pretty often so as to not have to suffer through an opponent’s hysterical celebration).

      Certainly, he hates losing, but there’s no way he isn’t a good sport about it. 10 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Awards don’t count for nothing.

      1. Give me one good reason why his handshake with Raonic was not unsporting? Unsporting, keeping in mind that he had, till then, won 9 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship awards.

        You’re missing the point. It’s true that a handshake doesn’t define him, and there are strong reasons why his peers vote for him. There are a ton of things we don’t see him do. However, what he does at the net is seen by the whole world. That’s where I feel he is miles behind Stefan Edberg.

    2. I agree with No. 18, Fed’s different style hand shakes. Berdych one is always fun too 😆

      Fed is a bad loser but it’s funny, not like he’s throwing tantrums, just like meh.

    3. I’ve noticed that a lot of people are giving a lot of credit to Novak Djokovic for being very sporting in losses, especially during the handshake.

      Well, I disrespectfully disagree with them.

      It is true that Djokovic gives a very wark and meaningful handshake, hug, a pat on the back, at the net, even when he loses. How about the things that lead up to it? Here are just a few examples…

      – Anyone remember after he saved the first match point vs Roger at the US’11 SF, he did everything to get the crowd on his side, break Roger’s concentration, and at the same time, delay his serve.

      – He delayed Roger’s serve at the French Open 2011 when Roger was about to serve on match point.

      – He took a “foot massage” at the Wimbledon 2014 final during the fifth set.

      You see, people overlook his gamesmanship tactics because of his behavior at the net. Roger on the other hand, never – almost never – resorts to gamesmanship tactics, but then ends up blowing all his good work with a freezing cold handshake at the net.

      So anyone here who believes that Djokovic is a gracious loser, shut the fuck up!

      1. Sid, I am with you completely – you made an excellent point. The Stephan Edberg Sportsmanship award contains lots of things; some of the things are more important than others. Antics during the match are the most important thing and show a bad gamesmanship, not only just to players (who could be tredemdously annoyed) but also to fans. As a matter of fact, players themselves could see those things even more clearly than fans and interpret those subtle antics even better. Both Rafa and Novak have got a few antics and Roger has got none! The handshake is the least important thing when the match is over. Does that change anything? It does not. I don’t believe that players themselves are daft enough to keep voting for Roger. If deep down, they don’t have much of respect to Roger’s gamesmanship, they just would not vote for him. Hi, no one held a gun against their heads, did it?
        For Roger’s less complimentary responses during press conferences after he lost matches in the past, some of the things he said were what he felt and were his opinions. Roger is the GOAT. Isn’t the GOAT allowed to have an opinion? After all, he is also a human. I agree that what he said about Rafa’s game being one-dimensional and that Novak was lucky to have a winer in reurning Roger’s serve while facing the match points were easily being misinterpreted and twisted around against him as a sore loser. I am sure that there are plenty people who would agree with what he said, I for one. It is true that for Roger’s nearly peRFect personality, saying those things were nothing wrong but unhelpful to his image. Sometimes, some fans feel that Roger has to be peRFect in every way and forget that Roger is also a full-blooded young man with strong emotions.
        Over the years, with hindsight, saying that Rafa’s game is one-directional has given Rafa and Uncle Toni tredemdous ammunations to prove that he isn’t – did Roger understand why Rafa was hell-bent every time when he played Roger? I could see Rafa’s determination to prove a point – a human nature.
        If Roger keeps himself in top 8 and win 4 or 5 titles every year, then he will carry on winning this award, for which I am not at all surprised.

      2. Oh yeah. No one’s arguing that Sid. Like I wrote, Novak’s behavior on the court can be appalling at times. No question about it.

        I was only giving him credit for his attitude at the net, or at times when his opponent plays a great point. Just that. No one even comes close to the way Federer conducts himself on the tennis court. PeRFect he is.

      3. Hey Sid, I think you and I are one of the few people here who “see through” the real Novak. Yes, he is a gracious loser. Other players could learn from Novak how to be gracious in defeat, even Roger. But that does NOT mean that he is sportmanship. If your antics during a match are sometimes disgusting, but you are polite after the match at the net and in your presser, does that make you a sportman? I don’t think so. Novak may act as perfect as he wants, but he is forgetting one thing: that the crowd and we at home are not stupid. He has been the best player for the past 3 years, still he cannot get through to people, because people see through him. Remember the match last year (Miami I think) where he played Dimi?? The commies said that the crowd was distasteful for treating the world nr 1 like that. But what they did not see was that the crowd saw exactly what Novak was doing. He was acting 3 or 4 times like he had an injury and then he told the crowd to “be quite” when they were cheering Dimi !!! People are not stupid. They can see the difference between real and fake.

        Novak tries too hard to be liked for the wrong reasons. All he has to do is be himself and people WILL follow. What he did (don’t know which tour it was) when he asked the ballboy during a raindelay to sit next to him and have a drink…. now that was REAL. Heartfelt. One of his best moments this year. He really meant that and it showed. But other stuff… like having that little girl sing during his presser, that was not heartfelt. I was glad for the girl, but Novak was right there trying way too hard and that shows. All he has to do is try less, be himself and seriously… he will be liked more. All his perfect pressers he gives are just way too much. Sometimes he says the perfect things, and then you know he doesn’t mean it all.

        Roger is not a sour loser, but I do agree, sometimes he can give his opponents a bit more credit. But one thing I am very proud of and Gang also mentioned it, was that he doesn’t do this antics or gamesmenship during the match. And THAT is the most important.
        How would his opponents like IF ROGER DOES THE SAME gamesmanship to them as they do to him?? I will say this again, Roger could have and would have won Wimby if Novak didn’t use the gamesmanship MTO during the 5th set at Wimby. I am sure that Roger would have broken Novak and served for the match in those 8 minutes…
        But…. that is over….. And next year we will get Wimby. We deserve to, especially after this year 🙂

        Hey Gang, great comment. Totally agree with you. Sometimes I get mad when people only talk about Roger’s handshakes when they want to say that he is a sour loser. He is not. He is not perfect, he just lost and gives a handshake. Roger is much much more than his handshakes.
        Be glad that Roger is not perfect. Like I have said many times before… If Roger was perfect… he would be boring 🙂 And thank God he is not 🙂

      4. Take for example, Serena Williams. When it comes to tantrums, disrespecting others, and unsporting behavior, she trumps John McEnroe. She will then round it all up in a presser where she will whine about how bad she played, and that there’s a “lot of room for improvement”, and that, “I didn’t want to win, and I was like, here you want to win?”, effectively taking credit away from the opponent.

        Between all of that, she will come to the net and give a warm handshake to her conqueror, even say kind words, and be very animated during the presentation too. So, stupid people, including all Serena Williams fans, take her to be a very gracious loser. They are stupid enough to believe that.

        You know what…she is not! She is the biggest bitch in women’s tennis. A handshake at the net doesn’t define a tennis player, because, it doesn’t impact the outcome of the game in any way, as someone has already mentioned. What happens during game play has an impact on the result. Just ask Aunt Toni.

      5. Hey Sid, not all Serena fans are stupid, but I think you already know that. Some do see through her, like I do. She is not a gracious loser, at all, but she is not a sour loser too. I don’t like all her pressers and the thing you talk about is true, but she does give credit to her opponents.

        Someone who really surprised me with beeing honest in his pressers this year is Andy. He says the right things without it coming over as fake. Players should be learning more from him than Novak….

      6. Anyone who is a fan of Serena Williams, is by definition, stupid, unless they prove otherwise.

  17. Sorry, shouldn’t say I vote for Roger for SE. That’s done by players. Forgot to mention this. I don’t know about you fans here but I really do not like the heaven and hell difference between Roger’s winner and loser handshakes. When he wins, he is all smiles and warm and huggy and patty but when he loses, he is all cold and quick!! The Roger who beat Raonic and the Roger who lost to Raonic are like two different players as far as handshake is concerned! Why the obvious discrepancy?! I don’t expect smiley face and huggy bear when he loses but is it so hard for him to show a bit of sportsmanship when he loses no matter how much it may hurt? He is so utterly professional in everything he does. I am disappointed. And as you keenly observed, Sid, Raonic is always very gracious win or lose towards Roger. If there is a SE for handshake at the net, Nole wins it hands down. Hate him or not, Nole’s the GOAT for most gracious loser.

    1. I wouldn’t give Raonic any award for graciousness – having seen him shouting at the ball boys twice now! I mean that’s just not necessary. It’s not their fault. And I think I would give Nole an award for most insincere loser – nobody should be happy they lost.

      1. Haha Rita. True about Raonic. If we want to look, there will always be something we can always find in any one player except maybe Edberg, ha! Anyway, it’s no big deal about Roger’s handshakes. I was just sharing what I see. He is already too perfect, ha! I suppose I just don’t want Fed haters to use that as an excuse that Roger is not sportsmanlike. Hey! That’s a bit harsh on Nole! I can’t stand the guy and I just hate it when he beats Roger but I wouldn’t say he is insincere and put on a happy act when he loses!!

    2. You’re right No. 18, I was a bit harsh on Nole. Sorry. Let’s just say I think he tries a bit too hard to be liked sometimes.

    3. Completely agree with Djoker being the most gracious loser on tour. They all should learn from him (not his over-the-top on-court antics but certainly the way he warmly greets his opponents win or lose).
      And although it’s notorious that Fed is a bad loser, I really feel as though he has improved enormously in that dept over the last few years. In his hey-day and perhaps a few years after that, he probably felt like he had no right to lose any given match since his talent clearly surpassed everyone else on tour, but as he has aged and matured, he’s accepted he’s no longer the invincible force that he once was. And I think his post-match interviews and comments reflect this maturity; before some of his comments made me cringe with its barely-concealed arrogance. I find his comments as of late are much more thoughtful and balanced in general,giving his conquerors their due.

      1. Trouble is, with Djokovic I’m often not actually convinced it goes very deep – sometimes I feel it’s just surface.

        With Fed, I tend to wonder sometimes, especially given that he’s taken to saying that matches are on his racquet, whether his attitude on losing is actually because he believes he lost the match rather than that his opponent beat him?

      2. Hey Alison, good point about the “having the match on his racquet”. I do believe that that is true, but sometimes, very plain and simple…. the other player was just better. Roger did not play bad against Raonic, Raonic just played better. To be honest Raonic played just like Roger 🙂

      3. Ludwig, answer this question, because you are so enamored with Djokovic’s graciousness. In the 2011 semi final he played, what did he do after erasing the first match point?

      4. Sid, I was primarily talking about being a gracious loser, not behaving sportsmanlike. I don’t think the two terms are the same thing. In my first post, I even acknowledged that I wasn’t exactly a fan of Djok’s on-court behaviour, and in that aspect, yes Roger does show more class and grace on court on a regular basis, although I think we, as Fed fans, easily turn a blind eye to some of his less finer moments (eg US Open 2009 final, heck even this year’s Australian Open quarter final match-up vs Murray is a case in point).

        I just believe that Novak is more generous in his praise of opponents in general – win or lose; he’s not perfect but on balance I feel it’s easier for him to shake off defeats compared to other players; some may call his actions (eg applauding opponents’ winners) disingenious, but I find that really sweet and endearing.

      5. [I just believe that Novak is more generous in his praise of opponents in general – win or lose]

        I’m pretty sure delaying Federer’s serve on match point at the French Open 2011 semi was very sweet and endearing. Not very different than Nadal toweling off after Rosol aced him serving for the match at Wimbledon 2012.

  18. Gaurav, I certainly don’t take that 10th SE award lightly. Let’s face it, our beloved GOAT is impeccable in everything he does professionally and career-wise. It is just that precisely because he won the sportsmanship award so many times, he must live up to that image in all things sportsmanship. And I do think that handshake at the net is a telling moment. It’s all very well to be smiley and nice when you win. Just like in life, it’s very easy to be generous in word and deed when I’m in a good mood or have all the money/time in the world. But when I can still be generous when I’m not feeling the best, that is true generosity. Everytime Roger loses a match, I get a bit nervous to see how he does the handshake because he doesn’t always do it well. I’m nitpicking because our champ is already too perfect, haha but to me, that moment at the net is an important part of good sportsmanship. Things like getting mad during a match (eg he challenged his own service in a match this year!) like arguing with umpire, etc are ok (as long as you don’t overdo it)coz you are in the heat of battle, it’s understandable. But when the game is over, good sportsmanship is in order. I don’t care what Djoker does with his shirt (haha!) but I care about Roger and his responsibility of living up to his SE award as best as he can. But its no big deal. Just my observation. Can’t wait for Sunday night. Revenge is in order. C’mon Rog!!

  19. Great post Phantom. It really made for pleasurable reading. Your enthusiasm shines through so much it was a real joy to read. Thanks a million for posting it, and thanks to Jonathan for giving his permission.

    It really is such a wonderful experience to watch Roger live, isn’t it. The sense of awe in the audience when he walks on (or floats on rather) is amazing. It’s certainly one I shall never forget.

    1. Thanks Rita.

      Because of the whole process in which we went through, I decided to share with you guys.
      We were wondering around the small Basel streets thinking that Roger would have been here, would have been there.
      It was emotional and great experience.

  20. Phantom, a wonderful fan experience, and you told it wonderfully well…. I thoroughly enjoy reading it and big thanks for showing the pictures too.

    1. Very nice write up Phantom! Really enjoyed it :-)So glad you got to see the GOAT play, win his home tournament and then talk to him and have his autograph… So great!!
      It’s even making me redo the maths about my savings and start thinking of the best tournament to visit next year 😉 Although my parents should never know about it loool they were unhappy enough after the Roland Garros experience this year 😀 😀

      1. Hi Alex,

        Thanks. Well like what Thinker said; you should really go to Halle. I think it is really a nice place and more relaxed. You should also check this year fan storey about Halle and in fact Jonathan also went there 

      1. That would be my first choice but a) it’s too expensive (not only the tickets) b) I’ll never get a visa… they have a strict policy about unmarried young women…
        More thinking about Europe 🙂 Would be easier 🙂 🙂

      2. Jonathan really liked Halle when he went – go back in the archives & look for his writeup. When was it you went Jonathan, last year or 2012?

    1. Yeah, I saw a French interview Fed’s saying he didn’t eat meat until 16, thought no way!

      So did you guys also see Greg Rusedski’s clip saying Fed is the GOAT on Telegraph?
      Hah, isn’t he a big Nadal fan?

  21. Thanks Phantom for the great article! Your enthusiasm does shine through. I love reading about first hand experiences seeing Federer play. I can’t wait to see him in action again at Indian Wells. It’s amazing to see how unbelievably popular he is from the practice courts to the matches. Last year it was difficult to find a seat to watch him practice! So hard to get close enough to him to get his autograph. I am in awe of how long you were able to wait for him and it paid off. I bought my tickets. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he plays on the days I go!

  22. What a great story, yeah totally agree – ‘stalking’ Roger Federer on court is near mission impossible. Thanks for sharing your stories with everyone.

  23. Well done! A very nice story. A lot of patience required – way more than I have!!! I am so amazed what all you RF fans will do to watch him practice, and play.

    Maybe one day I should share my story of meeting Roger (for the 1st time).

    I can tell you he really appreciates all the efforts!

    1. i havent seen him either…am in Dubai currently, hope to see him in Feb for the Dubai Open…couldnt get tickets this year… fingers crossed for 2015…

    1. I was there. Murray looked the much more likely to break in 1st set, all Nishi’s service games were going to deuce. Murray broke first then lost serve immediately to love. Murray served to stay in set at 4-5, went behind in that service game and lost first set. Nishi much stronger in 2nd set although squandered massive opportunity to go 4-0 up, then was pegged back to 4-4. Nish held serve for 5-4, then just like the first set, went ahead on Murray’s vital service game 15-40. Murray overhit a forehand and it was over 6-4, 6-4. Would like to have seen a deciding set, just to see more tennis.

      Whoever was controlling the dramatic screen swishy “break point”, “set point” etc noises this afternoon must have been on drugs. He was selecting the break point screens at random whenever he felt like it, missing it out on several occasions. One game at 15-40, you didn’t see it, then at 30-40 you did? Bit strange. There was also no set point shown for Nishi in first set… but it was there in 2nd…

  24. Well what a nervy second set. I had to put anything that could remotely resemble a projectile safely out of arm’s length.But Fighterer made it through. Top of the table!! Allez!! Good revenge for Paris. The first set was just oh so sweet.

  25. Don’t know if Murray will get back to playing the way he did before his surgery. Nishikori didn’t play that well. Fed seemed to loose focus throughout the match….but not complaining. Got it done in 2.
    Wow, 31,000 fans. Maestro blogger.

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