Roger Federer

Roger Federer Book – A Fan’s Perspective

A Call for Writeups

Hi everyone!! What a fun month it’s been for us Fedfans! From lifting title number 100 in Dubai, to then being a whisker away from the title at Indian Wells, to then being a whisker away from losing in the first round to a qualifier, to then hoisting the Miami trophy yet again!

Since there’s a while to go before the clay swing, I asked Jonathan if I could share something that I’ve been working on over the last few years – a book that describes Roger Federer from a fan’s perspective.

A few of these writings you might have already read on this very blog (thank you, Jonathan) – “Breaking down the Fedal rivalry”, “The second serve analysis”, and more recently, “Debunking the weak era argument”; most of the others, I’d been scared to share with the world… up until I found a group of the most fantastic people on this blog who shared the same passion, were just as crazy and had managed to create an environment that I genuinely enjoyed coming back to every day.

A while ago, I got the idea to involve the entire Federer fan community in the project. It was, after all, a book that described a fan’s perspective on Roger Federer. I got the idea of involving the community from this blog itself.

What Jonathan has created here isn’t just a website or a blog…it’s become something of a family. It’s a place we’ve come to celebrate, a place we’ve come to commiserate, a place we’ve come to vent when Federer sends yet another second serve return into the net on break point and a place we’ve come to just be around people who share the same passions.

To Steal an Excerpt From the Book

Fed Fan Perspective

I should begin by admitting that I’m no professional sports writer, as you’ll soon figure out for yourself. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to closed-door secrets or exclusive interviews (or anything that can’t really be found on the internet by the average tennis enthusiast for that matter). What I do have is the company of some of the most wonderful, kind and passionate tennis fans one can hope to find. Fans, who I was introduced to when I stumbled upon Fans who helped me in making this a book by us fans for us fans, about a topic that we’re (possibly) unhinged-ly passionate about – tennis and Roger Federer.

If you haven’t chanced upon this fantastic community, I suggest you drop whatever it is you’re doing right this instant and give Jonathan’s website a visit. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you’re a tennis aficionado if you’ve gotten this far, in which case you’ll love the blog. It’s far better written than my attempt at tennis-prose. 

Now that’s out of the way, and expectations have been justifiably tempered, allow me to tell you how this book came about. I never began with the intention of writing a ‘book’ per se. I’ve loved tennis ever since I picked it up at boarding school – everything about it really – the individual element, the one-on-one dynamic, the physical aspect to the sport, the mental side to it. I wasn’t very good at it as a kid though. I put it down to my late growth spurt.

By the time I got to college, I began to fill out my t-shirts. All of a sudden tennis became a lot more fun when I wasn’t the one being made to do all the running. The hours spent playing tennis in college with two of my best friends, shanked backhands, fist-pumps et al, went on to form some of my fondest memories. Most of our college classmates (or Stephanians as we call ourselves) thought we were out of our minds to even consider playing under the blazing Delhi sun in peak summer (trust me, it’s hot!). But we loved it! I spent most of my time on the court trying to imitate Federer. Unfortunately, the only thing I managed to nail was his backhand shank. That I had gotten down to a t.

As college life gave way to corporate life, it became harder and harder to slot out time for tennis. So obviously, like all rational adults, I made up for it by playing imaginary tennis matches in my head (where I’d won a record 20 grand slams and had magnanimously decided to call it a day so as not to break any more records). I also began to write about tennis. It originally began as just a collection of quips about my biggest influence – Federer on the tennis court; rants that I would write when the occasional bout of inspiration struck, more often than not at 2 in the night – writings that I would relegate to the confines of my hard drive, in fear lest they find themselves traumatizing an unsuspecting reader.

About a year in and I realized that I had penned down nearly 100 pages worth of Federer material, analyses and commentary – ranging from his rivalries, his (unenviable) break point conversion rates, his achievements (which to be honest took up a lot of the word count), to his fashion sense and off court charity work, with the occasional mathematical analysis thrown in for good measure. (I was a management consultant at McKinsey and Company, and I figured that I should leverage my analytical skills to keep myself from getting too rusty in that department). It was around then that I got the idea of putting all these pieces of prose together in the form of some kind of book that I could share with the tennis community.

But there was something still missing. Sport can never just be about something singular. You need two or more people to play, be it taking on your best friend in one-on-one street basketball, pretending not to celebrate as your opponent’s forehand sails over the fence for the tenth consecutive time, or getting tossed to the judo mat. You need two or more teams to compete. And at higher levels, sport is nothing without its fans. That’s the magic of sport. At its best, it can bring people together like few things out there. It can overcome race, sex, political affiliations and can, ever so often, bridge the gap between the ‘pineapple on pizza’ factions. Tennis is no different.

Us tennis fans are a passionate bunch, and during my time spent trawling through tennis forums, I came to realize that each one of us had a story or an experience that had brought us to tennis or made us fans of a particular player. Stories that you’d never find on the Internet. Stories that were unpolished, flawed but at the same time very, very real. I believe that it’s these stories that make tennis such a magical sport and I knew at once that I wanted this book to be an effort that brought fans from all walks of life together and shared their journeys. And to the best of my abilities, that is what I have tried to do.

So that’s a short snippet from the book. Hopefully, this helped in giving you an idea of the content. I would absolutely love for you to get involved in this book. If you have anything you’d like to contribute, please send it in and I promise to try to fit it in somewhere. It could be a letter to Federer, a story about how he’s influenced you, a poem, a technical analysis, something funny – these are just a few ideas. While the book is pretty close to being complete, I’d love to add in a few more stories. My first book was published by one of India’s largest publishing houses two months ago, and I’m considering approaching publishing houses with this one as well.

I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to send something in or ask me any questions, I can be reached on [email protected]

Thanks once again, Jonathan! You’re the best!

Gaurav Sood

Your average 22 year Roger Federer fanatic who breaks tv remotes when Roger flubs a break point with a chipped second serve return that floats long, punches walls when he shanks that back hand and yells so loud that the neighbors come running when he misses that easy put away. But then again he's the tennis player I've always tried to emulate- backhand shanks, headbands, fist pumps et al.

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    1. An amazing idea and I bet a lot of us felt related to the words you shared on the post. I know I did, specially when you mentioned the backhand shanks 😓

  1. Thanks Gaurav for this introduction. I think it will be a great book and I look forward to read it. Good luck 🙂

  2. I always wondered if you took your plans further forward. Do we just contact you to buy copies? Congrats on creating this!

    1. If you have a word count deficit on the end, simply tell me. 2 days would be too much 😉
      Also I have some texts ready – for instance an analyze of Fed’s footwork, including comparison to Tarahumara running style.

      It’s just ready on my blog since longer time, but if you need more words, no problem at all, hahaha … and, i like dialogues, so no problem to make the article a multi-voice piece.

      OK, It’s true, but don’t take it serious. I know about some great users of this FAMILY FORUM, who would never read this book, if there was even a simple sentence from me. Thanks God, this way I can avoid additional job 😉

  3. “Unfortunately, the only thing I managed to nail was his backhand shank. That I had gotten down to a t.”
    So funny. Thanks, Gaurav. Yes, this is more than a tennis blog. We are a family. We have somewhere to go to with our joy and our grief. Straight shooting Jonathan with the facts when we all suffer (more than Roger I’m sure) a tough loss.
    Great idea!

  4. Yeah, want a short fan story? (short is the story, not the fan!)
    On a chilly winter day I was in Germany when I got an SMS message from a friend of mine saying that “We are going to the final” after I had asked “What was the score?”.
    [I emphasize the “We”. He always talks like that when the subject is Roger, as if all of us were part of the same invisible team. Which we are, right?]
    This was after the win against Stan Wawrinka, 26th January 2017. I immediately got into the gloomiest mood I ever had because of sport, thinking “Damn fuck, here we go again. I can’t stand another defeat, especially against that bull. This shit can’t be happening. Not again”. The trip back home the next day was a depressing one and that says a lot because my favourite part of work travelling is when I sit on the plane destination LIS. That day and Saturday I barely talked to anyone and ate almost nothing. My brain just could not disconnect from what would happen next. I woke up Sunday, checked the score on the phone and it was 6-4. OK, time to get up. Let’s suffer some more and maybe… just maybe. Maybe the appetite returns before lunch. Fans never quit.

  5. I suppose that you have come across Federer and Me-A story of obsession by William Skidelsky.
    I love the fact that the cheapest ticket he could find for the Wimbledon final was £4000 pounds-and he was tempted!
    He also describes rolling on the floor in an agony of suspense during a Fed /Nadal match.
    Whilst I have never quite plumbed these heights-or depths I do confess to being often unable to stand the tension of some of Feds matches.During the final of the Australian Open 2017 I retired upstairs to do the ironing.
    Perhaps the female equivalent to rolling on the floor.
    Because of this lack of faith,I missed one of Feds greatest victories.
    How silly was that😎
    some Of

    1. I love that book by William Sidelsky! And I do hope he gets another shot as asking Roger a question at a press conference!

  6. That is what is so crazy about the whole Fed thing. Indescribable for us. Everyone sees my crazed passion and the reality of it.
    Hey, seriously thinking of a small RF tattoo 3 – 4 cm or so. Think I’ll go for it. Screw Nike.

      1. I was thinking of just RF logo in black. Small and discreet. Never had a tattoo before, look what this man does to people. Still thinking…

  7. Hum… personally I prefer to keep the fan thing (or disease…) strictly on a cerebral base. I don’t like to wear or have things allusive to other persons like posters, badges or clothes. But I will defend Roger’s status and achievements verbally should the conversation arise. Besides that, it’s all kept inside. I already have too many things in common with him: one hand backhand, the number of children, a slight loss of hair and the bank balance. (Quiz: find the false item hahaha)

  8. Gaurav, I’m always totally in awe of some of the ‘Posters’ that follow
    Jonathan’s blog. It reads as though the words can’t wait to be
    heard, and I truly loved the ‘per se’….are you sure you are not
    Roger Federer, what with the shanks and the grammer……..?

  9. I have to have a whole separate Facebook persona for my Federer Fandom. This came about because I was introduced to a mutual friend some years ago and she said to me: Oh, your’e the one who always posts about Roger Federer on Facebook! LOL

  10. Awesome project, Gaurav, the Fed-banger! (How are you also getting on your music projects?)
    Yes, this is a “something of a family”, absolutely. Sounds OTT but the blog has saved my mental life after Roger’s tough loss 😆 It’s true. Baffled me sometimes how come one’s life is affected by just a tennis player’s affair? It’s just a game of tennis, for Goat’s sake! Never considered having the tattoo but I’m almost tempting myself a RF logo, too. Yeah Sue, this whole Fed thing, crazy. It’s Fedonism! We, the Fedonists can’t live without the pleasure and agony, the man is still giving us all.

  11. Looks like Laver Cup 2020 will be held in Boston. US again, hah. Why not Canada or South America? Could be UK after Brexit 😆

  12. Hey Gaurav. Here is another fanatic Federer fan from India.
    I have sent my Facebook post text I have posted after Roger won 2018. Hope it might help you.
    My e-mail I’d: [email protected]
    Will try to contribute more to your book.

  13. @French Buterfly,
    Absolutely devastated about the news from Paris tonight.My Aunt used to live on the Ile de Cite,so I know Notre
    Dame well.Just hoping that the Saint Chapelle can be saved.

  14. Yes,the firemen are so brave.
    At least the two bell towers and presumably the bells are safe ,also one of the rose windows and the organ,plus the crown
    of thorns which used to be in the Sainte Chapelle,I believe.

  15. Gaurav, I love your idea! If there are other books about Roger Federer from the perspective of the fan communities he’s inspired I’m not familiar with them. Good luck with finishing your book and finding a publisher!! I expect Jonathan will post when we can order it 🙂

  16. Perhaps you could also ask why people became Fed fans in the first place.Obviously people on this blog,asked for a fans perspective will say,because we love him/respect him/love his style of play.But if you were to ask them when
    they became aware of Federer as a potentially great player and why they have supported him over the years in the face of adversity,then I reckon you could get some really interesting insights for your book.

  17. Is this blog not a book about Federer from fan perspective?

    Simply add new articles, maybe in a separate column (call it a book or something like this) and encourage others to write their articles. Is Jonathan not professional enough to be editor-in-chief? Or can Guarav not play this role (his idea) . Or create an editing team.

    Let him make the editor’s work, so you don’t have too many articles about the same topic, organize articles in chapters, allow users to comment the book, individual articles. Ask editor-in-chief to call for new articles about specific subjects, misses by himself or by readers and you have PERFECT LIVE BOOK following Guarav’s concept.

    Moreover, you don’t need any publisher – you have one “for free”.

    If you think, the book is good enough to be interesting for people not belonging to this circle, make it an e-book and offer it on any platform for some nice price, making Jonathan CELEBRITY 🙂

    1. Ooh, it’s a completely new one, is it? I was wondering what I could spend my giftcard on, so that might do very nicely 🙂

  18. Meanwhile,
    Nads dream run continues.Everone dangerous in the top half of the draw falling on their swords,Thiem,Joker etc.
    In Nadals half no one of substance,Fognini 😊

    1. Yeah, that hot head maverick is able to pull off some impressive performances… when he wants. I like the casual – almost lazy – way he hits the ball. No huge take back, hopping around or complicated gestures. A simple swing and boom!

  19. Yes,Fognini is a great player and fun to watch.Some wonderful shot making.But as we all know consistency is not his
    thing.Still he saved us from the tedium of Nadal v Coric.Not that i would have watched it anyway.😎

  20. Nadal is stuck in his game plan for years. He has tried some shy adjustments on hard courts but absolutely none on clay. This limitation is showing more and more especially when he comes across… well, someone like Fognini on a hot streak.

    1. I don’t get the comments about Nadal not being adaptable. For me, he has adapted his game loads over the years. Changed racquets, strings, racquet weight, serving technique, improved backhand loads, played closer to the baseline.

      He’s always going to play to his gameplan as it’s won him so many titles. So in that sense – he can be quite boring to watch as his strategy is to play the same point over and over again. But he has tweaked bits.

      Which other players have shown more adaptability than Nadal?

  21. This was the MC that Fed needed to enter and win. What great odds he wouldve had, as the weakened novak and nadal have demonstrated. Not having this MC title, next to being edged in the h2h by novak, rankles me most as a fedfan.

  22. Isn’t it nice to know that Federer is still excelling in the smaller tournaments? Contrast that to Djokovic and Nadal, who are struggling at Masters tournaments, even the ones they once dominated.

    Clearly both Djokovic and Nadal are focused exclusively on the majors at this point and no longer take even the Masters quite as seriously as they used to…that’s a dangerous game with low margin for error; one shock loss early at a Grand Slam, and you lose a huge chunk of points. Then you end up drawing seeded players in the early rounds, and losses beget losses.

    For Nadal losing even one clay Masters tournament is a big blow, since it’s so taxing for him to play on the other surfaces. He just can’t afford such a big loss of points. He’s gotta run the table the rest of the clay season just to defend all his points from last year.

    Djokovic is more versatile and has better chances of making up the points in hard court tournaments, but he hasn’t won a Masters since Shanghai last year–he lost a final in Paris, and hasn’t made a final in the three Masters tournaments since. By the standards of 2014-2016 Djokovic, that’s a huge slump.

    Conversely, given how consistently well our man is playing, it’s only a matter of time before he makes a breakthrough to another major final. It could even be in Paris this June. And if he does make it, I like his chances to win no matter the opponent. He is hungry and healthy and free of the paralyzing self-doubt that used to assail him against the clay beast. And there’s no pressure these days. Every title he wins is gravy.

    1. Interesting ideas, Steve. What I see in Novak and Rafael’s game nowadays is a certain flatness. I see no passion for the game and the commitment looks minimal. All players go through ups and downs, that’s for sure, but even in his annus horribilis 2013, slow comeback/adaptation to the RF97 in 2014-2015 and dismal 2016 Roger had more fire and left more in the court.
      This is what sets some aside from the others. That and the ability to make spectators jump from their seats. I will cheer on any given day for Kyrgios, Brown, Fognini, Paire, Monfils over any boring go-with-the-herd formatted player. I don’t even care much (I do a little) if they act like idiots every now and then. Don’t we all?…

  23. I love this MC final. So random, even a blind monkey wouldn’t have guessed it.

    @Gaurav Sood, I have a nice fan story about the 2009 wimby final. Didn’t get to it, been so damn busy lately.

  24. Can you imagine the the many more fans FABIO would have had had he managed to play
    this type of tennis on a regular basis. However as I was watching the match and Nadal
    I remembered reading Roger after a loss saying he felt good but just couldn’t explain why
    he played flat, at the same time Rod Laver said of Fed that this comes with age. We forget
    that now DJO and RAFA are at the age when many good players retired. Not saying this
    will happen can’t win them all. But to me Novak looks out of breath a lot can’t see him
    playing another six hour match!

  25. The winner of MC is Federer. No additional big title for Djoker or Rafa. seed 4. guaranteed for Madrid (and probably Paris) after Thiem’s early exit. Next higher neighbor in the ranking, Zverev, losing points.

    I like Fabio too, but the whole tournament looked like manipulated Challenger. Seeds falling all the time.

    As for semi Nadal vs. Fabio, Nadal must have been ill or poisoned. I didn’t hear any single grunt from him. Not Nadal’s face, even antics. Weird. It was very similar with Thiem, Zverev, Djoker – all looking ill and not playing their game.

    1. Well,Idid hear Nadal grunting,perhaps not as much as usual because he seems to do it more when he is
      It was an odd tournament with seeds falling right and left,but perhaps they all need to make adjustments
      to clay.
      No excuses for Thiem though,although he did fall to the eventual finalist,who was on a red hot streak.
      Lets see what Barcelona brings!
      I agree with your point that it is advantage Fed here.

      1. Nadal was kind of ill from the start of t´he match.
        Nadal is grunting always, not only when winning. Maybe even more when under pressure. And after winning points when trailing. His face was grey, no fire in his eyes. This was not Rafa as usual. Whatever the reason.
        Thiem never looks for excuses. He commented, MC was too slow for him (!!!).`

        After Indian Wells (before US Open 2018, Petersburg and Paris Bercy he does not see himself as a pure clay court player. Maybe on the way from clay and maybe will have more problems on clay now. If MC is slow for him? Well, it is the slowest clay ever, similar to Paris.

        You probably did not watch Thiem vs. Lajovic. It was kind of the same as Rafa vs. Fabio.

        Physical weakness, short balls allowing Lajovic to act from the middle of the court. Problems with body balance, often hitting the ball with frame.

        Believe me, I know his body language by heart. This was not Thiem as usual. This is not an excuse, maybe some explanation.

  26. Well, just before the final at SW19 (2019), and hoping for a similar result, I’ll share a short fan story about the same tournament, ten years earlier:
    For some context, in the years Roger dominated the tour, I have mainly watched him on Roland Garros and Wimbledon. I think the sports channel here (Israel) barely broadcasted anything else at the time. The rest of the tournaments – well, I’ve got updated via newspapers and later on the internet as well.
    I was recruited to military service in the summer of 2007 and from then on I barely had time to watch any sports.
    However, two years later, still in the middle of my service, I had a rare opportunity. I was a platoon sergeant at a post guarding a border. The platoon commander was away which meant that I was the commander at this post.
    We had a TV and small saloon (or “club” as we called it), and guess what the dictator, sorry, commander had chosen to watch at Sunday afternoon, 05.07.2009? That’s right – the Wimbledon championship match! So happy I can finally watch tennis at the army, I sat with the soldiers and we watched… and watched… and… let me tell you something – three hours are a very long time in such post – guards should be replaced, meals need to be cooked and a lot of daily chores must be done. The commander, me, had a lot of responsibility for all of this to happen. So after three and a half hours or so, while the fifth set went on and on, I realized few things:
    1.) The tension is killing me.
    2.) I need to clear my head a bit so I can carry on with my tasks later that evening.
    3.) One of the guards should have been replaced half an hour ago.
    Well, usually platoon sergeants are relieved from guarding duties due to other responsibilities, but at that moment, that duty relieved me of staying in front of the TV and eating my nails.
    So the guard was surprised to see me walk towards his position with my gear. “Go, you’re off”. And he went.
    To be honest, I don’t know if they hadn’t switched the channel and watched football, or maybe they really wanted to see how it ends. I don’t know. I just stood in that position, trying not to thing about the match (well, at least I tried). I was happy and relieved to find out the result later.
    I didn’t get to watch a lot of sports later on in my military service. Some football (World cup, Champions League) and some basketball (NBA, Euroleague) on a rare occasion. Can’t remember watching tennis again in uniform so yes, it was something special.

    1. Ah cool story. Didn’t know you have military service in Israel. In some ways, I wish the UK had it for teaching some level of discipline. Did you train with a Tavor? That’s an interesting weapon.

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