Thursday, January 25, 2007

More on Federer

Here's the New York Times report on the Roddick match.

Federer relied on classic shots from his repertoire: forehand flicks that dipped just out of Roddick’s reach; running one-handed backhand blasts that zipped down the line; sharply cut volleys that hit the rubberized green surface and quickly bounced twice. But there was also some exotica, none more memorable than the shot produced on the opening point of the fourth game of the second set.

Roddick was already down 0-3, and when Federer gave him a rare short ball, Roddick moved forward and channeled all the frustration of the match’s first 40 minutes into a forehand that landed very near the baseline. Most players would have gotten out of the way, but Federer sprung to his left and hit a backhand reflex half volley on the move that traveled cross court for a clean winner. Roddick stood gaping at the net as the crowd roared with a mixture of surprise and aesthetic delight.

But such sounds soon gave way to nervous laughter and anticipatory groans as it became abundantly clear that Roddick had no answers to the tennis riddles that Federer kept posing. Roddick’s frustration eventually gave way to anger, and he could not even get that quite right, smashing a ball into the stands after losing his serve and accidentally losing his grip on the racket in the process, sending it hurtling in the direction of a photographer courtside and earning him a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

There's really nothing to say about Federer that hasn't already been said. All I'll say is that I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to say I saw two of the five greatest atheletes of all time at their very peak (Jordan and Federer, with Muhammad Ali and Pele and a third of your choice being the others).


Anonymous said...

if by athlete you mean sportsmen, given our upbringing, bradman must surely be the fifth, no?

Ahsan said...

well no, not really. we cant even say for sure that bradman was the greatest ever cricketer...i mean is he REALLY better than sobers? and even if he is, its not by much, is it? but you're right in the sense that he has to be in the conversation. others that, for me, are in the conversation are lance, tiger, steffi, jehangir/jansher khan (before you accuse me of pakistani bias, please go have a look at their records), and of course, iverson.

Anonymous said...

1) martina was pretty close to steffi
2) squash is not popular enough a sport (you may as well start talking about the greatest curlers ever, etc.)
3) lance i guess could be in the conversation
4) iverson's in if you count wife beating, gun toting and general ganstaness to be equally important to actual basketball talent / skills / achievements; otherwise, no...not really
5) tiger's got to be in - nicklaus was his only real competition...and i think it's generally agreed that tiger is better.

also, i'm always amazed by the fact that joe frazier was essentially one punch away from killing ali's legacy as the greatest ever (and perhaps even establishing his own).

Ahsan said...

1) only if you include doubles play in the equation, which i do not.

2) yes, that's why i said part of the conversation and not sure-fire inclusions. the way i see it, there are 3 criteria: (a) dominance of respective sport; (b) coolness/popularity of sport in question and (c) charisma/personality/"it". jehangir and jansher lose out immensely on number 2 and a little bit on number 3. if, for instance, they had their respective careers in tennis, you'd have to include one, if not both of them.

4) whatever, dude. you and i both know those charges were dropped.

5) yes i suppose you could include tiger. the only reason i didn't was because then the entire list would be post-1970 atheletes. surely that speaks to some sort of bias on our part (i.e. we're only choosing people who we've seen live or recent video clips of)?

Silver Naked Lady said...

Only someone not familiar with boxing could call Muhammad Ali one of the greatest athletes of all time. He would be unlikely to make a list of the five best boxers ever. Sugar Ray Robinson at his peak has a 128-1-2 record and he never took a 10 count in his career. Joue Louis was the most successful heavyweight champion while Henry Amstrong is the only man in boxing history to hold world titles all at the same time.
Unlike these men Ali had far too many technical deficiencies to be considered the greatest. Given his current status as a demi-god many forget that Ali never knew how to duck (instead ineffectively pulling back or sidestepping), nor did he know how to parry or block a jab, weaknesses that cost him dearly later in his career against Ken Norton and Doug Jones

Ahsan said...

i will be the first to admit i know less about boxing than i do about icelandic history. however, as i said in one of the comments above, one of the criteria (in my book) for this list is the way you carry yourself, the way people talk about you in interviews, the way your peers remember you etc etc. his iconic status, larger than life personality, vietnam war stance etc etc all play a part in this. im perfectly willing to listen to arguments that for "greatest atheletes" lists, only what you do in the sport should count. thats a completely valid viewpoint, just not one that i take.