Avid DtL! reader Jessica Diamond sent me this impassioned letter about Roger Federer and her feelings about his influence and place in the game in light of his continuing on-court struggles. She gave me the go ahead to post it so I did!
Check it out:
Any avid tennis fan knows that lately, something stirs in your stomach when you see Roger play a loose couple of points. Last year, you would have thought, "Nah, it's okay. Roger's got him. He'll rally back." And then he always did. [Wednesday night], as the forehands were dropping farther and farther into the doubles alley, and less on target, you thought, "He could really lose this" and he did.
Watching Roger lose to Simon was especially uncomfortable and I'm not a fanatical Federer fan either. I have always loved his elegance and mastery, especially amongst so many robotic, muscular players who come to the net only 3x times per match. However, in years past, I've rooted for the underdog (not Nadal) because Semi-Finals and Finals were becoming downright boring. Now realizing that the #1 spot may be someone's new crown, I'm nervous. Simply put, Roger's the best guy for the job and maybe the only guy.
Has anyone considered what the #1 of tennis might look if it's not Federer? Nadal, who can't get through one simple sentence without butchering it, no? Djokovic, who will weave that undeniable arrogance into his courtside presence, not to mention his post-match interviews?
Anyone for that matter, besides Roger, in comparison, is nothing more than sloppy seconds. Tennis has been preserved by Federer's dominance.
This beautiful sport full of old traditions and sophisticated appeal is always in danger of becoming too edgy, too modern. While the level of play must progress and become more contemporary, there's something beautiful about the way tennis has hung onto it's roots. I like to think that Roger has had a big hand in that in the past 5 years. After all, Roger is Tennis reincarnate, their personalities and their aura are almost interchangeable.
Old fashioned, refined, traditional, affluent, articulate, and well-bred. I just don't see these traits in the boys that are salivating for the #1 spot.
Roger, too often in the past, we've been quick to obsess and praise you for your style of play. Now, with your #1 ranking slipping slowly through your fingers, we need to remind of you of your other job off the court. You are the Ambassador of Tennis, and the only one who can lead this sport with authenticity.
Good Luck and no pressure.
Alright, I'm sure you guys have thoughts on this letter - I most certainly do - and I'd love to hear them. And no worries, I made sure to let Jessica know to wear her best and thickest skin...
(image via Getty)