http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/11/roger-federer-andy-murray/?sf18991166=1Did Roger Federer just throw some shade at Andy Murray?
Or Rafael Nadal? Or people who get the winter gloomies?
After winning his opening match at the Paris Masters, Roger Federer was asked at a press conference about his 2013 struggles.
“I know why the year was difficult for me. It’s not because I can’t make a forehand anymore or can’t move. It’s because I had physical injuries, and I still played in spite of the injuries because I’m not going in a corner and wait for four months.”
If the tennis press corps were an audience at Maury, the taping of a 1980s sitcom or a comedy show at the Apollo, they’d have reacted with a collective “ohhhhhhhh!” Instead we just got a follow-up question about whether Federer now inflates the value of once-routine achievements.
But back to that quote — “I’m not going in a corner and wait for four months.” What did Federer mean? Was that a not-so-veiled shot at someone else? Federer choosing a specific number for maximum storytelling effect? Or was that just Roger being Roger? Let’s examine the possibilities.1. He’s specifically talking about Andy Murray.
The Scotsman hasn’t played since losing to Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. That match was played in early September. Murray is expected back in early January. Hmm (counts on fingers), September, October, November, December. That’s four months! It’s no accident Federer dropped the “four months” line when there’s been so much talk of Murray missing the fall swing and the ATP World Tour Finals in London for back surgery.
Federer and Murray have sometimes had a snippy relationship. Both are gentlemen and appear friendly on the court, but Federer has occasionally taken subtle digs like this at Murray’s expense. They’re not Connors and McEnroe, but it seems like Federer doesn’t have the same respect for Murray that he does for Rafael Nadal.2. He’s generally talking about all players who take time off with injuries, like Murray and Rafael Nadal.
The four months was an instant estimation, like when you say, “Federer hasn’t had a big win in, like, 18 months.” It’s not actually 18 months, it just feels that way. Even in this scenario, Federer is still taking a dig at players who don’t have the benefit of good health. Is he bitter because Nadal came into 2013 fresh, as Murray will do the same in 2014, while Federer is going to play until Nov. 9, then take less than two months off before the season begins down under? Perhaps!3. It’s Federer’s patented form of self-referential humblebraggadocio that doesn’t really mean anything.
No, it was totally a dig at Murray.