Poetry in Motion

I used to be good at tennis.  Really good.  When I was 11.  I treasured my Jack Kramer Autograph (until I got a Futabaya), never really wanted a T-2000 even though I loved Connors, and thought Ille Nastase was fabulous.  I grew up in the golden age of Connors, Borg, and McEnroe (and Guillermo Vilas, and Vitas Gerulaitis, and Eddie Dibbs, and the ever present Ion Tiriac.)  I could beat most 12 year old boys and almost all the 13 year old girls except for Heather Harrison who regularly kicked my ass.  I thought Prince oversized racquets were for old ladies.

I watched Federer bury Roddick last night 7–6, 7–6, 6–2.  My mouth was hanging open for much of the second half of the match.  Roddick hung in there for a while (there we no breaks in the first two sets although Federer manhandled Roddick in both tiebreakers.)  However, once Federer broke Roddick in the third set it was quickly over.

Federer makes the phrase “poetry in motion” come to life.  Charlie Rose has a long (about an hour) interview with Courier, Federer, McEnroe, Collins, Laver, and Nadal discussing the man who will likely become known as the best player ever in the game of tennis.  If you are a tennis fan, fire it up in your browser and listen while you catch up on your email this morning.


  • Brad,

    You’re absolutely right – Federer is incredible. Watching him is awesome.


  • I remember having this same feeling about Sampras, and before him McEnroe, or whoever was the best of the moment. But yeah, you get the feeling that at the top of Federers game (now?) that Sampras probably couldn’t have hung at the top of his. Amazing how the game continues to progress. I can’t imagine that in 15 years there will likely be someone ever better, but it will not surprise me based on past history.

  • Dave

    Federer looked like a tennis coach hitting it back for his student. “OK, Andy, that was a pretty good serve, but if you’re going to come to the net you have to be ready for the passing shot on either side… like this, see what I mean?”

    It’s very telling that McEnroe, who generally calls all the players by their first names when he’s announcing (perhaps because he can’t pronounce the Russian names), refers to him as “the great Federer.”

  • Brad,

    I was a top tennis player as a kid, too. My coach was a contemporary of Jack Kramer’s and I spoke with him on the phone once when I was 14 or so. Friendly and energetic, even at his advanced age. My dad, who idolized Rod Laver, got to spend an afternoon on a private yacht with him – they talked for a long time. Another friendly guy and my dad was in heaven.

    Tennis is still a gentleman’s sport, and I’m glad to see a class act like Federer rise to the top, though guys like McEnroe show up from time to time to give it some extra flavor…

  • I’m rooting for Djokovic.

  • great post. i too loved that era you referred to and yes, federer is/will be the best ever. just wish those great rivalries existed today. remember the borg-connors-mcenroe matches. even seeing gottfried, mayotte, e.telscher (sp), tanner, stan the man win a few too. being a former college player (although self-admittedly had better results in juniors) i enjoyed hanging out at harry hopmans tennis camps (all-time best coaches that really taught in the golden era of those great aussie legends). my claim was at 12/13 being the best ball boy in memphis at the wct/morgan keegan tourneys and getting a front row seat to seeing all my heroes! (qualifications based on speed from knee on towel to ball to releasing with no mishandles) im still mad today that my mother threw away all my yrs work of getting autographs of those legends.

    anyway, thx for sharing the i-view and go federer

  • Sally

    Two weeks ago – we saw Federer play at the Open in a night match.

    I watched him volley, and I leaned over and said to Roberta (my daughter), “Did you see that? That IS history — that IS the best volley EVER.” While I had seen him play before in person and have watched him many times on television, there was something about THIS year. He knows that he is among the best ever …. wow. I think next year’s French Open could be HIS!

  • Tom Grotewold

    Great interview. I thought it was super cool when Roger was talking about the time he spent with Tiger after the US Open and the how two of them were the only two guys to experience a near complete mastery of their sports. The Rocket looks awesome and kudos to Johnnie Mac for his continued promotion of tennis.

  • Lindel

    How can you leave Lendl off the list? I still refer to his name when people can’t seem to understand my pronunciation.