Swiss press groans over Federer’s loss
Defending champion Roger Federer’s loss at Wimbledon has provoked a mix of sympathy and criticism in the Swiss media.
While some commentators seem to feel his pain, others suggest that the 28-year-old Basel native had become too arrogant for his own good.
“Ouch!” read the cover of the Blick newspaper’s sport section, summing up the loss against Czech Tomas Berdych in Wednesday’s Wimbledon quarterfinals.
It was referring both to the physical and likely emotional pain experienced by Federer, who had complained of leg and back problems in London.
“The player has become vulnerable. Missing seven of the eight break balls shows that it is more of a mental than a physical ailment,” wrote the La Liberté newspaper of Fribourg.
Federer, who will soon be 29, faces his biggest challenge yet, according to La Liberté. Having written history he now has to reverse the course of history. The question is whether the new dad, immersed in his family routine, still wants to try?
“Mister Perfect has got a few cracks” wrote the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, describing the Wimbledon crash as a turning point in his career. The paper noted that his opponents no longer see him as an “indomitable Hercules” and pointed out that his losses were becoming less extraordinary and more commonplace.
The commentary in Blick cited the writer’s English colleague who had said that Federer was big-headed, remarking that it was a wonder he had bowed to the Queen of Britain.
Even the Blick journalist conceded that Federer was not particularly modest. He went on to say that Federer was walking a fine line between sounding self-confident and arrogant.
The Tribune de Genève and 24 Heures from Lausanne asked, rhetorically, whether Federer needed a new coach to replace his friend Severin Lüthi. And the answer is “Of Course. To whip him on. That would be the best electric shock to relaunch his career in a miserable 2010.”
Not too late
As the Tages-Anzeiger put it, the years of plenty are over. Its editorial went on to say that Federer, “the most successful tennis player in history, has become human. Or beatable. And by people other than Rafael Nadal”.
Yet the newspaper gave Federer credit for bringing the game to such a high international level. It noted that while his best years may be over, it’s too early for the world media to write his obituary.
The Tages-Anzeiger gave American Pete Sampras as an example. Sampras, who is ten years older than Federer, won his last big trophy at the 2002 US Open.
If Federer follows in Sampras’ footsteps, that means he has nine more chances to expand his title collection by the end of 2012.
London’s Daily Mail took a less charitable view with the headline “Crash of the titan – now Roger Federer may never win it again”.
It said that time was not on Federer’s side, what with “one-year-old twin daughters tugging him in different directions”.
While the Daily Mail called Federer a “classy individual” and a “sportsman of whom tennis is rightly proud”, it criticised him for complaining about his injuries and bad luck.
Indeed, Federer failed to give credit to his 24-year-old opponent.
The New York Times wrote that Berdych “hit harder, served better and played with the sort of daring that marked Federer’s ascendance” – making the Swiss favourite look “vulnerable, mortal, human, even”.
In any event, “Federer heads to an early vacation” this summer, to quote the International Herald Tribune headline.
The timing isn’t bad, considering the rare heat wave forecast for Switzerland this weekend.
Susan Vogel-Misicka and Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch
In 2001 Federer ended Pete Sampras's 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon in the fourth round of the tournament.
By winning Wimbledon in 2003, Federer joined Stefan Edberg, Pat Cash and Björn Borg as the only players to win both the juniors' and men's Wimbledon championships.
Federer won five consecutive men's singles titles at Wimbledon (2003-2007), a feat only ever accomplished by Borg.
Pete Sampras holds the record for the total number of Wimbledon wins in the modern era with seven.
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