Roger Federer: Hero or Villain?


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The Independent Online

Look at him swishing his racket around, sweeping backhand here, sneaky drop shot there. Who's he think he is, world No 1? Well, he's not. He's No 3 – although he did defeat the world's top-ranked man, Novak Djokovic, to reach a record eighth Wimbledon final.

And don't we know it. Interviewed straight after his semi-final, the haughty Roger Federer proclaimed: "People were saying [about past losses], 'How are we going to survive a Wimbledon final without you?'" He then muttered something about not worrying about it himself as he dealt with it by going on holiday, but that's not the point, is it?

No, the point is that Federer was being arrogant – and not for the first time. After Andy Murray gave him a thrashing in Cincinnati, he responded, "There's no reason to be [disappointed] because I'm on an incredible run. You always expect a loss once in a while. So when it happens, why be disappointed if I win over 90 per cent of my matches?"

And that was only the start of the Murray-baiting, which continued ahead of their meeting in the Australian Open final of 2010: "I'm not taking anything away from what he did [in winning tournaments in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai the previous month], but was Asia the strongest this year?" he asked. "I'm not sure. Novak wasn't there. I wasn't there." Not taking anything away?

Then, after he'd beaten our Andy in that final, he made him cry. A grown man making a young 'un blub. Shameful.

And it gets worse: "I know he'd like to win the first championship for British tennis for, what is it, 150,000 years?" he said, throwing a stinging barb at not just one man but an entire nation.

A nation that, on Friday, jumped up and pumped their fist as one, as Murray ended 74 years of waiting for the first British male Wimbledon finalist since Bunny Austin. And now the Scotsman can wipe that insufferable grin from Federer's face. Come on, Andy – your country needs you!