Ridiculous attire doesn't fit Federer
• I'll call him on that. Anyone who breaks the all-time record for majors, winning the Wimbledon final 16-14 in the fifth set, deserves a day of unconditional love. But now that it's Wednesday -- and 72 hours have elapsed -- I'll join the many of you who wrote in critiquing Federer's ridiculous attire.
As we said a few weeks back, the guy's tennis might be incomparable but his accessorizing leaves a lot to be desired. First, there was the gold man purse, the kind of accoutrement that begs for ridicule. Next, there was the Sergeant Pepper jacket. A friend asked me if it were "an inside joke kind of thing," and sadly I had to report that it wasn't. The jacket was, of course, covering a gold-striped shirt and shorts. Plus, there were the gold shoes, embroidered with Federer's initials. For a sport that still needs to shed its country club perception, it doesn't help when the top player looks like he was dressed by Brüno.
The pièce de résistance, however, was that "15" jacket Federer donned immediately after winning Sunday's final, an article of clothing that simultaneously managed to be presumptuous, self-aggrandizing and sensationally tacky. A penny for
Beyond the fashion police ridicule, I think there's a bigger issue here. Who exactly is tasked with Federer's image these days? Why does this person have a job? And why is Federer allowing Nike's agenda to undercut an image that, much like his old attire, needed no further ornamentation? Here was a guy once lauded -- very rightfully -- as a populist champ, an unparalleled player who still projected modesty and quintessentially Swiss stoicism. This
Whose bright idea was it to transform that thoroughly likable guy into King Bling? Did the Nike marketing data really indicate that kids would warm to all those elitist touches? Is the gold man purse making a surprise comeback? This is the personification of "gilding the lilly." It does not say "elegance" any more than a fleur-de-lis back tattoo says "French." Here's hoping it's a phase and Federer takes back some ownership of his portrayal. I've gotten a ton of mail on this and I know I'm not alone when I say this: Roger, we'd rather look at your titles.
• Maybe next time they'll have the courtesy to finish before my deadline. But props to the aforementioned pair, doubly so for Groenefeld, who's back after descending to a pretty dark place a few years ago.
• As a rule, the higher seed gets to pick, hence the Federer posse gets the front row. I know that at the U.S. Open, American players get the choice box, a policy that, shall we say, displeased
• No tease intended. Just saying that the ban lapses and, at a minimum, at least she'll be allowed back in the Grand Slam venues. Will Hingis come back? After all, 29 isn't ancient. This is total speculation, but I wouldn't hold my breath. While Hingis might be tempted (and she stayed in shape in her absence), there's a difference between winning a match here and there, and being competitive week in and week out.
• Yes, the WTA should fine her. Big bucks. How dare she voice an independent opinion, one that might run counter to the corporate agenda? Look, I think we all agree it would be ideal if Serena could summon her best every event. But, again, give me a Grand Slam champ who might not go all out in Madrid or Montreal over the Tier 1 queens who gag at majors.
• Big credit to Stefanki. He might not have
• And in other news, creatine is sponsoring MLB's home run derby. Morality and economic conditions can move in lockstep. It's a lot harder to take principled stances when the coffers are running low. (How about those
• The lack of a tiebreaker in the fifth doesn't bother me. But I will use this opportunity to lobby for best of three the first week of majors, best of five the second week.
• Back to the Federer/Brüno discussion, if you thought fashion was irrelevant, check out this e-mail from an anonymous source: "All this dabbling in fashion is not a complete waste of time. America's lone hope for a future Slam winner,
• As mentioned above, sad
• A plug for
• This week's unsolicited book recommendation:
• Big fan of
• World Team Tennis co-founder
• Relieved to hear that
Have a great week, everyone!