Roger Federer, a genius who made tennis look effortless, has been struggling to recover since his last Wimbledon title. Photograph by Richard Heathcote for The New York Times
Tennis is a game of moments, and Roger Federer is an instant among the elite. He can make it look so easy.
If it’s a simple shot, he’ll hit it at such speed and in such a way that you don’t have time to second-guess whatever it was you were thinking.
If you have to chase the ball, he’s moving so fast that he’s not really having to chase. He has a lot of time on the ball, and he’s not trying to be as quick as possible.
Then, when he’s on top of the world, it could all disappear. He’s in trouble.
This is not a criticism. In fact, what I’m saying is that Roger Federer is exactly the sort of person on whom we might look for the answer. We want the great, the famous, the geniuses we can admire. What we don’t want is to make the life of the average person, who might be reading this, harder. We don’t want to make them more miserable. We want to give them an opportunity.
That’s the thing that makes this book worth reading. Because a very large number of readers will have found themselves in the strange position of seeing Roger Federer on the court, and then seeing him in a different light.
The first time we actually saw him play, we were all in awe. It was at Wimbledon, two years ago, and on that first day I watched him, I couldn’t believe that he could play tennis. I couldn’t believe that he could hit tennis. It was amazing.
When I sat in a room with him, he wasn’t there. He’d been out sick. And he was sitting at a table with other people, and I asked him why he was there,