Changing China

Giant on the move

Day six at the Games: Roger Federer’s miserable year

August 14, 2008

FedererRoger Federer came to Beijing hoping for a singles gold medal to ease the pain of losing the last two major finals and his number one ranking to Rafa Nadal.

Tennis at the Olympics may rank far below the Grand Slams but considering he has not won one of those this year a gold medal would still have served very nicely, thanks very much.

Sadly for the Swiss, he lost 6-4 7-6 to James Blake in the quarter-finals on Thursday, a miserable day all round given the rain that was falling.

The Williams sisters also went out, double Olympic champion Venus beaten 7-5 7-5 by China’s Li Na and Serena losing to Elena Dementieva.

Away from the tennis, Michael Phelps was for once not the story. Alain Bernard of France won the men’s 100m freestyle in the Water Cube, while there was a nasty incident when a Swedish wrestler tossed away his bronze medal in disgust at the refereeing that cost him a shot at gold.

Otherwise, it was a golden day for Asia, as Japanese swimmer Kosuke Kitajima completed a breaststroke double double and Chinese gymnast Yang Wei ended eight years of hurt in the men’s individual all-round event.

For story of the day and picture of the day, look a bit further down the page. Quote of the day? Nothing great, so I thought I’d give you a joke of the day instead. This was overheard in the Athletes Village:

“Are you a pole vaulter?”
“No, I am German, but how did you know my name is Walter?”


* You can read the Olympic desk’s pick of day six here.

PHOTO: Roger Federer reacts during his defeat by James Blake of the U.S. in the mens’s singles tennis quarterfinals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 14, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


Ha.. you need that joke on a tennis day like helps..just dont try telling it to Roger..poor lad.

Posted by Fran | Report as abusive

Federer is what, 27? He still has a lot of tennis left in him. I wonder if it’s just that he’s been good for so long that he’s lost it… not that he didn’t try against Nadal in the French Open, but that might have been the backbreaker of the season.


I agree Federer is a long way from finished but the defeat today did compound a seriously frustrating season. If he comes back to win the U.S. Open it will be a great achievement but I wouldn’t bet much money on it at the moment.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

And Fran, yep, it certainly made me chuckle. There’s a serious shortage of jokes at this Olympics. If anyone hears one, please send it in.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Here’s another joke I spotted on the official beijing olympics website.

“I got 80 text messages today. One of my friends said to me, ‘Dude, how many times a day do I have to see your ugly face?’”
– Michael Phelps (USA)

Anyway, back to the topic… just what in the world is wrong with Fed? Is he tired? Aged? Secretly injured? Lost his will to win? He’s making heaps of unforced errors.
Although I favour Nadal, I also have a soft spot for Federer and pity his form now.

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

It is hard to fathom, isn’t it? Losing to Nadal is one thing — he seems to have a psychological block there — but when he starts losing to people like Blake it looks more serious.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Why is everyone so puzzled at Roger’s decline?
He is a brilliant tennis player who has (in spite of the fawning press image of being ‘humble and gracious”) an essentially arrogant ego that has been mortally wounded by the Roland Garros and Wimbledon disasters.
He is gracious in victory (not difficult) and ‘seemingly gracious’ in defeat–but if you listen carefully-or better yet, ass someone cannily suggested, READ the transcript..somewhere buried in his measured words is a little stab…a little excuse…
a) He dismissed Nadal as “one-dimensional”…
b) He blamed the fading light on his Wiombledon loss..don’t believe me? Here is the quote:
“It’s a pity that such an important tournament could hinge on a few minutes of light” tho it only affected HIM and not Nadal…..!!
c) a few weeks ago he had the insensitivity to say:
“#2 and #3 don’t mean anything..only #1 counts”.
d) but suddenly when he is about to lose #1, he says (are you sitting down?)”
“Being at the top doesn’t mean being # just means being in the top 5 or 10, and being able to compete in Slams”…..(thanks for setting us straight)
e) and, before the Blake defeat, he was already blaming the schedule, which “made it difficult to do singles and doubles in such a short space of time”……he knew the schedule…it was the same for everyone..he chose to play doubles, for whatever reason…..
f) I havent seen his post-Blake interview, but I am sure he will not disapoint..praising James to the skies,and then sneaking in a little (not so gracious)excuse.
Roger has not lost his forehand–he has lost his sense of superiority.
I do not think any coach can help his wounded ego– unless he is also a sports psychologist !

Posted by Dan Scarlett | Report as abusive

i see shades of 1981 Bjorn Borg here… he is not enjoying it, his invincibility has been shattered… if you want to see him play it might be wise to catch him REAL soon…

Posted by Even more confused | Report as abusive

I wouldn’t be so quick to retire him, Even More Confused. Here’s to the Grand Slam next year!

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

1. What a pity we should have to read letters like Dan Scarlett’s !! Federer has been an AMAZING player for the last 5 years. Has been #1 for more than 230 weeks continuously. What if he loses #1 ?! What if he loses a few matches ?! No problem.

2. Federer’s fantastic game is best summed up by Nadal himself on various occasions.

3. Any real tennis player or fan/enthusiast who has some good grasp of the game will know the greatness of a player like Roger Federer. He has of course given a NEW DIMENSION to Tennis game and for another 25 years you will be hearing people talking about RF.

4. Nevertheless, we definitely need comments from Scarlett like people, in order to bring out the best in Ranga-like people who knows much more about the game, about Federer’s game, and his contribution to the Tennis world.

5. I have no doubt at all, there is still lot of tennis left in RF, and he will definitely win a few more grand slams.

6. Wait and see… RF-critics and RF-haters !!!

Posted by Ranga Nathan | Report as abusive

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