Friday, September 18, 2009

6 comments Jay Mariotti Hates It When Roger Federer and Tiger Woods Win

I just wanted to remind everyone, remember to update your College and NFL Fantasy leagues for this week. I am having a tough time with a couple of the college games. The Va Tech-Nebraska game is causing me great consternation and some of the spreads are huge so I don't know if some of the teams can cover or not. I have also been doing some serious studying and feel like I am going to bury Peter King and Bill Simmons in the NFL pick 'em. Enough rambling, on to the column for the day...

Jay Mariotti thinks the fans win when Roger Federer and Tiger Woods don't win tennis and golf tournaments. Jay believe his entire job is to say something controversial or something that will stand out so he gets attention of any type. When he was a child he probably intentionally broke things around the house so his parents would notice him. Good attention or bad attention, it doesn't matter to him. As far as I can tell the only people who really like Jay or respect his writing are AOL and ESPN. Everyone else, including fellow sportswriters, seem to think he is a crappy writer who has not had anything productive to say in nearly a decade.

A few months ago Jay wrote that he wasn't really impressed with Roger Federer because he can't beat Nadal on clay, today I don't even know what he is writing about. It's supposed to be about how the fans are better off when Federer loses, but it is really just a hack job on Roger Federer and he throws Woods' name in there for some reason.

Disclaimer: As I stated previously, I find Roger Federer to be smug and I don't think he gives his competition the proper credit when he loses. That being said, he is a fantastic tennis player and quite possibly the best I have seen in my lifetime, which unlike Peter King's "lifetime," actually encompasses my entire lifetime.

He lost tiebreakers, which rarely happens, and he committed 15 unforced errors in the fifth set to merely four for a 20-year-old foe in his maiden Grand Slam final experience.

Roger Federer had a bad match! Cancel tennis and let's begin to stock the bomb shelters, the end is nigh'.

Worse still, Roger Federer did something unbefitting a dignified, placid champion who speaks elegantly, wears stylish sweaters and counts Vogue editor Anna Wintour among his friends.

I am pretty sure Mariotti just accused Roger Federer of being a closet homosexual. I am not even going to re-read the sentence, I will just assume that's what he meant and judge Mariotti accordingly.

I've had to watch "The Devil Wears Prada" approximately 10 times, since the character in that movie is based on Anna Wintour (don't ask how I know this, I have found it out) I am going to say there are worse people in the world to be friends with. She's pretty much the type of person you would stereotypically think a tennis champion would have as a friend. I don't personally want to be friends with her, but if you like nice clothing and are wealthy...why the hell not?

(Bengoodfella goes and gets a tattoo, punches a random pedestrian and buys a motorcycle in an effort to reclaim his manhood)

When he was basically told to shut up, Federer responed with the latest obscenity in an expletive-filled tournament that should have been called the U.S. Bleeping Open.

Federer "responed?" I am pretty sure that is not a word. Did AOL have to fire Mariotti's editor to pay for his outrageous salary demands? Probably.

Two points from his 16th Slam title, the one that would have solidified his place as the greatest tennis player ever, he collapsed Monday in an all-time tennis shocker.

Just months ago Mariotti said Federer had to beat Nadal on clay to be the best tennis player ever...but now if he had won his 41st straight match at the US Open against a tennis player few had heard of he would be the greatest tennis player ever according to Mariotti. How things change in just a few months in Mariotti's mind...

Winning 40 straight matches is unimpressive to Mariotti, if only Federer had gotten that 41st straight match then, and only then, would he be considered the greatest tennis player ever. Of course this idea is incredibly stupid and doesn't deserve a response from me. You can't hold the loss of one match against a player who had won 40 straight matches prior to that.

That quickly, a familiar argument was reborn: Can Federer truly be considered the best ever when he has struggled so often against Rafael Nadal and was ousted in his event, on his court, by del Potro?

Shut up about this. Yes, he can be considered the best ever if he has struggled against the best clay court player in a long, long time and lost one US Open Tournament match in 6 years. He has lost ONE match in the last six years at the US Open and now that is enough for Mariotti to hold this against him when discussing the best player ever. You find me a tennis player who has never been upset and never lost a major tournament match and I will tell you that player is the greatest player ever, otherwise Roger Federer is on my short list for the non-official honor.

Doesn't he have to prove more in the next couple of years, when del Potro and Nadal will be dogging him along with Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and who knows who else?

No he doesn't. No offense to del Potro but the fact he beat Federer near the tail end of his career isn't that impressive to me. Federer is near-impossible to beat at the US Open and kudos to del Potro for doing so, but Federer has been dominating for so long it doesn't matter this loss happened when talking about Federer's legacy. Federer has eaten Roddick and Murray for lunch his entire career. This goes for pretty much every tennis player that Federer has faced and eventually dominated.

He has nothing to prove because he has shown he can beat every other tennis player on any surface at any point...except for the greatest clay court player and quite possibly one of the best tennis players of the past 20 years in Nadal. He does have a hard time beating him on clay, but so does every other player, which is what makes Nadal quite possibly the greatest clay court player ever. Just because Federer has competition doesn't make Federer not the greatest ever.

Yes, he does.

No, he doesn't.

Poised as we were to see Federer claim his third Slam of the year, his stunning takedown by del Potro was much better theater and adds more drama to a long-dormant sport that grabbed our attention -- for good reasons and bad -- the last two weeks.

Federer having competition is a good thing, but Federer not winning tennis matches is not a good thing. Dominant players are generally great for a sport and even more great for tennis since it is a sport that relies on competition and strong players for ratings and success in the mainstream.

Suddenly, everywhere he looks, Federer has rivals who can conquer him at any time on any surface.

I believe Mariotti said similar things in June and then Federer went out and won Wimbledon...without Nadal playing, but he still won it.

Losing one match in the last 41 matches does not mean Federer's rivals can beat him at any point. Even though he is near the end of his career I think Federer will tell anyone who thinks they can beat him any time on any surface to go ahead and try.

But Federer did seem disingenuous when he said this defeat will be simpler to swallow because he got married this year, became the father of twin girls and won two Slam titles at Wimbledon and the French Open.

That's right, he has won two Slam titles this year. Yet all of a sudden he is beatable because he didn't win three Slam titles. Not to mention he did get married and have two kids, he may not have been disingenuous here, he was probably being truthful.

Obviously because Mariotti is a gross, sweaty old man who has no redeeming qualities as a human, he has not gotten the opportunity to know how actually staying married and having kids who love him would feel, so I understand how he thinks the "family excuse" was just an excuse since he is unable to make a human connection with anyone. Yeah...I just went Dr. Phil on him and it was a bit harsh.

Ever hear Michael Jordan talk that way after a major loss? Or Woods? Or any of the greats? The most competitive champions never justify losing.

As we found out this weekend, Michael Jordan is sort of an asshole, which I knew previously from my fiance's interactions with him at a golf tournament. I am pretty sure we have focused on Woods' family enough to where other people made excuses for him based on the death of his father and the birth of his children. He doesn't have to make excuses, others realize the outside circumstances and have judged Woods accordingly after playing in a golf tournament when a major life event has happened to him. Somehow Mariotti is able to do that for Federer.

But it wasn't long ago when he was a slave to Nadal, who may have continued to carve up Federer if not for the injuries -- abdominal for the short term, knees for the long term -- that threaten to sabotage his body of work.

Saying he was a "slave" to Nadal is overstating the case a lot. Nadal is widely reknown as the greatest player in a long, long time on clay and they have played 11 matches on clay, which Nadal has won 9 of these. They are even 3-3 on hard courts and Federer leads 2-1 on grass courts. Another issue is that while Nadal does pretty well against Federer head-to-head, Federer is much more consistent and has played and won in more Grand Slam Finals. We can't ignore this fact. Mariotti may try, but I won't let him.

"When I would have a dream, it was to win the U.S. Open. The other one is to be like Roger," del Potro said.

Can he be the next Federer? Or, maybe the better question is whether he's about to overtake Federer.

He has beaten Federer in one tennis match. We can start to have this discussion when del Potro wins about 10 more Grand Slam Finals...if that ever happens also, which I am not betting on. We have to remember that Federer has been there and done all of that at this point. He is near the end of his career and his resume speaks for itself.

It's refreshing to have him around. Not that we're tired of Federer, but it seems he's a bit weary of the scene after an astonishing 22 Grand Slam finals.

I am not weary of him. I don't necessarily like him but I am not weary of him. Having strong competitors at the top of the rankings is what makes the sport of tennis so attractive and draws ratings.

Take what is happening to the women's tennis game right now. Serena and Venus don't participate in many tournaments matches, Ivanovic and Sharapova are more interested in endorsements (ok, Sharapova has been injured but she does a lot of endorsements too), Safin is probably the weakest #1 seed in the history of the women's game because she has never won a major, and there is just no real leader in the clubhouse rankings. It doesn't make the women's game less fun to watch but take away the Williams' sisters and know that Kim Clijsters isn't going to play another 5 years and the women's game could have a real void at the top of the rankings and the television ratings in a few years because they don't have top players that consistently win the Grand Slam Finals.

Even if I don't like Federer, I understand he is good for the sport of tennis.

The fact he didn't win keeps us more interested. And the fact Federer didn't win Monday keeps us more interested. In the end, unpredictability trumps inevitability every time.

No one is going to argue that competition is not good for the sport of tennis but having Federer in the Finals of nearly every Grand Slam is not a bad thing...especially when he is against Nadal in the Finals match. There is also no way del Porto is anywhere near the level of Federer after beating him just once. I would call what Mariotti writes "shock journalism" but it's not even that good.

Here is an article that sums up Federer's loss much better than the attention seeking Jay Mariotti. It's not even written by a journalist but by an ex-tennis player. Rather than just making blanket statements and wondering why Federer lost or if Federer is losing it, she does actual analysis and tells what and why things happened during the match. What a novel concept.


KentAllard said...

I'm sure Federer can't sleep worrying about Roddick coming after him. Roddick's a good player, but there isn't even a rivalry, since Federer has owned him.

What did Michael Jordan do last weekend? I know he's an asshole, but I missed any news in my grief. I hope he didn't turn Scottie Pippen out to hook on the street.

RuleBook said...

Just read this from the new Simmons post, and thought it was applicable:

Only seven sports jobs open themselves up to ongoing ridicule, and -- in a worst-case scenario -- genuine venom. The first two? Coach and general manager. The third? Baseball closer. The fourth? Hockey goalie. The fifth? Kicker. The sixth? Jay Mariotti. The seventh? Quarterback.

Jeremy Conlin said...

What were your thoughts on the Simmons/Delhomme piece? I thought he made a few good points.

Bengoodfella said...

Federer has always owned Roddick and it's always going to be that way. There never has been and never will be a rivalry between those two.

Michael Jordan has sort of an asshole-ish HoF induction speech. He called out a lot of people and players. It wasn't so bad but pretty typical for him. Somehow people were shocked by it.

Rulebook, see everyone hates Jay Mariotti.

Jeremy, he posted it and I read it after I posted today. I clearly do have some thoughts on it and I am going to write more tomorrow about it.

I haven't read it in-depth yet, so I don't want to stick myself to certain positions or anything but I don't think Del-Whom? is going to bounce back this week. It may be me being pessimistic but we always knew the guys on the team had faith in him. There is talk that he is telegraphing his passes in some fashion so maybe that is part of it. The sentiment to get rid of him here in Carolina is not quite as strong as Simmons says, though it is close. Mostly its just Cowboys and Redskins and part-time Panthers fans being reactionary. The bottom line is there is no backup available that would even do a comparable job, no matter how bad he is.

I think Jake bounces back a little this week but I also don't think the Panthers win the game. I don't mean to Peter King you and put it off until tomorrow but I plan on covering it a little bit more then. From initial thoughts, he seems to have good points, though any fan with brains won't want him replaced because there are no other options available.

Sorry to tease for tomorrow like that...what I write won't be that interesting, I will just have more time to cover it all.

KentAllard said...

Ah. I looked up the Jordan speech. typical for him. I have a friend who years ago waited tables at a place where Jordan ate with Charles Barkley. Jordan was rude, and told her her tip was the honor of meeting him. Barkley was nice and left a C-note, then came back a few minutes later and gave her another $100, and said "My friend forgot to leave a tip."

He has his faults, but Barkley has always seemed the kind of guy you could hang out with.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, Jordan got an attitude with my fiance because she told him the golf club she worked at during the time only served Powerade instead of Gatorade. He said a few things to her that were just pretty rude. I saw Barkley at a club in Raleigh, NC a few years earlier with Mr. Belding and he seemed pretty cool. He did have a whole section quarantined off for them but I sort of expected that.

I think I would like Barkley but the speech was typical Jordan. He is not a bad guy but he is competitive to a fault.