Roger Federer was asked during a pre-Indian Wells press conference about the time players take in between points. The ATP rule is 25 seconds, but as any Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic match demonstrates, players often go for longer. (We analyzed this during last year's Wimbledon final.) Federer's quote, helpfully transcribed by Matt Cronin, was pure Roger:
"I do believe the officials could be a bit more tough on timing. I'm not complaining a lot, but I don't know how you can go through a four-hour match with Rafa [Nadal] and he never gets a time violation. It's natural that even I would go over time, but they never remind us. There are times when they could be a bit more firm. Because at the end of the day, I don't know if fans are getting frustrated to watch five points that are going to take us five minutes."
It's all there. He hedges and refuses to take a firm stand in the first sentence. He clarifies that he's not complaining before complaining about Nadal. Then he half-heartedly brings himself into the discussion, explaining that "it's natural" that even he would go over time, as if the mere thought of it is too preposterous to consider. I imagine Grace Kelly had the same tone in the 1950s when a Life magazine reporter would ask whether she looks as glamorous when she wakes up in the morning.
Federer then hedges a bit more, getting his point across without ever calling out chair umpires or tennis rules officials. He's a master politician. It's no wonder he received votes in an election he didn't even enter.
- Roger Federer
- Rafael Nadal
- Novak Djokovic