August 23, 2010
Answer: The tooth fairy, unicorns and the video of Roger Federer hitting a bottle off a guy's head.
Question: Name three things that aren't real.
The clip of Federer playing William Tell was viewed over five million times last week, making it the most popular online video in the world. Like most good things though, it was too good to be true.
When we asked Gillette whether the video was genuine, they wouldn't say, instead issuing a classic non-denial denial. Days later, Federer all but spilled the beans when he told reporters that a "magician never tells how his tricks work." In short, the video was a fake.
But that got us wondering: When Federer misses a 130 mph serve, he's off his target by a few inches. Why did he need special effects to knock a bottle of a guy's head from 15 paces? He's the greatest tennis player who ever lived, surely he could hit a sizable target on a couple of tries, right?
I decided to investigate that theory this weekend by running a William Tell test of my own. Here are the surprising findings:
Yes, I'm wearing catcher's gear (and still flinch a bit). And, yes, my friend isn't hitting the ball nearly as fast as Federer does. But, then again, he's also not a 16-time Grand Slam champion.
There's no reason Gillette and Federer couldn't have made this work. All he'd need to do was aim a little high and take a little off the shot and Fed could easily knock a bottle off somebody's head for real. Heck, I'd even volunteer to be the guinea pig. Maybe I'd even leave my catcher's mask at home.