Tennis Prose



The Raging Bullshitter

By Scoop Malinowski

The Raging Bull is renowned and beloved the world over for his extraordinary fighting spirit and iron will to win. He competes for every ball, every point as if his career and life are at stake. But image is everything and this world champion also wants it both ways – he wants the public to believe that his freakish drive to win is just love for the game, competition and not chasing immortality…

“The records are important, I’m a competitor, but I’ve never been obsessed with trying to be the best. I did much more than what I ever dreamed of in my tennis career. It would be amazing for me to win one more and be the player with most majors at the end of my career, but that’s not the key to my happiness in the future.”

“It’s not an obsession. We did beautiful things together and important things for our sport; we push each other to be better. To have somebody in front of you means he does many things better than you; it gives you a clear way about what you need to improve to achieve your goals.”

“I like what I’m doing; I like the competition. I know it’s not forever. I’m in the last part of my career because I’m 34 and a half. I feel fortunate to be where I am today and keep doing what I’m doing. I accept that and say thanks to life for these great things that have happened to me.”

“Of course, I want to win more Slams, yes. No doubt about that. But I never get – I mean, Novak is more obsessed about this, more focused…”

“Not in a negative way. No, (Novak)’s more focused on just these things and it means a lot to him all of this stuff. Like he’s always saying and talking about these records and well done for him. But it’s not my approach to my tennis career.”

“I don’t believe that my happiness, my future happiness gonna depends on if I achieve one more Grand Slam than the others or if the others achieve more Grand Slams than me.”

“I have a healthy ambition. Of course I am ambitious. If not, I would never be in the position I am today. I have probably a different kind of ambition than him. I just keep going, keep doing what I’m doing and put myself in a position to keep enjoying the Tour and of course to try to achieve as much as possible.”

Shots fired…

The arch-rival made this response to the accusations his obsession with winning was unhealthy: “I cannot speak on his behalf, I do not know the way he thinks, but, it is his right to voice an opinion: how he sees me in regards to records, etc. Personally, I do not feel that I am obsessed with anything in life; what I feel is passion and huge desire. I am going towards achieving my goals and I have never had a problem verbalizing it. Maybe someone cannot say something and then stick to it, but I never found it hard to say: ‘I want to break that record or reach a certain goal’. I do not know why would that be a bad thing, not just in terms of records, but anything, politics in tennis for instance.”

“Of course, I am ambitious, if not I would never be in the position I am today but I have probably a different kind of ambition than him, for example. I just keep going, keep doing what I’m doing and just try to put myself in a position to keep enjoying the tour and, of course, try to achieve as much as possible.”

“It is all a matter of perception and interpretation of what one says. I respect Rafa, probably more than any other player in the world; he is the biggest rival I had in my life. Everything he has achieved, his dedication to tennis and the way he goes about practicing and tennis in general, these traits of his are worthy of admiration. He knows what sources of motivation he has, I cannot go into that.”

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  • Bill McGill · January 31, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    They are both just saying the same thing. They are both admitting they like to win, would love to win more slams, would be happy if they ended up with lots of records but it’s a healthy ambition, not an unhealthy obsession. I find it hard to read any of the answers to these types of questions from Federer, Nadal and Djoker as anything other than three reasonable, well-adjusted people trying to politely answer repetitive questions from a press corps that is, in fact, the only party here with an unhealthy obsession.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Bill, I get your point but it seemed like Rafa and Fed were taking a veiled cheap shot at Djokovic by saying they really don’t care about winning so much, they play for the love of the game, while Djokovic openly says he wants the Grand Slam record. They tried to make him look bad, Rafa especially by implying Novak’s ambition is unhealthy while it’s the same as his, they just say it a little differently. Meanwhile Nadal is the most vicious obsessed fighter we ever saw. Federer too. All three are, that’s why they are where they are.



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