Fifteen Year, Ten Years discussed on Slate's Hang Up and Listen


To compromise on game day it's a win win the means game day will never be the same miller lite hold true so stephan and i talked to john wertheim last week before stephan went away to iceland and we talked about as you'll hear in my intro and a second documentary about rafael nidal and roger federer we had a huge amount of hubris and thinking oh there's nothing nothing could possibly happen fedor and a doll by the time we are this on monday july the ninth they'll both still be on the tournament and you know what nick hubris rewarded always be overconfident that's what that's what i have to tell you so the doll federer both made it to the wimbledon quarterfinals on monday they could meet and the final on sunday and here we go here's our conversation me and stephan and jon wertheim that was recorded last week as of july sixth two thousand eight roger federer and raphael and the doll had won fourteen of the previous sixteen major championships the two men had met in the previous four french open finals with an all winning all four and in the previous to wimbledon finals with federer winning both of those the match they'd played wimbledon that july which nidal one in five sets which aims the course of their rivalry and would instantly be celebrated as the greatest tennis match ever played that matches the subject of a new documentary strokes of genius which debuted last week on the tennis channel in which features interviews with the doll and federer plus their coaches and trainers and relatives and legends including john mcenroe bjorn borg martina navratilova and chris evert joining us now to discuss the documentary and the federal the doll rivalry which is now in its fifteenth year is jon wertheim john is an executive editor and senior writer at sports illustrated the author of the book strokes of genius and the executive producer of the documentary based on that book great to have you back my friends and it was a real pleasure to watch this documentary and to see athletes who are still you know at the top of their sport after all these years be so reflective during their careers i think the total credit to those guys and i think you're absolutely right we we all love thirty for thirty but there there's a big difference between athletes sort of playing retrospective and rehashing these these career moments versus athletes who are absolutely in the throes in this case of this rivalry i mean they come to wimbledon one and two in the world and they've won all alternately they've won the last six majors and they still agreed to to sit down and i thought both of them in in very different ways went pretty pretty deep on both match but i think more importantly on their relationship and the dynamics of rivalry and i think it says a great deal about them even at this stage in their careers they'd be willing to do this it is really striking and that was the first thing i was going to bring up to josh just how introspective and analytical both of them are about their place in the game and their relationship to each other other and i think my favorite recognition john was was federer's that after losing to nidal in this match ten years ago at wimbledon the realization that the doll was necessary to him as an athlete that he had been unbeatable that nidal came along with a game that challenged federer to adjust which he had never had to do before and federer like in real time understanding that and modifying his game so that we could have this fifteen year rivalry yeah exactly there's a great line in the movie where it was as if the doll were created for the express purpose of taking down fetter fashion a game that was more more unfavorable to federal who who had been ruling the route that had been this sort of benevolent despot at everybody loves roger and the the runner up would always say you know to good i'm playing for second place here comes the spaniard and he doesn't necessarily you know hugh to to the niceties of tennis and he's a lefthander tactically it's different sort of philosophically it's different and you're right i think better and he admits this in the film it took him a while to warm up to this relationship this is not somebody who necessarily relish the whole idea of challenge and rivalry and.

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