First, I'd like to reply to Darren who left me an interesting comment in the previous entry. Thanks for the note; it shows, at least, that my tennis-related ramblings have not gone unread (though sometimes I wish they were because they're not terribly well-written). It seems, though, that a few things need to be clarified:
I am primarily a Roger Federer fan, and secondarily a tennis fan. If that does not make me a "true" tennis fan, then so be it. I never claimed to be one. I started out watching tennis because I thought Roger was the most beautiful man I've ever seen in my life (I still do), so yes, my initial interest in Roger was purely superficial. My superficial interest in Fed also burgeoned and blossomed into an interest in, first, his beautiful tennis, and subsequently, tennis in general. He made me want to pick up a tennis racquet, and he also single-handedly got me hooked onto tennis.
Having said that, as much as I enjoy watching tennis, I love watching Roger Federer. To me, no one plays tennis with the exquisite artistry and grace and beauty that he does. To me, tennis and Roger Federer are inter-changeable terms. Maybe this shouldn't be the case; maybe I should appreciate tennis for what it is. But the fact remains that I would never have gotten into tennis if it weren't for Roger, and the fact also remains that, until the day he retires, no one can possibly hope to do it for me the way he does. We'll see what happens after he hangs up his racquet, if I even still continue to follow tennis. As it stands, though, I will freely admit that Roger defines tennis for me, and that I am a fan of his first, and a fan of tennis second.
Next, and as a consequent of my first point, I am completely not objective when it comes to my commentary/ramblings/rantings/whatever you want to call it of his matches and his rivals. I have nothing against Rafael Nadal as a person; in fact, I could really care less what he does off court. But I do care - and I care deeply - when he makes comments about Roger to the press that I deem unfair to him. If I come across as biased in my assessment of Rafa's comments, well, guess what? You are right. I am biased - 100% biased. I am biased towards Roger Federer, and naturally am biased against his rivals.
Even in my bias, however, I take issues with your accusation that I paint Nadal to be a "monster". In the first place, I don't think he's one, or "evil"; all I think is that he needs to step up and assume his responsibility as the #1 player in the world, which includes not shirking the role of the "favourite" in a tournament in which he's seeded 1 and Roger 2 and saying, "But Roger is still the favourite, no?" Maybe he was right in saying that Roger was the favourite to win the Australian Open, but saying that Roger is the favourite to win the French Open is way too much of a stretch of the imagination, considering he was denied the title three times by Nadal himself. Does this mean I think Nadal is a monster, or evil? No. All it means is that I found his comments irresponsible and that they unduly add even more pressure to Roger, additional pressure that he does not need because he's already facing tremendous pressure as it stands, and I believe that Nadal has yet to feel even half of the pressure that Roger has gracefully carried on his shoulders throughout his whole professional career.
With regard to Nadal's on-court gamesmanship, however, I stand by everything I said. I believe that an athlete should compete with integrity and respect for the rules of his sport. Nadal doesn't. If my unabashed declaration of being a Fedtard affects my ability to objectively make such an assessment, then so be it; but do note that I am not the only person saying these things, and the intention behind Nadal's gamesmanship is, I'm sure, clear enough that I don't have to spell it out.
With regard to the enjoyment I derive from "someone losing", I don't see how deriving enjoyment from a loss precludes me from being a true tennis fan in and of itself. But I suppose your statement was made in context of your perception of my unfair treatment of Roger's rivals and my unduly favourable endorsement of Mr. Federer. If that is the case, like I said in the beginning of this reply, I am first a Fedfan, then a tennis fan; as a result, whether wrongly or rightly, half the intrigue in following tournaments that Roger takes part in is rooting for his rivals to lose. Does that make me an untrue tennis fan? I suppose it does, because I sure as hell cannot derive any pleasure or enjoyment from the Federer/Nadal rivalry. Quite apart from how I personally hate it when Roger loses to Nadal, from a purely aesthetic perspective I simply cannot appreciate how anyone is able to enjoy watching talent and artistry get run over by bullishness and brainless ball-bashing.
As for my alleged hypocrisy, my statement was directed at the comments I've been reading in Roger's official forum from his "fans" who pick apart every single thing he does. I don't know what other people have been saying about him because I don't care enough to go and find out and make my blood pressure boil. I am obviously not a fan of Nadal's, so my rant cannot be equally applied to the things I've said about Nadal on this blog. Furthermore, I also can't see how I pick apart every single thing Nadal does when 1) I don't, because I don't follow every single thing he does; and 2) I've only written entries about what he said with regard to Federer after the Australian Open and his gamesmanship. I'm sure there are many more things I could've said about him if I'd known about them; but I don't know what they are, and I don't really care to be honest, so there you go.
Lastly, as for your accusation that I turn a blind eye to Roger's actions that most people would find arrogant, wrong, or immature, I'd like to ask, first, who "most people" are, and second, what actions you have in mind. Is it the racquet-smashing? Well, I've already stated my disappointment in him for stooping that low this entry. The water-bottle throwing? I'd like to know where in my entry did I come across as "turning a blind eye" and then going off about how gorgeous he is, because the last I checked, my next rant was about my slow Internet connection and I said nothing about his looks, or even him anymore. In fact, I didn't comment on the water-bottle throwing, but if you want to know my take on it, I didn't see it during the match because I was at my computer during the changeover, though I did see a .gif of it somewhere online. From what little I saw it did look petulant, so shame on you Roger for venting your frustration on those bottles and making the ball kids pick them up.
The larger issue, however, is that I am able to slap him on the wrist for these actions and move on because these things are extremely uncharacteristic for him. When he's mad, he usually doesn't show it and certainly never went the extent of smashing a racquet since his junior days (I'm not sure if his racquet broke when he threw it in Miami 05 and Rome 06). The reason I am eventually okay with these immature displays of anger is because, unlike some other players, he doesn't do so on a regular basis, and as someone who's learned a lot about him, practically his entire career, in a short span of time, I can say "that's crappy behaviour" and move on because it's the exception, not the norm. If it becomes a norm, I might react differently; but as it stands, that racquet was the first one he broke since his junior days and the third one he's thrown since Miami 2005 and Rome 2006. If I can count on one hand the number of times he's vented his frustration on his racquet in a match, then clearly, it's the exception, not the norm. The same goes for the water-bottle.
I'd even go further and say that I can excuse such behaviour, not just because they are extremely rare, but also because I can relate. We all get frustrated, and Roger is only human. He's proved to the tennis world more than ever that he's just human. What he achieved all these years, not showing his emotions on court, is not normal, but breaking that racquet? It's normal. It's unfortunate, but it's normal. I've already lost count of the number of times I wanted to break my own racquet out of frustration at not being able to hit a proper forehand, and if I had a free supply of racquets, I probably would've broken a lot by now. I have also taken out my frustration on inanimate objects too many times to remember throughout my entire life, both in public and in private, and even when I have reached the age where I should, objectively, know better. Roger's near-impeccable on-court conduct for most of his career and his usually-respectful treatment of the ball kids tell me that he does know better, which is why his behaviour in the Djokovic match is excusable, but only barely.
I'm not sure if this is making sense, but the gist of what I want to say is that I take issues with your accusation that I turn a blind eye to his faults, because I don't. Even when I'm at the peak of my Fedtardness I don't turn a blind eye. When I thought he gave up a match, I called him out for it, and it's testament to him as an elite athlete and as a person that there haven't been many occasions in which I felt inclined to criticise him and express my disappointment in him. Of course, my Fedtardness could've blinded me to other occasions, in which case I'd be quite happy to hear them just so I can evaluate my subjective notion of my very subjective objectivity.
To round up, let me remind you that this is my personal blog. This is not even a tennis blog, or a Federer blog; it's my personal blog where I write about whatever I want, however I want. My entries, and the tone of my entries, are dictated by my mood, which I give are sometimes hard to discern; but the majority of the people that read this are my friends who know me well enough to know that I'm not always the biased fangirl who drools over Roger all the time that some of my entries portray me to be. Above all else, though, and unlike Pete Bodo (oops, cheap shot), I don't claim to be objective in my tennis-related comments, and the instances where I DO try to be objective, I'd usually preface it with words to that effect ("to be fair", for instance).
Right, I'm done. Moving on now.
I visited the ICTY website for the first time to look for some cases. The site has this function where you can select the name of the accused to pull out a list of cases that involve him, and on that page, they included pictures of the accused(s?).
Putting a face to all these Serb names was quite disconcerting. The atrocities that I've been reading about ceased to exist in an academic vacuum and have become awfully real. Before, it was bewilderment and disgust in wondering how anyone could even conceive of doing these things; but now, it's the realisation that supposedly sane, rational people are capable of carrying out such horrendous acts that leaves me utterly cold. It chills me to the bones and disturbs me in such a manner that it takes all the words out of me.
I don't even know. This world...you know, I used to watch 7th Heaven when I was a kid, and there was one episode in particular that made me cry. I don't remember what it was about exactly but it involved some interactions with an elderly Holocaust survivor. I think she told her story at the end of the episode, but I vividly remember her revealing the serial number tattooed on her arm. After that, I sat in my living room and started crying because it was so sad, and I couldn't understand how people could do such things to each other.
I was 12 then. I'm, what, 23 this year? Yeah, 23. And yet, the heart hasn't significantly hardened to such brutalities and hatred, enough to leave me unaffected and indifferent. Sometimes, I think, no matter how much you think you've grown and matured, at the heart of it you're still that 12 year old hugging yourself with tears streaming down your face after the Holocaust episode of 7th Heaven.
In a sense, it's not necessarily a bad thing; it means that, for all my cynicism or perceived cynicism, there is still a small part of me that remains untainted.
Along a rather similar vein, I'm quite the bleeding heart liberal. I can even understand how anyone could represent people like Radislav Krstic and defend him, and can even understand John Pope's forgiveness of the man that tried to assassinate him.
And yet, I can't seem to extend this compassion to the people that I actually know, i.e. the likes of ex-boyfriends. Is it a matter of it being too personal? But shouldn't the precise personal nature of it mandate that I do the same for them?
Oh well. It's a mere thought exercise at this stage because, yeah, I'm still bitter and disgruntled and whatever, and I still can't be bothered. It made me wonder, that's all.
Okay time to go back to the blasted exam.
I pitched my mom the idea of going to Rome in May for the twin purposes of watching Roger compete (on clay!!!!!! Which means no stress about him winning 'cause he'd probably lose to Rafa) and visiting Rome, 'cause I've always wanted to go to Rome and swoon over the ruins of the Colosseum. My dad was in the same vicinity though, and he immediately shot down my idea, saying it's expensive blah blah blah.
WTF! Seriously. What's the point to life if you're not going to enjoy yourself, right? Bleah.