I was watching the second half of the Roger/Marat Rome 2001 match last night, after the Intelligence Law disaster, and when the match finally ended with Roger clinching it with an ace, one of the reporters from the station that broadcasted the match went up to Roger for an on-court interview. The commentary was in Italian, the station was Italian, but for some reason I was expecting the interviewer to interview him in English.
But no. She opened her mouth, and Italian came out. I looked around for a translator - saw none. Roger was there by himself, listening to the question, and when he opened his mouth and Italian came out, I received the shock of my life.
I think I somehow forgot that he speaks some Italian (and apparently Swedish too, according to Wikipedia) which I should've known...but I completely forgot. And I was shocked when he actually understood what the woman was yammering on about, and even more shocked when he replied in Italian.
But simultaneously, it was quite obvious he wasn't very fluent in Italian, so thank goodness I don't have to track him down and marry him NOW. Can you imagine how hard I'd be swooning if he was actually fluent in Italian AND Swedish? Like, oh my god, seriously. I'm struggling to call myself effectively bilingual, and he's effectively multilingual in four languages if Swiss-German and German count as two separate languages (and apparently they do). It's just not fair. And it's not even about how he's Swiss, because Stanislas Wawrinka, also a Swiss, doesn't speak very good English and he's only fluent in French. And everytime I listen to hot Spanish players speak English, I die inside, and they instantly become not hot. The Argentines that I've listened to can't speak English too, and Gilles Simon - French - also can't speak proper English and he sounds quite dumb speaking in English. And so does Stan; they both have similar accents because of the French thing.
I don't know why but I find it incredible, how multilingual Roger is. I think he could have an alternate career as a diplomat or something after he retires.
Oh my god, he's so damn perfect!!!! I've always been a sucker for guys that are fluent in foreign languages. MY HEART HAS BEEN STOLEN ONCE MORE!
Anyway, I was really tickled by Marat in that match. First, he looked REALLY young. He's about 29 now I think and he was only 21 in that match; he looked like a baby.
Second, true to form, Marat threw temper tantrums and didn't bother hiding his emotions. The hands on the hips, throwing up his hands when he missed or when Roger hit a winner, flinging his racquet to the floor. I was really amused.
I wasn't as amused when Roger threw his temper tantrums though. They subsided after the first set, but during that set, he yelled at himself, muttered to himself whenever he made an error, and threw his racquet a few times. When he was losing in that first set (well he lost it but yeah) he really looked like he was about to cry a few times.
I thought it'd be amusing, but it wasn't. It pained me. And they showed a highlights reel of the two players and their temper tantrums, and I suspect that was the highlights reel Roger was talking about in that Letterman (I think? Jay Leno?) interview post-US Open 2007 victory, the one that made him embarrassed enough to start changing his ways. And he did!
Out of all the things I marvel over when it comes to him, I think the one that impresses me most is the way he successfully overcame his temper, controlled his emotions on court, and is now a completely different player than what he used to be when he was starting out. I find that incredible, if I'm being honest. 9 years later and Marat Safin is still his old self, but Roger is a completely different person on court. I don't know how he did it and I'm quite curious to know.
Anyway, on a superficial note, Roger's clothes were damn strange back then. I also saw him re-colouring the Wilson logo on his racquet which was kinda weird; I'd only seen one guy do it and it was some guy that was ranked I don't even remember what, whom I've never heard of. Maybe the lower-ranked players are contractually required to do that. I don't know.
Also, this was the first full-length clay match I've ever watched and oh my god, all the sliding looked damn fun! But also dirty. And it was also rather slow so I still prefer hard courts, thanks. And maybe grass but I've only watched like a couple of grass matches (Wimbledon 2003 and 2005 finals) so I can't really say.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that I hope Roger wins the French Open this year. No matter how impossible it looks, even if Rafael Nadal is probably going to win it again, I hope Roger wins it. It'd be amazing to equal the #14 in Roland Garros, then break the record in Wimbledon. I'd cry so hard, I wouldn't have any tears left for the rest of the year, but I'd be sure to force some when he wins his sixth straight US Open.
I dragged my poor folks to KR again to play tennis, and it was a strange, strange day. My backhand kept finding the frame, and when I actually focused on hitting a forehand properly, it actually, like, worked?! And it worked a few times?! I'm quite amazed.
But I have to stop flicking open my fucking racquet when I start to hit the ball though. Everytime the damn ball flies like super high, I felt like dying. It was incredibly frustrating and I can't begin to say how difficult it is to control the forehand.
Lastly, I have made the first of many inroads into unlocking the serve. I have learned to bend my knees after studying Roger's and a few other players' (Andy, Gilles, my boyfriends <3) and it actually happened today. I'm very pleased.