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Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:51 am

Has Simon written about the AO yet?

No one can capture the beauty of Fed's play better in words than Simon can. He's a huge admirer of Federer and wrote some great stuff about his hero. Does anyone remember the column he wrote for the times the day after the Wimbledon final 2007? I still have that newspaper, picked it up during my holiday in France.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/simonbarnes/article2387120.ece#


BTW, this is also a classic by another journalist:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html
"Roger Federer as religious experience" and that was written in 2006!! Laugh

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:00 am

gallery play wrote:Has Simon written about the AO yet?

No one can capture the beauty of Fed's play better in words than Simon can. He's a huge admirer of Federer and wrote some great stuff about his hero. Does anyone remember the column he wrote for the times the day after the Wimbledon final 2007? I still have that newspaper, picked it up during my holiday in France.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/simonbarnes/article2387120.ece#

Yes but Simon said a lot of crap after as well...comparing Murray's "genius" with Federer's....BUt I guess he had to to please his readers.


BTW, this is also a classic by another journalist:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html
"Roger Federer as religious experience" and that was written in 2006!! Laugh
Yes but not religious enough as sadly the poor guy committed suicide a year or 2 later.

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:14 am

Ouch! Didn't know that.

But it's the timespan between when those articles were written and now what's puzzling me. It's almost a joke. Like that guy who wakes up after a 11 year coma and found out Fed was still reigning.

http://www.rollingstone.com/sports/news/roger-federer-fan-wakes-from-11-year-coma-cant-believe-feds-still-rules-20150922

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:37 am

Yes...it is the wow effect Federer can still produce 10 years on. That's absolutely crazy. We do not get bored of his game.....like we have of everybody else almost.

This is why we keep watching the game cause it evolves seriously.


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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:38 am

I liked this piece...I liked ot so much I actually typed it out from the newspaper:

NITB wrote:There's a very nice article from The Times, written by Simon Barnes during last Wimbledon:


"Nadal was still in it at that point in time and tennis world was beginning to almost rhetorically contemplate whether Federer was going to win any more slams.

Majority were being sceptical; only die-hard fans among the tennis pens romantically kept trying to convince their readership and possibly themselves that there is "one more left in the old man".

From that time, here comes what the eyes of a poet saw:

"Bjorn Borg was overwhelmed by his own brilliance and retired at the age of 26. Pete Sampras grabbed his fourteenth and last grand-slam title and retired before the final ball had hit the concrete.. John McEnroe couldn't take it any more and needed a sabbatical. But Roger Federer goes on and on.

Jimmy Connors went on and on, too, until they had to drag him off, but that's Jimmy for you, raging against the dying of the light. But Federer isn't raging and the light is not dying. His great days are over, nine grand-slam tournaments have gone by since he last won one, but he's not sulking about it, and he's certainly not retiring.

He cruised past his second-round opponent, Fabio Fognini of Italy, yesterday, winning 6-1 , 6-3, 6-2. Every ten points or so Fognini was absolutely brilliant: every ten shots Federer was relatively ordinary.. It was a brief sketch of the palmy days, when Rodger could do no wrong.

But these days, it's all quite different. If Federer, 30 is to win this Wimbledon, he will probably have to beat Novak Djokovic, then Rafael Nadal, and he doesn't really have the game to beat both in quick succession (but wouldn't it be wonderful to be wrong)?

But that is to miss the point. What matters is not that Federer might or might not win: what matters is that he is playing at all. These are without question his years of decline, at lest so far as winning slams and holding the No 1 one ranking are concerned. Most champions find it hard to deal with their own decline, and so do we. We implore them to hang up their boots before they compromise their own legend. More often than not, they oblige us. Not Federer.

No player got more from being No 1 than Federer. His sense of his own superiority to the rest was a potent weapon in his armoury and he held that position from February 2004 to August 2008, 237 weeks. Now he is third and highly unlikely to climb again. Still though, he's out there, bringing beauty.

My colleague Ed Smith wrote recently of Federer as an artist i the midst of his Late Period, characteristically quoting the Palestinian thinker Edward Said: "Age confers a spirit of reconciliation and serenity in later works.
That is traditionally (if not invariably) true in great art: Shakespeare brought us the reconciliation of The Tempest, Beethoven the late quartets and the Ninth Symphony, Joyce ended his last great book with the river merging with the sea, death merging with life and the uncompleted sentence " a way a lone a last a loved along the". There is something of this elegiac mood in Late Period Federer. After his tyro works and his Middle Period of matchless dominance, he is now bringing us a different kind of brilliance. And it is no longer about mere winning.
Federer is finding satisfaction as one of life's semi-finalists, in no longer being the best player at winning tennis tournament.

This is interesting, because it seems that Federer enjoys Federer's tennis for the same reason we do: for reasons that are not all about winning and losing. There is a pleasure to be taken in Federer's tennis unconnected with its effectiveness as a medium for victory.

In Middle Period Federer, the art and the victory were inextricable. He sought great victories: beauty was simply his method, just as mad intensity is the method of Djokovic and utter relentlessness is what does it for Nadal.

For Middle Fed, victory was the aim, beauty merely the means. But Late Period Fed tells us another story. The great victories are gone but the beauty remains, and is still worth playing for.And it is interesting that Federer himself seems to go along with this. the function of the beauty no longer matters quite so much to him: even for him the beauty is worth something on its won.

If victory was all he cared about, Federer would have retired by now. No doubt he believes he can win another slam. He could indeed, if Rafa's knees give out and Novak goes supernova.

But it's a long shot. We have to conclude that Federer just love splaying tennis, still loves the debate across the net and the logic of a well-crafted point.

He is also, I suspect, wise enough to know that you're a long time retired, and to realise that no matter what else he does in life, he will never master anything to quite the same degree. The tennis he plays now is still better, i one sense, than the tennis played by anybody else in the world. Federer play on in the knowledge that he is No1 in a way that nether Djokovic nor Nadal can ever aspire to.

Nadal is on eleven slams, and may yet overtake Federer's 16. But Nadal knows that in some ways he will never overtake Federer. Federer' s magic numbers are stunningly good, but even if - or when - they are beaten Federer will still be No 1 for the intangible and the incalculables that he is still bringing to the sport. Federer is still producing masterpieces even if he is not winning slams: savour the privilege of watching him while you can".


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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:40 am

The Religious Experience one was great, too.

I remember one simple line that summed it all up for me (i.e. when the words dry up in front of something special...):

"Just look at that!"

Because that is "all" we can do...the mistier the eyes, the better thr view!

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:42 am

The article from S.Barnes I c&p-ed was from first week of wimbledon 2012.

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:44 am

And you can see even in that article the ego in Barnes, wanting Federer to hang up his boots.

He is no poet!

Just has a nice way with words...


Last edited by NITB on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by Daniel on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:49 am

Murray is a genius.... if he meant to be 0-5 in Aussie Open finals - and have one of the poorest final conversions. Not exactly comparable to Djok, Nadal, Fed. Haha.

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:57 am

GP,

can you somehow "type" or give us this latest article in a photo format?
The Times is subscribers only.

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:24 am

NITB wrote:GP,

can you somehow "type" or give us this latest article in a photo format?
The Times is subscribers only.
I will search for that hard copy and post it here.
Hang on

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:36 am

gallery play wrote:
NITB wrote:GP,

can you somehow "type" or give us this latest article in a photo format?
The Times is subscribers only.
I will search for that hard copy and post it here.
Hang on
Dammit! Can find it.
Mrs GP has less interest in historical sportevents and apparently threw a whole bunch of old papers away.

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:47 am

Here you go:
Simon Barnes wrote:Timing is everything as Federer picks moment to reveal greatness
Simon Barnes, Chief sports writer

The touchstone of champions is not how well they play at their best: it’s the timing. It’s when they actually do so. And in this glorious and enthralling Wimbledon men’s final, Roger Federer waited until the sixth game of the fifth set, 3½ hours after the start, before raising his game to the dizziest heights that even he is capable of reaching.

So much had been thrown against him. He had been finding his A-game only intermittently and Rafael Nadal, the opponent who stalks him across the courts of the world, had seized the momentum of the match with his utterly unquenchable spirit.

Time after time, Federer found his best coming back over the net with added zip. For Nadal, nothing is a lost cause. This, and his phenomenal power, make him the best in the world when it comes to turning defence into attack. It was an inspiring performance.

The fourth set of the match was extraordinary enough: a bold and tumultuous grasping of the initiative by Nadal, a flat refusal to allow Federer to settle into his preferred mode of easy serenity. Federer is not a man easily rattled, but Nadal was at it with a will yesterday. He reeled off four games in a row and Federer was struggling for respectability

It was all Nadal. Federer, so fine a user of his natural authority on court, was unable to boss anything. Nadal was controlling the match: controlling the tempo with his interminable time-wasting, controlling the point by consistently out-duelling Federer from the baseline. Into the fifth set they went, Federer struggling to hold serve, pushed hard on every point.

And then. And then it happened: so swift it was hard to believe.

Federer captured the game by means of a sudden explosion of pure and unadulterated brilliance. Playing what might be the finest tennis of his life, and from absolutely nowhere, he ripped Nadal’s service apart. A running forehand pass, an outlandish flip to the corner, and then a miraculous rally.

All of a sudden, Federer was home, and the history boy was saluting Björn Borg, knowing that five Wimbledon championships in a row put him unequivocally in the category of the all-time great. Nadal did his best to spoil it, for that is his job, but it was was Federer’s day, just as it has been Federer’s half-decade.

The battle for world domination with Nadal will continue and good, for this is a rivalry that brings the best from both – and the best behaviour from both as well, for they were both charmingly free with the compliments afterwards. Sport really is better like that, for all the nonsense spouted by American coaches.

The best rivalries have their being in contrast and as John McEnroe and Borg brought us hot and cold, so Nadal and Federer bring us heart and soul. Even their entrances made an exaggerated contrast: it looked as if Rambo was taking on Fred Astaire. That’s a mismatch, but the result depends on whether it’s a dance movie or a fight movie.

Federer can play many parts, that is his strength. He can play in a dozen different ways, just as he can deal with any ball with a dozen different shots. He is sport’s great shape-shifter: an artist who, yesterday, was forced to show us every fighting quality he possessed. When it was necessary – when it was the only option – Fred Astaire turned streetfighter, and he fought viciously with all the elegance and certainty he is capable of.

Federer also gave us his own Rambo, as well as his Fred. What’s more, he threw in D’Artagnan, Houdini, Picasso, Lao-Tzu and Dr Strange. He can be as mellifluous as Noël Coward, as harsh as Bob Dylan. He can he as canny as Ulysses, as defiant as Hercules, as brilliant as Einstein, as brutal as Genghis Khan.

All this and more. For that fit of perfect brilliance came when the match was slipping out his control. Merely staying in the match, fighting for those service games, was a severe and searching test of character. To come up with something sublime at this of all moments showed something far beyond mere tenacity.

It was the revelation of a character trait that very few possess. Call it the instinct for championship: the understanding of oneself not just as mere winner, but as the best of all. It is something so powerful that it more or less guarantees the occasional miracle: and in a few perfect shots at the absolute pluperfect time, Federer showed himself for what he is. A champion: a great champion.

I like this part: "And then. And then it happened: so swift it was hard to believe."

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:19 am

Great final this Wimby 07. Much underrated.

It was cloudy and gloomy all match, but the sun came out right on time for this magic moment at 2 all of the 5th...as if the Sun wanted us to watch this genius under its own light!

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:37 am

gallery play wrote:Here you go:
Simon Barnes wrote:Timing is everything as Federer picks moment to reveal greatness
Simon Barnes, Chief sports writer

The touchstone of champions is not how well they play at their best: it’s the timing. It’s when they actually do so. And in this glorious and enthralling Wimbledon men’s final, Roger Federer waited until the sixth game of the fifth set, 3½ hours after the start, before raising his game to the dizziest heights that even he is capable of reaching.

So much had been thrown against him. He had been finding his A-game only intermittently and Rafael Nadal, the opponent who stalks him across the courts of the world, had seized the momentum of the match with his utterly unquenchable spirit.

Time after time, Federer found his best coming back over the net with added zip. For Nadal, nothing is a lost cause. This, and his phenomenal power, make him the best in the world when it comes to turning defence into attack. It was an inspiring performance.

The fourth set of the match was extraordinary enough: a bold and tumultuous grasping of the initiative by Nadal, a flat refusal to allow Federer to settle into his preferred mode of easy serenity. Federer is not a man easily rattled, but Nadal was at it with a will yesterday. He reeled off four games in a row and Federer was struggling for respectability

It was all Nadal. Federer, so fine a user of his natural authority on court, was unable to boss anything. Nadal was controlling the match: controlling the tempo with his interminable time-wasting, controlling the point by consistently out-duelling Federer from the baseline. Into the fifth set they went, Federer struggling to hold serve, pushed hard on every point.

And then. And then it happened: so swift it was hard to believe.

Federer captured the game by means of a sudden explosion of pure and unadulterated brilliance. Playing what might be the finest tennis of his life, and from absolutely nowhere, he ripped Nadal’s service apart. A running forehand pass, an outlandish flip to the corner, and then a miraculous rally.

All of a sudden, Federer was home, and the history boy was saluting Björn Borg, knowing that five Wimbledon championships in a row put him unequivocally in the category of the all-time great. Nadal did his best to spoil it, for that is his job, but it was was Federer’s day, just as it has been Federer’s half-decade.

The battle for world domination with Nadal will continue and good, for this is a rivalry that brings the best from both – and the best behaviour from both as well, for they were both charmingly free with the compliments afterwards. Sport really is better like that, for all the nonsense spouted by American coaches.

The best rivalries have their being in contrast and as John McEnroe and Borg brought us hot and cold, so Nadal and Federer bring us heart and soul. Even their entrances made an exaggerated contrast: it looked as if Rambo was taking on Fred Astaire. That’s a mismatch, but the result depends on whether it’s a dance movie or a fight movie.

Federer can play many parts, that is his strength. He can play in a dozen different ways, just as he can deal with any ball with a dozen different shots. He is sport’s great shape-shifter: an artist who, yesterday, was forced to show us every fighting quality he possessed. When it was necessary – when it was the only option – Fred Astaire turned streetfighter, and he fought viciously with all the elegance and certainty he is capable of.

Federer also gave us his own Rambo, as well as his Fred. What’s more, he threw in D’Artagnan, Houdini, Picasso, Lao-Tzu and Dr Strange. He can be as mellifluous as Noël Coward, as harsh as Bob Dylan. He can he as canny as Ulysses, as defiant as Hercules, as brilliant as Einstein, as brutal as Genghis Khan.

All this and more. For that fit of perfect brilliance came when the match was slipping out his control. Merely staying in the match, fighting for those service games, was a severe and searching test of character. To come up with something sublime at this of all moments showed something far beyond mere tenacity.

It was the revelation of a character trait that very few possess. Call it the instinct for championship: the understanding of oneself not just as mere winner, but as the best of all. It is something so powerful that it more or less guarantees the occasional miracle: and in a few perfect shots at the absolute pluperfect time, Federer showed himself for what he is. A champion: a great champion.

I like this part: "And then. And then it happened: so swift it was hard to believe."

Thanks GP!


I haven't read S.Barnes for a few years now, and he has really aged in his writing.
The piece sounds old and dusty, he hasn't captured the glittering flash of the Moment.

He still has not realised who Maestro is...comparing him to sufferers who tried but never Conquered.

Because I think that is what this win was about. About a moment, the genius timing but not of tennis shots.

That Moment came right out from above, our Maestro the vessel prepared for the battle.

God shone through him all fortnight, it was majestic to witness. But we had to wait for the very end to fully appreciate it.

And like when God works - it happens in mysterious ways...that is why Nadal felt "cheated" and duped of what he, his team, the whole tennis world (bar a few poets Winking ) thought belonged to him. It was all over his face during the ceremony.

Right down to the very last point when  Federer was robbed of that joyous moment of celebration...he had to wait for the hawkeye to confirm the Victory  "in writing".

So that is why all of us felt spent together with him, and struggled for words, we all had to hold our breath until that last moment when the Unniverse said : It is finished!

We now have every day to have that fire warm our hearts...come rain, snow, hail....


He has done it!

IT IS FINISHED!

Anyway, thank you again for this thread, I was waiting for stg to kick me off! Big Grin

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:07 pm

Tenez wrote:Great final this Wimby 07. Much underrated.

It was cloudy and gloomy all match, but the sun came out right on time for this magic moment at 2 all of the 5th...as if the Sun wanted us to watch this genius under its own light!
Deep down there's a poet in you too T!

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:10 pm

NITB wrote:

He has done it!

IT IS FINISHED!
BTW Nitb, how do you rate Fed's AO win compared to Nole's RG 2016, from a personal point of view?

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:18 pm

gallery play wrote:
Tenez wrote:Great final this Wimby 07. Much underrated.

It was cloudy and gloomy all match, but the sun came out right on time for this magic moment at 2 all of the 5th...as if the Sun wanted us to watch this genius under its own light!
Deep down there's a poet in you too T!
Of course there is.
His name is Golden Evening Light.

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by ... on Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:26 pm

gallery play wrote:
NITB wrote:

He has done it!

IT IS FINISHED!
BTW Nitb, how do you rate Fed's AO win compared to Nole's RG 2016, from a personal point of view?
Great question, I was thinking about it, or rather the thought was coming to me.

Both wins had the Moment.
But their battles were different.

You can see how much RG took out of Nole. It overwhelmed him, was stronger than him...look at the clip of handshake, as if his spirit left the body for a short moment, he struggled for air to stay in it  with his fingernails almost.

His win was of sweat blood and tears.

And in an equally mysterious way, and for some reason...it was left to linger in the limbo of time.

Federer's win, moment was allowed to shine.
It was of stars, flight and beautiful bliss. It flashed only for us to see it for a split second.
He was the purer vessel.

And through it all of us to feel light and share in it.

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Re: Simon Barnes

Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:37 pm

I read that as: Nole's win was a relief and Fed's win was pure joy

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