My Federer Obsession:
Part 4

William Skidelsky

Federer in 2007 - a year of transition.

Did I choose to become a Federer fan, or was the process involuntary? Although it's more romantic to depict myself as having no real say in the matter, there was a time, early on, when I think things could have gone either way.

In this regard, becoming a fan is like falling in love. Before the headlong plunge, there's often a period of indeterminacy, when the outlines of the thing you're feeling--this new fascination--remain unclear. At this stage, you're still a free agent.

You can draw back or push on, cling to your independence or submit. Opt for the latter, and you'll soon relinquish all decision-making capability, but until that happens, a degree of agency is involved.

For the first year or so after my Shanghai revelation (Click Here), this was how things were with Federer. I'd been enchanted, bewitched by his brilliance, but I hadn't yet been utterly ensnared. My affection still had an unlodged quality. One indication of this is that I didn't yet feel the need to watch every one of his matches.

Lacking satellite TV (though I'd acquire it soon enough) and the ability to stream his matches (did live streaming even exist in those days?), my Federer viewing remained fitful, opportunistic.

For him, 2007 was a year of transition. He entered it in one phase of his career and left it in another. Total supremacy gave way not to decline exactly, but to something less other-worldly. Federer's truly great years--when his tennis really did seem flawless--were 2004-2006.

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William Skidelsky is the author of Federer and Me: A Story of Obsession. He is an author and freelance writer, the former literary editor of the Observer and a contributor to the Guardian. He played tennis to the county level as a junior and now plays club tennis in southeast London, where he is first team captain. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

Federer and Me: A Story of Obsession

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