The Master by Christopher Clarey

Summary

  1. Clarey, who has interviewed and followed Federer for decades, gives us a deep look into Federer and what makes him tick

Key Takeaways

  1. Federer so interesting because he’s so interested
  2. He is a master at making you feel normal. He asks about you first and makes you feel like a peer
  3. Fed finds a way to get energy from nearly everything and everyone. He embraces travel and makes it a point to learn phrases in the local language and to see the sights when he travels. He is very intentional about his schedule and is very self-disciplined
  4. Mirka was a good player in her own right but not super gifted. She was hard on Roger and kept him focused because she knew how special his talent is
  5. Federer has a lot of energy, anxious energy. He gets bored quickly and needs a lot of variety. He lost his temper quite easily when young and eventually learned to fuel his competitiveness, talent, and temper in a positive manner. It was about learning to control the flames, not extinguishing them
  6. The rivalry between Roger and Rafa is one of the best in any sport. The psychological dynamic between the two, the friendship and respect that they genuinely show each other, is rare and special. Rafa always held Roger up as a better player and what became clear to the author overtime is that Rafa is all about the process. He loves the process more than the hunt, more than the victory, more than anything else
  7. When Agassi presented the French Open trophy to Roger, he said, “A lot of people say you’d rather be lucky than good. Well I’d rather be Roger than lucky.”
  8. Mirka has played a pivotal role for Roger, serving as wife and mother and agent. She plays the bad cop to his good cop and takes care of all the details. They are very social and have made the road their home, traveling with their 4 kids everywhere. They are very social and everything appears to recharge Roger rather than drain him. Roger can compartmentalize like nobody else and he can do this because he takes the long term view and understand that he will sometimes lose but more often than not it works in his favor. He thinks in decades and because he has his family and other interests, doesn’t take any one loss too hard
  9. Roddick said he’s not jealous of his skill or titles but his ease of operation through every area of life
  10. My credo is “just be interested” and take accountability

What I got out of it

  1. Loved hearing more about Fed, especially about his early years, his off court dynamics and relationships. His “ease of operation” as Roddick calls it, across time zones, venues, and more is simply amazing. It is a goal of mine to be able to be energized by a wider variety of situations as he seems to be able to. What a gift to yourself and those around you if you can genuinely get energy from nearly any situation…