By Alexandra Willis
20 August 2010
The debate raging over whether Roger Federer’s seemingly breathtaking feat during filming for a Gillette advert is real or fake has prompted it to become one of the most viewed tennis videos on YouTube. The clip, which shows the 16-time Grand Slam champion serve a water bottle off the head of a crew member in the manner of William Tell, was posted on 16 August, and has since been viewed 2,933,349 times.
Spreading like wild fire thanks to social networking site Twitter, the video has received over 3,000 comments on the YouTube page alone, discussing whether the father-of-two performed the feat without the aid of computer graphics.
As a result, the clip has surpassed the world No.2’s previously most-watched clip, that of a trick shot against Andy Roddick in 2006. That particular shot, where Federer makes a smash from outside of the court, took four years to amass 2,478,611 views. By comparison, Federer’s through-the-legs shot against Novak Djokovic at last year’s US Open has been viewed 1,052,950 times.
While Federer himself has refused to comment on the video beyond telling the Associated Press that “a magician doesn’t tell how his tricks work”, James Nunn, Brand Communications Manager at Gillette’s UK/Ireland office announced that the shaving giant would leave the “real or fake” debate up to the viewers, but impressed that the video was shot in one single take.
But Australian Todd Woodbridge has openly questioned the stunt. “What I would say is that I know he’s good, but is he that good” the multi-Grand Slam champion told The Age website. “The reason I say that is that I remember many years ago Mark Woodforde and I doing a piece for 60 minutes with Mike Carlton and we had to set up a shot where we needed to be at this corner of a clay court to hit the mark exactly perfect.”
“And I promise you we didn’t do it in the first take nor the second take. But he pulled it off twice in a row? So my question is: I’m one of Roger’s biggest fans and in my view I think he is the greatest tennis player of all time – no matter what – but that [YouTube clip] exceeds even my expectations.”
So…real or fake?
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