By Alexandra Willis
1 September 2010
Roger Federer is winning back fans alienated by his bitter demeanour at Wimbledon after producing another thrilling between-the-legs trick shot during his first round victory over Brian Dabul at the US Open in New York. The shot, which Federer pulled off against Novak Djokovic on the same court last year, came hot on the heels of the Swiss star appearing to serve a bottle off a man’s head during a Gillette advert, and has prompted a wave of enthusiasm for the 16-time Grand Slam champion.
With comments ranging from “He’s the best in tennis,” to “Form is temporary, class is permanent,” the exchange has been viewed almost 500,000 times on YouTube, and although it has some way to go to reach the 6 million views of the Gillette clip, it was the talk of the tournament on the opening day at Flushing Meadows.
Speaking about the episode afterwards in his post-match press conference, the world No.2 said, “I thought I was a bit late and had to give it one last push to get there but thought I could do this again. It’s different [from last year] because Novak was at the net but I’ve only hit a few in my life and to do two on Centre Court in night sessions is amazing.”
In fact, Federer’s daring prowess has been so well received that other players are turning their hands to the trick shot trade. Victoria Azarenka, one of the hot prospects for the wome’s singles title, ended her practice in Queens yesterday by trying out the hot dog shot herself, which used to be known as a “Sabatweenie.” Sadly, it didn’t go exactly like it did for Federer, the Belarusian getting her racket on the ball, but sending it skidding into the net instead of smartly into the far corner. “You can do it Vika!,” cried one fan reportedly, as she persisted again, and again, and again. But another simply muttered, “She’s no Roger Federer.”
Santiago Giraldo of Columbia also wowed fans with an enthralling feat during his first round match, although his was perhaps not intentional. Trailing two sets to love against Feliciano Lopez of Spain, Giraldo smashed his racket on the court in disgust, only for it to bounce backwards over the 10-foot fence and land out of reach in the shrubbery at the back of the court. He received a code of conduct warning for racket abuse, and, to add insult to injury, had to borrow a linesman’s chair to retrieve it.
The third day of the US Open continues at Flushing Meadows, New York, from 4pm British Summer Time.
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