“Sports broadcasters are guiltier these days than sportswriters of the ‘grand metaphor’ approach where tennis is concerned. Following the major tournaments this summer on television, I’ve heard again and again of the history about to be made: Raphael Nadal’s seventh French championship (history made), Djokovic’s career Slam (history not made), Murray’s becoming the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936 (nope). Even Federer’s thirty-first birthday was seen as historic, according to a certain fan site: ‘God is too an imaginative word, rather I would call him a ‘Prophet’ / Someday the prophet will make Tennis the most loved sport, I bet.’ The language of ‘bravery and heart’ was applied particularly to Murray, whose loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final was vindicated first with Olympic gold, and then with a victory over Djokovic in the U.S. Open final. With Andy Roddick’s retirement during the Open, we were also treated to any number slow-motion montages of the American’s days in the sun. (Even Roddick remarked during one interview how moving those montages can be.)
“Magazine writing doesn’t do montage well. Instead, we’ve lately gotten storylines, and sometimes whole stories, that explore the quasimetaphysical existence of what has been variously called, among other things, ‘the kinesthetic sense’ (David Foster Wallace on Federer) and ‘physical genius’ (John Jeremiah Sullivan on the Williams sisters)—the very thing slow-motion replay is meant to reveal on television.”
—Scott Korb on the art of the sports profile.