For the first time in 18 years, Roger Federer is not in the running for the award for sportsmanship. The nominations for the Stefan Edberg Sportmanship Award, the award given to the sportiest athlete of the year thanks to the vote among colleagues, have just come out.
The Swiss hadn't missed the event since 2002, won by him 13 times. The award dedicated to the former Wimbledon champion (winner on six different occasions) is awarded during the ATP Awards. The award is given to those who, throughout the duration of the season, have demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and sportsmanship on the pitch.
To give even more importance to this award is the fact that the players themselves nominate the winner. From 2004 to today the prize has always been awarded to the two aces of world tennis (Rafa won it three times), while the last winner other than the two champions was Paradorn Srichaphan in 2004.
The chances of victory of the Majorcan for this season they have increased significantly with the absence of the Swiss master. The reasons for Roger Federer's exclusion from the nominations are clear to everyone. It is not a question of his lack of sportsmanship on the pitch, but of his prolonged absence.
In 2020, the Swiss only played in Australia for the first slam of the year. After that tournament he underwent two surgeries that kept him out of the game all season. However, the Swiss seems ready to return for the 2021 Australian Open.
In a recent interview, Gilles Simon talked about what was wrong with tennis coaching in France. The Frenchman believed that they were blindly following someone like Roger Federer, which would cause problems for the youth.
Gilles Simon on Roger Federer
“It is problematic for our youth.
She is bred after Roger Federer – we see no other role model. In doing so, we forget that it is almost impossible to become a Federer. It’s unique. We had potential junior Grand Slam winners. But instead of encouraging them to go their own way, they were forced to go one that did not suit them,” said a frustrated Gilles Simon in the interview.
Gilles Simon admitted that he too went down the same path in his teenage and reached nowhere. He believes that young players have had so much potential in France, but they still could not win a Grand Slam because of this ‘role model’ and ‘blindly follow’ culture.
“Ultimately, they never won a Grand Slam. I know what I’m talking about. I grew up with the expectations of how a French Grand Slam winner should play. And, I thought it was terrible, it stole an awful lot of energy because I was supposed to do something I couldn’t.
Because I wasn’t the only one bothered by it, I wrote the book. It took me four years to structure my thoughts,” concluded Simon.