Fed, Davis Cup and ‘Just Say No’

Roger Federer, at the US Open in 2007, is passing on the Davis Cup this year.

Roger Federer, at the US Open in 2007, is passing on the Davis Cup this year.

Well, Feddy Bear has spoken and it’s ‘no’ to the Davis Cup this year.

Is it me, or does Roger Federer have a way of sounding self-centered even when he’s probably just trying to be logical?

"It wasn't a difficult decision," he was quoted as saying in Bleacher Report. "I have played for so long, and I think by winning it, I can finally do whatever I please, to be quite honest."

He also called the Davis Cup “a big burden” that lays on the guilt.

Reaction was predictable: “It’s ‘Me first’ again for Roger,” Mary Haw posted on the Bleacher Report report.

To be fair, Fed Ex does have a 50-17 record in Davis Cup. And he’s going to have to play it again to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Then, too, you have to pace yourself, particularly as you age. Sometimes you just have to say ‘no’ if you’re going to be fresh for tourneys, which are the main focus of a tennis player’s career.  

That means ‘no’ to the guilt as well. In my novel “Water Music” and the upcoming “The Penalty for Holding” – both part of The Games Men Play series – the tennis players/swimmers and football players respectively are sometimes weighed down by the expectations of family and country. Tennis player Alí Iskandar – whose father is fond of quoting the biblical “To him to whom much has been given, much will be required” – wonders if there’s a statute of limitations on gratitude. Sometimes you have to put yourself first – something Feddy has no trouble doing.

Then you have Ryan Lochte, who’s considered to be a few floors short of an observation deck but who has a heart as big as an Olympic-size swimming pool. He paid tribute to Kentucky high school swimmer Maddie Jackson, who died in a fiery crash Feb. 9, with a sign that said, “Stay strong Bluegrass Marlins. Heart Maddie.”

Fed does plenty of charity work, and Ryan is smarter than he looks. But we’re all pigeonholed, especially on the Net.  

When it comes to brains and heart, there’s more to Ryan and Fed than meets the eye.