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David Foster Wallace on Roger Federer

David Foster Wallace had a great article in 2006 on tennis player Roger Federer. This is one of those essays that make you feel way more knowledgeable about a subject you may not know anything about once you finish. And suddenly you look at that subject in a completely different way.

Interestingly, what is less obscured in TV coverage is Federer’s intelligence, since this intelligence often manifests as angle. Federer is able to see, or create, gaps and angles for winners that no one else can envision, and television’s perspective is perfect for viewing and reviewing these Federer Moments. What’s harder to appreciate on TV is that these spectacular-looking angles and winners are not coming from nowhere — they’re often set up several shots ahead, and depend as much on Federer’s manipulation of opponents’ positions as they do on the pace or placement of the coup de grâce. And understanding how and why Federer is able to move other world-class athletes around this way requires, in turn, a better technical understanding of the modern power-baseline game than TV — again — is set up to provide.

The whole article is great, read it.

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