Monday, November 19, 2007

Federer for Sportsman of the Year

The end of the year is fast approaching, and along with it comes the requisite end-of-the-year lists. I’ll be compiling my own Top 20 Singles of 2007 list, and I’m keeping watch for the announcements of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year (published Dec. 5).
     The odds-on favourite for SI’s Sportsman is one of the Indianapolis Colts, either Tony Dungy or Peyton Manning. But as any non-North American could tell you, it should be Roger Federer. What more does this man have to do to win the award? Well, it wouldn’t hurt to be born in the United States. As you can see from the list of past Sportsman of the Year winners, SI hasn’t had a non-American win since Norwegian speed-skater Johann Olav Koss won in 1994. And before that, it was Jackie Stewart, 21 years earlier!
     Federer just won the season-ending Masters Cup for the fourth time in five years. This year he won three Grand-Slam titles, for the third time in four years, and lost a total of nine matches all season. That’s a drop-off from losing only five times in 2006, four times in 2005, and six times in 2004. Asked recently what advice he would offer a player getting ready to face him, Federer said: “Don’t even try, pal. You’re probably not going to win.”

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