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By Blair Henley / Friday, August 23, 2013

 

Despite the constant presence of his loving family and a travel schedule to rival that of an international pop star, Roger Federer finds time to write in his Italian leather-bound journal.

(Photo Credit: AP)

August 19, 2013 - Monday

Did you know that I’m ranked No. 7 in the world right now? No. 7! Ahahaha! The perfect number! Even God says so! Plus, I’ve won Wimbledon seven times. I’ve followed people on Twitter almost seven times. I’ve redecorated my house seven times. I’ve mistaken Mirka for one of our nannies at least seven times. I’ve cried over my haircut seven times. I’ve wanted to knock out a member of the media far more than seven times. You see? The number seven is perfect for me. I mean, right? Ahahaha!
 
As the words were pouring uncontrollably out of my mouth like tweets from Boris Becker’s Twitter account, I could hear my dentist soothing me. “Sshhhh, Roger. Everything is going to be okay. Mirka will come in to see you now…”
 
I apparently had a more severe reaction to the anesthesia than I anticipated. Dear goodness, I can’t believe I was even in that situation to begin with. It all started following my loss in Cincinnati. After failing to capture a title once more, I asked to have last year’s Wimbledon trophy shipped to the States from its well-appointed position in my throne room at home. I felt as if spending some time with a physical memory of that triumph might buoy my spirits going into the US Open. As I sat there caressing the cold, reflective metal, I couldn’t resist the urge to bite the handle of that glorious cup. My friend and foe Rafa Nadal makes the act of chomping metal seem so desirable – I just wanted to feel what he feels, to experience a hint of that rush.
 
Never again.
 
Eager to experience my Wimbledon domination in a new way, I came in hot on the approach, chipping my front two teeth in the process. No one can ever know of this embarrassing mishit, dear Diary, which is why I paid my dentist with my Olympic gold medal to ensure his silence. This was not the best way to start off the week before the US Open, but I imagine it can only go up from here.
 
August 20, 2013 - Tuesday

I awoke this morning with a slight crick in my back – a near impossibility after sleeping on the specially appointed Tempurpedic bed in our Royalty Deluxe Suite. Then I realized what had happened. I must have rolled on top of my Wilson Pro Staff. At times like these I realize I should probably stop sleeping with it, but after our brief separation in Europe, I just can’t bear to be away from those 90 square inches of reliability. Though Mirka initially objected to the idea of bringing an outsider into our bed, she relented one argument and a new diamond ring later. My dentist did advise against coming in close contact with anything harder than tooth enamel on the Mohs scale, so maybe it is time to stop slumbering with Pro Staff 90 by my side. Or maybe just one more night.
 
I had a light practice session this morning on Arthur Ashe Stadium (of course), and then it was off to the gym to work solely on the definition of my left arm. My trainer has been pushing me hard in hopes of equalizing my two appendages, and it has really helped increase my confidence. In fact, just a few days ago, I got this text from Gilles Simon.
 
Dearest GOAT – I’ve noticed how muscular your previously atrophied left arm is looking, and I must ask again if you’ll help me in my quest to build muscle in my baby arms. Help me, Roger Federer. You’re my only hope.

-Gilles
 
I’m nothing if not magnanimous, so I sent Gilles the workout plan I’ve been using. Then today I heard he had pulled out of the US Open. Though I admire the dedication to his muscle-building cause, his withdrawal has added to an abysmal week for the French. Marion Bartoli, of course, will also be missing from this year’s Open action. Let’s be honest: I couldn’t help but hope the other Wimbledon champion might follow suit. I may or may not have delivered an array of the latest video games to dear Andy’s hotel room in hopes he might ponder the benefits of an early retirement. No luck.
 
Jo-Willy is also missing from the US Open draw after hurting his knee at Wimbledon. The public still thinks the injury took place in his second-round match against Ernests, but everyone in the locker room knows the real truth. He was practicing his celebratory spin move in the shower the night before. It’s a sad, cautionary tale, to be sure. Though I don’t wish anyone ill, except maybe the father of Novak Djokovic, Jo-Willy’s absence has the potential to bring my US Open draw from abysmal to merely appalling. For that, I am thankful.
 
August 22, 2013 - Thursday
 

I received a call from Milos Raonic’s agent today while in the midst of my daily bath comprised solely of Perrier and golden flakes. He told me that he’s interested in my services as a life coach and reputation manager after young Milos’ integrity debacle at the Rogers Cup.  I quickly informed him that I am neither of those things, but he wouldn’t relent. “This isn’t supposed to happen to Canadians!” he kept moaning until I was forced to hang up the phone.  
 
Just moments later I heard the unmistakable introductory chords of Shakira’s Whenever, Wherever emanating from my platinum-plated iPhone (forget gold!). I’d know that ringtone anywhere.  
 
"Hello?"
 
"Hola, Roger. It is your friend, the King of Clay and also of the Hard Courts!"
 
"Rafa! Though your otherworldly return from a potentially career-ending knee injury has singlehandedly hastened the decline of my career, it is lovely to hear from you, my friend."
 
"Gracias, amigo. But I have not much time to talk to you. I have, how do you say, a favor to ask."
 
"Anything, Rafa."
 
"My shorts for the matches are short. Very, very short. I need very much to say something to the Nike, but I am not sure they will listen to me. To you they pay mucho dinero, and I believe they will do what you say. You will ask them to make for me the long shorts, no?"
 
I told my friend Rafa Nadal that I would do as he asked, but I doubted Nike could make any changes before the US Open. I would feel bad about that if it wasn’t for the fact that Rafael is a confirmed superhuman. I’m quite confident he can survive the public exposure of his upper quadriceps for a little longer.
 

 

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