Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Artist currently known as 'The Monogram'...

Know that I only drag this one out of exile, because for once we get to hear Federer's own side of the monogrammatic furore.

Something I felt was notably absent over the summer, in the Armageddon like rush to defend or crucify him.

Discretion is advised and some readers may find the quotes "emblematically" disturbing.

Some fans speculated that the idea for the monogram had been his all along. Others insisted that Nike made him do it.

“Well, I’m surprised to hear that,” Federer said during a recent interview in Switzerland, “because I don’t have to wear anything or do anything anybody tells me. I do everything myself. It’s really up to me.

The idea for a monogram emerged from the logo that Mirka Vavrinec, now Federer’s wife, and her father developed for his fragrance, RF-Roger Federer, introduced in 2003. The result was a freehand squiggle. If you knew what you were looking at, you saw the R and the F; if you didn’t, you didn’t. (A three-letter monogram was apparently never an option because Federer has no middle name.)

Federer liked the approach and suggested that Nike come up with a strategy along the same lines.

For me, it’s important that a fan can buy something that is related to me,” he said. “Like in soccer, you buy a shirt and it’s got somebody’s name on the back. That’s kind of a cool thing.”

His intent was that a monogram would offer a connection as direct but not as literal as a team jersey.


No player on the men’s tour seems as intrigued by fashion as Federer, nor has any other player been so roundly criticized for his clothes. Case in point: his entrance for this year’s Wimbledon final, in a white suit that looked like the sort of uniform a British Army officer might have worn in India.

“I thought the military jacket would be something completely different, something cool,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a bit more aggressive, either a love or hate thing. But that’s not bad. You can’t always be the nice guy, going through the middle, like, All right, I’m just wearing a cardigan again this year.

Maybe we’ve overdone it with gold at Wimbledon,Federer said. “Maybe for some people, gold is a bit like, ‘He’s trying to show off.’ They think it’s too much bling bling, which is not the goal. It’s to have that connection with the trophy.


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