I'm not shy about my general apathy towards The Might Fed (Crazy Eyez Fed, now THAT's another story). But I also admit that what started as actually dislike of him has somehow morphed into a begrudging rooting for him, as he's had to endure a lot this year and he's shown his character as an athlete time after time. No doubt, he's shown such courage and guts and I've been more impressed by that than by his 23494 Grand Slam trophies and what not.
Seems that I'm not alone in this. Kamashi Tandon writes a nice piece about a very similar phenomenon that has happened in Fed's own backyard.
In the past, it had been puzzling to see the national lack of response to Federer, who was rapidly establishing himself as one of the world's biggest and most beloved sporting celebrities.
In 2005, after winning this third Wimbledon and defending his U.S. Open title, Federer was named European Sportsman of the Year and Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, but was passed over for Swiss Sportsman of the Year in favor of 19-year-old motorcyclist Tom Luthi.
In 2006, two weeks after he won his ninth Grand Slam at the U.S. Open, Federer's Davis Cup appearance in a home tie against Serbia failed to sell out, and organizers had to reduce the capacity of the 5,780-seat stadium in Geneva.
But there is no more taking him for granted. "I think people in Switzerland have realized that nothing is forever," Stauffer said. "When you're 27, you can stop playing like [Bjorn] Borg did or you can stop winning Grand Slams like [John] McEnroe did.
"Federer is human. He's not just a winning machine. That's really I think the big realization this year."
As Daft Punk would say, "Human after all."