Soccer Imitate Tennis? Not So Fast, Says Federer
LONDON--Roger Federer might just be the best interview in the sporting world, able to talk in multiple languages and completely unafraid to speak his mind.
Accordingly, he happily waded into the controversial no-goal decision in Sunday's England-Germany World Cup match and the suggestion that, like tennis, international soccer quickly needs to institute a form of replay review.
Yes, Federer agrees, soccer needs it. But rather than holding up tennis as an example of how replay can work, he wishes his sport would dispense with it entirely.
"We have it even though we don't need it," he said today after his fourth round victory over Austria's Jurgen Melzer. "We all know we don't, but we do have it. (Soccer) should have it, and they don't. So it's a choice the guys have to make at the top, you know.
"I do struggle a little bit with soccer. . .because there's so many mistakes from umpires. Don't blame them. They're so far away sometimes from what's happening, and then also there are so many goals disallowed that are goals and others are not counted that would be goals. It's frustrating as a fan. You just hope that those things go for you when you're in this kind of a stage of a (World Cup) tournament. (England) could have been sent home just because of that single mistake, and it's incredible.
"To me, it seems like (soccer) is crying for a change."
Federer celebrated Switzerland's shocking win over Spain at the World Cup and followed his country's fortunes until the Swiss were eliminated last week. He's never been a fan of the replay review system in tennis, even though it has all but eliminated on-court disputes. Perhaps he has been notoriously bad at replay challenges over the years.
"One forehand down the line doesn't change the outcome of the match, whereas one goal (in soccer) changes the entire mindset of a team, of a strategy," said Federer, seeded No. 1 at Wimbledon this year. "Tennis, we don't have that. (Line judges) are sitting there, not moving. They're only staring at the line. It's so much more simple. It's going to even out throughout a career or a season, the good and bad calls.
"Whereas goals (in soccer), it's such a huge impact in those 90 minutes. It changes everything. That's why they have it in American football, right? They have challenges you can do. I mean, there's so many ways of trying to adjust the system."