Sunday, 6 July 2008

Tiger Woods vs Roger Federer

Wimbledon is the big tennis event in this part of the world and I've been watching tennis (as well as golf) this past 2 weeks! Having seen a lot of Roger Federer in action, I've noticed a few similarities (and differences) to Mr Woods.


  1. They both have been completely dominant in their sports in recent years.
  2. They both are incredibly consistent in the majors/grand slams.
  3. Consequently, they have both been world number one for yonks!
  4. Consequently, both have had an aura of invincibility about them that affects their opponents. However, Roger's has slipped somewhat this year, probably due to illness (see below).
  5. They both get paid a fortune to wear Nike clobber (clothes).
  6. They both get paid a fortune!
  7. They are of similar height and weight and both play righted (admittedly the latter is not exactly earth shattering!).
  8. Unsurprisingly, they both started playing young, although Tiger (2) famously started a lot younger than the tardy Roger (6)!
  9. Their parents come from different continents. Asia/North America (Tiger) and Europe/Africa (Roger) - that's impressive planetary coverage!
  10. They both seem to be very personable individuals, which is commendable given the goldfish bowl they have to live in.
  11. They are very respectful of both their fellow competitors and the history of their respective sports.
  12. They both are heavily involved in charity work and are brilliant ambassadors for their sports.
  13. Both have had career impacting health issues in the past year. Woods and his knee, Federer had glandular fever. Funnily enough I've suffered from both ailments so that gives me some perspective here. Those who have never experienced the dehabilitating effects of his illness have been quick to write Federer off. Those who have are full of admiration for him.
  14. Both are obsessed with records. Tiger to beat Jack, Roger to beat Pete and so on.
  15. Both have raked up an impressive amount of tournaments and majors in their career. According to my research, Tiger has 86 wins worldwide/14 majors while Roger has 55 wins/12 grand slams. Roger is younger than Tiger though and will have a much shorter career.
  16. Both can play the most sublime shots under the most extreme of pressure. In fact both seem to thrive on it, especially Tiger.
  17. They are both fantastic front runners and experts at closing out a victory.
  18. Both have fantastic technique and wonderful swings.
  19. Both are the complete player with no obvious weakness in their respective games. Tiger's driving can be erratic, but he's such a gifted (and long) player, he can conjure up something from almost any position.
  20. Both are supremely fit athletes. Tiger in particular has raised the bar in his sport for physical fitness.


  1. Tiger is getting more dominant, if anything. Federer is now being severely challenged by Nadal. Worryingly for Roger, Nadal is getting a lot closer to him on other surfaces than he is to Nadal on clay.
  2. Woods is the best on any type of course. Federer is only number 2 on clay (after the practically unbeatable Nadal), brilliant on grass and not too shabby on any other surface. Tiger would be in a similar situation if he couldn't handle links courses as well as say, Padraig Harrington, and kept losing the British Open to him.
  3. Tiger has a fairly even spread of victories in all 4 majors. Unfortunately Roger can't complete the set until he figures out how to beat Nadal on clay. While the French Open eludes him, he makes up for it at Wimbledon. He goes for his sixth title in a row today, against an increasingly dangerous Nadal.
  4. Federer has never won a grand slam on one leg, but I suspect he'd give it a good shot at Wimbledon.
  5. Like a lot of Americans, Tiger is multiracial and monolingual. Like a lot of Swiss, Roger is monoracial and multilingual!
  6. Roger designs natty jackets and cardigans with his initials emblazoned on them for Wimbledon. As far as I can tell, Tiger just has a baseball cap with his initials on it!
  7. Tiger hosts his own tournaments. To the best of my knowledge, Roger doesn't.
  8. Except for his putter, Tiger uses Nike equipment, down to the ball. Roger doesn't. He uses a Wilson racket and as a tennis player, can not choose the ball he uses! However, he is on the player's council, so maybe he can exert some influence in that regard!
  9. Roger is serene and placid on court. Tiger is more emotional and prone to the odd expletive. Golf is far more frustrating though, so let he without sin.....!
  10. Roger plays very gracefully and moves almost effortlessly on court. Tiger bludgeons the ball off the tee and when his knee is fine, tends to stomp around the course (with minders in tow).
  11. Federer is unbelievable accurate with his serving (at least in Wimbledon this year!). As noted above, Tiger can be all over the shop with his driving.
  12. Tiger rebuilds his swing fairly often (against most experts' advice) to make himself even better. Roger's technique seems to be more of a gradual evolution.
  13. Tiger always has a coach. Roger goes it alone a lot. The tennis 'swing' is not as complicated and easier to self-diagnose though. Besides, what could anyone teach him?! Clay court experts, send in your résumés!
  14. Roger is rich, Tiger is extremely rich! In fact, Woods is widely expected to become the first sports billionaire.

I've probably left a lot of stuff out, but it's not a bad first cut at a comparison!

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