August 25, 2012

What the 21st Century's most accomplished athlete looks like with his shirt off

One of the reasons that sports fans can be so oblivious to how odd looking their ripped heroes can appear is because there is little demand for pictures of non-ripped athletes. So, people start to assume that everybody who works out hard enough will start to look like, say, Serena Williams.

As a counter-example, here is a rare picture of what Swiss tennis player Roger Federer looked like while changing shirts on the way to winning the French Open in 2009, the 14th of his record 17 tennis major championships from 2003 through his victory at Wimbledon this year. He's the top seed in the U.S. Open, and if he wins will tie Jack Nicklaus for the most grand slam championships in the two big country club sports, no doubt much to the dismay of his friend Tiger Woods, who is stuck on 14.

Yet, it turns out that Federer is built more like, say, Sean Connery in 1962 than Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1984 or Carmelita Jeter in 2012.

Federer may well be the greatest tennis player who ever lived, but there are relatively few pictures of him online changing shirts, much less posed beefcake pictures of him like the many we see of more ripped athletes without half his success. 

Tennis is an all-around test of strength, agility, strategy, and endurance, so, at least in theory, it's not surprising that Federer looks like a traditional assumption of what a good athlete would look like, not like the highly specialized specimens we see in various Olympic events, which tend to make narrower demands.

The article notes that it's rare to see photos of Federer without his shirt on. Or it could be that Federer is averse to posing with his shirt off. As far as I can tell, after beating a rival, he generally doesn't rip his shirt off and flex for the crowd, as Novak Djokovic did after beating Federer in 2008.

In theory, if you are on the juice, you should want to stay covered up -- the way the rational and suspicious Barry Bonds switched to bulky, long-sleeved uniforms after he started doping in 1999. In practice, however, there seems to be a strong correlation between how much you look like you are doping and how much you want rip your shirt off at center court and strike Mr. Universe poses. It must be the juice doing the thinking for you. And, why not? Nobody much seems to notice. Maybe Skip Bayless will point out on ESPN that there's something a little off about you, but Bayless will just get flooded with online comments calling him a jerk.

Federer, instead, typically wears what tennis fans of a generation ago would have considered a well-fitting shirt, neither skin-tight nor a shapeless cover-up.

I don't know if that's because there doesn't seem to be much demand for pictures of an athlete who merely looks extremely fit by the standards of 1975, but who doesn't look like the living anatomy charts we've come to know so well since. Moreover, pictures of a shirtless Federer on the web often come with comments suggesting that people these days find it kind of creepy that he doesn't shave his chest hair. 

Or maybe nobody wants to look at pictures of Federer looking healthy and nonweird because they raise questions about other athletic heroes, and why they look the weird way they do.

In general, I suspect many tennis fans are a little embarrassed by the fact that Federer doesn't look like a GI Joe Action Figure the way other athletes have looked in recent times.. The New York Times Magazine often runs a big article about tennis stars when the U.S. Open in New York rolls around, with heroic cover photos, such as this year's one of the Williams Sisters, with a cover photo lit and framed to emphasize Serena's implausible musculature. 

Here's the late David Foster Wallace's appreciation of Federer from 2006 in the NYT Mag. It doesn't come with any beefcake shots, just pictures of a fully clothed Federer playing tennis.

Anyway, this is not to say that Federer must be innocent of any and all doping. Endurance drugs like epo, for example, don't change body shape, so looking at pictures wouldn't help.

My point, though, is that Federer's body raises doubt about the usual explanation you hear when you point out that some sports hero looks like a bodybuilder: "That's because he/she works so hard. If the other players were as dedicated to winning as he/she is, they'd look like him/her too."

But, Roger Federer seems to be awfully dedicated to winning grand slam titles. He's won three more than any other tennis player in history. He's won three more than his friend and rival Tiger Woods. He's playing in what would seem like the toughest era in tennis history, against all that talent from countries that used to be stuck behind the Iron Curtain.

Federer has earned $73 million in winnings, and, at age 31, is back to World #1, and is the favorite entering the U.S. Open. Last year, he was the fifth highest compensated athlete in the world, behind two boxers, Tiger, and LeBron, and ahead of Kobe. In other words, he is extremely good at prioritizing among the trade-offs involved in winning at tennis.

For example, would shaving his chest help him win? He's not a swimmer, so why bother? Sure, the magazine photographers who specialize in shooting the massive, oiled up abs of athletes would insist that he shave his chest. But, he's not going to let somebody oil up his abs, which aren't massive, for a beefcake pictures that he's not going to agree to star in. How is any of that not a distraction from his goal of finishing his career with more major championships in tennis than Tiger will ever win in golf?

Would lifting huge amounts of weights to add mass and definition help Federer win even more? All else being equal, perhaps. But what would he have to give up to to do that? Giant muscles come with an opportunity cost? It's not just the time it takes to lift a lot of weights, it's the recovery times when your muscles are rebuilding and aren't at their best. For example, Barry Bonds won three MVP awards in baseball in 1990-1993 and continue to be one of the very best players in baseball through the McGwire-Sosa season of 1998. But, he wasn't juicing yet, so he couldn't lift weights more than 15 minutes per day during the season without it degrading his day to day game performance. And, despite hitting 46 homers in 1993, he wasn't ripped-looking.

Starting slowly on the juice in 1999, and accelerating in 2000 through 2001 when he broke McGwire's record with 73 homers, Bonds found that drugs helped him recover faster so he could lift more. He set records that are just silly, but clearly re-established that he had been the best player in baseball all through the mid-1990s.

Anyway, the point is that great athletes like Federer and the 1990s Bonds, playing all-around, complicated games like tennis and baseball and playing frequently over long seasons, don't find it in their interests to do the weight room work it takes to look all massive and ripped. (Okay, there may well be other sports where the demands are less broad and less time consuming, such as sprinting, so that it makes sense to peak for the Olympics with a ferocious weight room regimen).

But, lots of other athletes in sports like tennis and baseball do seem to find it in their interest to spend a huge amount of time in the weight room. Is it really because they want to win more than Roger Federer wants to win? Or is it because, for some reason that we aren't privy to, they can lift more weights more often because their muscles recover faster that those of the greatest tennis player of all time?

183 comments:

Anonymous said...

players who did't look like doping, but were and got caught

one of them is the then 16-year old girl who beat elder Williams sister at Roland Garros. The more one reads that site, the more one sees the pragmatism in albertosaurus's viewpoint. Even Federer with his girly physique can't be above suspicion.

otoh he runs out of steam in 5-setters and doesn't recover well after such matches. And he had pretty harsh things to say about PEDs back in the day.

Shawn said...

Surprised you picked tennis. Decathletes are more all-around athletic.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Didn't Pete Sampras, the dominant tennis player of the era prior to Roger Federer, also have a reputation for having a hairy body?

DaveinHackensack said...

That's true of soccer stars too, perhaps for the same reason. The FT had an editorial last weekend (the first weekend of the English Premier League) noting that performance-enhancing drugs weren't a major issue in the sport.

Incidentally, Usain Bolt was at the Manchester U. game today.

Now that EPL is on Fox Sports, I've been watching it on weekends. It has a refreshing amount of diversity, compared to US sports: Man U., for example, had a Japanese guy playing alongside an Ecuadoran, a Spaniard, a Dutchman, Englishmen, etc.

Anonymous said...

To me, what is more surprising about Federer, for a man of his fame and fortune, is that he choose as a wife a woman that is slightly overweight and is arguably of below average beauty:

https://www.google.com.ar/search?hl=es&q=mirka%20federer&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&biw=800&bih=485&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=eWQ5UJfKHYTVtAaEr4HgCw

Anonymous said...

I really don't get why it's creepy not to shave chest hair. Underarm hair makes sense to shave because by reducing the surface area for bacteria to grow, you make deodorant effective for longer. But chest hair doesn't smell, so what's the big deal?

If Federer uses any PEDs, I doubt they are steroids. Who knows, he may have been even better with steroids, though his game was never relied on brute force. Anyone as superior as Federer to everyone else will often have the sort of ego that compels him to demonstrate that he can even win in spite of all the advantages other players had.

I'm guessing the reason he doesn't like to take his shirt off is because he's self-conscious about his thin build. It works for him though; very efficient, minimal loading on his joints to maximizes his longevity on the tour. If you want to build a record grand slam winning machine, it's going to look a lot like Roger Federer.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the swarthy types have been completely dominating men's tennis for quite a while now:

Sampras
Agassi
Federer
Nadal
Djokovic

Who are Greek, Iranian, Swiss, Spanish, Balkan respectively. Federer does not look like the typical Swiss.



Anonymous said...

Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/nyregion/four-men-sharing-rent-and-friendship-for-18-years.html?_r=1&smid=fb-share

New Dorkers.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see a natural man--chest hair.

Anonymous said...

My point, though, is that Federer's body raises doubt about the usual explanation you hear when you point out that some sports hero looks like a bodybuilder: "That's because he/she works so hard. If the other players were as dedicated to winning as he/she is, they'd look like him/her too."

True, but some athletes might have to rely more on power and strength than others because they're weaker in strategy or endurance.

Sojourner said...

Lifting weights itself doesn't give you size. It's the diet that does. Reduce your caloric intake to a certain amount and you'll never look like an enormous beefcake. That's just not how it works.

Anonymous said...

Now that EPL is on Fox Sports, I've been watching it on weekends. It has a refreshing amount of diversity, compared to US sports: Man U., for example, had a Japanese guy playing alongside an Ecuadoran, a Spaniard, a Dutchman, Englishmen, etc.

They're not very diverse in terms of physical build though compared to basketball or football, where you have short to extremely tall, small to extremely large, slow to very quick and fast, and every combination in between.

Anonymous said...

I really don't get why it's creepy not to shave chest hair

Shaving chest hair is gay.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't that long ago that chest hair was seen as a sign of manliness.

I suspect that it was hairless black men regularly destroying hairy chested caucasians in the boxing ring that made shaving chest hair the fashion...

bjdubbs said...

"Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis."

Don't be so sure about that. Do blacks dominate pitching? Quarterbacking? The service motion is the same, and the mental demands are probably as great. Tall enough and lean is an ideal tennis body type (think Djokovic), and blacks tend to be too muscular to be lean. And muscles are of dubious value anyway, which is the point of Sailer's post.

The women's game is very different from the men's game. For one thing, the women can't hit proper topspin on either groundstrokes or serves, hence it is much more of a power game dominated by the biggest, tallest players hitting the hardest, flattest strokes (Lindsey Davenport, Williams, Sharapova, Kvitova, etc). That's not the men's game, which is all about combining spin and pace.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to get the Steve Sailer review of this Obama movie that's doing well in the theaters.

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/08/25/box-office-shocker-2016-obamas-america-at-3/

Anonymous said...

You have to look at how other people watch these sports, though. Most people, myself included, don't watch athletics enough to know what's normal. So we see that the vast majority of, say, sprinters are huge and assume that that's just what very fit black people look like.

Sports fanatics are a very vocal minority. Most people watch it on a more casual basis, and simply assume that that's what athletes look like, and that variations are down to natural variations in body type.

Anonymous said...

"Shaving chest hair is gay."

It speaks to vanity that's why. Vanity about one's looks is very unmasculine in a man. I always had John Edwards pegged as a self-centered, vain, shallow man and argued at great length with my friends about him. When the video of him looking interminably in the mirror and fluffing his hair hit the air, only one friend admitted that it suggested something wasn't right with him. The others admitted that behavior wasn't appealing but said it didn't reveal much of anything useful about his character.

Boy, did I have fun rubbing their noses in their stupidity.

peterike said...

Underarm hair makes sense to shave because by reducing the surface area for bacteria to grow, you make deodorant effective for longer.

Also slap some rubbing alcohol up under your arms every few days. Bacteria dead, problem solved.(Showering does not do the trick.) In fact, you may even be able to dispense with deodorant entirely, but YMMV.

Anonymous said...

Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis.

Absolutely not. Williams sisters dominate because they are men-like. But sheer physicality is far from all in tennis. That's why diminutive but smart Hingis could be competitive with the sistas (for a while at least). Black men's edge in athleticism is far smaller and is amptly compensated by things whites' faster reaction time and better strategic thinking and emotional control. Ashe remains the most successful male black player ever. There are (and were) many black tennis players. They are just not particularly good:
http://www.blacktennispros.com/

Anonymous said...

"...a woman that is slightly overweight and is arguably of below average beauty..."

I think she looks pretty good.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis.

I predict they wouldn't, just like they don't dominate rugby. And tennis is a chess match, not a blitzkrieg. Most black athletes are absurdly fast-twitch loaded.

Women's tennis is a whole other paradigm. High-T women would have a definite comparative advantage.

Anonymous said...

"Shaving chest hair is gay."

Yep. A man shouldn't care about his appearance that much. With muscles there's at least a pretense of utility.

"Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis."

Blacks of West African origin don't have much endurance. Tennis matches go on for hours.

Anonymous said...

@DaveinHackensak

Despite what the FT says, I can guarantee there is massive amounts doping in European soccer. However, FIFA is smart enough to turn a blind eye to it. They don't want soccer to be viewed similar to cycling.

Read the "Other Athletes" section:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operaci%C3%B3n_Puerto_doping_case

Anonymous said...

he FT had an editorial last weekend (the first weekend of the English Premier League) noting that performance-enhancing drugs weren't a major issue in the sport.

Really? I'd expect EPO, HGH, and blood doping to be common. Are they even testing for EPO?

Juventus, an Italian club, got on the EPO bandwagon in the mid-90's, and promptly went from mid-pack to championship team. Once a test for EPO arrived athletes shifted more to blood doping. And, sure enough, take a look at Operation Puerto, in which a Spanish MD had a long list of high profile sports clients. The coded list of clients supposedly included many famous soccer players, though none were pursed by the soccer governing bodies for doping.

I suspect it's more of a question of the governing bodies not looking very hard.

Anonymous said...

Tennis has gotten so competitive that if you're not going to some "Tennis Academy" by the age of 14 your chances of being a tennis great are zero. That's men tennis of course. The women's game is much less competitive.

From looking at the Photos Venus looks more ripped than Feder -although thankfully less hairy.

Semi-employed White Guy said...

This piece is G-A-Y!

Anonymous said...

An athlete with actual chest hair? Amazing. Why, he's probably got leg hair as well!

I spend a lot of my time watching European soccer, and a huge number of players are shaving both chest and leg hair. There are the occasional hold-outs who refuse to go along with the trend, but they are frequently not the top ranked "hot" (in more than one sense) players.

I haven't got a clue what the majority of male fans think of this, but the women, particularly the young women, are very much into the depilated look, judging by their comments. Actual hairy masculinity is becoming repellent to a sizable number of both (young) women. Whether this will be the case as they age, I don't know.

Maya said...

"Even Federer with his girly physique can't be above suspicion."

Are you a lady who has suffered through ovarian cancer before fully hitting puberty, or are you a gentleman who hasn't yet been able to admit to himself that that which he is attracted to makes him a homosexual?

Federer's physique is "girly" as much as Paul Ryan's is "too skinny". In other words, they are both prime examples of top notch physical masculinity. Except that one of them looks like he earns his living through physical work while the other one looks like he has plenty of leisure time during which he engages in physical recreation.

Anonymous said...

BTW. I'm always amazed at all hairy some guys are at my gym. Its like being at the Planet of the Apes. Wonder how their wives stand it.

Anonymous said...

Actual hairy masculinity is becoming repellent

Racism against the hairy Caucasian race?

The negroids and mongoloids do not have to shave...

Maya said...

"I haven't got a clue what the majority of male fans think of this, but the women, particularly the young women, are very much into the depilated look, judging by their comments. Actual hairy masculinity is becoming repellent to a sizable number of both (young) women. Whether this will be the case as they age, I don't know."

While our preferences in body types and facial features are mostly decided by nature, our tastes in grooming and styling are almost completely dependent on culture and imprinting.

Young women of today tend to find hairy men off putting because all of the attractive men they've been presented with have been without body hair. Similarly, even though thick pubic hair is natural in all young, feminine, fertile women on Earth, today's men find it gross because the women in their magazines and the bikini clad women on TV don't seem to have any body hair at all.

Also, young women who grow up in cultures where men wear facial hair tend to find a shaved face creepy, while most women who grow up among the clean shaven men usually hate facial hair.

Oh, and if you read some tavern poetry of the Renaissance period in Europe, they thought the female arm pit hair to be the sexiest friggin' thing possible. And, of course, wigs and high heels were coming into fashion for the powerful manly men.

DaveinHackensack said...

"They're not very diverse in terms of physical build though compared to basketball or football, where you have short to extremely tall, small to extremely large, slow to very quick and fast, and every combination in between."

There's diversity in terms of height in soccer, but not as much in terms of build otherwise, e.g., nothing like the contrast between a cornerback and offensive tackle in the NFL.

"Really? I'd expect EPO, HGH, and blood doping to be common. Are they even testing for EPO?"

I don't know; it's possible, I guess. But I imagine it would be less necessary in EPL than in, say, cycling. Soccer players need endurance, but they get time to recover -- I think they average about a game per week in the EPL. And they're not going full blast for 90 minutes straight per game. So it seems reasonable that a well-conditioned athlete could handle it.

Something like the Tour de France in cycling is a completely different animal. I can't imagine how anyone could do that without some sort of unnatural advantage.

as said...

I love the way men looked in the 1970s (lean, slender, hairy, tight clothes). I love the look that comes from just playing tennis and maybe doing some push-ups but not lifting weights.

Federer looks sexy in that pic. This is the first time I've felt that about him.

Anonymous said...

From looking at the Photos Venus looks more ripped than Feder -although thankfully less hairy.

Have you seen her back?

Anonymous said...

Steroids by themselves don't add muscle mass. You have weightlift with them. With steroids, you can weightlift even more, and that's a major part of how you get big with them. You can lift heavy everyday and thus constantly stimulate muscle growth.

Anonymous said...

Tennis is a test of strength? What strongmen competitions do you watch Mr. Sailer?

Anonymous said...

Lifting weights itself doesn't give you size. It's the diet that does. Reduce your caloric intake to a certain amount and you'll never look like an enormous beefcake. That's just not how it works.
But roids do tend to increase the LBM to bodyfat ratio, which would make a guy like Federer ripped, which he's not.

Anonymous said...

"True, but some athletes might have to rely more on power and strength than others because they're weaker in strategy or endurance."

They are also often weaker in accuracy. Topspin increases the margin for error. Pace along with topspin makes for a heavy ball that puts players on the defensive. Thus you have guys like Nadal who do not need finesse to win, employing a more mechanical approach.

Anonymous said...

Grew up near a family that had two sons my age who were insanely hairy. These guys were also fast runners and generally had scary athleticism. Wrestling with them was pointless. I always linked their athleticism with their hairiness, though I have no idea if that relationship actually holds true, and with most caucasion athletes shaving their bodies today, there's no way to really know.

Anonymous said...

Similarly, even though thick pubic hair is natural in all young, feminine, fertile women on Earth, today's men find it gross because the women in their magazines and the bikini clad women on TV don't seem to have any body hair at all.


Pubic hair is awesome, but leg hair is gross.

dawn said...

Since Billie Jean King proved that Women were as a good as men at Tennis, why is the sport still gender segregated?

TWAndrews said...

Dude's Swiss (and quintessentially so). That's all that you need to know when it comes to questions about why he doesn't have shirtless pictures floating around

Ray Sawhill said...

The feeling among a lot of tennis fans is that Federer isn't juicing, or at least isn't overdoing the juice. He's got a fairly normal body of the traditional kind, and he shows signs of being mortal. He'll be tired after a long match, for instance, and not play up to his usual level. Serena and Rafa are more suspect. They both have comic-book builds, they both tend to perform just as well the day after a five set match as they do on the day of the five-set match, and they both have odd and erratic behaviors vis a vis "injuries." (Ie., they're trying to conceal that they're on 'roids or something else.) They're also both hyperathletic players -- they accomplish a lot of what they accomplish via raw power, stunts and speed, moreso than by touch, skill, technique, etc. (All of which are Federer's specialty.) In other words, their games *can* be cranked up a notch or two via the juice. A little more power is a much bigger help to a power-type player than it is to a technique-type player.

An interesting thing about Federer -- both about his game and about watching him -- is the "God mode" thing. You don't watch him so much to see him beat another player. You watch him to see if his "God mode" kicks in. That's the real drama of a Federer match. He's capable of such weirdly wonderful tennis that it's like watching someone from another dimension. He's like Gretzky, or Mozart, or Michael Jordan -- not just great but (at times) seemingly enchanted. Proof: one of the most common things that tennis commentators say when Federer makes a great shot, or creates a great point, is "No way!" What he does often doesn't seem possible -- not because he's a physical superhero but because he's so witty and skillful, yet at such a high level of power and speed. When he's in God mode he's in another zone entirely, routinely turning defensive shots into winners. He's great even when he's not in God mode, but when God mode kicks in (and how does he invoke it?) it's bliss for a tennis fan.

Also: Federer, like Sampras, seems to have vowed pretty early on to keep it classy, and classic. His fashions are lowkey and handsome, he doesn't grunt, he doesn't do too much fist-pumping, he's gracious in his post-match statements ... He makes a nice case for elegance and class. As a young man he apparently had a terrible temper, and it wasn't until he got the better of it that he started to reach his potential.

Great Fed:

LINK

Make sure you put it on 720p and watch it fullscreen.

Matra said...

ut sheer physicality is far from all in tennis. That's why diminutive but smart Hingis could be competitive with the sistas (for a while at least)

An even better example would be slim 5'5" Justine Henin. She had more success against the Williams sisters and at her peak was able to beat them in consecutive days at the US Open. Her game was all about speed, ball placement, and exceptional shot selection.

Anonymous said...

He looks like he needs to lose some weight - obviously it does not impact his performance, but he clearly lacks a lean, sculpted physique. He does not have a "beautiful" body.

This idea that a sculpted male body is something modern is false. The ancient Greeks gave us the paradigm case of a male athlete's body - check out the statues; every muscle showing, almost no fat, utterly lean, utterly ripped, this was considered the ideal, "beautiful" male physique since ancient times, and ever since. It probably represents some kind of ancestral memory, a timeless ideal, of what the best, fittest male body looks like. Federer does not come close - he has, quite simply, a very lacking physique. Lets just be honest about that.

The novelty of modern times, as compared to the ancient Greek ideal, is not in the leanness, but in sheer bulk, and that has to do with the advent of steroids. the Shwarzeneger type physique is not just lean and ripped but also enormously bulky - that is the novelty of modern times, and, I would suggest, most people, especially women, do not find it particularly attractive.

Ray Sawhill said...

Some sweet recent Federer ...

Anonymous said...

The next absurdity, performance enhancing surgery:

http://www.mmafighting.com/2011/03/09/performance-enhancing-surgery-comes-to-mma

Anonymous said...

"Don't be so sure about that. Do blacks dominate pitching? Quarterbacking? The service motion is the same, and the mental demands are probably as great."

As great or greater. Coaches aren't allowed to do any coaching of the players, once the players are out there they have to do their planning on their own. If plan A isn't working, they have to diagnose what is going wrong to implement plan B or C, or come up with a new plan on the fly.

Also, where the ball lands on the court (along with your ability to get it back) determines where you should hit the ball. You also have to mix things up and not be too predictable, which is some sort of meta mind game you play with your opponent. You must also judge which points you should mix things up - best to break patterns in break points or tie breakers.

Then there is the psychological warfare employed. Can you break your opponent's confidence or rhythm, or do you let him get to you?

Meanwhile you need to be focused. A brilliant brain that is capable of coming up with novel ideas, and does so continuously is actually a liability on the tennis court if not controlled. This sort of constantly whirring mind might be an advantage to a nobel laureate, but not to a tennis player who must focus throughout the 5 hours of a match.

But certainly IQ, and particularly the sort of quick thinking IQ is at a premium in tennis. By quick thinking IQ, I mean the ability to come up with a very good answer instantly versus a genius answer but take all day to do so.

None of the tennis greats come across as being dumb. Federer, Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier, Djokovic, all batting well above average intellectually. From what I can tell from interviews, guest commentary or style of play, Hewitt, Gilbert, Santoro, Nalbandian and Roddick are very smart.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Federer's mother ( white ) Sth African ?

Aren't many white Sth Africans a little less than 100% European in ancestry ?

Never thought about it before but now I'm wondering

Anonymous said...

Good article, as long as it's tennis and similar games we're talking about. As far as I know, doping wasn't around in antiquity or the Renaissance, yet somehow athletes still had ripped physiques which were idealized and memorialized by sculptors and painters.

There are many sports where a ripped physique will come about naturally. Tennis just isn't one of them, not necessarily so...so Steve has a point here. But not in the general sense that a good athlete in wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, javelin, etc., will have a physique like Federer's; those guys will have ripped physiques if they're any good, without doping.

But with tennis and other things, sure, Williams are doped up, besides being gorillas. But I'm not sure Nadal is doping, though some say he is. He has merely decent-sized muscles, not huge.

Steve Sailer said...

"The ancient Greeks gave us the paradigm case of a male athlete's body - check out the statues; every muscle showing, almost no fat, utterly lean, utterly ripped, this was considered the ideal, "beautiful" male physique since ancient times, and ever since."

Okay, so Federer is not a male model, he's a year round touring professional athlete, the best in his business. This is what a guy who has to be in London for the Olympics two weeks ago, Cincinnati for a tournament last week, and New York for the U.S. Open next week looks like. He doesn't have time to lift weights for months to build to a perfect look because he has tennis to play today.

Anonymous said...

Boers are, on average, about 5 to 7 percent non-European. I'm not sure about Anglo South Africans.

But non-European doesn't mean African. It looks like a substantial portion of that non-European ancestry is Southeast Asian.

Anonymous said...

Aren't many white Sth Africans a little less than 100% European in ancestry ?

No.

Anonymous said...

Hurrah for HGH!

Roger Clemens 49 pitched 3 1/3 innings on his baseball comeback.

Anonymous said...

Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis.


Black guys are not "super fast and super strong". They don't have x-ray vision either.

But feel free to regale us once again with the tale of the high-school you attended as a boy.

Steve Sailer said...

Federer has averaged 74 tournament matches per year for the last 14 years. That's in front of paying customers who wouldn't be happy if he dogged it because he's worn out from the killer lifting routine he did for two hours before the match.

If you are a 100m dash sprinter, you perform maybe 10 minutes per year. That leaves you a lot of time to lift weights for your big moment every four years in the Olympic spotlight.

Anonymous said...

The ancient Greeks gave us the paradigm case of a male athlete's body - check out the statues; every muscle showing, almost no fat, utterly lean, utterly ripped,


Which statues were you thinking of exactly, Mr Art Critic? This one?

http://www.hellenic-art.com/statues/hermes.htm

Anonymous said...


"The ancient Greeks gave us the paradigm case of a male athlete's body - check out the statues; every muscle showing, almost no fat, utterly lean, utterly ripped,"

You mean Arno Breker's Nazi Art? Greek art isn't all about muscle. Grace and balance are a big part of it.

Anonymous said...

RE: ancient Greek art, look up Polykleitos with his Doryphoros and Diadoumenos statues. Those represent the standard of a ripped, athletic physique. Javelin thrower, and a champion athlete tying the victor's ribbon around his head.

Steve, the point is in so many athletic enterprises working hard at them WILL give you a physique like that, without doping. In a few sports like tennis, that's not the case, you're right.

Anonymous said...

Athletes legitimized body hair removal for our narcissistic generation: First swimmers (and arguably cyclist), for streamlining; then all athletes to make massage less painful.

The side benefit is easier tattooing.

Gilbert Pinfold.

Anonymous said...

Good article, as long as it's tennis and similar games we're talking about. As far as I know, doping wasn't around in antiquity or the Renaissance, yet somehow athletes still had ripped physiques which were idealized and memorialized by sculptors and painters.

Apparently the ancient Romans used to eat bull's testicles for the performance enhancing benefit (e.g. testosterone). This was done also by cyclists in France in the early 20th century, so there is probably some positive effect to the practice.

http://blog.nutrianswers.com/tag/sports/

Anonymous said...

'Who are Greek, Iranian, Swiss, Spanish, Balkan respectively. Federer does not look like the typical Swiss.'

Federer is half South African

Anonymous said...

"Aren't many white Sth Africans a little less than 100% European in ancestry?"

That is correct. Around 5% of Afrikaner ancestry comes from a mixture of groups including sub-Saharan African, Indian, Malay and Chinese. Well-documented genealogies have pinpointed the admixture events, and there is some preliminary genetic support.

Deconstructing Jaco: Genetic Heritage of an Afrikaner

and

The quest for an Afrikaner genotype

Anonymous said...

Black guys are not "super fast and super strong". They don't have x-ray vision either.
There are some that are certainly faster than the fastest white guys. However, tennis is not decided by sprinting or hitting things very hard alone. Look at Gael Monfils. Very fast, can hit the ball very hard, often makes errors of judgment.

All things considered, it is better to choose the right shot and make errors of execution like a Nalbandian or a Brad Gilbert than make errors of judgment and sometimes get the occasional fluke winner in and over the net.

The IQ required to be a great tennis player gives whites an advantage at the upper levels, where athleticism is often not the deciding factor in the outcome of a match. The male blacks who do well mostly have significant white admixture - Arthur Ashe, James Blake, Tsonga. The fact that Blake was able to get into Harvard should be a clue that IQ is at a premium in tennis, especially at the upper levels of the game.

Anonymous said...

e.g., ancient athlete, no doping: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Doryphoros.jpg

Anonymous said...

One other thing to consider about the bodies of the ancient greek athletes versus the statues - artists often exaggerate. Even Superman comics from the 1950s sometimes show a Superman who looks like he has been on the juice. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Ancient Greek statues looked better than their models, art is art after all.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the ancient Romans used to eat bull's testicles for the performance enhancing benefit (e.g. testosterone). This was done also by cyclists in France in the early 20th century, so there is probably some positive effect to the practice.

Yes but it could also be flawed magical thinking. Like thinking that eating fish makes you a better swimmer. If it works why don't people still do it?

Anonymous said...

Some people are ignoring the benefits of genetics. Some people are ripped naturally, with little or no effort, e.g. playing tennis. Some people will only get ripped with drugs, if ever, despite working out like a bastard. I think it's as much to do with the athlete as with the sport.

Anonymous said...

"One other thing to consider about the bodies of the ancient greek athletes versus the statues - artists often exaggerate. Even Superman comics from the 1950s sometimes show a Superman who looks like he has been on the juice. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Ancient Greek statues looked better than their models, art is art after all."

Amen. The Greek god justification seems a little weak. Between then and now, nobody has been able to figure out a good workout. Maybe the gay sculptors and artists were just enhancing the parts of a man they really appreciated.

It is a safe bet to say Federer is clean, the other guy is juiced. I have Juicedar.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said--- "One other thing to consider about the bodies of the ancient greek athletes versus the statues - artists often exaggerate. Even Superman comics from the 1950s sometimes show a Superman who looks like he has been on the juice. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Ancient Greek statues looked better than their models, art is art after all."

And yet since they got it "right" they must have seen it in real life. If you're surrounded by people who have bodies like Federer you're not going just suddenly come upon
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Doryphoros.jpg

by "guessing" how certain muscles look.

Your argument is a lot like the ones feminists make about "idealized" bodies in advertising. Actually I see hot slim girls all the time, and there are a few guys at my gym or who I know whose physiques approximate the statue above. Sometimes they overshoot and have bigger muscles. All without doping! I don't see why ancient athletes couldn't achieve the same; life for an ancient aristo was not deprived, and they were probably superior genetically to us.

A lot of this argument is lazy people who don't want to work out claiming that it's "impossible" to get a body like that without drugs, just like fat activists and feminists say the same crap about ads and thin girls.

Anonymous said...

"Some people are ignoring the benefits of genetics. Some people are ripped naturally, with little or no effort, e.g. playing tennis. Some people will only get ripped with drugs, if ever, despite working out like a bastard. I think it's as much to do with the athlete as with the sport."

Many more people are ignoring the limits of genetics. A lot, if not most, athletes juice, I don't know why it upsets people so much. Who cares?

Steve Sailer said...

"life for an ancient aristo was not deprived"

Right. But Federer isn't an aristo or a bodybuilder hobbyist, he's a man with a job, a really good job that pays him $55 million per year: playing tennis matches 75 times per year. His job takes a lot of time and energy that less-in-demand athletes can devote to the weight room because they don't have to be in peak form to play a tennis match on TV later today.

Anonymous said...

"e.g., ancient athlete, no doping: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Doryphoros.jpg"

How come the ancient greek athletes had tiny penises?

Anonymous said...

I've been focusing in on Djokovic's photo. The thin chest is not proportionate to the massive robo-arms with their wasp like segmentation. Show me a Greek god that is out of proportion. Show me one with a massive body and a long neck.

Anonymous said...

" like fat activists and feminists say the same crap about ads and thin girls."

A guy trying to get as big is a juicer is like a woman trying to get as big as a man. You can try, but you will fail.

Anonymous said...

Djokovic looks weird and out of proportion. I'd find it hard to believe that he's juicing. People who say guys with builds like Djokovic or Nadal are juicing, who are actually quite skinny...I don't know what to say. I imagine it's either incredibly scrawny guys or fat guys who don't bother to work out who claim Djokovic or Nadal have to be juicing. You don't have to juice and get those paltry results brah.

Stuart said...

The 2009 French open title was Federer's 14th not his 13th

Anonymous said...

To people who think that the kind of bodies represented by those Greek statues are unrealistic should come to South East Asia and India. They are incredibly common there and to someone coming from the West, they are a sight unto themselves. Even on the streets of Bangkok you will see on a daily basis physical laborers with their shirts off who have physiques that look easily as good as the discus thrower. Just today in Saigon I saw 2 car mechanics with the kind of defined, striated musculature you see only in a few gyms in America. In Calcutta some of the rickshaw pullers have incredibly developed physiques and many of physical laborers do.

I see the "discus thrower" every day, a few times at least:)

Something that has almost vanished from the fat, lazy West as to seem scarcely credible - a thing of myth almost - is a commonplace reality in countries where people eat traditionally and have a tradition of eating LESS (although in India I suspect it might not be a matter of choice. In Thailand and Vietnam it surely is something regulated by tradition. Food is abundant and cheap. SOME poor people are fat), and still do a lot of physical labor.

As some other commenter said, it is just like the femmies telling us it is "unrealistic" for women to be thin and svelte - heh! They should visit Asia or E Europe (Ukraine comes to mind) or parts of South America. In these places very nearly the ENTIRE female population has figures resembling what the femmies ASSURE us is "impossibly unrealistic"!

One day, perhaps good bodies - male and female - will become rarities the whole world over. Then it will surely no longer be believed that large numbers of people - most of the population - could be thin and fit. It will be a thing of myth - surely the historians exaggerated.

And as for the Greeks, Socrates, Plato, and countless others discuss the chiseled physiques of the gymnasts and athletes and describe them as utterly without fat and with ripped muscles.

Daybreaker said...

"Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis."

That was inevitable in the 20th Century according to Arthur Ashe. An endless flow of 6'5" Ken Rosewalls was just something everyone was going to have to get used to, though it would be harder for Whites to see the achievements of all previous (that is White) tennis players rendered pitiful and irrelevant. Arthur Ashe was resigned to seeing his own achievements also rendered nothing; the collective victory was more than enough balm for him. (This is from one of his books; I forget which one, or maybe he kept up the drum-beat of "inevitables" in book after book.)

Anonymous said...

"Even Federer with his girly physique can't be above suspicion."

What kinds of girls have you been hanging out with?

Only in America...

Steve Sailer said...

Althea Gibson won a number of Grand Slam titles in 1956-58. (She also finished second in an LPGA golf tournament in 1970.)

Hacienda said...

"Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis."

Tennis is mostly a game of reaction speed-- eye-hand-foot.

I've seen no evidence that blacks are superior at this.

Anonymous said...

In Calcutta some of the rickshaw pullers have incredibly developed physiques and many of physical laborers do.
I see the "discus thrower" every day, a few times at least:) Something that has almost vanished from the fat, lazy West as to seem scarcely credible - a thing of myth almost


There is just no end to this delusional/deceitful indian BS.


Here are pictures of Calcutta's rickshaw pullers. Point out a single one that has the physique that you claim to "see every day, a few times at least:) "?

JustAClown said...

steve wrote:

One of the reasons that sports fans can be so oblivious to how odd looking their ripped heroes can appear is because there is little demand for pictures of non-ripped athletes.


Another of the reasons that sports fans can be so oblivious to this is that sports fans are homo sapiens. And homo sapiens is a species of ant-like primate. Ants are evolved to be cogs in a machine, each one doing just exactly what they are supposed to do. No one bucks the trends or makes waves. Same thing for homo sapiens. Homo sapiens is evolved to be a idea-transmission machine. Homo sapiens is evolved to receive ideas handed down to them from the tribal leaders and then to re-transmit them to other members of the tribe. Ideas? Ideas such as how the tribe can work together to trap the herd of antelope and kill one of them. Etc. Just as ants work together to locate and obtain some tasty morsel of food, each one working cog-like in its own task, so to do homo sapiens members work cog-like. Cogs do what they are supposed to do. And they discuss whatever ideas their leaders discuss. Our leaders in the media use sports figures as heroic figures etc in order to draw more readers. The ant-like readers are just doing their part, acting their role, the roles they fill in this society of ant-like primates. They stick to the boundaries of the discussion as outlined by the tribal leaders in the media. And they do not stray from that.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled pseudo-political discussion.




JustAClown said...

so skip bayless insinuated that derek jeter is using HGH.

One wonders if skip reads steve....

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to pictures of the rickshaw pullers of Calcutta:

http://tinyurl.com/9xltg7n

Anonymous said...

Those who are simply thinking that doping=big muscles need to click on the link in the first post.
and read up about EPO's effects:

"The last time I'd ridden 200 miles, I felt awful the next day, like I'd been hit by a truck. After the Solvang race I woke up and felt hardly a touch of soreness. I also felt like I could easily ride another 200, and I realized that I'd entered another world, the realm of instant recovery. I'll be frank: It was a reassuring kind of world, and I could see why people might want to stay there."

http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/Drug-Test.html?page=all

""Even Federer with his girly physique can't be above suspicion."

What kinds of girls have you been hanging out with?"

jeez, it was a joke considering how waifish he looks compared to other 'girls' on the tour.

"Only in America... "

we all living in amerika

"it is just like the femmies telling us it is "unrealistic" for women to be thin and svelte"

no, it's not

Stacy said...

Ancient Greeks were mostly gay/bissexual so I don't get the appeal of their bodies. It's like "Why should I as a heterosexual woman lust after men whose physiques resemble those of cultures that were abundant in male homosexuality?" That's not right. And the fact that secular liberal women lust after these type of men makes it even more demented and psychotic. Do they have suicidal tendencies? And being shaved. Eww.

I don't know why Mr. Sailer has even raised nor commented on this possibility. That heterosexual women are being conditioned to lust after men who resemble ancient homosexuals. That's what the fascist LGBTQQP wants.

Overall, I like hairy dudes. That's cute.

Truth said...

" An endless flow of 6'5" Ken Rosewalls"

I don't get it, Rosewall was 5'7 and white.

Anonymous said...

"You mean Arno Breker's Nazi Art? Greek art isn't all about muscle. Grace and balance are a big part of it."

The differences in bodies between ancient Greek and WWII German sculpture come down to differences between peoples. Breker's sculptures look more typically German, and often the taller framed types. They are the sort of frames you'd see in a Midwestern USA highschool wrestling meet, in the heavier divisions. A lot of the American midwest is of German descent. You notice the similarities in wrestling because they are mostly very low bodyfat.

The Greeks are more compact, less broad shouldered and less lanky than the German specimens. Bodyfat percentage appears about the same (very low) in both.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the comics to find examples that look like juicers, it is interesting to note that the Incredible Hulk came out in the 1960s, which is when steroids really started up. When Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk, it is inextricably tied to an all consuming (roid) rage. It makes one suspect that the writers had familiarity with steroids and their side-effects.

Anonymous said...

"How come the ancient greek athletes had tiny penises?"

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2627/why-does-so-much-ancient-greek-art-feature-males-with-small-genitalia

Kylie said...

"Even Federer with his girly physique can't be above suspicion."

Girly physique??

Whoa, I'd hate to see what your cellie looks like.

"Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis."

Yep, on and off the court, no doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

"Many more people are ignoring the limits of genetics. A lot, if not most, athletes juice, I don't know why it upsets people so much. Who cares?"

1) Cheating. Most people don't like cheaters, plain and simple.

2) Dopers make normally fair-minded players cyncical, who end up doping too.

3) Doping often shortens life-span. The risks are probably exaggerated, but the risks are real risks. People like athletes, folk heroes, they don't want athletes to die before their time.

Anonymous said...

It's possible to compare an extremely muscular mesomorph with a juicing bodybuilder. Bodybuilding predates the steroid area.

Eugen Sandow, Prussian strongman, was one of the most muscular men of his time. This is him, at his peak, after years and years of careful self-sculpting.
http://images.t-nation.com/forum_images/1/7/1701a-sandow.jpg

Next to Eugen stands Arnold. As is clear to anyone, Sandow is not nearly as muscular as Arnold is. Many modern bodybuilders make even mr. Six Times Olympia look small. Here´s Ronnie Coleman.
http://www.emforma.net/suplementos/ronnie-coleman-vs-arnold.jpg

The only explanation comparing these bodybuilding champs can be steroid use. Or does anybody here seriously think that Arnold and Sandow didn't work out as much as Coleman? Same with Djokovic (or worse: Nadal) and Federer.

Dahlia said...

I agree with the other women on this thread: Federer has an ideal body, muscle-wise and tall is good.
The only women I've ever known who liked the ripped beefcakes were chubbier lower-class women and even they were looking at Fabio, not opening up the weightlifting magazines.

I've felt for awhile that the allure of being huge and muscular for non-athletes is a classic case of projection: the more "masculine" the more women will like them, they think. The only benefits from steroids would be a. not being fat and b. confident attitude and energy.
Masculine-minded men, aka nerds, are the most guilty. Judging by comic books and what-not, they hold as most ideal a hyper distinction between male and female.

I've also noticed that nerdy women, like their object-orientated male counterparts, value looks more than other women. Even they resist the ultra-ripped look. Ayn Rand literally married a movie star.

Anonymous said...

"This idea that a sculpted male body is something modern is false. The ancient Greeks gave us the paradigm case of a male athlete's body."

Eugen Sandow, the father of modern bodybuilding, was so inspired by the physiques found in classical Greek and Roman sculpture that he apparently used to measure the statues in museums in order to craft his own body to their exact dimensions.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Hairy-chestedness is resented in modern American society because it is a direct in-your-face indicator of masculinity, and by extension power and strength.

The sleek hairless look is a fetish of certain demographics (i.e., homosexualists, feminists, SWPLs, Scots-Irish) that dominate the media, fashion, and entertainment industries.

These are the same groups, of course, that fear and resent the traditional masculinity of the White man.

How widespread among women is the preference for hairless men? I've had many girls tell me they find my hairy chest 'manly' and 'sexy', especially when it becomes bleached in the sun and salt water. But then again, I'm tall, lean, and muscular.

In recent years I've noticed a lot more young men sporting facial hair, including beards and moustaches. I didn't see this 10 or 20 years ago.

So young men are shaving their chest--and growing beards and moustaches.

Anonymous said...

"As some other commenter said, it is just like the femmies telling us it is "unrealistic" for women to be thin and svelte - heh! They should visit Asia or E Europe (Ukraine comes to mind) or parts of South America. In these places very nearly the ENTIRE female population has figures resembling what the femmies ASSURE us is "impossibly unrealistic"! "

Lazy Asian women don't exercise their chests enough, that's why they have small breasts. Every woman can have large breasts, Asians are just lazy. I know this is true because there are statues from ancient times with large breasts. Asian woman could look like these statues if they only made an effort. If Asians fail to exercise their chests, big breast will be considered a thing of myth. Same goes for Asian men, they'd better start exercising their penises and testicles. I've seen statues of African gods and they have huge penises. Asian men are just too lazy to exercise the member.

Anonymous said...

There are two major types of muscle fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch fibers are used when moving at 70% of maximum speed or higher. Body building, with it's slow movements only exercises and bulks up the slow twitch fibers which are useless in sports. Bruce Lee did not become so fast by pumping iron, he did it by constant repetition at high speed.

A tennis match is won not by the strongest but by the quickest to react. Think of how quickly a tennis player has to change direction on the baseline or to charge the net.

Incidentally years ago I was a student of Aikido. Our sensei specifically forbade us from lifting weights due to two things. It is done slowly and statically, you just stand there with your feet planted which is detrimental to a martial artist as footwork and balance are the base of everything else. He told us to play hockey, soccer, volleyball, tennis etc, as they improve speed, balance, flexibility and hand-eye coordination.

Al_in_Ottawa

P.S. Am I the only one who remembers Arthur Ashe?

Anonymous said...

Some of these commentators discussing tennis are laughable, Federer is very athletic and was even more so in his prime, one of the most athletic players ever to play to tennis, particularly during his peak from 2003-07 ( BTW, his predecessor in dominance, Pete Sampras was likewise athletic but also didn't shave his chest and had a normal non bodybuilder like torso ). Swiss television reported ( During his prime )Federer's acceleration from a standstill was a fast as an Olympic sprinter from 0-30 meters ( which is about the longest distance a tennis player would realistically have to run down a ball .)

Additionally Federer's deltoid and trapezius muscles are huge. It's noticeable when the camera is focusing on him head on waiting for his opponents serve, his upper back muscles flare out like those of an NFL safety, despite the fact that he is about 40-50 lbs lighter than a typical one. There is also a photo of him walking a golf course with Tiger Woods from about 3-4 years ago and despite the fact that Woods is listed as half an inch taller, he looks both taller and noticeably bigger in the chest and shoulders than Tiger does, despite Woods massive weight training programs.

Federer doesn't look fast to the untrained observer ( which include some tennis commentators, btw ) because he runs with a very long sprinter like gait with huge strides, which is not common in tennis whose epitome of speed in the old days, Jimmy Connor took a lot of little steps. Federer's legs are also very sprinter like in appearance, he looks much more naturally athletic than Woods, who like a lot of guys obsessed with their upper bodies have an over sized torso resting on underdeveloped legs. The other two dominant male players from this era, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic also lack bodybuilder like physiques. Nadal is also fast but lacks Federer's huge back muscles, instead opting for big biceps, but looks otherwise like a typical tennis player. Djokovic has a typical athletic tennis build with both speed and a Gumby like flexibility.

Anonymous said...

Not all muscle fibers are created equal. I thought the relative proportion of slow to fast twitch fibers determined speed versus endurance, much as the ratio of white to gray brain matter determined skill versus brilliance. I presume steroids bulk up both kinds of muscle tissue by promoting angiogenesis and faster healing after rigorous workouts, but I figure there must be some break even point where muscle mass reduces agility and speed at the expense of strength and stamina. In tennis there is a choice of defeating your opponent by either overpowering him in the back court or moving to the net frequently and out maneuvering him. Presumably, if you are Federer you defeat a juiced up meat balloon by going to the net as often as you can and hitting bloopers just beyong his reach.

Aaron B. said...

That picture of Federer reminds me of another example: Tom Selleck in Magnum p.i. Here was one of that era's prime beefcake stars, playing a character who was ex-military special forces and still ran and swam a few miles every day. But when he was shirtless, like in the pilot, his abs weren't popping out. He's clearly in great shape, with no unnecessary fat on his body, but he's not unusually lean and showing special muscle definition either. You just didn't see that then, even on the guys women swooned over.

Heck, even Arnold in his Conan days, when apparently he was juicing, didn't have the definition of many athletes today. He was huge, but huge in the large muscle areas that we know the names of: biceps, lats, etc. He didn't have little muscles popping out up and down his arms every time he moved. It's pretty clear that juicing has advanced, and it's not just about getting bigger and stronger anymore.

If you hang out much on paleo sites, you'll run into a subset of folks who are obsessed with getting their body fat percentage down below the normal "fit" level. That's the only way to get that extreme ripped look; you can't look ripped with 15% body fat. They can do a lot without drugs, by eating a diet that encourages testosterone production (organ meats and certain nuts, especially), intermittent fasting, and spending all day in the gym. But it takes a lot of work and time, which professional athletes don't have -- they can't afford to spend all their time weighing and timing their meals and doing isolation exercises on different muscles. That's Steve's point: if you have a full-time job of practicing tennis, all that running around will make you lean and fit, but you won't have the free time to spend in the gym getting ripped, so to get that sculpted look you'll need chemical help.

If Mirka Fereder is "arguably of below average beauty" where you live, I want to move there:
http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/KUaxpdpZoNj/Gatorade+G+Series+FIT/gAxKOIhF4ll/Mirka+Federer

Anonymous said...

"Even Federer with his girly physique can't be above suspicion."


"girly physique????


Okay, so you're gay. Then get thee to Fire Island for some shaved skin and guys with soft voices that sound like Harry Reid. "Ooooohhhh, you loook sooooo niiiiiiice."

It's always weird to see guys who have some definition in musculature, then hear what comes out of their mouths. The old expression is still, in most cases, appropriate: "He looked okay until he opened his mouth, nd then a purse fell out."

Deckin said...

Irrespective of the juicing, Steve, although right about the immense time demands on modern tour tennis players (no off season to speak of; constant international travel), misses another aspect of Federer's success and something I believe we'll see more of in all sports.

In the old days to get in shape to play tennis, one played tennis--lots of it. Hour after hour on the court. No one can catch a tennis ball with a racket (as Agassi can do) without having spent endless hours on the court; so much time that out of sheer boredom one learns to do odd things with a racket. One of the effects of this method was the weird asymmetry of the tennis player's arms. Laver's left forearm was like Popeye's while his right was entirely normal for his height and weight.

Then came the modern era (especially with Agassi) and the weight rooms, conditioning routines and court time was necessarily lessened. Look at the bodies of Nadal, Roddick, etc., and you don't see the old bizarre dysmorphism.

But now look at Federer. A pretty beefy looking right forearm and a left one that looks like a displaced chicken wing. And then you find out what is routine is: some conditioning off the court, but by far most of it on court--often in Dubai in the summer!

And now see the results. Federer remains largely injury free and has a court sense that no one can match. Nadal has bum knees, bad feet and may be headed for the surgery. This conditioning has been swallowed whole and careers get shorter.

Maybe it's time to realize that the bodybuilding influence and the weight room conditioning were only good for looks and shortening careers.

Matra said...

Djokovic looks weird and out of proportion. I'd find it hard to believe that he's juicing

I don't know if it is worth mentioning but just before going on his brilliant run of victories last year Djokovic radically changed his diet. He won't reveal what he's doing but tennis observers keep speculating it is gluten-free. That wouldn't have impacted his shot placement etc but he's been noticeably fitter over the past year and a half.

Anonymous said...

"""To people who think that the kind of bodies represented by those Greek statues are unrealistic should come to South East Asia and India. They are incredibly common there and to someone coming from the West, they are a sight unto themselves. Even on the streets of Bangkok you will see on a daily basis physical laborers with their shirts off who have physiques that look easily as good as the discus thrower. Just today in Saigon I saw 2 car mechanics with the kind of defined, striated musculature you see only in a few gyms in America. In Calcutta some of the rickshaw pullers have incredibly developed physiques and many of physical laborers do.

I see the "discus thrower" every day, a few times at least:)

Something that has almost vanished from the fat, lazy West as to seem scarcely credible - a thing of myth almost - is a commonplace reality in countries where people eat traditionally and have a tradition of eating LESS (although in India I suspect it might not be a matter of choice. In Thailand and Vietnam it surely is something regulated by tradition. Food is abundant and cheap. SOME poor people are fat), and still do a lot of physical labor.

As some other commenter said, it is just like the femmies telling us it is "unrealistic" for women to be thin and svelte - heh! They should visit Asia or E Europe (Ukraine comes to mind) or parts of South America. In these places very nearly the ENTIRE female population has figures resembling what the femmies ASSURE us is "impossibly unrealistic"!

One day, perhaps good bodies - male and female - will become rarities the whole world over. Then it will surely no longer be believed that large numbers of people - most of the population - could be thin and fit. It will be a thing of myth - surely the historians exaggerated.

And as for the Greeks, Socrates, Plato, and countless others discuss the chiseled physiques of the gymnasts and athletes and describe them as utterly without fat and with ripped muscles."""


Quoted for truth. I'm in Brazil and the number of guys with bodies like that is unbelievable. Sure some are juicing, but many aren't. The ones who do juice generally don't have the most attractive/proportional physiques anyway.

The difference is they go to the gym every day and spend the rest of the time on the beach swimming, playing volleyball, etc., or riding bikes, doing jiujitsu, etc., etc.

People in the developed West are very lazy and very inactive and very in love with shit food. (Unfortunately the women in Brazil are getting fat now too. I'm sure it's because their genetics changed in the last 10 yrs...has nothing to do with the pasta, pizza, and sweets they now stuff themselves with.)

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis. They would dominate just like the Williams sisters have come to dominate women's tennis."


Seriously: Have you all in USA gone mad?! Blacks have no particular advantage except short sprints and events using speed like the long jump, because they lag behind Europeans both in height and the range of somatic types. If you don't bother to compete in sports that are occupied by blacks, don't invent pathetic and silly reasons, why they dominate them.

The crap about "athleticism" is the most perverse one, and the example of Williams sisters (brothers?) nicely illustrates it: Dirty, arrogant ghetto people juiced to the gills.

Anonymous said...

Around 5% of Afrikaner ancestry comes from a mixture of groups including sub-Saharan African, Indian, Malay and Chinese. Well-documented genealogies have pinpointed the admixture events


Your links do not support your hypothesis.

The first link describes one specific individual who writes that "As much as 6% of my genes have been contributed by slaves from Africa, Madagascar and India, and a woman from China".

Your second link does not say anything.

Conatus said...

Muscles really don't matter that much in tennis. Its more about timing those tendon whips to get the racket some stored-up momentum than actual pushing strength. The only place you need extra-ordinary musculature is the waist area to whip round that body and the following racket with eye-popping speed, otherwise, big arms like Nadal's, are just unnecessary flesh you have to lug around the court.

Anonymous said...

RE: ancient Greek art, look up Polykleitos with his Doryphoros and Diadoumenos statues.


Why are we supposed to look at a small subset of Greek art and imagine that it represents the norm?

Anonymous said...

take a look at Operation Puerto, in which a Spanish MD had a long list of high profile sports clients. The coded list of clients supposedly included many famous soccer players, though none were pursed by the soccer governing bodies for doping.


"None were pursued" because not a single soccer player was named, in spite of your "supposedly".

Anonymous said...

Featured sporadically in this thread's comment section: goofy assertions that Federer is supposedly "girly" and dubiously white because of his South African heritage.

Seriously, guys? From a female perspective Federer looks like how a fit man is supposed to look...

Unrelated but it'd be interesting to see a post on ordinary actors who juice. I'd suspect the proportion is pretty high there, too, especially since their muscles are more cosmetic than functional. A lot of male actors beef up in suspiciously small time frames.

Severn said...

The novelty of modern times, as compared to the ancient Greek ideal, is not in the leanness, but in sheer bulk, and that has to do with the advent of steroids. the Shwarzeneger type physique is not just lean and ripped but also enormously bulky - that is the novelty of modern times, and, I would suggest, most people, especially women, do not find it particularly attractive.


I agree that the modern male ideal is to be massive. Though I agree that women don't find this look to be terribly attractive, I think many men do. Or perhaps "attractive" is not the correct word - many men find it "impressive". I'm not one of them myself but I've noticed that a lot of guys regard a huge chest and shoulders as admirable.

Anonymous said...

"Livestrong donations skyrocket in wake of Lance Armstrong’s decision to stop fighting charges"

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/lance-armstrong-livestrong-donations-162605579.html

"Last week, after iconic American cyclist Lance Armstrong said he would no longer fight the charges brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, many wondered if Livestrong--the foundation for cancer survivors founded by the seven-time Tour de France winner and testicular cancer survivor--would suffer as a result.

It doesn't look like it.

On Friday, Armstrong said that donations to Livestrong were up 25 times over the day before. "Thank you thank you thank you!" he wrote on Twitter."

Salopian said...

This is what arguably the greatest club soccer player of all time (measured by honours won and longevity) looked like in his youth, when he was a favourite teen-calendar pin-up.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GIHgpI2Eodw/TdvmN2boyOI/AAAAAAAABYI/7UQyaz_Jc14/s1600/Wet+Ryan+Giggs+hair+-+tiny+image.jpg

That looks like pretty much the ideal physique for a slim to averagely built young man. Are you telling me women no longer want some of that?

pat said...

I took weight lifting in college. I never had had very strong arms so even after a semester of lifting I still wasn't very good at push ups or pull ups. But I had always had a strong stomach. After a while I could do sit-ups endlessly. I started when the class began. When the class was over I quit. Even with a fifty pound dumb bell behind my head I could do hundreds of sit-ups.

But I never could get that six pack look. My abs looked just the same as they always had. I lifted at a commercial gym for years thereafter. Still no six pack.

I also took tennis in college. The teacher had a unique grading system. He set the class up as a round robin tournament. The winners would get the A's and the loser the D's. I got a C. I was outraged. I told the teacher that I had beaten most of the guys who had gotten a better grade. His rebuttal was - "You are terrible. You have no strokes. You have nothing. You're lucky to get a C." "Yes" I replied "but I can beat almost everyone else in the class." I was indeed a terrible tennis player but I was a master of gamesmanship. I could always beat anyone who was anywhere near me in skill. Against a real tennis player, of course, my bag of nefarious tricks was worthless.

Federer reminds me of me. He's very damn competitive. He's also tricky. He has no psychological weaknesses. You can see his opponents looking for excuses to lose. Federer wins at a rate above his actual ability and his ability is very, very high. He may not have a lumpy physique but he is very damn tough.

He's my favorite athlete after Makoto Nagano.

Albertosaurus

pat said...

The most remarkable tennis physique has to be that of Guillermo Vilas. He looked like a Fiddler Crab. His left arm must have been twice the diameter of his right.

Another aspect that needs to be mentioned is race. Asians even with body fat percentages of only two or three percent never look "cut" the same way a black or white would.

Black muscles have short round "bellys". Asians tend to have muscles that are distributed more evenly. Whereas blacks, and to a lesser extent whites, have long tendons attached to short bunched up muscles.

Mifune took off his shirt in "Red Sun". He looked smooth like a sedentary businessman might. Then he flexed. You saw that he had no body fat. He was covered in layers of smooth flat muscles. There are no Japanese body builders.


Albertosaurus

Fenris said...

For an HBD site this discussion seems astonishingly naive to genetic variation. There are multiple axis that determine leanness and muscular hypertrophy, IGF-1, HGH, Mystostatin, the various androgens and their balance with aromatase and estrogens and the sensitivity of various receptors.

Testosterone for instance has the effect of increasing muscle mass(anabolic),balding, and body hairiness(androgenic effects), however body hairiness, balding and muscularity are not strongly correlated if at all because because the effects of testosterone are mediated by density and sensitivity of androgen receptors in the skin, the scalp and the musculature, which are not correlated to each other.

I work with athletes the population of athletes I work with is much more muscular and lean on average then tennis players its not because they are on roids, its because the train for power biased sport which rewards people with more muscular and explosive type of physique. Tennis is an endurance biased sport lots of tennis playing will tend to result in relatively lower muscle mass due to muscle wasting effects and somewhat higher body fat due to chronic stress. It will also select for athletes with different baseline characteristics then power biased sports.

The average body fat for our successful athletes is 8-10 percent with a BMI of about 25.8 so both lean and muscular. Elite tennis players average 6^1 170 pounds BMI 22.4 and 12-14 percent body. 8-10 percent means fully visible abs but not body builder striations(4-6) or even sprinter/gymnast leanness(6-8). 12-14 usually means no visible abdominal but not pouch or gut either like federer or Rafa or sampras.

There is allot of individual variations, one of the athletes I work with, a black guy is 5^8 200 pounds and 9 percent body fat he looks like a cartoon huge pecs and lats his spinal erectors are as thick as most guys biceps. That is just his natural build he actually works to minimize his body mass because all that muscle actually limits his performance. I have worked with two other black guys with similar levels of muscularity but no white athletes who quite reached those levels.

Our closest white athlete for muscularity is 5^5 and 155 pounds at 6 percent body fat we have another who is 5^9 170 and 6 percent. Both are really cartoonish looking significantly more muscular then the greek ideal, neither uses steroids actually neither has ever consistently weightlifted either, the second of the two athletes is actually really terrible at adherence to strength and conditioning protocols he just excels despite that.

On the other hand the most compliant athlete in the group as far as strength and conditioning and diet is 6^1 205 and 14 percent diet he has managed to add a mere 7 pounds of lean body mass in 9 years of weight training and dropped his body fat by 2-3 percent. Despite a less impressive looking physique he owns the gym records for the deadlift and squat, and is tied for second in vertical leap and broad jump.

The best athlete in the program came into the program at 5^11 130 at 8 percent body fat and using the same program as the previous athlete added 30 pounds in 6 months while maintaining body fat percentage.


PEDS can obviously change your appearance drastically and there are certain levels of muscularity that indicate almost certain PED usage, but there is tremendous amount of baseline genetic diversity in phenotype

For most athletes you can't see the physique and know if PEDS built it(barring the most cartoonish examples) the best indication of PED use is rapid change in body size in physical mature athlete who has previous weight lifting experience.

The primary benefits to an athlete for PEDS are improved recovery from exercise, strength and explosiveness these may or may not be associated with increased muscular hypertrophy depending on the athletes genetic characteristics and their doping protocol.

Severn said...

it is just like the femmies telling us it is "unrealistic" for women to be thin and svelte


People come in different body shapes. I'm not sure why this is a shocking insight to some here on this supposed "human bio-diversity" site but it appears that it is. European and African women are not by nature "thin and svelte". Asian women are somewhat more likely to be that way. But only somewhat.

Some individual women are "thin and svelte". But most women in America are five feet four inches tall and pear-shaped. That is, they have a big pelvic girdle. They are that way because that's what their genes say they should be. No amount of diet and exercise can ever take a short, wide-hipped woman and make her tall and narrow-hipped, any more than George Costanza could drink some protein shakes, go to the gym, and wind up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

DaveinHackensack said...

""Don't be so sure about that. Do blacks dominate pitching? Quarterbacking? The service motion is the same, and the mental demands are probably as great."

As great or greater."


It's hard to think of any position in sports more difficult than quarterback. To identify the defense, audible at the line if necessary, and then to pick out the open man on a passing play, and then throw accurately to him, while you are both moving, and without telegraphing the direction of your throw to the defensive backs -- that's pretty difficult. And it's even more difficult if you were drilled by a defensive end on the previous play.

Even the side gig of holding the ball for kickers is pretty difficult when you think of it. Marking the kicker's spot with your left pointer finger while waiting for the snap with the other hand, then grabbing the (often, inaccurate) snap), putting the point of the ball on that precise spot, then carefully rotating it so the laces face away from the kicker -- all while the opposing team's kick blockers are bearing down on you and the kicker is converging on the ball at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Shaving off chest hair is for girls (who shouldn't have it anyway).

Seriously, adult males have body and facial hair. Males shaving off their body hair for no reason is effeminate even gay.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8/26/12 11:09 AM

The Afrikaner individual whose genealogy was traced in that article had no reason to suspect that he was atypical. Moreover, the Afrikaner starting population was small, and the likelihood of ancestor sharing is high the farther back one goes in time. If he has non-white ancestry at those levels, it is quite likely that other Afrikaners do as well.

The GNXP link doesn't have new data, but it does mention the Sandra Laing affair ("colored" girl born to two Afrikaner parents). Razib hoped to get a few Afrikaners genotyped, but I'm not sure how that has worked out.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Federer reminds me of me."

Possibly Pat/Albertosaurus's second-most entertaining comment, after the one describing how he managed his harem.

Kylie said...

"'Federer reminds me of me.'

Possibly Pat/Albertosaurus's second-most entertaining comment, after the one describing how he managed his harem."


Entertaining and somewhat disconcerting.

Anonymous said...

The Afrikaner individual whose genealogy was traced in that article had no reason to suspect that he was atypical.


Nor did he, or you, have any reason to assume that he was typical.


The GNXP link doesn't have new data, but it does mention the Sandra Laing affair.


Great! So you have a total of two individual data points and no idea of how representative the two are.

Anonymous said...

There are no Japanese body builders.



Tomi Kono was an American of Japanese descent who was one of the most successful bodbybuilders and Olympics lifters of the 1950ss.

Daybreaker said...

Truth: "I don't get it, Rosewall was 5'7 and white."

But he was able to compete at the top level because he was extraordinary in other respects.

Arthur Ashe's point was that the new, super-strong, super-fast players would all have all of Rosewall's best qualities, mental, technical and physical, in the same full measure that he had, if not more so. There would be no possibility for an old-style player to compete by means of some balancing strengths, such as greater endurance or consistency or cunning; the super-athletes that Arthur Ashe (and others) would find and develop with scouting and coaching focused specifically on Blacks (and more specifically on non-middle-class Blacks) would be utterly superior.

And when you think about it, that's inevitable. For there to be trade-offs, there would have to be some respect in which a player like Ken Rosewall (5'7" and White) was better than Blacks. And there couldn't be, because that's racist. So Black speed, power, size and athleticism must prevail.

Anonymous said...

Federrer has a body that looks like 20-25 percent body fat, significantly above the "fit but without abs" that athletes and combat soldiers typically attain and that is considered the minimum starting point for an "athletic" body (not particularly ripped).

It is hilarious to me reading all these comments defending Federer as the ideal male body. I was reading somehwere that Americans have lost the ability to see what is fat and not; a typical American will think that athletic is dangerously thin, normal is emaciated, overweight is "normal", and obese slightly overweight. Esepcially un-travled Americans have lost all perspective here, but anyone who has not traveled for some time is out of touch with human norms. I bet the women praising Federer are overweight.

Federer is in his 30s, and by European standards he looks like a very typical European man of that age bracket, a reasonably fit guy who has "let himself go" - lost much of his youthful athletic frame, but still has a hint of it left. But some kind of athletic ideal? Ha. Most average young guys in Europe have less fat. Of course, to Americans, he is no doubt so far above the average man in his 30s that he might as well be a God to be marveled at how he can have "only" 20-25 percent body fat.

I understand better now why the obesity epidemic is so persistent in America and so unlikely to ever go away - there is so much social and cultural pressure brought to bear on anyone who tries to introduce to America body norms that are common in the rest of the world. Everyone rises in one collective gasp of self-defensive horror that thinness and athleticism THAT much better than the American average can actually be considered not extraordinary, but the "norm" that we should expect of the majority - you can almost hear the mental calculations being made of how many cheeseburgers and steaks and hot dogs and candy they would have to forego, and out come the war drums.

One commenter says that European women are simply genetically pear shaped and not thin and svelte - yet somehow, in Scandinavia or New York or Ukraine, European women are thin and svelte. Yeah, can't be the diet....just can't be....

In fact, I would say Asians are far more likely to have the squat, dumpy, and pear shaped body than Europeans, yet rarely develop their worst features. Probably nothing to do with diet. Just genes. Can't change those.

Lara said...

Aaron B,
I think the picture you posted is of the actress Minka Kelly, not Mirka Federer.

Peter said...

No Japanese bodybuilders ...

If you count other East Asians there are:
Wong Hong;

Ray Arde; and

Kris Dim, just to name a few.

Anonymous said...

"So Black speed, power, size and athleticism must prevail."

Please, gentlemen, go to a head doctor. You are completely braindead and you will need a long-term cure.

At first I was sorry for you, that you are a pitiful nation paying for the days of slavery by this silly brainwashing, but now I am not anymore. Everything has its limits.

Anonymous said...

" And there couldn't be, because that's racist. So Black speed, power, size and athleticism must prevail."

You know what, you moron? Go to the NHANES website and check the most recent data on the height of your black giants. I can even give you a link:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr010.pdf

Then you can compare them with dwarfs from the Netherlands
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1720514/pdf/v090p00807.pdf

liliputs from the Dinaric Alps
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=dinaric%20alps%20height

midgets from Denmark
http://www.dst.dk/pukora/epub/upload/10670/population_2.pdf

runts from Lithuania
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15830586

or with shrimps from Croatia
www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr010.pdf

After you are finished, you can visit your local lunatic asylum, where you get a cold shower and electric shocks for free.

Aaron B. said...

Anon at 7:11pm, you need to have your sarcasm detector checked.

Anonymous said...

"It's hard to think of any position in sports more difficult than quarterback."

If really more difficult than tennis, this should show up in IQ. The average NFL quarterback Wonderlic score is 24, which if the rule of thumb is correct, is equivalent to 2*24+60=108. And the greats should have outsized Wonderlic scores. They don't. GOAT quarterback contenders and Wonderlics found via googling.

Joe Montana ?
Peyton Manning (28) 116
Dan Marino (15) 90
Tom Brady (33) 126
Johnny Unitas (?)
John Elway (29) 118
Steve Young (33) 126
Brett Favre (22) 104
Troy Aikman (29) 118
Kurt Warner (29) 118
Drew Brees (28) 116
Average: (27) 114

Unfortunately, I can't find any data on the GOAT tennis candidates such as Federer, Sampras, Agassi, Nadal, McEnroe et al. However, it's pretty obvious if you listen to them speak, they certainly speak intelligently. I would be very surprised if it's less than the standard deviation above average displayed by the GOAT quarterbacks. I would be surprised if McEnroe or Federer for example were below 130.

Aaron B. said...

Lara, you're right, it looks like that site has a lot of pictures mis-named. Here's one that appears to be the real Mrs. Federer. No, she's not the supermodel or pop star that a top athlete with millions could pull, but she's attractive enough. For someone to call her "below average" smacks of the try-hard stuff you see on Game blogs sometimes, when nerds compete to see who can act most dismissive of female beauty. Anyone who thinks she's below average should spend some time at Wal-Mart and be reminded of what average is.

http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Mirka+Federer/Championships+Wimbledon+2012+Day+Three/waFp9tGo60u

Dahlia said...

Anonymous said...

Federrer has a body that looks like 20-25 percent body fat, significantly above the "fit but without abs" that athletes and combat soldiers typically attain and that is considered the minimum starting point for an "athletic" body (not particularly ripped).

It is hilarious to me reading all these comments defending Federer as the ideal male body. I was reading somehwere that Americans have lost the ability to see what is fat and not; a typical American will think that athletic is dangerously thin, normal is emaciated, overweight is "normal", and obese slightly overweight. Esepcially un-travled Americans have lost all perspective here, but anyone who has not traveled for some time is out of touch with human norms. I bet the women praising Federer are overweight.
_____________

"RKU" once said something not so nice about anonymous commenters and I've since seen his observation borne out time and again to be true; I usually skip them now.

Daybreaker said...

Re: Anonymous at 8/26/12 7:11 PM: data - that's racist!

In any case, you haven't met Arthur Ashe's argument. Ken Rosewall was able to get to the top among Whites who were taller and more "athletic" than himself, because he had counter-balancing qualities that were exceptional compared to them. Technical skill, work ethic, court-craft and so on. But how, without saying something career-ending, could you suggest that the players of tomorrow (or of the next five to ten years, starting in 1990 or so) would fall short in these regards? "These Black players generally aren't going to be as conscientious as..." BZZZT! Career over! So in rating everything but size and "athleticism" (White men can't jump) the non-assimilated, non-middle-class Blacks Arthur Ashe was looking for were all pegged at the maximum level.

And that is why tennis developed the same demographic profile as basketball, in the late 20th Century, and why it can only stay that way forever.

(Which is also why, for best results, as much player development money had to be directed to non-middle-class, non-assimilated Blacks and away from Whites. There was no grabbing-from-your-race-to-give-to-my-race about that, just flawless objective logic.)

Without getting fired, castigated, shunned and repudiated, there is no counter-argument you can make to Arthur Ashe's repeated prophecy. So disregard your lying eyes regarding who is winning in pro tennis. It's all Williams Sisters all the way (and drug free) in both the women's game and the men's.

Daybreaker said...

The photo that headed this post was wrong. The 21st Century's finest athlete is 6'5", hairless, buffed, ripped, striated and gnarly, and Black! Really Black, authentically Black, non-assimilated, non-whitebread, hard for the racist White middle class to accept Black!

Which are you going to believe: un-gainsayable logic, or your lying eyes?

Anonymous said...

Roger and Mirka

Below average?

Jack said...

McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi do not sound like they are of much above average intelligence.

Truth said...

"Federrer has a body that looks like 20-25 percent body fat,"

Nowhere even close. He is listed at 6'1 187, and if he had 25% body fat, he would be carrying 44 lbs. of fat. He is, I would guess 10-15% body fat.

Anonymous said...

Federrer has a body that looks like 20-25 percent body fat

Description Women Men
Essential fat 10–13% 2–5%
Athletes 14–20% 6–13%
Fitness 21–24% 14–17%
Average 25–31% 18–24%
Obese 32%+ 25%+

I doubt Federer is in the Obese range.

Sasquatch from Saskatchewan said...

Steve,
You and Chuck Palahniuk should get together and obsess about PEDs together. Or do a cycle and see if it's all you've hyped it up to be.

Anonymous said...

Some people have been expecting blacks to dominate tennis with their "Speed" and "strength" ever since Ashe won the US open - which was almost 30 years ago.

Problem is, when you serve or return serve, or when you actually get to the ball and hit it, your "superhuman" speed is irrelevant. And as long I can get to your hit ball in time - the fact that you can run a 40 yard dash .5 seconds faster is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Sampras is another very hairy, very sexy guy in this woman's opinion.

Anonymous said...

in Scandinavia or New York or Ukraine, European women are thin and svelte.


They're not "thin and svelte" in New York, a town I've lived in all my life.

Anonymous said...

"None were pursued" because not a single soccer player was named, in spite of your "supposedly"

I don't think the governing bodies were looking very hard. Fuentes, the Spanish doc running the ring, has himself said that he had footballers as customers. As with many other sports, they're not looking because they know what they'll find.

On 23 September 2006, former cyclist Jesús Manzano told reporters from France 3 that he had seen "well-known footballers" from La Liga visit the offices of Dr Fuentes.

Fuentes, in El Pais, google translated:

Asked if his blood treatments performed them in other sports, has advised clarified that, "as an aid to recovery, footballers, tennis players or athletes." Then he added that he can not say who "owing to secrecy."

Anonymous said...

"The sleek hairless look is a fetish of certain demographics (i.e., homosexualists, feminists, SWPLs, Scots-Irish) that dominate the media, fashion, and entertainment industries."

The Scots-Irish? Huh?

Anonymous said...

"The most remarkable tennis physique has to be that of Guillermo Vilas."

Oh, I had forgotten Guillermo (I'm no great tennis fan, but in those days, a lot of Americans like me did watch tennis, the majors, at least.)

Guillermo was Bee-You-Tee-Full. Gorgeous, sexy thighs. (Yes, I am a woman, not a gay man.)

I always wondered, however, how he'd look with the mop of long, sweaty hair cut--even better.

Anonymous said...

"McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi do not sound like they are of much above average intelligence."

McEnroe, yes.

One of my best friends taught Agassi in 7th/8th grade or so--nice kid then, average intelligence or a bit above, nothing special in that regard.

Maya said...

"Federrer has a body that looks like 20-25 percent body fat, significantly above the "fit but without abs" that athletes and combat soldiers typically attain and that is considered the minimum starting point for an "athletic" body (not particularly ripped).

It is hilarious to me reading all these comments defending Federer as the ideal male body. I was reading somehwere that Americans have lost the ability to see what is fat and not; a typical American will think that athletic is dangerously thin, normal is emaciated, overweight is "normal", and obese slightly overweight. Esepcially un-travled Americans have lost all perspective here, but anyone who has not traveled for some time is out of touch with human norms. I bet the women praising Federer are overweight. "

Well, aren't you a sophisticated, worldly big boy! You told us!

I grew up in Eastern Europe, and I spent nearly 2 years living in East Asia. You, sir, are dead wrong if you think Federer's physique would be considered anything close to soft or pudgy anywhere in the world. You also sound like someone who has traveled and seen the world with the purpose of putting yourself above the "average American" (whom you despise so) and confirming your own preconceived notions.

Your estimate of this athlete's BF% is also laughably unrealistic. Having run cross country in college and danced competitively for years, I know a thing or two about fitness. Twenty-five percent body fat would describe a mildly to moderately chubby girl. Twenty percent would be a girl with a flat tummy and a waist as narrow as biologically possible for her, with a healthy, ample amount of fat in her breasts, hips and behind. A man with no moobs and no belly bulge can't possibly be above 15%-16%. I'd be willing to bet a month's paycheck that Federer is around 10% (+/- 2), based on the picture provided. You're talking out of your hat, kid.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you must read this...

Looks like Usain Bolt has a "chemist" as a coach... one whom changed his name because he had already been caught helping athletes cheat but got off because he testified in the BALCO case.

http://www.muscleweek.com/is-usain-bolt-on-steroids

Maya said...

"One commenter says that European women are simply genetically pear shaped and not thin and svelte - yet somehow, in Scandinavia or New York or Ukraine, European women are thin and svelte. Yeah, can't be the diet....just can't be....

In fact, I would say Asians are far more likely to have the squat, dumpy, and pear shaped body than Europeans, yet rarely develop their worst features. Probably nothing to do with diet. Just genes. Can't change those."


You are... insane! Or you've never actually been to any of those places and are writing from a long term capacity panic room in your grandma's basement. Or possibly both.

Firstly, I've in the locker rooms and showers with literally hundreds of Asian women, and they are NOT pear shaped, on average. When they hit middle age and begin to lose their shape, the bulge comes in their middle and destroys their waist lines. Their butts become flabby, but stay small. Young overweight Asian girls' bodies seem to follow the same pattern until they reach obesity.

Secondly, women who maintain clean diets and healthy fitness regimes usually have nice, tight, attractive bodies, but they can still be pear shaped. Most women of European descent have hips that measure 36-39, when at their healthiest and most fertile state, and that is significantly larger than the average 33-34 chest measurement at perfect fertility weight. That's pear shaped.

Thirdly, if you actually ever been to the former Soviet Block, East Asia or Western Europe, you'd know that not only has the obesity epidemic officially reached their shores, but that even a healthy, slender girl in these regions doesn't usually look like Natasha, the costly prostitute, or Ping, the face of the mail order bride scam. And most of them don't look like Brigit Bardot and Audrey Hepburn either. The skeletal/muscular/hormonal set up is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Michael Chang, a former tennis player, got muscular midway through his career. The consensus among tennis commentators is that it hurt his career. He won the French Open at 19 when he was lean and is the only East Asian male to win a Grand Slam singles title. The French Open tennis courts are the slowest of the four Grand Slams. It is the only Grand Slam where East Asians have won the male and/or female singles titles.

Roger Federer has a close to average build, he's slightly leaner than average with bodyfat between 16-18%. That's probably why speculation about possible drug use is low with him. It doesn't mean he hasn't used drugs. Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic have 14-15% body fat. Most regular male tennis players end up in that range whether they are professional or not. I suspect Roger Federer fans are behind the speculation of his main rivals. Somehow his rivals can be nowwhere near as talented as Roger, he's a tennis god. In reality, Roger is the one that people should look deeper at because his career has been the most unreal of any tennis player. He's going on ten years of making it to at least the quaterfinals in every Grand Slam and has not missed a Grand Slam in over 13 years. It's astonishing for someone who has played so much tennis not to get seriously injured or to see a noticable decline in performance from his peak now at 31 years old. Somehow between marrying, having children, switching coaches, having no coach and all the other life issues that normally affect a tennis player's game he has remained constant throughout. It would be nice if these are human accomplishments but I don't know. I would like to think tennis is clean yet I've become suspicious of all pro athletes.

Anonymous said...

Why do tennis players gravitate to the 15-20% body fat range? Knowing nothing about tennis, I'd think that getting down to 10% or so would make them lighter on their feet and perhaps reduce injuries by reducing stress on their legs.

Anonymous said...

sometimes you wonder if some in MSM are on the game, but keep it behind innuendo.

"But really, Serena Williams takes the cake. Her arms look more muscled than Roger Federer's thighs. No wonder she has such a powerful serve."

http://photogallery.thestar.com/1013690

on another note, Minka Kelly looks quite like Leighton Meester.

is it the make-up(and that it rubs out features) or women are more likely to have doppelgangers?(express similar phenotypes, more average yada yada

Anonymous said...

I don't know exactly why 14-18% body fat is the range for most regular male tennis players. I played tennis and that's where I ended up. Muscle requires more oxygen and fatigues faster yet is smaller and stronger than fat. I really just think it's by happenstance that male tennis players get to 14-18% body fat, they don't think about it, it just happens from playing tennis regularly. At 14-15% body fat (for men) you start to see the top 4 abs without flexing. Ivan Lendl was 11-12% and Mardy Fish was around 20-21% body fat.

jody said...

nadal is pretty ripped though and so is djokovic.

maybe i underestimated the amount of drug use in ATP play. those 2 guys played the greatest match of all time, this year's australian open final, for almost 6 hours. and they were hitting the ball faster at the end than when they started.

at the time i simply chalked that up to them being the best players ever, now i'm not so sure. you can't really play like that for 6 hours, can you?

that 2 day long john isner match from wimbledon 2010 was a slop fest. no more high level play after 2 hours.

by the way, yohan blake just covered 100 meters in 9.69 seconds at a track meet in switzerland. into a -0.1 wind. he's 22 years old. that's absolute bullshit.

this means he's faster than usain bolt was when he was 22 and, technically speaking, faster than tyson gay on his best run ever. if that had been an moderate +1.0 wind or something thereabouts he would have produced the second fastest 100 ever, and the maximum +2.0 wind puts him down into 9.5. yeah right. time to end this farce.

jody said...

"Imagine if super-fast and super-strong black guys entered tennis"

imagine if super fast and super strong black guys entered soccer. they would dominate. no black guys play soccer today because they're not interested in the most popular sport in the world or in getting paid 20 million euros a year to dominate slow, unathletic white guys who are a complete joke. but just imagine if nigeria played soccer. or what about jamaica. wow!

er, wait a minute.

isn't it the same argument every single time? "Black guys can take over this sport any time they want to."

well, sometimes they don't.

jody said...

the williams sisters don't dominate tennis anymore. serena wins some majors still, probably because she's on drugs, but venus hasn't been a contender in years. ESPN makes sure americans rarely see venus anymore. they definitely don't like showing africans getting beaten, one of the reasons there is not much boxing for major belts on american television anymore.

by controlling what americans see, and only showing africans winning, they definitely can control the image of sports. certainly africans in the US are great athletes, i would never dispute that, but the US sports media now clearly has a widespread policy of mostly ignoring anything noteworthy europeans do in sports, and overcovering and overanalyzing a lot of respectable but hardly impressive performances by africans. it's not much different now than how most of the US news media operates. it was fascinating to watch this change over the last 15 years.

jody said...

when federer won wimbledon this year, to push his grand slam total to an incredible 17, pretty much all the americans talked about was serena williams. it was comical. she's not even the number 3 or 4 best woman's player ever let alone number 1, yet that's all they were interested in talking about. the best tennis player ever, totally pushed to the side and ignored because he's not an american and not african.

when woods doesn't win a PGA event, the golf coverage drops to zero. in fact almost all they talk about afterwards is why the guy who won shouldn't have won and why woods should have won. rory mcilroy smashes all time PGA records for margin of victory? the story is woods, of course. why is ernie els winning majors? woods should have won that. it's woods all the time, every time. i actually used to call ESPN, 3 sports plus woods. i shudder to think what the golf channel's coverage is like. at least NBC sports network does not cover the PGA as extensively, sparing viewers from woods worship.

if i didn't have the internet i wouldn't even know about guys like mike trout. i hate baseball but this guy is phenomenal. he's not a yankee, red sock, or from latin america, so american coverage of his exploits are middling at best. does anybody even know adam dunn is leading the league in home runs? and where is jim thome on his march up the all time home run list? the american sports media couldn't be less interested in these guys.

speaking of home runs, josh hamilton is second, ryan braun third. yet, i'm pretty sure when i saw the home run derby at the all-star game, there wasn't one white guy in it. not a chance on earth that was a coincidence or not deliberate.

Anonymous said...

"Daybreaker said...

The photo that headed this post was wrong. The 21st Century's finest athlete is 6'5", hairless, buffed, ripped, striated and gnarly, and Black! Really Black, authentically Black, non-assimilated, non-whitebread, hard for the racist White middle class to accept Black!

Which are you going to believe: un-gainsayable logic, or your lying eyes?"



Blah blah blah... Repeat, what you hear on ESPN 100-times a day! And watch videos from NBA on YouTube, where your great athletes from 60's look like lanky Kenyan runners! But that just has a very easy explanation: Those bulky muscular guys you curently see in NBA were brought during the 70's on slave ships from Africa, and as you know, only the strongest could survive such a long way.

By the way, ask your ESPN experts, what athletic events need 6'5 tall guys! The discus throw? Well, discus throwers are just well-known as the best athletes overall, aren't they? But your great athlete from NBA would have to be about 20 kg heavier to compete in this event successfully. What about volleyball? Well, the height would fit the game, but again, volleyball players are about 8 kg lighter. Handball players have a similar body build, but they are ca. 7 cm smaller. Decathletes are ca. 10 cm smaller on average. So where you great athlete from NBA could compete successfully? The right answer is: Virtually nowhere. He has a body build that is very distant from all other sports on this planet. He only represents your American deviant passion for freakish physiques. The same applies for American football, the most extreme team sport on Earth, as for requirements on body volume.

Anonymous said...

"imagine if super fast and super strong black guys entered soccer. they would dominate. no black guys play soccer today because they're not interested in the most popular sport in the world or in getting paid 20 million euros a year to dominate slow, unathletic white guys who are a complete joke. but just imagine if nigeria played soccer. or what about jamaica. wow!"

A funny observation. By the way, thanks to modern technology, we now have the possibility to separate illusions from the reality, and to analyze work output during every game in every player.

I analyzed game stats of the opening 48 games at the last World Cup 2010 (the group stage). It was interesting to see that although some individuals in the four West African teams (Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon) belonged to the fastest players at the tournament, the teams as a whole were positioned among the bottom half of the 32 teams in terms of total distance covered per game, total number of sprints per game, and even the average of top speed recorded in each player. Nigeria was actually a desperate dead end in all these stats. France, the unofficial "All Stars Africa team", was only marginally better.

The best conditioned teams at the tournament were probably Australia, Mexico, and Japan.

Therefore, don't wonder that when I heard your US reporter talking about "athleticism" that your US team is going to challenge in the match with Ghana, I thought that I was listening to some inmates from a mental house. The adoration of "black superathletes" in USA has crossed the limits of common sense, and lives in a hyperspace separated from the outer world.

And as for the "superathletes" from the Caribbean and West Africa, everybody should finally realize that they are not endowed with any special sports potential, because they are mostly of small body size. There are some exceptions (like wealthy Trinidad, where the black population approaches the current European average), but most West African nations outside USA and Western Europe reach at best 170-175 (5'7-5'9) or so. Furthermore, due to population explosion in West Africa that can't keep up with nutritional demands, the average height tends to decrease with time.

Therefore, don't expect any Olympic boom in this part of the world. I would even say that West Africans are currently highly overachieving, with regard to their unimpressive physiques, which probably has much to do with the fact that except sports, they have nothing to do. In any case, those tall soccer players that we see in Europe are highly selected and are approximately as distant from ordinary people as basketball players in Europe.

Lara said...

Aaron B,
Compared to women I see everyday Rodger's wife is nice looking. Andy Roddick is the one with the hot wife. However, I bet he'd give her up in a millisecond in order to beat Federer just one time.

Anonymous said...



Wrestlers are the best athletes (an argument can be made for gymnasts too), and they weight train year round.

You dont have to be on steroids to get big and strong. This just shows what a lazy nonathletic weakling you are.

Anonymous said...

Thirdly, if you actually ever been to the former Soviet Block, East Asia or Western Europe, you'd know that not only has the obesity epidemic officially reached their shores, but that even a healthy, slender girl in these regions doesn't usually look like Natasha, the costly prostitute, or Ping, the face of the mail order bride scam. And most of them don't look like Brigit Bardot and Audrey Hepburn either. The skeletal/muscular/hormonal set up is what it is.

IOW, women there look like women.

Anonymous said...

Here's a good picture gallery for body fat percentages in men. Federer looks like he's about %20. "Athletic physique" is considered to BEGIN at 15. Clearly, Federer is fit, but only in America would he be considered an ideal :) There is a difference between being reasonably fit and being an atheltic ideal.

http://www.freefitnessguru.com/blog/2012/02

Based on the extreme indignation of some of the female posters here, I am beginning to wonder if obesity in America is female-enforced. I do in fact see far more fat women than men - it is not uncommon to see thin athletic men with fat women in America - and women in general in America are encouraged to reject beauty (in dress, in behavior, etc) and not "live up" to men's expectations. Women are also more prone to emotional over-eating and seem less able to control urges for ice cream, chocolate, etc.

If Federer is the athletic ideal, that means a man can be much fatter and still be "reaonably fit". Maybe even 25-30% body fat, then. If so, then women don't have to feel guilty about their abandonment of beauty and their embrace of ice- cream.

Anonymous said...

those tall soccer players that we see in Europe are highly selected and are approximately as distant from ordinary people as basketball players in Europe


Soccer players are not tall. They are completely ordinary in terms of height. If anything they are perhaps on the short side.

Anonymous said...

Here's a good picture gallery for body fat percentages in men. Federer looks like he's about %20.


Federer does not look like somebody with 20% body fat. 15%, maybe.

If Federer is the athletic ideal, that means a man can be much fatter and still be "reaonably fit".


Yes, you can be "much fatter" than 15% body fat and still be reasonably fit.

Anonymous said...

"Soccer players are not tall. They are completely ordinary in terms of height. If anything they are perhaps on the short side."

This used to be true, but nowadays soccer players are pretty tall. The Brazilian World Cup team average height is 1.85. That´s something like 6´1 6´2. Also, Brazil isn´´t a very tall country so European average heights must be even taller...

Anonymous said...

to the Brazilian commenting above...]
I live in Brazil, Rio to be exact and can say most of the ripped guys, and girls are juicing. In much higher proportion than Americans would ever do(not counting atheletes).

Maya said...

"IOW, women there look like women."

Well... yes. At least, until their 40s. They don't look like super models, but they do look like women.

And by the same token, Federer might not look like an underwear model, but he does look like a virile masculine man in great shape.

Severn said...

The Brazilian World Cup team average height is 1.85. That´s something like 6´1 6´2. Also, Brazil isn´´t a very tall country so European average heights must be even taller.


You're mistaken. The average height of a Premier league player is a little under six feet.

Svigor said...

speaking of home runs, josh hamilton is second, ryan braun third. yet, i'm pretty sure when i saw the home run derby at the all-star game, there wasn't one white guy in it. not a chance on earth that was a coincidence or not deliberate.

That reminds me of the NFL's strongest man contest, which Truth once used as "evidence" because Larry Allen won it once. I remember thinking at the time, "hmm, well, that's something." Then I actually saw a few minutes of an NFL's strongest man contest, years later. Nothing but blacks competing. And they were all cheating like crazy, bouncing the bar, etc. WTFever, lol.

Svigor said...

The adoration of "black superathletes" in USA has crossed the limits of common sense, and lives in a hyperspace separated from the outer world.

The creepiest thing about it is the white-hating part: blacks being good athletes means whites suck at sports; blacks are better than whites at sports, but not better than yellows, sepias, browns, reds, etc. And whites certainly aren't.

Friggin' creepy, really.

Aaron B. said...

"You dont have to be on steroids to get big and strong."

(Sigh.) That strawman is getting so old mushrooms are growing on it.

No one's saying you can't get big and strong without steroids. Yes, there were strong, ripped people before steriods; yes, there are very strong people in primitive, drug-free parts of the world; blah blah blah. No one's denying any of that. What we are skeptical about is that an athlete -- someone who is already in great shape from a lifetime of hard physical training -- can make extreme changes in his physical makeup in a matter of months, sometimes including drastic growth of muscles that his sport doesn't even stress, and do this while maintaining a busy schedule of training and competition, without drugs.

That's all. If you're going to argue that actual point we're making, there it is.

Truth said...

"The adoration of "black superathletes" in USA has crossed the limits of common sense, and lives in a hyperspace separated from the outer world."

Sviggey; Whisque, jody, THIS ONE'S FOR YOU. COURTESY OF...YOUR RACE!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rfbRCx9jXA&sns=em

Anonymous said...

"that's all. If you're going to argue that actual point we're making, there it is."

Exactly. We're got this same steroid strawman/denial during the Bonds/McGuire/baseball scandal. The next step is they accept their heroes are using 'roids but argue it doesn't affect their performance, and then when that's shot down, they say everyone should be allowed to take them.

Greenidge said...

I will begin by disclosing that Federer is my favorite player since Borg. He passed 17 drug tests in 2004, and innumerable ones since. Although I do not like Djokovic, I believe that he is a phenomenal athlete (who is preternaturally quick, agile, and limber), rather than a cheater. His stamina is a combination of superb fitness and the fact that like Nadal (the strip miner ever seeking to rediscover the Comstock Lode) he continually gets away with time violations: bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, et cetera. He is gracious in defeat, as Nadal is in both victory and defeat. I would suggest that Lendl (from 1985 onward) had the prototypical tennis physique. Federer combines the pinpoint serving of Sampras (his mentally tougher predecessor) with superior speed and groundstrokes. I do not deny that with today's equipment Sampras' serve would be even better (although not radically so.
The only players of consequence who have tested positive are: Korda (who accomplished little after his suspension) and Coria, who paid for independent testing, thus proving that the banned substance was contained in a vitamin supplement that he was taking. I do not count mediocrities such as Chela, Odesnik, and Puerta, who was suspended several weeks after a suspect run to the 2005 French Open final. I am unaware of any subsequent accomplishments
I must take issue with the notion that anti Serena Williams sentiment must stem from racial animus. I am not a self hater, I simply find SW to be gauche and uncouth. I liked Noah and like Stephens. I would attribute Williams' personality to her surly, dim witted father rather than steroids. I am sceptical (but not dismissive) of the steroid theory. The perception that a 6'1 187 pound man is thin is a result of the fact that we have ballooned over the last quarter century. I should also note the because of the impotance of lateral movement, Djokovic, and (when healthy) Nadal may cover the court more effectively than Blake, who in his prime mau have won a footrace.

Oboe said...

Speaking of female armpit hair, did any of y'all see the Chinese movie Lust, Caution? Very feminine star, sexy as hell, but with obviously unshaved armpits. I am told that Asian women usually don't have a lot of hair which seems to be true (IME) but not her.