Did Mirka really insult Stan?

If you do not already know the background then apparently Federers wife Mirka kept trying to put Stan Wawrinka off his game during their World tour semifinal at the O2 arena last saturday. Though I am actually not at all convinced that this happened and i will tell you why.

The gossip

The first thing that did not add up was the way the incident that put stan off was reported. The daily mail ran numerous articles along with the Guardian and a few other papers though I felt the lack of actual proof was interesting.

The key points seemed to be that

  • No actual video of Mirka saying this has been published
  • The evidence is a video with a woman apparently insulting Stan in french from the direction of Federers box. This could be anyone.
  • Roger and Stan had a heated argument after the match with apparently Roger being more angry than Stan

What I took from this is that, as is very common, the media simply report gossip as fact. You see, I watched the whole match live, so when I read these reports it never added up because Magnus Norman, Stans coach has been in Federers box many times through the season and, with Rogers long term coach Severin Luthi often being in Stans box.

Having read a few Federer biographies this makes plenty of sense because Roger likes to learn and likes to share. Basically the coaches work closely together as do the players. So it seems strange that Mirka would openly criticise someone Roger is so close to, who clearly respects him so much and is critical to her husbands bid to win the Davis cup, one of the few achievements left for the Swiss.

stan wawrinka World tour finals 2014

Stan Wawrinka

So I was very surprised to hear that apparently Mirk doesn’t like Stan and was so openly rude to him, a fellow Swiss and the person her husband won Olympic Gold with. I was also really surprised to hear that it was Roger who got the most annoyed in the reported heated discussion that occurred later on. That makes absolutely no sense because it is Roger who would have to be smoothing things over with Stan and not the other way around.

So many aspects of this particular incident just don’t ring true and when that is the case there is usually a different explanation. Particularly because this year I have read a number of biographies and other books on tennis history that make this point so clear. I have read The court jester by Mansour Bahrami, Pete Bodos Courts of Babylon and Ted Tinling Sixty yeears in tennis which show numerous examples of situations where the media report was completely different to the facts.

I also read Roger Federer: Quest for perfection which is not the first biography I have read of Federer but it is very clear from any biography you read about Roger just how well Federer is thought of. Given how long he has maintained this reputation under all sorts of pressure with his wife continually by his side I am not really convinced that all of a sudden she decides to attack of all people a fellow Swiss who can help both her country and her husband achieve one of the greatest triumphs in Tennis, the Davis cup.

In fact there are just too many things that don’t add up, so here are just a few that  stand out to me. see what you think:

  • Stefan Edberg sat beside Mirka throughout the match and showed no change in expression. Would such an individual famous for his fairplay and gentlemanly conduct really ignore and accept Mirka being so rude to Stan.
  • Severin Luthi the captain of the Swiss davis cup team was sitting next to Edberg he would also have heard this. Would he accept his key davis cup player being attacked and the bond between the swiss pair being broken?
  • Why would Mirka speak in french? Stan speaks French, German, Italian, English and Czech. Mirka also speaks a few languages so why would she use French and not german or english instead?
  • Why now, this is not the most pressure Federer has been under in his career. Why do we suddenly find that Mirka has such a rude attitude. These things don’t just develop over night so there would be lots of previous examples you could point to.

A better explanation

The explanation that makes complete sense to me is that the French are meeting the swiss in the Davis cup final this week. The Swiss team is an absolute dream team and it is so hard to see them losing and so the French team would need a little luck. Hey presto, all of a sudden we have that luck.

House of cards

House of cards

From watching House of cards and numerous other dramas I have seen time and again how little incidents like this can be engineered to divide and conquer a seemingly perfect team. All it takes in this situation is for a woman to sit somewhere behind the Federer camp and shout something at Stan. She could either shout “cry baby” or she could shout something that causes Mirka to reply to her with “Cry baby”. Either situation is very easy to engineer. The same woman could have done this at Wimbledon though it is fasinating that Roger beat stan at wimbledon so Mirka was present.

The public assume stan is this quiet gentle character on the court but the opposite is ture. I have seen throughout the year how little it takes to upset Stan, he’s essentially the Swiss version of Andy Murray who is always looking for something to whinge about though without the same attention on Stan no one seems to have noticed. If you were trying to destabilise the Swiss team then it is obvious that Stan would be the easier target.

Cedric Maurier, the umpire for the match is reported to have confirmed that Mirka said cry baby but interestingly I can’t find the actual transcript and the media excerpt where the players criticise Cedric is cut beautifully so it represents what the media want us to believe. Where it could infact actually mean that Cedric knew the woman was trying to distract Stan, what is very strange is that he didn’t ask the crowd not to interrupt during play (admittedly that is either poor umpiring or evidence that Mirka was involved, or perhaps a journalist). Ultimately the idea that someone behind the players box distracts Stan and the media blame Mirka makes sense because it explains why

  • Federer would be more livid than Stan
  • Both players would be upset with the referee for encouraging the situation
  • Why there is no actual evidence just hear say for the whole story
  • Why the famous gentleman Stefan Edberg and the Swiss Davis cup captain would not change their expressions and be upset with Mirka
  • Why the media now has a frenzy to feed on. Without it the davis cup would be quite a damp squib, there is now something that makes the general public and tennis fans alike care about the davis cup

Of course I could be completely wrong but I share my views because it is an exercise in strategy. The media need to sell stories and it is well known that if there is no story then someone will create one. This time I think the Swiss contingent at the O2 have been duped into being the story instead of creating it.

Roger Federer Worldtour finals

Roger Federer

What is your view?

So what do you think?

  • is Mirka really that rude,
  • why was Roger more upset than Stan
  • do Stefan and Severin stand by as Mirka insults Stan?

Photo credits: Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer by Marianne Bevis, House of cards photo by Zennie Abraham

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