DFW on Federer

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“Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.”

I’m not a particularly devout tennis fan. In fact, I call pretty much all athletic competition sportsball, because I don’t have to keep track of as much stuff that way. But David Foster Wallace’s essays can always make topics I find completely uninteresting completely spellbinding. In light of Federer apparently doing something interesting lately, the NYTimes is republishing DFW’s essay on the tennis player here.


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →