Grantland Republished David Foster Wallace's Epic 2006 Essay on Roger Federer, And You Should Go Read It Now

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The late author's profile, written for the now-defunct Play, "constituted a dream pairing of writer and subject" that "still stands as one of the most stirring, illuminating essays ever written about the beauty of sport at its highest level," according to the Grantland introduction provided by Michael MacCambridge.

MacCambridge goes on to include some revealing background about some of what had gone into getting the story reported, written and edited:

At the time, Wallace didn't have a credit card, a cell phone, or an e-mail address he was willing to share, according to Dean. He was still naïve in the ways of pack journalism, and many routine matters - how to get from his hotel to Wimbledon, how to secure press credentials, even how to enter the grounds - often confounded him, prompting calls back to Dean, some of which came in the middle of the night in New York.

Wallace landed a brief one-on-one interview with Federer during the tournament, but the setting was so sterile and impersonal that Wallace chose to confine his account of it to a lengthy footnote in the story. (Among Wallace's notes in preparation for his interview with Federer, there was this explanation he presumably shared when they sat down: "I'm not a journalist - I'm more like a novelist with a tennis background.") After watching Federer conclude the fortnight with his fourth straight Wimbledon title, Wallace returned to the States and wrote furiously, turned in the story on time, then worked closely with Bryant and Dean on everything involving the story's close - including the cover treatment, the headline, and whether a stray semicolon could be changed to a period. (Per Wallace, it couldn't.)


Now go read the piece for yourself here.