What does federer need to work on before AO 2012 to maximize slam chance? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

What does federer need to work on before AO 2012 to maximize slam chance?

FedvsNole
11-27-2011, 05:39 AM
Lets hear it folks. If you were in team fed what would your advice be for fed to work on for his best chance to win this slam in the current state of tennis?

tripwires
11-27-2011, 05:41 AM
I would make him work on his backhand. ;) And play aggressive and not shy away from being aggressive on the second serve return.

Most importantly, I would tell him to fight against all odds to freaking maintain his focus throughout an entire match and not just a set or two.

turkjey5
11-27-2011, 05:43 AM
...his age.

guga2120
11-27-2011, 05:44 AM
Hope that Rafa, Andy and especially Novak are not 100%. Only way he could win. If Novak gets rested and healthy on that court, Federer can do whatever he wants, it will not matter.

pray-for-palestine-and-israel
11-27-2011, 05:46 AM
ummm- just play like he is right now

SetSampras
11-27-2011, 05:47 AM
Definitely hope Nole is not 100 percent..They have met twice and I don't think Roger has won a set has he? Murray should be no issue.. Tsonga may be an issue As could Berdych.. Will have to wait and if see Nadal is ready since hes playing Davis Cup before.


Really Fed shouldn't need to do anything Outside of Nole, no one should be an issue.. Just play his game and either:

A: Hope to Avoid Nole
B: Hope Nole isn't 100 percent
C: A long shot.. Hope 2009 AO Nadal doesn't show up.

FedvsNole
11-27-2011, 05:50 AM
Shoulder injuries are a bitch to recover from what I've heard and Nole's been dealing with this since Cinci if I recall. Is it safe to assume it should be better by January?? Someone who knows more about those kinda issues care to share..

viruzzz
11-27-2011, 05:52 AM
If he plays like he played this week vs Nadal... Best 2008 Rafa and Best 2011 Nole together playing vs him...


Roger in 3.

So, I think it's in his mental focus... If he gets a good W/UE rate, he's good.

FedvsNole
11-27-2011, 05:58 AM
I think the mental focus gets blown out of proportion a bit. I think he got a bit unlucky in the tsonga and novak matches bc they played great when it mattered.

I like what fed has been doing on the ROS lately getting many more 6-1 or 6-2 sets by mixing up things returning and I think that will be key to his success.

shiaben
11-27-2011, 06:02 AM
He doesn't need to work on his backhand, he's fixed after getting his rear end spanked at the previous AO. But this USO we saw how he fixed it.

The main thing is his stamina/endurance. Since he can' work on this (since he's too old). The only thing he must do is the following:

1. Keep rallies short (no more than 7-8 shot rallies).
2. Stay away from constant deuce points (the more he's trapped in deuce, the more he gets drained).

He'll be fine once he implements point 1 and 2. This is all assuming just like this year's 2011 USO: his serve is reliable, his backhand is clicking, and his footwork is solid.

venky91
11-27-2011, 06:31 AM
He needs to get younger.

tripwires
11-27-2011, 06:42 AM
He needs to get younger.

Thanks for the constructive suggestion. :lol: ;)

Yeah, his backhand as a whole has been at least good, but it was woeful in the Ferrer match last night. :lol:

bayvalle
11-27-2011, 06:53 AM
...his age.

Nobody negotiates with Father Time.

venky91
11-27-2011, 07:32 AM
Thanks for the constructive suggestion. :lol: ;)

Yeah, his backhand as a whole has been at least good, but it was woeful in the Ferrer match last night. :lol:

I voted endurance. You can't really work on that when you get up in age. Though I suppose you can improve it in some ways, like watching what you eat, more practice, staying fresher by taking less days off, doing endurance training.

FedvsNole
11-27-2011, 07:38 AM
I remember how fit andre agassi was when he was 32,33 let alone playing 3 five settters in a row at the open when he was 35. I think federer can improve his endurance. He probably needs to mix up his training. I think he has that pierra pagnani guy but it would be good to spend time with someone else or at least switch it up some.

Gabe32
11-27-2011, 08:05 AM
Not too much, he is kind of dominating right now. Working on his backhand could help since the courts will be significantly slower and higher bouncing. But if the top 4 players remain as weak as they are at the moment, there is no reason Federer should not win the AO next year. It is crazy but it will soon be 2012 and Federer won't have too many threats (if Novak's level remains where it is now).

HKz
11-27-2011, 08:15 AM
Hope that Rafa, Andy and especially Novak are not 100%. Only way he could win. If Novak gets rested and healthy on that court, Federer can do whatever he wants, it will not matter.

Ya French Open SF didn't happen last year. Federer at his best can still compete with anyone at their best and that is a fact. He may not be physically the same player, but he can still hit winners past anyone. Djokovic can do wahtever he wants, it won't matter if he gets aced or has a 100 MPH forehand struck past him. Don't be a fool.

You're really bringing Andy into the equation? Aside from beating Nadal twice out of what, eight (?) meetings, Murray hasn't done shit against the big 3. Then, in terms of Australia and Nadal, it is his least successful slam, so suddenly Nadal at the this stage and from what we know is going to be a favorite for the title over Federer/Djokovic?

The only thing Federer needs to do is be ready mentally. He has struggled to peak at the right time, for the right matches. And in many of his recent Grand Slam matches, he has changed his tactics at the strangest moments. For example, in the second set of Australia last year against Novak, he was playing much more patient and took his time which allowed him to break Novak's rhythm and nearly take the set. However, after he got the lead, he went back to how he played the first set and it was then Novak who was taking his time and allowed Federer to make poor decisions in their rallies.

Either way, if you look in the past during Federer's prime, he didn't particularly play amazing in the first week of slam events, he would do just enough, or as they say, he would play as Soliderer. I've felt that the past few years he would reach his peak performance in the first week of slams and then when the second week would come, he would be spraying errors quite a bit. At the French Open this year, he did very well to peak for the second week, but at some of the other tournaments, I think he peaked very poorly. Of course it is easier said than done and you risk losing early if you just play bare minimum, but that balance does need to be maintained. Many tournament winners start out their runs shaky. Just look at Novak. At the US Open 2010, he played that really questionable match against Troicki and went on to reach the final. Then in Australia, he lost a set against Dodig and things were not looking too promising, yet he ended up winning the title. Similarly for Federer, at the Australian Open 2010, he didn't play lights out tennis from his first round match against Andreev all the way to Davydenko, but he certainly turned up the heat for his SF/F matches.

He should take a nice break after London and come back to Doha playing lackadaisical if he honestly wants any chance in Australia. Just compare the starts of 2011 and 2010. He started Doha in 2010 somewhat poor and got his ass handed to him by Davydenko, but ended up playing some of his best tennis ever in Australia. Then in 2011, he played absolutely perfect in Doha, returned the favor to Davydenko in the final but played quite poorly in Australia. It doesn't mean he shouldn't win Doha, but he shouldn't play all his cards at that event. A great example is Halle 2006. All his matches were literally tight 3 setters and he even had to save 4 match points against Rochus. But after winning Halle, he came into Wimbledon on amazing form and only dropped one set which was in the final.

Myrre
11-27-2011, 10:04 AM
Just two things. Footwork and serve. Every time he plays badly these days it's easy to see that his movement is not quite where it used to be.

ossie
11-27-2011, 10:28 AM
there isnt much he can do, the game has evolved, im afraid his single handed backhand isnt going to cut it anymore.

atennisfan
11-27-2011, 10:32 AM
AO is the least likely chance Rog can win slam next year.
The heat will get to old fed, and tire him easily.

I don't think Rog can win AO, it's Nole's to lose.

Chirag
11-27-2011, 10:32 AM
Definitely hope Nole is not 100 percent..They have met twice and I don't think Roger has won a set has he? Murray should be no issue.. Tsonga may be an issue As could Berdych.. Will have to wait and if see Nadal is ready since hes playing Davis Cup before.


Really Fed shouldn't need to do anything Outside of Nole, no one should be an issue.. Just play his game and either:

A: Hope to Avoid Nole
B: Hope Nole isn't 100 percent
C: A long shot.. Hope 2009 AO Nadal doesn't show up.

Federer has won 3 sets against Djokovic at the 2007AO :)

GSMnadal
11-27-2011, 10:38 AM
He could serve like it's WTF 2010, but that's still not going to cut it on these courts.

r3d_d3v1l_
11-27-2011, 10:41 AM
Slowhardcourt and humid conditions are the worst for Federer. But if he gets a good draw, who knows?

Actually my gut tells me Murray might finally take a GS.

BodyServe
11-27-2011, 10:41 AM
Hope that Rafa, Andy and especially Novak are not 100%. Only way he could win. If Novak gets rested and healthy on that court, Federer can do whatever he wants, it will not matter.

This.

He is a great oportunist though, he wont let it go away.

Saberq
11-27-2011, 11:06 AM
Federer has won 3 sets against Djokovic at the 2007AO :)

it was a different surface a different Nole and a different Fed....we all can agree to that

Fed is not winning Slams at this point ....his focus comes and goes during the match and 7 matches in BO5 is death for him now.....

BroTree123
11-27-2011, 11:14 AM
Motivation really.

Frederick16
11-27-2011, 12:30 PM
Shoulder injuries are a bitch to recover from what I've heard and Nole's been dealing with this since Cinci if I recall. Is it safe to assume it should be better by January?? Someone who knows more about those kinda issues care to share..

It depends on how bad the injury is. I had a shoulder problem that lasted 2 years. It only got better when i totally let it rest for 5 months. That is a thing het cant/will not do so i think that is why he has some strange losses.

Saberq
11-27-2011, 12:34 PM
It depends on how bad the injury is. I had a shoulder problem that lasted 2 years. It only got better when i totally let it rest for 5 months. That is a thing het cant/will not do so i think that is why he has some strange losses.

Novak is not hurt now he just burned out at the end

samanosuke
11-27-2011, 12:37 PM
mentality . he still has the game, but I am not sure if he is still able to win matches decided by point or two

nastoff
11-27-2011, 12:50 PM
Nothing, Federer's done. Therefore pointless poll since the option "nothing" is not there.

Lets see the other options though:

-movement/reflexes - Not possible as you grow slower and more passive the older you get
-endurance - same as above
-mental focus. That would have been interesting if he found a way to improve it. It's obvious over the years that he can't. Perhaps ease of pressure of not being favourite any more can give him more focus? Debatable.
-Backhand - didn't improve over the years and it's not going to improve now, sadly
-Return of serve . That is related to awareness/reflexes, therefore it goes back to questions 1 and 2. it's also a talent, either you have it or you don't.
-Lose weight/gain muscle. It will mess up his game even if possible. Federer never relied upon that to beat opponents.
-Get rid of Annacone. And hire who? it's obvious that the change of coaches can do nothing for him at this stage, he's his own best coach.
-Get more aces on serve. How many more, is that even possible?


Bottom line: Federer can't improve.

Johnny Groove
11-27-2011, 01:49 PM
I remember how fit andre agassi was when he was 32,33 let alone playing 3 five settters in a row at the open when he was 35. I think federer can improve his endurance. He probably needs to mix up his training. I think he has that pierra pagnani guy but it would be good to spend time with someone else or at least switch it up some.

This I'd agree with.

I saw him visibly tire in the 3rd and 4th sets of the USO SF vs. Djokovic.

FedvsNole
11-27-2011, 07:13 PM
Great display of mental focus and not giving up after being so close to closing out the 2nd set for federer in the 3rd set. Will help him with a win like this for future matches for sure.


And damn federer was getting back multiple 134-137mph serves in that crucial break game in the 3rd. That's one area that will help him tons next year.

hipolymer
11-27-2011, 07:16 PM
Hope that Rafa, Andy and especially Novak are not 100%. Only way he could win. If Novak gets rested and healthy on that court, Federer can do whatever he wants, it will not matter.

More truth has never been spoken. of course Fed keeps winning the world tour finals every year. He sucks for the rest of the year while Nole and Rafa rack up the slams and tire themselves out.

rofe
11-27-2011, 07:19 PM
Focus and endurance.

rickcastle
11-27-2011, 07:23 PM
He just needs to work on closing out matches. He's riding on a 17 win streak now and the last lost he suffered so far, he held 2 match points! Problem with Federer, he's used to winning matches on a huge margin but when opponent gets too close for comfort, he mentally collapses. He just needs to be tough it out at pressure points and not keep letting match points get away from him.

With the game, there's really not much he can improve that won't require a time traveling machine. For a 30 year old he's as good as he can be, Nadal is still the only one who I will probably bet on 80-20 at grandslams for him. With Djokovic it's still 50-50 except maybe on AO where Djokovic has the edge.

MuzzahLovah
11-27-2011, 07:28 PM
If he wants to have Agassi like success after thirty, he'll need an Agassi like fitness commitment- bigger up body, no little belly, stronger legs.

TheBoiledEgg
11-27-2011, 08:17 PM
rain dance for 2 weeks so all his matches are indoors

helvet empire
11-27-2011, 08:22 PM
Hope that Rafa, Andy and especially Novak are not 100%. Only way he could win. If Novak gets rested and healthy on that court, Federer can do whatever he wants, it will not matter.

pretty sad than nadal, djokovic and murray have to hope fed is not at 100% of his 30 year old piss poor shape, isn't it?:lol::lol::lol:

DrJules
11-27-2011, 08:32 PM
This I'd agree with.

I saw him visibly tire in the 3rd and 4th sets of the USO SF vs. Djokovic.

I assume this was also an issue at Wimbledon 2011. Maybe Federer is finding the physical demands of the 5 set format too demanding which I suppose is not surprising considering how physical tennis is now. Both Nadal and Djokovic with 5/6 years in their favour over Federer both physically reached the end at the US Open final.

MatchFederer
11-27-2011, 08:42 PM
Wanted to pick two, mainly: mental focus and endurance.

Andresito
11-28-2011, 12:57 AM
Mental focus. Today was another proof.

Then, considering he's getting older, I would work on his backhand, because eventually he's no longer gonna be able to turn around to hit his forehand.

On strategy, work on the return on serve to win matches with the less energy as possible.

shiaben
11-28-2011, 01:09 AM
The issue was the fact that Federer's endurance was exposed ONLY when Djokovic kept him in tons of 20-25 shot rallies and tons of deuce points.

Other then that, he can still win 5 setters as long as the points go by quick.

1. Cut down the rallies.
2. Avoid getting trapped in deuce.

Ibracadabra
11-28-2011, 01:27 AM
Concentrate, roger beats himself.

Fuser59
12-04-2011, 08:30 PM
More SLICE to kill the ball when on the defensive...(works with everyone except Nadal..) instead of shanking BH or overhitting them resulting with UE...He used to hit the slice so much more 06-08...stopped seeing that from 2009 -on.. just my opinion...
Movement has gone just a tiny bit down...as the reflexes...naturally..but when attacking it doesn't show as much...

London 2011. has me very positive once again..because the last time I've seen him playing so good (no shanking...negative UE ratio) SINCE AO 2010...when he played vintage style...so actually he's played the best in almost 2 years...hope it stays with him..

helvet empire
12-04-2011, 08:38 PM
nothing. He'll take the whole thing with desarming ease and will shut up the haters

Fujee
12-04-2011, 10:21 PM
Focus really and possibly a more rigorous training plan for the weeks leading up.

PiggyGotRoasted
12-04-2011, 10:29 PM
I think he actually needs to improve his endurance, more endurance = better mental focus later on in matches.

rubbERR
12-04-2011, 10:36 PM
His age. Need find potion of youth.

RafaNadal2012!!!
12-04-2011, 10:57 PM
Mental focus by far. One single ace and he'd have been in the Us Open final. Novak hits a great forehand, okay shake it off and hit an ace down the middle on your better serving side like you did in Paris.

abraxas21
12-04-2011, 10:57 PM
rain dance for 2 weeks so all his matches are indoors

this

fedclown is only good indoors these days

abraxas21
12-04-2011, 10:59 PM
Mental focus by far. One single ace and he'd have been in the Us Open final. Novak hits a great forehand, okay shake it off and hit an ace down the middle on your better serving side like you did in Paris.

i dont think he has many regrets over that one. in a way djokovic saved federer from completing the lost-finals-to-nadal Grand Slam.

tektonac
12-05-2011, 12:21 AM
down to earthiness.

masterclass
12-05-2011, 11:18 AM
Hope that Rafa, Andy and especially Novak are not 100%. Only way he could win. If Novak gets rested and healthy on that court, Federer can do whatever he wants, it will not matter.

On the contrary, I believe Roger would love nothing better than to beat any of the trio above when they are at their best. If anything, playing players that are less than their best or not equal to the task appears to bore him and he often looks for ways to make matches more challenging, hence his apparent lapses in concentration when ahead, especially in the more recent past. However, when Roger is playing at his best, no one can beat him, and he is virtually unplayable.

To quote the great Rafael Nadal after his last match against Roger at the WTF:
'I accept he played at a very, very top level,' he said. 'Something very special only one player like Roger can arrive at. So I'll accept that and keep fighting.' '...In these conditions he can attack better than on other surfaces. But if he plays like this in the other surfaces he will still beat me. That is true.'

I've watched the full WTF 2011 Federer-Nadal match again twice to objectively (hopefully) glean two things. Which factors contributed the most to Roger's high level of play, and was Rafa's play really sub-par or not?

Starting with the second item first, I've concluded that Rafa did not appear to be sub-par. Physically, he said he "felt perfect". In some key statistics, he made a relatively high percentage of first serves (73% to Roger's 67%). He also made a total only 7 unforced errors (Roger had 8, 5 in the first set). Rafa was not beating himself. However, the most glaring statistic in my opinion was that Roger hit 28 winners to Rafa's 4. Roger's execution was phenomenal on this day and this more than anything else was the reason for the outcome. To the casual observer, it may have appeared that Rafa was sub-par, perhaps because several of his returns were rather short or he wasn't getting to the ball in time, but I think a more astute appraisal would be that Roger forced Rafa to hit shorter than usual due to the strength and placement of his attack, also making it difficult for Rafa to get to the ball and hit more aggressive shots. For Rafa, there were no excuses and he intimated as much as quoted above. He was simply outplayed on this day due to Roger's excellence in execution.

Now, as far as Roger goes, what were the key factors that contributed to his success on this day, and what can he use for that in the future?

1. It starts with his serve. Continuing to serve well gives him confidence and reassurance that whatever else may not be working well, he can rely on his service games to keep him in the match. Over 60% first serves will do, the closer it gets to 70%, obviously, the easier it gets for him.

2. Vary his shots and placement against the top players. Nole and Rafa thrive on pace, especially if it is unchanging. Against Rafa at WTF, Roger played varied shots, especially early in points, medium slice to Rafa's backhand and more severe slices to his forehand, intermixed with topspin returns at a medium pace, with strategic placement to set himself up for his more powerful topspin returns for winners. Now saying this is all well and good, but executing it match after match, or even set after set is another. For that, he also needs the next element.

3. He must maintain focus and go for the kill at first opportunity as he did against Rafa in their last match. He must not let up once gaining the advantage, even if it seems to him as if he can coast, giving the fans more tennis. After going ahead rather easily, does he perhaps subconsciously want a greater challenge and "goes on walkabout" for a few games?

Observe his own words after his championship victory at the WTF final with Tsonga:
"Could I have won it easier? I guess. I had it in my hands. I had a chance to go a double break in the second [set]. I had chances to serve it out. I had chances in the tie-breaker. Yeah, it wasn't meant to be. But if I would have served it [the second set] out, it would have been over in a hurry. I think I almost felt the spectators weren't quite ready for it to end quite yet. Although many would have been happy for me, they would have loved to see more tennis. I had to go through the third set, which was tough, but eventually I made it, which felt probably even better going through three sets. "

After the US open loss to Djokovic:

After losing a 2-0 set lead to go to the 5th set and being up a break, serving with two match points,
"Sure, it’s disappointing, but I have only myself to blame... It’s just one of those matches, you know. I mean, I set it all up perfect, but I couldn’t finish it."

Finally, Roger Federer is human. He can't be expected to have a super performance every time he steps on the court. But when he does have it, it is a wonder to watch, and I'm thankful for being able to see tennis played at this level. Also thankfully in this era, as in others, there are many other players with varying games able to lift their game to a high level as well, and we the fans get to enjoy it all.

juan27
12-05-2011, 12:42 PM
Hope that Rafa, Andy and especially Novak are not 100%. Only way he could win. If Novak gets rested and healthy on that court, Federer can do whatever he wants, it will not matter.

bullshits like always.

novak rested and healthy was defeated by federer in rg.

nadull with a injuried and tired nole was owned by him.

vojomocart
12-05-2011, 12:43 PM
I think that Roger is hiding his chronic back injury very good.
If anyone compared his serve today and let's say 4 years ago ,the results would be obvious.
There is a decrease of the speed of the 1st serve.

Dougie
12-05-2011, 01:16 PM
I think that Roger is hiding his chronic back injury very good.
If anyone compared his serve today and let's say 4 years ago ,the results would be obvious.
There is a decrease of the speed of the 1st serve.

I don´t think it´s the back. He´s taken away some of his 1st serve speed, because against Nadal and Djokovic he certainly doesn´t want to start the points with a 2nd serve. So he´s taken some speed off in order to increase his 1st serve %. That´s what I think, at least.

fsoica
12-05-2011, 01:35 PM
On the contrary, I believe Roger would love nothing better than to beat any of the trio above when they are at their best. If anything, playing players that are less than their best or not equal to the task appears to bore him and he often looks for ways to make matches more challenging, hence his apparent lapses in concentration when ahead, especially in the more recent past. However, when Roger is playing at his best, no one can beat him, and he is virtually unplayable.

If anyone would start and continue their participations on MTF with such reasonable, analytical posts, it would be quite boring here... Nice analysis and I'm happy that such intelligent and not hateful posters are coming here nowadays.

Congrats, for the entire post, not only for the cited part. My reaction would have been the same if your analysis would have been Djokovic or Rafa-related...

Saberq
12-05-2011, 01:37 PM
bullshits like always.

novak rested and healthy was defeated by federer in rg.

nadull with a injuried and tired nole was owned by him.

It was clay you mug .....Novak at the AO fit and rested is unbeatable on that slow hard court

abraxas21
12-05-2011, 01:53 PM
It was clay you mug .....Novak at the AO fit and rested is unbeatable on that slow hard court

i hope someone puts this quotes in your face when djokomug loses in AO 2012. I'd save the quote myself if i weren't so damn lazy about these things

GOAT = Fed
12-05-2011, 02:43 PM
His backhand has been very good ever since Rolland Garros.

He needs to improve:

Fitness levels and Return of Serve.

His returns are not very good atm, so he definitely needs to improve in that department.

masterclass
12-05-2011, 03:00 PM
...Congrats, for the entire post...

Thanks Fsoica. I appreciate your kind words.

I've been reading the comments here for a while to get a feel of the forum prior to my first (admittedly rather lengthy) post.

There are certainly many different approaches to commentary here...
I'm looking forward to being able to contribute during the 2012 season.

Regards,
masterclass

Dr.Slice
12-05-2011, 04:10 PM
It was clay you mug .....Novak at the AO fit and rested is unbeatable on that slow hard court
Novak is very hard to beat there indeed, but if Federer plays to his best, then even Novak can do nothing about that. Of course these days, it is very rare for RF to do that.

RF needs to improve his mental focus primarily. Sometimes his mind wonders away.

Mateya
12-05-2011, 06:01 PM
When playing Rafzilla he needs to start hitting twohanded backhands. ;)

When playing Djoker he needs to play like Goderer and stay focused all the time.

When playing Muzza he just needs to show up on court even if it's Olderer. :)

sco
12-05-2011, 06:16 PM
Novak is very hard to beat there indeed, but if Federer plays to his best, then even Novak can do nothing about that. Of course these days, it is very rare for RF to do that.

RF needs to improve his mental focus primarily. Sometimes his mind wonders away.

This.

Federer_28
12-05-2011, 07:47 PM
It was clay you mug .....Novak at the AO fit and rested is unbeatable on that slow hard court

SO I guess Novak is not fit and rested a lot then :D

peRfect-Tennis
12-05-2011, 08:08 PM
I wrote a post on this a while back - What Federer has to do to win another slam (http://www.perfect-tennis.co.uk/what-does-federer-have-to-do-to-win-another-grand-slam/)

eduggs
12-05-2011, 11:41 PM
Federer wins with his strengths.
I say none of the above. Forehand and serve (especially a bigger 2nd serve).
When Federer plays his best he dominates with his serve and forehand. His weaknesses are protected by his offense. I think he should work to dial in his strengths.

Topspindoctor
12-05-2011, 11:44 PM
He should serve an ace every time :rocker2:

Gagsquet
12-08-2011, 06:10 PM
On the contrary, I believe Roger would love nothing better than to beat any of the trio above when they are at their best. If anything, playing players that are less than their best or not equal to the task appears to bore him and he often looks for ways to make matches more challenging, hence his apparent lapses in concentration when ahead, especially in the more recent past. However, when Roger is playing at his best, no one can beat him, and he is virtually unplayable.

To quote the great Rafael Nadal after his last match against Roger at the WTF:
'I accept he played at a very, very top level,' he said. 'Something very special only one player like Roger can arrive at. So I'll accept that and keep fighting.' '...In these conditions he can attack better than on other surfaces. But if he plays like this in the other surfaces he will still beat me. That is true.'

I've watched the full WTF 2011 Federer-Nadal match again twice to objectively (hopefully) glean two things. Which factors contributed the most to Roger's high level of play, and was Rafa's play really sub-par or not?

Starting with the second item first, I've concluded that Rafa did not appear to be sub-par. Physically, he said he "felt perfect". In some key statistics, he made a relatively high percentage of first serves (73% to Roger's 67%). He also made a total only 7 unforced errors (Roger had 8, 5 in the first set). Rafa was not beating himself. However, the most glaring statistic in my opinion was that Roger hit 28 winners to Rafa's 4. Roger's execution was phenomenal on this day and this more than anything else was the reason for the outcome. To the casual observer, it may have appeared that Rafa was sub-par, perhaps because several of his returns were rather short or he wasn't getting to the ball in time, but I think a more astute appraisal would be that Roger forced Rafa to hit shorter than usual due to the strength and placement of his attack, also making it difficult for Rafa to get to the ball and hit more aggressive shots. For Rafa, there were no excuses and he intimated as much as quoted above. He was simply outplayed on this day due to Roger's excellence in execution.

Now, as far as Roger goes, what were the key factors that contributed to his success on this day, and what can he use for that in the future?

1. It starts with his serve. Continuing to serve well gives him confidence and reassurance that whatever else may not be working well, he can rely on his service games to keep him in the match. Over 60% first serves will do, the closer it gets to 70%, obviously, the easier it gets for him.

2. Vary his shots and placement against the top players. Nole and Rafa thrive on pace, especially if it is unchanging. Against Rafa at WTF, Roger played varied shots, especially early in points, medium slice to Rafa's backhand and more severe slices to his forehand, intermixed with topspin returns at a medium pace, with strategic placement to set himself up for his more powerful topspin returns for winners. Now saying this is all well and good, but executing it match after match, or even set after set is another. For that, he also needs the next element.

3. He must maintain focus and go for the kill at first opportunity as he did against Rafa in their last match. He must not let up once gaining the advantage, even if it seems to him as if he can coast, giving the fans more tennis. After going ahead rather easily, does he perhaps subconsciously want a greater challenge and "goes on walkabout" for a few games?

Observe his own words after his championship victory at the WTF final with Tsonga:
"Could I have won it easier? I guess. I had it in my hands. I had a chance to go a double break in the second [set]. I had chances to serve it out. I had chances in the tie-breaker. Yeah, it wasn't meant to be. But if I would have served it [the second set] out, it would have been over in a hurry. I think I almost felt the spectators weren't quite ready for it to end quite yet. Although many would have been happy for me, they would have loved to see more tennis. I had to go through the third set, which was tough, but eventually I made it, which felt probably even better going through three sets. "

After the US open loss to Djokovic:

After losing a 2-0 set lead to go to the 5th set and being up a break, serving with two match points,
"Sure, it’s disappointing, but I have only myself to blame... It’s just one of those matches, you know. I mean, I set it all up perfect, but I couldn’t finish it."

Finally, Roger Federer is human. He can't be expected to have a super performance every time he steps on the court. But when he does have it, it is a wonder to watch, and I'm thankful for being able to see tennis played at this level. Also thankfully in this era, as in others, there are many other players with varying games able to lift their game to a high level as well, and we the fans get to enjoy it all.

Fucking good first post.
But you will learn quite fast to shorten your posts otherwise no one will read you ;)

Poirot123
12-08-2011, 06:21 PM
He doesn't need to work on his backhand, he's fixed after getting his rear end spanked at the previous AO. But this USO we saw how he fixed it.

The main thing is his stamina/endurance. Since he can' work on this (since he's too old). The only thing he must do is the following:

1. Keep rallies short (no more than 7-8 shot rallies).
2. Stay away from constant deuce points (the more he's trapped in deuce, the more he gets drained).

He'll be fine once he implements point 1 and 2. This is all assuming just like this year's 2011 USO: his serve is reliable, his backhand is clicking, and his footwork is solid.

I agree that Fed's biggest weakness these days in the 5 set format is his stamina/endurance, particularly when he comes up against one of the guys in the top 10.

Take the US Open SF this year. Federer put so much into the first two sets to win them, you could visibly see him relax and take it slightly easier in the 3rd and 4th set. This fall in physicallity allowed Djokovic back into the match, and for him to push it into a 5th. Why is this significant? It is because Djokovic stepped up his endurance to an unbelievable level in 2011, and the only way Federer could beat him was to match that level of endurance in the rallies. Only problem for Federer was that he couldn't maintain it. It was telling in the final set how Federer suddenly put a lot more effort into it, and should've pulled through to win.

So for me, if Federer wants to win another slam, and the courts are tortuously slow, he needs to match Djokovic's level of endurance. If he doesn't, and Djokovic is fully fit, then Fed will need to put it all out for the first 3 sets, or I think he'll lose again.

There is also mental weaknesses coming into federer's game. But he just needs some belief and confidence and I'm sure he'll be fine.

masterclass
12-08-2011, 06:49 PM
Fucking good first post.

Thanks Grassquet.

But you will learn quite fast to shorten your posts otherwise no one will read you ;)

Thanks for your learned advice. I realize reading an acknowledged lengthy post is not for everyone here.
I appreciate those like you who took the time to read it. I'll make my points as concisely as I can in the future. :)

Regards,
masterclass