Federer's return game [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Federer's return game

drazyc
05-13-2012, 10:53 PM
Fed's return game is probably the only aspect that has not improved over the last months. All those cheap misses, especially off second serves, are really painful to watch. I actually believe the return game has been gradually poorer since 2007. It has really cost him at Wimbledon, where reliable returns are extremely important, both in 2010 and in 2011. That is also why I think Roland Garros was his best slam in 2011. The return is not that fundamental on regular clay.

Any opinions about this?

Paylu2007
05-13-2012, 10:58 PM
awful today :(

sexybeast
05-13-2012, 11:02 PM
Federer has never been a great 2nd serve returner, his 1st serve returns are still among the best in the business. Maybe just behind Djokovic.

JanKowalski
05-13-2012, 11:21 PM
His return and movement are the things that have deteriorated the most since his prime years.

Li Ching Yuen
05-13-2012, 11:26 PM
Are you kidding me?

The first serve return is the shot that has won him the matches against Raonic and Berdych. He just has the natural ability to just put that ball into play and in a unattackable position. That is an amazing asset that others would kill for.

What I'm noticing lately is that he has stopped being stubborn and actually just chips the ball back into play in tight situations, putting pressure on the opponent. Don't take it for granted, there have been days in the past where he just shot himself in the foot with not doing just that.

alter ego
05-13-2012, 11:26 PM
Federer has never been a great 2nd serve returner, his 1st serve returns are still among the best in the business. Maybe just behind Djokovic.

He did hit 5 return winners and some other couple of returns that Berdych couldn't control but I agree his 2nd serve returns were poor, very passive.
For example out of the 4 match points, 2 of them were on 2nd serves. The first time Fed hit a flat BH that landed in Berdych service box. The 2nd one Fed hit the chip return that won him the match in the end but it was a chicken shot. Insted of being agressive and taking faith in his own hands he was just asking Berdych the questions: "can you hit a winner while being so close to the net at mp down?"

Federer in 2
05-13-2012, 11:26 PM
His return when standing on the baseline, even against big servers, is the best one he has. Allows him to return the ball using slice/block and make it considerably deep and low. From behind he often places the return somewhere inside the service box :/

drazyc
05-13-2012, 11:35 PM
Are you kidding me?

The first serve return is the shot that has won him the matches against Raonic and Berdych. He just has the natural ability to just put that ball into play and in a unattackable position. That is an amazing asset that others would kill for.


Yes, traditionally this has been a very imporant asset of Federer's game. And his first serve returns are much better than his second serve returns, compared to the other guys. And in some matches it proves to be vital that he is just quick to react, like against Isner in IW. But against many opponents it is not enough to just return first serves over the net. Against big hitters like Berdych and Tsonga you also need to manage returning good serves with interest. He was slightly better at this a few years ago. At least that is my impression.

romismak
05-13-2012, 11:39 PM
He can return big serves obviously, but his ROS generally isnīt top 5 i think, his returns on 2nd serves are pathetic sometimes. I think it has a lot to do with 1handed BH, simply with 2hands you have more control and power- thatīs why guys like Nole, Murray, Ferrer orNalbandian-Davydenko in recent years are/were top returners. Because of his great serve i think ROS is not so seen, but for example today, without those unreturnables on his serve, he would loose in straight sets, because his ROS and baseline game were not world-class for sure, in baseline rallies he was overpowered and at return some of 2nd serve returns were really pathetic. Howewer 1st serve returns are always great, because Roger can anticipate and just use - redirect pace, but on slower 2nd serves simply he is not world-class returners, he canīt kill those 2nd serves like for example even Berdych can or Nole.

Forehander
05-14-2012, 02:51 AM
His level of return serve has dropped compared to his prime years due to his aging footwork but it's still pretty damn good :)

Topspindoctor
05-14-2012, 02:53 AM
Olderer was always all serve, his return is quite mediocre, especially against heavy topspin serve.

His return is only decent against hard flat FS, which he can block into play.

That's why he's so good against Rodmug. The hard FS doesn't bother him. In fact I think Olderer wants Rodmug to serve more first serves so he can kill the pace and return them into play.

viruzzz
05-14-2012, 02:54 AM
Quite good achievments for an all-serve.

HKz
05-14-2012, 03:04 AM
Yes, as others have mentioned, first serve return has always been absolutely key for him. The problem he has had over the years, is mainly against Nadal where he can't just block the serves back because Rafa rarely hits big flat serves. Plus, when Federer chips the ball back, he can't get in a neutral position with Rafa as he does with virtually everyone else. His second serve return has never been his best asset, in my opinion because he has variety. I think his biggest mistake is being unable to choose the right return at the right moment. Although, he is so good at killing really poor second serves by running around to hit a forehand.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 03:14 AM
Roger has a great flat serve ROS, but with big spin serves he has issues, specially in the BH side.

To say that he's won tournaments just because of his serve is a bit silly considering he's usually breaking people, yes, he plays many TB but he also breaks a lot.

mbest
05-14-2012, 03:29 AM
To say that he's won tournaments just because of his serve is a bit silly considering he's usually breaking people, yes, he plays many TB but he also breaks a lot.

In Madrid, Berdych was broken only once through the semi-finals. In the final against Federer, he was broken four times.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 03:34 AM
In Madrid, Berdych was broken only once through the semi-finals. In the final against Federer, he was broken four times.

Correct! and he is routinely breaking the likes of Roddick, Karlovic, Ljubicic and other big servers :)

The point is that against Rafa he did break the Spanish's serve but only when Nadal wasn't able to engage him on rallies, he didn't miss the BP for bad ROS but usually because Rafa won the rallies, his serve is designed to engage rivals on rallies and that's what happened.

Asadinator
05-14-2012, 03:42 AM
The point is that against Rafa he did break the Spanish's serve but only when Nadal wasn't able to engage him on rallies, he didn't miss the BP for bad ROS but usually because Rafa won the rallies, his serve is designed to engage rivals on rallies and that's what happened.

Problem with Fed is that he hits the ball with a lot of top spin and Nadal can run those down, he should try to hit much more flat against Nadal. Everytime he comes to the next Nadal passes him because his approach shot has a lot of air time, if he hits flatter the ball will bounce twice when Nadal reaches it because he is so far behind the baseline.

Nadal passes Fed at the net more times than he is able to against other players for that reason imo. He had no success against Mayer last year, when he was just volleying all the time.

Mark Lenders
05-14-2012, 03:43 AM
Correct! and he is routinely breaking the likes of Roddick, Karlovic, Ljubicic and other big servers :)

The point is that against Rafa he did break the Spanish's serve but only when Nadal wasn't able to engage him on rallies, he didn't miss the BP for bad ROS but usually because Rafa won the rallies, his serve is designed to engage rivals on rallies and that's what happened.

This is false. He could never deal with the Karlovic first serve. Ivo wins on average 80% of his first serve points in his 11 matches vs Federer.

Not even Federer is a match for the best first serve this sport has ever seen. He does get a lot of points on Roddick and other big server's first serve (Roddick only wins 71% of his first serve points vs Federer, with a much better ground game than Ivo to back the serve up) due to his amazing ability to get big serves back in play, but not Karlovic. When Ivo was at his best, rarely could Federer avoid tiebreaks despite holding his own serve very easily.

HKz
05-14-2012, 03:46 AM
This is false. He could never deal with the Karlovic first serve. Ivo wins on average 80% of his first serve points in his 11 matches vs Federer.

Not even Federer is a match for the best first serve this sport has ever seen. He does get a lot of points on Roddick and other big server's first serve (Roddick only wins 71% of his first serve points vs Federer, with a much better ground game than Ivo to back the serve up) due to his amazing ability to get big serves back in play, but not Karlovic. When Ivo was at his best, rarely could Federer avoid tiebreaks despite holding his own serve very easily.

Karlovic is an anomaly. Who really breaks him consistently? However, Federer has made a lot of very good key returns against Karlovic which most players can't do when it really matters.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 03:47 AM
This is false. He could never deal with the Karlovic first serve. Ivo wins on average 80% of his first serve points in his 11 matches vs Federer.

Not even Federer is a match for the best first serve this sport has ever seen. He does get a lot of points on Roddick and other big server's first serve (Roddick only wins 71% of his first serve points vs Federer, with a much better ground game than Ivo to back the serve up) due to his amazing ability to get big serves back in play, but not Karlovic. When Ivo was at his best, rarely could Federer avoid tiebreaks despite holding his own serve very easily.

Well, Roger broke Ivo in Wimbledon, in Bercy, in Rome, in AO...

The point is, yes they played tons of TB against each other but Roger was actually able to weather the storm and either break the guy or get a mini-break in TB, also it isn't as if I said he was bageling the guy, but he definitely broke his serve more than once and in more than one surface ;)

And yes, peak Ivo was nearly unplayable unless you were a great TB player like Roger is :)

Mark Lenders
05-14-2012, 03:51 AM
Well, Roger broke Ivo in Wimbledon, in Bercy, in Rome, in AO...

The point is, yes they played tons of TB against each other but Roger was actually able to weather the storm and either break the guy or get a mini-break in TB, also it isn't as if I said he was bageling the guy, but he definitely broke his serve more than once and in more than one surface ;)

And yes, peak Ivo was nearly unplayable unless you were a great TB player like Roger is :)

Indeed. He did break him. But he still couldn't deal with his first serve.

In the Indian Wells final, he broke Isner in a game where Isner served first serves only. He also did that to Roddick a couple of times No chance he'd ever do that to Karlovic, not in a million years. He broke him (rarely, of course) by attacking his second serve and getting the odd point on his first serve.

He ended up winning because his overall game is so infinitely superior to Karlovic's that winning tiebreaks was a given - or breaking in a game where Ivo didn't put any first serves. I don't think there's any player who can deal with the Ivo first serve.


Karlovic is an anomaly. Who really breaks him consistently? However, Federer has made a lot of very good key returns against Karlovic which most players can't do when it really matters.

Yes, I agree with this. Roger also dealt with Ivo's second serve easier than most players (Murray also does this very well). But even he couldn't do anything against Ivo's first serve even in his prime.

It shows just how superior Ivo's first serve was to, say, Roddick's, which Federer constantly dismantled.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 03:54 AM
Indeed. He did break him. But he still couldn't deal with his first serve.

In the Indian Wells final, he broke Isner in a game where Isner served first serves only. He also did that to Roddick a couple of times No chance he'd ever do that to Karlovic, not in a million years. He broke him (rarely, of course) by attacking his second serve and getting the odd point on his first serve.

He ended up winning because his overall game is so infinitely superior to Karlovic's that winning tiebreaks was a given - or breaking in a game where Ivo didn't put any first serves. I don't think there's any player who can deal with the Ivo first serve.

I think that right now he might be able to do it, because Ivo's serve isn't what it used to be but you're right about his peak serve (remember that Cincy match?) :)

HKz
05-14-2012, 03:56 AM
Indeed. He did break him. But he still couldn't deal with his first serve.

In the Indian Wells final, he broke Isner in a game where Isner served first serves only. He also did that to Roddick a couple of times No chance he'd ever do that to Karlovic, not in a million years. He broke him (rarely, of course) by attacking his second serve and getting the odd point on his first serve.

He ended up winning because his overall game is so infinitely superior to Karlovic's that winning tiebreaks was a given - or breaking in a game where Ivo didn't put any first serves. I don't think there's any player who can deal with the Ivo first serve.




Yes, I agree with this. Roger also dealt with Ivo's second serve easier than most players (Murray also does this very well). But even he couldn't do anything against Ivo's first serve even in his prime.

It shows just how superior Ivo's first serve was to, say, Roddick's, which Federer constantly dismantled.

He showed a lot of skill against Karlovic in their Wimbledon 2009 match, especially when he broke in that 1:2 game.

9DZOovbB7N0

Mark Lenders
05-14-2012, 03:57 AM
I think that right now he might be able to do it, because Ivo's serve isn't what it used to be but you're right about his peak serve (remember that Cincy match?) :)

Even now, don't think he'd do it. Winning four straight points on Ivo's first serve is still a monumental task even if his serve has declined.

And yes, I do remember that. Amazing how one of the greatest ever players actually lost a match to a player with such limited game for ATP level standards. Just shows how much of a weapon Ivo's first serve is. If every rally started neutral, Federer would easily beat him 6-0, 6-0 or maybe drop 1 or 2 games max.

Mark Lenders
05-14-2012, 04:02 AM
He showed a lot of skill against Karlovic in their Wimbledon 2009 match, especially when he broke in that 1:2 game.

9DZOovbB7N0

Wow, two awesome first serve returns there in a row. I still remember this match.

Ivo had just served Verdasco and Tsonga off the court, to the point where Jo couldn't hide his frustration after the match.

And Federer still managed to break him twice (Ivo hadn't been broken up until that round). That said, Ivo still won 80% first serve points in that match; it was all about pouncing and winning points at key moments for Federer, which he couldn't do in some other matches, leading to tiebreaks and even to a defeat at Cincy.

Also keep in mind that his returning mission vs Karlovic was easier in a way than vs Roddick. All he had to do vs Ivo was put the ball back in play and his chances of winning the point were very high. Roddick actually had weapons off the ground so simply putting the ball back in play wasn't enough, he needed to make him uncomfortable.

Topspindoctor
05-14-2012, 04:06 AM
Olderer always returned hard flat serves well.

He is hopeless against heavy, paceless topspin serves.

He can't generate the pace on them and often makes error trying to return them

His BH is even more of a liability against a heavy ball.

Often you see him net topspin 2nd serves into the net.

HKz
05-14-2012, 04:10 AM
Wow, two awesome first serve returns there in a row. I still remember this match.

Ivo had just served Verdasco and Tsonga off the court, to the point where Jo couldn't hide his frustration after the match.

And Federer still managed to break him twice (Ivo hadn't been broken up until that round). That said, Ivo still won 80% first serve points in that match; it was all about winning points at key moments for Federer, which he couldn't do in some other matches, leading to tiebreaks and even to a defeat at Cincy.

Well of course, Ivo is a serving machine of a unique level compared to Roddick and maybe even Isner. I mean with Ivo, you can't always rely on your serve no matter how well you return, but I still think even against Ivo, Federer shows his ability in returning the first serve on the most important occasions. That Canada match was honestly out of the blue, and while Ivo played very well, we do have to take into consideration Federer's mental state at that time after having several tough matches against Nadal.

Mark Lenders
05-14-2012, 04:13 AM
Olderer always returned hard flat serves well.

He is hopeless against heavy, paceless topspin serves.

He can't generate the pace on them and often makes error trying to return them

His BH is even more of a liability against a heavy ball.

Often you see him net topspin 2nd serves into the net.

There's some element of truth to this.

Overall, Djokovic is clearly the best returner on tour.

But against big serves Federer is the best. The only big server he has never managed to break twice in the same set is Karlovic (best he got was a few 6-3 sets) and Ivo has the best first serve ever.

He even bagelled Roddick a few times, which is amazing :eek: There's definitely no better big serve returner than Federer. He just recently broke Isner in the Indian Wells final in a game where Isner played only first serves.

Mark Lenders
05-14-2012, 04:19 AM
Well of course, Ivo is a serving machine of a unique level compared to Roddick and maybe even Isner. I mean with Ivo, you can't always rely on your serve no matter how well you return, but I still think even against Ivo, Federer shows his ability in returning the first serve on the most important occasions. That Canada match was honestly out of the blue, and while Ivo played very well, we do have to take into consideration Federer's mental state at that time after having several tough matches against Nadal.

Yes, I agree with this. Even against Ivo, he usually gets a big return in key moments. I was merely disagreeing with putting Roddick and Karlovic in the same sentence; obviously, Federer could never dismantle Ivo's first serve like he did Roddick's.

Agree about Canada too. In normal conditions, Federer would have taken those tie breaks. Still, regardless of circumstances, it's amazing that a player like Ivo actually beat Federer, one of the greatest ever. Without his serve, I don't think Ivo would have ever reached ATP level. Challenger level at most, and I'm not even sure. The fact that he could actually beat Federer, regardless of how Federer was mentally at the time, shows just how incredible his serve is.

BroTree123
05-14-2012, 04:20 AM
1) Serve-bot
2) Ball-bashing forehand
3) Overrated

Feel free to red dot me people.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 04:24 AM
1) Serve-bot
2) Ball-bashing forehand
3) Overrated

Feel free to red dot me people.

Roddick at his peak? sure :p :angel:

Mark Lenders
05-14-2012, 04:28 AM
That's actually a good description of Roddick :lol:

Although I don't think he was/is overrated. 1 Slam doesn't make justice to his excellent career. He was tremendously unlucky to compete with a player who was not only more talented than he is but also a terrible match-up for him. If anything he is underrated because of all the occasions he ran into his nemesis on the big stage time and again.

HKz
05-14-2012, 04:31 AM
That's actually a good description of Roddick :lol:

Although I don't think he was/is overrated. 1 Slam doesn't make justice to his excellent career. He was tremendously unlucky to compete with a player who was not only more talented than he is but also a terrible match-up for him. If anything he is underrated because of all the occasions he ran into his nemesis on the big stage time and again.

Yes, no matter how much hate Roddick has gotten over the years, I think he was certainly unfortunate and deserved more.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 04:46 AM
Of course guys, Roddick actually made the most of a not-so good game with hard work and dedication, you're not a top 10 for years and years being a huge mug like some people here think.

(cue heya appearing :hearts: )

duchuy89
05-14-2012, 04:56 AM
It is very hard to overcome Nadal and Djokovic.

Kat_YYZ
05-14-2012, 05:05 AM
Of course guys, Roddick actually made the most of a not-so good game with hard work and dedication, you're not a top 10 for years and years being a huge mug like some people here think.

(cue heya appearing :hearts: )

Damn, you are good :eek: :worship:
:haha:

BroTree123
05-14-2012, 05:09 AM
Topic change. Boobies.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 05:14 AM
Damn, you are good :eek: :worship:
:haha:

That's the only thing you can say NID in life, heya appearing when Roddick is mentioned :pī:haha:

samanosuke
05-14-2012, 05:22 AM
the most annoying part of his game. regardless how bad server you are you can always count on 2 free points per service game.

Arkulari
05-14-2012, 05:45 AM
:hearts: :hearts:

Haelfix
05-14-2012, 06:19 AM
Federer zeroes in on serves really effectively, and typically his return games get sharper and sharper as the match progresses. This ability to read a serve is a very undervalued part of his game. Of course much is said about his counterstriking return of first serve. In particular his block back return is the best in the business, and is ridiculous against big servers. His slice return is also really tough for serve and volleyers b/c he is surgically accurate with them.

Actually imo, he was hitting 2nd serve returns pretty well this week. Against Ferrer he was really punishing the 2nd serve. Sometimes he can really struggle with that aspect of his game, and probably has one of the least good return of 2nd serves on tour overall. For some reason he hasn't been aggressive with them like he was doing at the end of 2010.

Part of the problem is that he stands very close to the baseline, and so has no leverage or prep time take a big swing from his bh side. You could make an argument that he should take a step back to generate more power

green25814
05-14-2012, 06:36 AM
Federer's ROS isn't the greatest but its still pretty damn good, MTF exaggerates so much. Plus you know that at some point in a match he will go on a ROS streak, and break no matter what.

Ironically, his chip return works much better these days than it did in the past, since noone S/V anymore. The serve volley is the perfect answer to the block slice return.

Houstonko
05-14-2012, 12:17 PM
The poor ROS got to do with losing flexibility. Its normal as u age. However Djokovic isn't good in 1st serve returning although he returns Nadal WTA serve best. Federer is better 1st serve returner.

Houstonko
05-14-2012, 12:24 PM
Correct! and he is routinely breaking the likes of Roddick, Karlovic, Ljubicic and other big servers :)

The point is that against Rafa he did break the Spanish's serve but only when Nadal wasn't able to engage him on rallies, he didn't miss the BP for bad ROS but usually because Rafa won the rallies, his serve is designed to engage rivals on rallies and that's what happened.

Fed returns poorly against Nadal spin serve no matter what. He can do better in rallies if he returned well on BPs or Nadal's serve generally. In Wimbledon 2008 i think Fed only broke Nadal one out of 20 chances. ROS against Nadal of all persons is really bad. He should send the ROS deep to the baseline instead of blocking and chipping.

Djokovic break Nadal every single game when he wants based on ROS. Nadal is already at disadvantage when he serve and meet an accurate aggressive return.