Player's games dissected - last update: Berdych [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Player's games dissected - last update: Berdych

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leng jai
09-08-2006, 08:45 AM
Roger Federer

Steb's version: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=6318632&postcount=77

Forehand - Best in the game. Superb variety in terms of spin. Can hit with massive power and also with massive spin which allows him to find tremendous angles as well. A feature of his forehand is the footwork, which is clearly evident when he dances around the backhand to hit an off-forehand. The forehand on the run has suffered this year, as he is clearly a step slower whether it is due to illness or natural aging. The heavy spin and fast racquet head speed mean that his margin for error when striking the ball is pretty low. Has the propensity to frame them out of the stadium when out of form. When in form, his forehand is a master class.

Backhand - A strange one. At its weakest when used as a topspin rally shot. Often drops it short without much penetration. Unlike the truly great backhands, he doesn’t really have the ability to hit powerful flat down the line backhands. Depends heavily on the surface, he seems to hit his backhand much better at Wimbledon and the US where the bounce is lower. His backhand is quite a weakness on clay, and doesn't seem that great at the Australian. Sometimes attempts to hit the topspin backhand when a slice would have been more appropriate. However, his backhand absolutely excels when it comes to passing shots. His backhand is best when he has a small backswing. Can block it down the line, and roll it cross court. His backhand slice is clearly the best in the game. Can use it for offense and defense with equal efficiency. The slice makes his backhand difficult to attack, and gives players like Berdych and Davydenko fits. Extremely effective when used to neutralize the opponent’s off forehand.

Return of serve - Short backswing and devastating results on the forehand. Excels at blocking the ball back deep with underspin and getting himself into the rally. Often criticized for slicing the backhand too much on the second serve, allowing himself to be on the back foot for the start of the point. The topspin backhand return is inconsistent and often not deep enough. Does favour the off backhand return on the deuce court.

Netplay - Wonderfully elegant. Immaculate technique and awareness at net. No surprise that he operated as a serve and volleyer in his early days. Unlike most of the tour, refrains from overusing the drop volley. Knows when to come in (except against Nadal) and rarely fails to get into a good volleying position to cut down the angles. His excellent slice is very useful as an approach shot, and could be used more often. Overhead is solid and safe. Sometimes guilty of hitting it on the full, where letting it bounce may have been a higher percentage play.

Defense – In his prime he was a supreme mover. In 2008 he has lost a step but by no means a slouch. Effortlessly glides across the court with long strides which allows him to cover a lot of court very quickly. Has the ability to slice the ball back on both wings and his half volleys from the baseline are almost as potent as Agassi’s were in his prime.

Serve – Great accuracy and power on the first serve. Can hit anyone serve equally as well and usually has a high first serve percentage. Sampras like confidence in the second serve with enough bite and variation to keep it from being consistently attacked. Has increased the ace count in 2008 to offset his lack of form in other parts of his game.

Mental Strength – Has certainly lost his “invincible” aura in the last year. Can lose confidence and give away a set with a slew of unforced errors. His clutch play on the serve is still great. His mental scars against Nadal are deeper than the Atlantic Ocean. However, apart from Nadal, he has the mental edge over the rest of the tour and rarely panics.


Richard Gasquet

Forehand – Absolutely awful technique. Doesn’t handle pace well and almost always frames when hitting the ball slightly further away from his body than normal. As a rally shot it lacks depth and has too much spin, making it sit up into the slot for his opponents. The fact that he usually plays it from a metre behind the baseline most of the time doesn't help. Surprisingly his best forehand is when he flattens it out and goes for maximum power which forces him to hit through the ball. Can pull off stunning winners when doing this, but nowhere near consistently enough for it to be a weapon.

Backhand – His signature shot. Erection inducing for fans. His early backswing and preparation is a great lesson for beginners learning how to hit a backhand. Can hit down the line and crosscourt equally well, and unlike the forehand, can handle the pace of offensive shots. Consistently generates winners from unlikely positions and the backhand passing shot rarely misses. Surprisingly lacking a good slice, its mediocre at best. Doesn’t really use it as an offensive shot.

Return of serve – Competent without being spectacular. Likes to stand way behind the baseline even on second serves which restricts his attacking ability. Struggles with the wide serve on the deuce court as he gives his opponent the angle by standing back. It also exposes his weak outstretched forehand. The backhand return is potent but doesn’t attack with it often enough considering how adept he is at the shot. Handles the body serve well on the backhand.

Netplay – Better than most. Has good technique and natural volleying ability. Moves forward into the court very well and can hit the backhand and forehand volleys competently with little swing and a firm wrist. Possesses soft hands which allows him to execute difficult drop volleys off hard and low passing shots.

Defense – his anticipation and court coverage are very good. The fact that he plays from far back gives him more time to retrieve shots, but also makes him vulnerable to angle and drop shots. Has good shot making ability on the full run where going for a winner is required to win the point.

Serve – Not fantastic but does okay considering his height. Not the best technique and probably doesn’t get as much weight transfer as the better servers. Tends to double fault on critical points.

Mental strength – An aspect of his game, along with the forehand, which keeps him from being a consistent slam performer. Has the tendency to get down on himself after squandering leads and start going for ridiculous shots which ultimately go in about 10% of the time. His relatively poor results at RG shows he doesn't like the pressure. Not known for his fighting qualities. Examples this year include his losses to Murray at Wimbledon where he didn’t handle the crowd well, and against Haas at the USO where he virtually gave away the fifth set after losing a 2 sets to 1 lead.


Andy Murray

Forehand – Adequate shot at best. Lacks the consistent power of really good forehands and error prone at times. Is guilty of dropping the ball short and resorting to junk balls which puts him on the back foot especially on clay where his lack of power is exposed even more. When on song, can be a an effective shot (as seen against Nadal at the USO). Has the ability to dictate play but this at times can increase the error count substantially. A liability against the very top echelon of players, needs to improve this shot to challenge Federer/Nadal/Djokovic in peak form.

Backhand – One of the better double handed backhands in the modern game. Its main strength is its versatility. Likes to use the whole court by employing short angles, drop shots and slices. Hits the off backhand very well, especially on the back foot versus big off forehands which often leaves his opponents spectating. Perhaps lacks the extra power that the likes of Nalbandian and Safin possess. Has a relatively good slice but not at the level of Federer or Haas whose slices have more bite off the court and lower net clearance. Would do well to further develop this shot and integrate it into his game more.

Return of serve – Has started standing closer to the baseline and attacking second serves this year. Has a short backswing particularly on the backhand and can catch the server off guard with his off backhand return on the deuce court. Gets a higher percentage of serves back into to play than most players.

Netplay – Along with Gasquet, the best volleyer among the new generation players (which isn’t actually saying much). Knows when to come in and has good technique with minimal back swing. His agility lets him close into a good net position, cutting down the angles and letting him volley before the shots drop too low. His volleys usually have a lot of action and shoot off the court after bouncing. Sometimes guilty of overusing the drop volley particularly off low slices.

Defense – Doesn’t have explosive speed like a Blake but his anticipation allows him to quickly move into the right positions. Knows how to play the slice shots on both wings when topspin isn’t an option. Very good at making his opponent hit the extra shot to win the point. His topspin lob especially on the backhand wreaks havoc for any incoming volleyer who closes too quickly.

Serve – The first serve is solid but doesn’t get that many aces. Favours the serve down the T on big points. Has been seen at times to roll first serves into court just to start the point. Second serve is still a liability and very attackable. Needs to take more risks and hit it closer to the lines.

Mental strength – The most improved aspect of his game in 08 and the grand slam results have come thick and fast. Has found the ability to grind out wins even when not playing well and his fighting qualities were on show at his home slam. Obviously has the belief now which is one of the most
important aspects of a would be grand slam champion.


Novak Djokovic

Forehand – Very solid shot in general but lacks the absolute reliability and consistency of his backhand. Very much a confidence shot, when on song can consistently dictate play with it. Works better as a counter punching shot where he can use the opponent’s pace. Often uses it to set up his signature down the line backhand (eg.Vs Roddick USO 08). Under pressure the errors can flow off this wing, and lacks the awesome finishing power of a Blake or Gonzalez.

Backhand – One of the most reliable backhands on the tour. Consistently generates enough pace and depth to keep his opponents from attacking it. Lacks the variety of Murray but makes it for it with a better backhand down the line. One of the best aspects of his game is the incredible balance, especially on the backhand, which allows him to produce unlikely shots on the full stretch. This is particularly effective against off forehand approach shots. Even on the backhand, lacks the awesome finishing power of a Nalbandian or Safin. The slice is nothing to write home about. Has little bite and only uses it when forced. Should improve this shot to add another dimension to his counter-punching game style.

Return of serve – Another strength of his game. Knows how to handle big first serves on both side, using a short backswing to block the ball back deep and occasionally produce the outright winner. Likes to stand on the baseline on second serves and take them early, rarely troubled by kick or body serves. Gets enough big serves back to make player’s like Roddick shit their pants.

Netplay – A lot of room for improvement here. Forehand volley is downright bad and the backhand volley is mediocre at best. Clearly not a natural at net like Murray and Gasquet but can pull the occasional great volley off. Seems to favour the harder low volleys as it stops him from swinging as much. Pretty clueless on the half volley, often caught when deciding between hitting it on the full or letting it bounce. Overhead is solid and reliable.

Defense – Moves very well and as mentioned before, has tremendous balance which helps him on the full stretch. This offsets his mediocre slice as the extra balance allows him to hit a topspin shot more often than normal players. As a counter-puncher, plays his strokes very well on the back foot and has the ability to switch a defensive position into an offensive one. Likes to slide on the hard court like a try hard Clijsters and probably only does it for the theatrics.

Serve – Serves well and has good accuracy and power on the first serve. Usually starts off serving well and drops off slightly as the match progresses. Like a lot of players, goes to the big serve down the T on important points. The second serve is solid and usually has enough variation and depth to keep it from being attacked.

Mental Strength – What can we say here. Drama queen of the highest order and acts between points 24/7. His chances of winning the Oscar are substantially improved when he starts losing. Often grimaces like an atomic bomb exploded in his ball sack for no apparent reason and looks like he is having an asthma attack after every long point. His fighting spirit is immense and his impressive run of retirements from losing positions solidifies this notion. Must be a fan of basketball as he often copies their way of using timeouts. Concentrates on being the crowd favourite but fails miserably and this affects his play.


Lleyton Hewitt: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=7681923&postcount=319

David Nalbandian: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=11835350&postcount=461

Tomas Berdych: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=12118684&postcount=469

Greg Rusedski (Bernard Black): http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=7688509&postcount=348

Tim Henman (Bernard Black): http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=7664199&postcount=317

Rafael Nadal (Bernard Black): http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=7662423&postcount=309

Tsonga (out_here_grindin): http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=11073763&postcount=422

Roddick, Gonzalez, Gasquet, Nalbandian, Robredo (stebs): http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=6316252&postcount=25

Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Davydenko (stebs): http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=6315817&postcount=13

swissfed
09-08-2006, 09:15 AM
Remarkable analysis

kundalini
09-08-2006, 09:34 AM
Great post but completely disagree about Federer's return - just look at his numbers 35% returning 1st, 53% returning 2nd - the likes of Davydenko, Ferrer, Murray etc all beat these numbers without the offensive skills that Federer has to win the point once the rally has started, so the chances are that their returning must surely be of a higher quality. With respect to Roddick's serve some players can read it while others can't. As for Federer being the top defensive player - what about Nadal? What about Henman's netplay or indeed his backhand slice?

I think you've tended to overrate some of Federer's shots just because he is obviously the best player in the world.

leng jai
09-08-2006, 09:41 AM
In my opinion Federer's volleys are better than Henman's, same with the slice backhand. The only difference is that Henman has to rely completely on his volleys while Federer only comes in occasionally cause he doesn't need them. Nadal has better defence than Fedex on clay, but I still think Federer's is better on grass and hardcourt. And as for returns, those 3 players have no where near the quality of return that Federer has. They do get more back though, similar to Hewitt it gets them back but does nothing with them.

kundalini
09-08-2006, 09:52 AM
The thing is Federer's game is on the up, while Henman's is on the decline these last two years. But if you use the same time frame Safin wouldn't be rated anywhere nearly as highly as his form since winning Aus has been non-existent largely due to injuries.

A player like Murray for instance is a far better returner than Federer. If Federer was really better his numbers would be more like 38% returning first and 60% returning 2nd. Because although he does have some difficult matches, the advantage of his high seeding gives him a huge number of relatively easy matches. No way is Federer the top returner - not even top 5.

If you're going to do more analysis how about doing the younger players that may move towards the top 10 next year - Djokovic, Gasquet, Monfils, Berdych, Murray?

leng jai
09-12-2006, 06:50 AM
After watching Roddick vs Federer, I can't agree that Fedex isn't even in the top 5 returners... In fact, I think he is actually the best returner now.

Action Jackson
12-02-2007, 09:36 AM
We should try and expand this thread a bit more, because the initial idea is a good one.

Nadal off the clay and how he can improve his hardcourt record in big events, Nalbandian is at an important part of his career and Gasquet should be the new subjects for this.

Peoples
12-02-2007, 10:19 AM
We should try and expand this thread a bit more, because the initial idea is a good one.

Nadal off the clay and how he can improve his hardcourt record in big events, Nalbandian is at an important part of his career and Gasquet should be the new subjects for this.

The topic title is interesting if anyone would be capable of providing fair analysis, not personal assessment e.g. "best in the game". It's too primitive to divide a player's game into forehand and backhand just like that with no mention to gameplans. I wouldn't expect too much from MTF's collective intellect :)

Jimnik
12-02-2007, 10:24 AM
Lets do it for more players....

krystlel
12-02-2007, 10:49 AM
Yeah, I think breaking it down in terms of general style of play, then strengths and weaknesses and favoured game plans/patterns of play would be good.

Action Jackson
12-02-2007, 10:52 AM
The topic title is interesting if anyone would be capable of providing fair analysis, not personal assessment e.g. "best in the game". It's too primitive to divide a player's game into forehand and backhand just like that with no mention to gameplans. I wouldn't expect too much from MTF's collective intellect :)

Well as for Blake and Berdych for example, gameplan wouldn't be a factor. There are people here that can provide a fair analysis, rare as it is to find.

leng jai
12-02-2007, 11:01 AM
You could add another paragraph in for gameplans but it would be blank for half the tour and game plans can change substantially depending on the match up.

stebs
12-02-2007, 11:50 AM
I'll do the rest of the top 5. Nadal, Djokovic, Davydenko and Ferrer. If it turns out many people disagree strongly with my opinions I will change the text as I think thsi thread would be useful as a reference point for those who haven't actually watched a lot of tennis.

RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) #2

Forehand - Offensively his best weapon and the way he uses it to press opponents deep into the court on the left wing is exceptional. DTL is a decent shot but he hasn't enough confidence to use it much off clay. Defensively it's the weaker wing and he tends to get pushed back when rallying with right handers inside out FH's. Best passing shots in the game come from this shot.

Backhand - When given nothing balls without much pace, height or spin he can struggle to be creative. It is an explosive shot and defensively it basically never breaks down. Also posseses a mediocre slice which he is developing admirably and wouldn't be a surprise to see that shot improved in '08.

Return of serve - Stands way back and moonballs it into court 9 times out of 10. He can be aggressive to great effect but chooses not to be. When facing players adept at taking the ball on the rise this is suicide but it is a very good tactic against players who aren't so good at that. Uses his ROS to start a rally, not to win a rally.

Netplay - Better than most believe. Far from a great volleyer but when he does come in he usually gets the job done and he does usually throw in a couple of S&V points in a match. Though technically not the best his anticipation is easily as good as most S&Vers and even with very good volleyers (Federer, Haas etc...) he almost always comes out on top of cat and mouse net battles.

Defense - Phenomenal on clay where he seems to be able to chase down anything and hit with enough spin to get back into position. Refusal to use the FH DTL means that off clay he can be pushed back on the FH side. Shots on the run, with Federer, are best in the game surely. Does hit ridiculous passing shots and defensive lobs.

Serve - Biggest weakness especially off clay. Almost always serves about 70% to a right handers BH and this looks good when he plays a guy like Federer but he doesn't change the tactic according to opposition and good returners like Ferrer and Nalbandian have taken advantage. His first serves do usually give him an advantage in the point but his second serve is probably the best chance for his opponents to attack him.

Mental Strength - On clay his confidence is SO high that his mental strength is unbeliavable. I don't recall him ever missing on a REALLY important point and his unbreaking intensity is amazing. Off clay that confidence isn't there and without that he loses par tof what makes him special. Still mentally strong relative to rest of the tour but nothing special.

Overall: One of the best players clay has ever seen and his willingness to be good on other surfaces may see him get big results but apart from grass they are yet to come. Injury-prone.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) #3

Forehand - Very good shot. Hits a counter punchers FH most of the time but when he unleashes it is an ABSOLTE MONSTER. He usues this rarely as it seems he is certainly more concerned about results than qabout pleasing the crowd with big FH's but this adds another dimension to his baseline game. Seemingly never breaks down.

Backhand - Similar to the FH in many ways with most of the shots being counter puncher style with a little topspin and a little pace. However, where on the FH he has a monster, on the BH he has accuracy. Common to see him unloading with some power but the beauty of this shot is that he can hit the lines three or four times a rally without it being surprising.

Return of serve - Good but not great. His shot production doesn't allow him to be aggressive naturally and although he has developed his game to allow him to attack to a certain extent he will never be Nalbandian, Murray or Davydenko in that department.

Netplay - For someone who spends almost all their time on the baseline he is a good volleyer. Sometimes gives you a second bite of the cherry when trying to put a ball away but seems to thrive off making dificult volleys.

Defense - Solid baseline attack which is possessed by so much of the tour these days seemingly cannot hurt him, he is just too solid. He is a good passer but coming to net is a good tactic against him because he doesn't have the spin to create angles if he isn't given any.

Serve - Very good serve and probably what sets him apart from other players with solid baseline games.

Mental Strength - Has been seen to be very strong almost all the time although it failed him at the one time he would've wanted it most. TB record shows he is excellent at this overall though.

Overall: Deserved #3. Solid in all areas of the game and incredibly determined. Likes all surfaces and is a big threat to everyone, everywhere.

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO (RUS) #4

Forehand - When he gets rythm it is a very good baseline shot but players with good variety can force errors off this wing. He hits the ball with far more pace than it looks like. Can surprise opponents. Good inside the court but nothing special defensively.

Backhand - His better wing. Excellent as an attacking weapon and taking the ball early this shot is second to Nalbandian and to Nalbandian only. He makes amazing angles as well and it's just a really creative shot considering he can change the pace so much as well.

Return of serve - One of the best in the game at returning second serves, in a group with Ferrer, Murray and Nalbandian. Returning first serves is good as well bugives a few too many short balls.

Netplay - Big weakness. He has used it well on occasion like making a lot of tough volleys against Nadal (Rome) and Canas (RG) but on the whole this sucks and each time you see him at the net you expect either an awful UE or at best for him to give the opponent another chance at passing him.

Defense - Toward the end of '07 he was looking slower and we will have to wait and see if that is accumulative faigue that will never leave him or just a blip. He is usually VERY quick but when he reaches the ball he usually tries to be aggressive with passing shots or trying to take control which is a mixed bag, he makes amazing shots but perhaps not the percentage play.

Serve - Average is the only thing that comes to mind. It is not in a league with Volandri or anything like that but it's not a weapon. Very much a way to start a rally and not much more.

Mental Strength - Awful. Has crumbled time and time again against the top players and has been known to do so against lower ranked opposition as well.

Overall : Very talented and funnily enough most people know him as a guy who has made the most out of his talents by being mentally strong but this couldn't really be further from the truth. With mental strength he would've been the '07 RG finalist.

DAVID FERRER (ESP) #5

Forehand - When dealing with low balls it is mediocre and going cross court it doesn;t get further than pretty good. However, when you see that shot inside out it is a whole new ball game and Ferrer hits the ball EXTREMELY hard. His biggest attacking weapon and it works against most players.

Backhand - Another interesting shot. Very solid of course much like the FH and he tends to attack DTL with this shot and the cross court he makes a lot of UE's when he tries to be overly aggressive. His weaker wing for sure but still solid.

Return of serve - Best in the game. Nalbandian has a better second serve return, Federer probably better at returning the first serves. Overall though, Pics is in a league of his own and he can do both very well. Has beaten up on the Nadal second serve and the Isner and Karlovic first serves in his time and it doesn't get more diverse than that.

Netplay - Not good. He is no Davydenko here but his technique is not right and he nets a LOT of balls. When playing someone who will always give him a low volley he is done for when he comes to the net.

Defense - Ridiculously quick and despite his lax attitude to training once he is on court probably the most determined in the world right now and you consistently see him run after balls that are clearly winners in the hope of getting there. Hits with some topspin but not a great deal and his way of defending is by hitting the ball hard so that the opponent cannot time the ball that well.

Serve - Good but not great. First serve is a decent weapon but he doesn't have that much confidence in it so takes pace off a lot. Second serve is average.

Mental Strength - Very mentally strong in the last year although that hasn't always been the case. So determined and never gives up. His grunt tells the story of how hard he tries.

Overall : Amazing work ethic on the court and some good shots have bought him the #5 position. #4 for a few weeks may be possible next year but remaining top 5 for the year end '08 is probably not likely.

Action Jackson
12-02-2007, 11:53 AM
Good stuff stebney.

stebs
12-02-2007, 12:08 PM
Good stuff stebney.

Maybe too long and probably you and leng are the only two who will bother to read it.

Anyway, I bet you knew I would be in here imparting my "wisdom" :p on the rest of MTF before too long. :lol:

Action Jackson
12-02-2007, 12:13 PM
Maybe too long and probably you and leng are the only two who will bother to read it.

Anyway, I bet you knew I would be in here imparting my "wisdom" :p on the rest of MTF before too long. :lol:

Well I could try and find fault with it, but I am not going to at the moment. I am thinking about which one of the gang of 8 in the other thread is going to break through.

It was worth reading.

krystlel
12-02-2007, 12:23 PM
Stebs. :worship: That was a good read. There are some interesting observations you made there. As far as I'm concerned, the longer the better. :lol:

Pixie
12-02-2007, 12:24 PM
Good description Stebs but I find you slighty harsh about Davydenko's netplay and to some extend with his serve. Nobody would say he's a great volleyer but he generally gets the job done thanks to his great footwork. His matches against Nadal and Canas are just good days of an average volleyer imo. Which also means he sucks at that at times. But I saw improvements this year.

Concerning his serve, he is a bit underrated as he gives it some variety between flat, bit of kick, slice and lenght. From a top 10 point of view, this isn't a big weapon though I'd not say it's only a shot to begin a rally, but to begin it in a good position to dictate the game.

stebs
12-02-2007, 12:30 PM
Good description Stebs but I find you slighty harsh about Davydenko's netplay and to some extend with his serve. Nobody would say he's a great volleyer but he generally gets the job done thanks to his great footwork. His matches against Nadal and Canas are just good days of an average volleyer imo. Which also means he sucks at that at times. But I saw improvements this year.
He improved a lot at volleying but he is still the worst in the top 10 probably and you have to be judged by your peers. Kolya's volley is poor.

Concerning his serve, he is a bit underrated as he gives it some variety between flat, bit of kick, slice and lenght. From a top 10 point of view, this isn't a big weapon though I'd not say it's only a shot to begin a rally, but to begin it in a good position to dictate the game.
His serve isn't a sucky shot like some have but again, when you compare him to his peers it is weak and his first serve is kind of like an amazing second serve, he does the work with accuracy, spin and pace. Still not a weapon and this makes it average for me.

Pixie
12-02-2007, 12:39 PM
That's why I talk about a top 10 point of view and when you write "each time you see him at the net you expect either an awful UE or at best for him to give the opponent another chance at passing him" I have to disagree : putting the technical part aside, he has shown it in most of the matches I've seen of him.

stebs
12-02-2007, 12:41 PM
That's why I talk about a top 10 point of view and when you write "each time you see him at the net you expect either an awful UE or at best for him to give the opponent another chance at passing him" I have to disagree : putting the technical part aside, he has shown it in most of the matches I've seen of him.

Well of course all top 10 players are going to be competent and yes I overexaggurated but seriously Kolya has very weak volleys. Anyone who volleys two handed off the BH side and isn't called Santoro is a bit dodgy for me. I mean Kolya is my second favourite player so I'm not going to bash him unduly.

Pixie
12-02-2007, 12:43 PM
And about his serve i'd still call it a weapon because of the way he takes advantage of it.

Pixie
12-02-2007, 12:49 PM
Well of course all top 10 players are going to be competent and yes I overexaggurated but seriously Kolya has very weak volleys. Anyone who volleys two handed off the BH side and isn't called Santoro is a bit dodgy for me. I mean Kolya is my second favourite player so I'm not going to bash him unduly.

Not everybody on mtf "defend" a player because he is a fan of him thankfully, so you don't have to take care about a sensitive fanboy this time. Davdydenko is among a lot of players i like to watch but as it is some kind of accurate technical thread i'm just giving you my thoughts on it on the base of a discussion ;)

DrJules
12-02-2007, 01:58 PM
We should try and expand this thread a bit more, because the initial idea is a good one.

Nadal off the clay and how he can improve his hardcourt record in big events, Nalbandian is at an important part of his career and Gasquet should be the new subjects for this.

Any description of Gasquet would have to refer to where he stands on a tennis court:

Net

Baseline












Gasquet.

stebs
12-02-2007, 03:11 PM
I'll do the rest of the top 10 now.

ANDY RODDICK (USA) #6

Forehand - Although it is no longer as potent an attacking weapon as it once was he does hit hard through the ball when he gets the chance. Most players do not give him many oppurtunities to do this and Roddick himself tends to bring a negative attitude toward return games and hits heavy topspin FH's.

Backhand - His weakness still but a much improved shot and he can hit harder off this wing than he used to be able to and it can be used for attack. A tendancy to drop balls short in BH to BH rallies though and for good movers this basically means death and we saw the true shortcomings of this stroke when he faced the Nadal FH in Miami, he got slaughtered.

Return of serve - Average. He can attack to a certain extent but it doesn't come naturally. He gets back a normal amount of first serves but as stated a tendancy toward defence sets in when it is not needed and this works against weak players but the better players eat up short balls.

Netplay - His netplay is average but is made to look bad because he has a very poor concept of when to come in and how to come in. For a masterclass in brainless net approach watch the AO SF. He is good at putaways but he lacks the touch to make really tough volleys.

Defense - He is far less determined than he used to be and pets balls that he could clearly reach fly past him at times. His shots neither stay low, nor have great depth. They allow for good players to take advantag. He struggles more against consistent depth than pace though and his BH has become a decent coutner puncher shot.

Serve - A monster server on both first and second serve. He is not the king of aces but look at his percentage, he would rather force an error with the serve 3 times out of 4 than hit an ace 2 times out of 4. Basically wins most of his serve games and gives away few cheap points.

Mental Strength - Pretty good. When he loses he usually gets outplayed and it is rare to question him mentally.

Overall : An excellent server and an average baseliner basically makes for a very solid top 10 player. expect Roddick to continue going deep in the slams but the truth is he doesn't have the extra gear you feel he would need to win another slam.

FERNANDO GONZALEZ (CHI) #7

Forehand - Doesn't have the diversity of the Federer FH but he is the only player in the world who can hit the ball that hard and keep it in anything like consistently. When he gets inside out it is a monster and when he wins a big match it is usually down to him being able to use that shot.

Backhand - His slice is his most regular option and it is an okay shot. The aim of the BH is to force the opponent to give him a FH and he does this by trying to keep the slice deep but he doesn't have the skill to make it skid through the court. His flat/topspin BH is extremely erratic and has a very low margin for error.

Return of serve - Another average returner in all but one area. Second serve inside out FH, whilst a very specific shot, is extremely good and if he can pick your serve and get round to hit that shot there is NOTHING a server can do. Can be caught cheating over to that side though.

Netplay - He goes to net when the oppurtunity is cear and he is a solid volleyer. When given a high ball Gonzalez is more likely to wait for it to drop and hit a monster FH than to volley it though.

Defense - He is quick and determined and has a tendancy to pull off some spectacular winners. He has a squash FH that he can use and his slice BH is tough to break down. The way through his defence is appraoching to the BH.

Serve - Simple, strong and effective. He uses the slice often and to good effect to move opponents out of court esoecially on the deuce side.

Mental Strength - I don't think he is good or bad here. When you go for your shots like Gonzalez does you are going to miss at times and when he goes through a bad patch near the close of a match he is called a choker but I am not sure this is the case. Tha fact that he shows up one day and sucks the next is more down to his high risk style than mental weakness.

Overall : A very erratic player but when he is on he can beat a fully functioning Federer or a fully functioning Nadal and can challenge the best on all surfaces. Early losses will always prevent him consistently reaching higher than 10-7.

RICHARD GASQUET (FRA) #8

Forehand - Not many on the ATP tour can call the FH a weakness but Gasquet is one of them. He hits the ball with a lot of junk spin and often this shot seems quite aimless. Wehn he attacks with it inside out it is a decent shot and he does occasionally hit winerful running forehands but other than that all he can hope for is depth because the shot rarely has pace.

Backhand - Fantastic. He can defend with it, he can attack with it, he can hit passing shots, he can hit clean winners from 6 feet behind his own baseline. Technically perfect and a beautiful shot he shares the role of best BH on tour with David Nalbandian.

Return of serve - Nadal style return and it's a way of starting the point. He stands far back and aims for depth and not a lot else. When he does step in he can be aggressive especially off the BH but he tends not to do that.

Netplay - Of the new blood in the game today Gasquet is certainly on the better side as far as netplay goes. He makes some silly errors but he is technically very solid and makes most volleys that you'd expect an adept volleyer to make.

Defense - He is good at keeping a good length from deep and he is quick enough for sure. He is fantastic at hitting passing shots from deep but much like Roddick he is too quick to assume the position of defender in rallies that seem neutral.

Serve - A reasonable serve. He doesn't hit the ball particularly hard and tends to try and take control with the serve rather than to hit aces or service winners. His second serve is fairly strong and he tends to keep the ball deep but players who take the ball early can attack it as it does often end up in his opponents strike zone.

Mental Strength - A big weakness for Gasquet is his seeming refusal to fight for matches. During the end of the season this was not evident but whether this was a temprary thing or a change is unknown. He also plays extremely passively on big points.

Overall : A player with one glaring weakness and one huge strength. He will need to improve his FH if he wants to improve his ranking and his chances of a major title.

DAVID NALBANDIAN (ARG) #9

Forehand - A very smooth and technically sound stroke that he hits well with disguise and a surprising amount of pace. He can make great angles with it and change direction easily. The only weakness I can see in this shot is that he cannot seem to drastically change the pace which can be a problem when defending in certain situations.

Backhand - Along with Gasquet the best BH on tour right now. He makes obscene angles with it regularly. He can control cross court rallies against anyone with this stroke and his shot production is stunning.

Return of serve - First serve return is above average but not phenomenal. His second serve return is very possibly the best the game of tennis has seen since Andre Agassi. It can be inconsistent at times and when he is missing he gifts opponents easy points ons econd serve but when he is firing he can win points on return extremely quickly.

Netplay - Good. Nalbandian can use all the court although he is primarily a baseliner. His volleys are solid and he rarely makes silly errors. When making tough drop volleys and other such shots it does show that he is nothing special at the net though.

Defense - He uses the slice BH well as a defensive shot. The FH is flawed defensively but when he is timing the ball well he almost never has to defend anyway and when he does he tends to use attack as his form of defence, trying to shift control of the rally. Good passing shots and lob inparticular.

Serve - A weakness of his but it appears he has worked on this drastically and he has had great results with it recently. Whether this holds up is to be seen.

Mental Strength - His mind can be elsewhere at times and as a player with a great return game and a weaker serve game his matches are often streaky (both players dominatig at different times) but he fights hard when he really wants it and certainly has the belief to beat top players.

Overall : The most talented baseliner in the game and clearly a top 5 level player. His fanbase are overexcited thinking that his purple patch is how he will play forever more but if he can even continue to reach a somewhat similar standard he will be top 5 and being a good slam performer he may challenge for slams.

TOMMY ROBREDO (ESP) #10

Forehand - His better attacking wing but can be broken down defensively. Hits with a large amount of spin and has a very good inside out FH which is his main attacking weapon.

Backhand - An interesting shot. He has a good net clearance, rarely makes errors and has good technique. Despite this, it seems he has little confidence in the shot and routinely drops it short which the best player capitalise on. He has a just about working slice to add to the reportoire.

Return of serve - Focuses on getting the ball into play on the BH but often hits hard and takes control of points when returning second serves with his forehand.

Netplay - Goes largely unused due to the baseline nature of his game but whe he does come in he has perfectly reasonable volleys. A part of his game which most people assume will be weak and he is far from Stefan Edberg but he can function in the forecourt.

Defense - The main focus of his tennis is on defence and with his FH he keeps a good length but can make errors. His BH is more solid and he possesses a slice but he does tend to drop the ball short and when players get to the net his mediocre passing shots don't help him that much.

Serve - A high percentage but a weak first serve. His second serve isn't much weaker than his first and is a perfeclty decent shot which he spins deep into court.

Mental Strength - A mentally sound player and does perform fairly well on the big stage despite his limited game. Although he is probably a better player than people give him credit for if he wasn't strong mentally he would probably be outside the top 10.

Overall : A solid player who is at home on clay but has adapted very well on hardcourt. Very unlikely to ever challenge the very best but deserves his top 10 spot. Unlikely to remin top 10 with the influx of the Nadal, Djokovic etc... generation.

Roddickominator
12-02-2007, 03:30 PM
This is excellent stuff stebs.

MatchFederer
12-02-2007, 03:30 PM
Stebs, it might be worth adding that Gasquet has a decent running CC forehand that he hits flat and with accuracy. It definitely adds to his shotmaking prowess despite the aimless nature of his standard rally FH.

stebs
12-02-2007, 03:36 PM
Oxygene, it has been added.

Castafiore
12-02-2007, 04:01 PM
NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) #3

Netplay - For someone who spends almost all their time on the baseline he is a good volleyer. Sometimes gives you a second bite of the cherry when trying to put a ball away but seems to thrive off making dificult volleys.
I think that you may be overrating his netplay (a purely objective analysis should mention that it's a work in progress but you pointed out the positives only here) BUT (before you object) he's aware of it, hence seeking the advice of Woodford.

R.Federer
12-02-2007, 04:06 PM
Thank you all, nice analysis.

I don't think Federer is mentally strongest in the game. He has good mental strength, but I think it is his skill level that sees him through a lot on the tough points. I think Hewitt among others have exceptional mental strength.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 04:06 PM
gasquet's bh is nowhere near nalbandian's bh. sorry.

in fact gasquet's bh is really a long loopy stroke which requires a lot of preparation. Thats why you see richard camping behind the baseline - 10 ft or so.

i would never call gasquet's bh anywhere near the best on fast surfaces. Even federer can take the ball early on his bh, and nalbandian does this extremely well which is why its the best bh in tennis.

stebs
12-02-2007, 04:07 PM
I think that you may be overrating his netplay (a purely objective analysis should mention that it's a work in progress but you pointed out the positives only here) BUT (before you object) he's aware of it, hence seeking the advice of Woodford.

Sometimes gives you a second bite of the cherry is far from a positive thing and he is good at making the tough volleys which I will not change.

stebs
12-02-2007, 04:09 PM
gasquet's bh is nowhere near nalbandian's bh. sorry.

in fact gasquet's bh is really a long loopy stroke which requires a lot of preparation. Thats why you see richard camping behind the baseline - 10 ft or so.

i would never call gasquet's bh anywhere near the best on fast surfaces. Even federer can take the ball early on his bh, and nalbandian does this extremely well which is why its the best bh in tennis.

Gasquet isn't an amazing mover, his serve isn't any better than average for a top 20 player, his FH is far below average, he rarely comes to net and he isn't a great fighter. He has basically got where he has on a BH and Nalbandian's looks awesome right now of course but it has its flaws as well.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 04:11 PM
Thank you all, nice analysis.

I don't think Federer is mentally strongest in the game. He has good mental strength, but I think it is his skill level that sees him through a lot on the tough points. I think Hewitt among others have exceptional mental strength.

where has hewitt's mental toughness gone the last 2-3 years. He has been losing almost ALL THE BIG PTS these days.

The fact that federer can show his skill time and time again in pressure situations is why he is among the strongest out there mentally.

Federer doesn't need to look to his box and cry to his "coach" either like other players do. He can deal with everything himself.

if you ask the players on tour, they will tell you that federer is the strongest mentally and the rafa is in the best physical shape.

tripb19
12-02-2007, 04:11 PM
Excellent stuff stebs, thank you so much for posting, I read it all! :)

World Beater
12-02-2007, 04:13 PM
Gasquet isn't an amazing mover, his serve isn't any better than average for a top 20 player, his FH is far below average, he rarely comes to net and he isn't a great fighter. He has basically got where he has on a BH and Nalbandian's looks awesome right now of course but it has its flaws as well.

well i will disagree with that.

richard's bh is overrated and you underrate the rest of his game.

nalbandian's bh has always been very good.

the one thing i dont get about posters who like to bash federer's bh is that when haas, nalbandian etc lose because they are having a shitty day with the bh its ok, whereas with federer it means his bh sucks. :lol:

Maxine
12-02-2007, 04:14 PM
Good points, but there are plenty of better returners than Fed including players like Ferrer, Murray, Davydenko and even Nalbandian. Federers backhand return is a total joke, he is not that devastating of a returner at all either, off both wings. He is good at getting the ball in play, but rarely does have the ability to really put the opponent under pressure with a ball at the ankles, or a winner. He needs to punish players serves, and he never does it. He seems afraid to bully opponents off the return like players do to him (Nalbandian, Murray), even off the second serve he is too passive

Roddickominator
12-02-2007, 04:18 PM
Good points, but there are plenty of better returners than Fed including players like Ferrer, Murray, Davydenko and even Nalbandian. Federers backhand return is a total joke, he is not that devastating of a returner at all either, off both wings. He is good at getting the ball in play, but rarely does have the ability to really put the opponent under pressure with a ball at the ankles, or a winner. He needs to punish players serves, and he never does it. He seems afraid to bully opponents off the return like players do to him (Nalbandian, Murray), even off the second serve he is too passive

Agreed. Fed clearly makes great use of his first serve return, as it just gets him in the point....and generally his defense can get back any aggressive follow-up. But he is very passive on second serve returns.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 04:21 PM
Tommy Haas

Forehand - technically very sound. Has the ability to hit winners off it and generate good pace. Not much variety in terms of spin, and can breakdown when under pressure. Forehand slice is decent
.



the problem with haas fh is that he cant take it early and hits it with too much spin. He cant play "fast" with the fh as davydenko says.


Backhand - perhaps one of the best in the game. Backhand is well produced and the down the line shot can be devastating. Can also hit cross court but down the line generates more winners. Slice backhand is also very good, but doesn't have as much bite as Fedex's. If you want to see what I'm talking about, watch the Haas Vs Federer match at this year's Aus Open, or even today against Davydenko.
.

tommy on a good day has a nice bh. When he loses its rubbish. Ive seen too many haas clay matches, and his bh has very little bite on the slow red clay. on faster courts, the bh is one of the best out there when haas is playing well but that goes for many top players. Even federer's bh looks beautiful when its on.


Return of serve - Has the ability to chip first serves back into court like Fedex, but not quite as well. Haas' offensive backhand returns can be lethal.
.

tommy returns 2nd serves well but he isnt that great a returner of first serves. tommy haas for instance has no idea how to return roger's serve.

LisaKoh
12-02-2007, 04:25 PM
Gasquet as a lot of disguise on his serve because he has a strange toss--Murray said that he serves almost "out of his hand" and I agree. Gasquet has a fantastic net game, he can do nice touch volleys, half-volleys and is creative using short, angled volleys. Good anticipation skills at the net. RG also has a tendency to play low-percentage shots using his backhand which means that he gets a high number of UEs from that side. Low level of physical and mental stamina, does not have a Plan B when his baseline game breaks down.

On RFed: Can half-volley consistently from the baseline on both the forehand and backhand side.

stebs
12-02-2007, 04:37 PM
well i will disagree with that.

richard's bh is overrated and you underrate the rest of his game.

nalbandian's bh has always been very good.

the one thing i dont get about posters who like to bash federer's bh is that when haas, nalbandian etc lose because they are having a shitty day with the bh its ok, whereas with federer it means his bh sucks. :lol:

I suppose we agree to disagree but I will just say one more thing. Whilst from an attacking point of view Nalbandian has more options off that wing, overall Gasquet has a more diverse BH by far. He can hit flat, topspin and to either side of the court from any position off any type of ball. Nalbandian struggles to hit off flat balls, isn't as good on the run, struggles to hit well from deep and has a poorer flat BH.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 04:46 PM
I suppose we agree to disagree but I will just say one more thing. Whilst from an attacking point of view Nalbandian has more options off that wing, overall Gasquet has a more diverse BH by far. He can hit flat, topspin and to either side of the court from any position off any type of ball. Nalbandian struggles to hit off flat balls, isn't as good on the run, struggles to hit well from deep and has a poorer flat BH.

im not sure what you are talking about here because nalbandian's bh dtl is one of his signature shot and he hits that one flat most of the time. If you watch david's matches on clay, he hits his bh with a good amount of spin. Not the same amount of spin as richard because richard hits with plenty more loop. David doesnt struggle to hit flat balls at all. He does struggle with guys who can overpower him from the back but he likes playing fast and you can see that whenever he playes federer.

richard's slice isn't anything out of the ordinary. So i wouldn't say his slice elevates his bh over david's.

richard's flat bh is MIA most of the time. He moonballs from 10 feet behind the baseline.

Bingain
12-02-2007, 05:21 PM
Thanks leng jai and Stebs for these amazing analysis. Obviously Stebs was wrong in assuming not so many read with huge interests :p

I also think there are more about just general mental strength. For me, Rederer's mental is more about his confidence, whereas, for example, Roddick is not giving up. Federer is like having a button inside his shorts where he can push it and suddenly raises his game by a level or two when he needs it. Roddick is like "Okay you #%^@& Fed, come get me, but I'm not giving."

R.Federer
12-02-2007, 05:29 PM
where has hewitt's mental toughness gone the last 2-3 years. He has been losing almost ALL THE BIG PTS these days.

The fact that federer can show his skill time and time again in pressure situations is why he is among the strongest out there mentally.


Tbh, I feel that even getting to where he has got results wise the last season and the year before, is almost purely on sheer mental aspects (determination), because gamewise Hewitt has been left behind. For instance, the match against Nadal on clay this year and on grass against Djokovic --there is just not enough game to cope against these better players, but there is tremendous guts. This is how I see Hewitt



Federer doesn't need to look to his box and cry to his "coach" either like other players do. He can deal with everything himself.

if you ask the players on tour, they will tell you that federer is the strongest mentally and the rafa is in the best physical shape.

Yes, I think Federer has great mental strenght. I just don't think he is mentally the strongest. How many times have you heard him say after the match, "At 15-40 I just thought it was over" "I didn't there was a chance for me to come back "He had 3 set points and I thought he was going to easily finish it right there" "My hands were sweating, I was shaking". Doesn't sound like he has THAT much mental strength.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 05:38 PM
Tbh, I feel that even getting to where he has got results wise the last season and the year before, is almost purely on sheer mental aspects (determination), because gamewise Hewitt has been left behind. For instance, the match against Nadal on clay this year and on grass against Djokovic --there is just not enough game to cope against these better players, but there is tremendous guts. This is how I see Hewitt
.

hewitt may be one of the best competitors and for sure its a part of mental strength. But i wouldnt take hewitt's mental strength as one where he suddenly can bring his best on the big pts. Even hewitt will tell you that he thinks federer plays the big pts the best.

hewitt against novak on grass was a close match with hewitt playing the big pts poor and novak playing very steady. it was still 4 sets


Yes, I think Federer has great mental strenght. I just don't think he is mentally the strongest. How many times have you heard him say after the match, "At 15-40 I just thought it was over" "I didn't there was a chance for me to come back "He had 3 set points and I thought he was going to easily finish it right there" "My hands were sweating, I was shaking". Doesn't sound like he has THAT much mental strength.

I think we should focus on the actions not the words. Federer has said many contradictory things to what you said...

"I dont think nadal is better than me on clay"
"I play every point the same whether its 30-30 or 40-0"
"i think im very strong mentally"
"i can break down the will of my opponents"

etc etc.

Im not saying he is the strongest. But i dont value hewitts mental strength over federer's. lets not forget fed's record in breakers :scared:

R.Federer
12-02-2007, 05:53 PM
hewitt may be one of the best competitors and for sure its a part of mental strength. But i wouldnt take hewitt's mental strength as one where he suddenly can bring his best on the big pts. Even hewitt will tell you that he thinks federer plays the big pts the best.
Yes, this was exactly my first post on this thread , which you responded to. Federer does play the big points well/best, but imo it is because of his sheer skills, which even under pressure is enough to hold up against 95% of the tour, and not all due to mental strength on big points.



I think we should focus on the actions not the words. Federer has said many contradictory things to what you said...

"I dont think nadal is better than me on clay"
"I play every point the same whether its 30-30 or 40-0"
"i think im very strong mentally"
"i can break down the will of my opponents"

etc etc.

Yeah, I think he believes each of these things that he has said ;) so yes I do think he just always speaks honestly. Including the mentally strong (he did not say strongest, though)

Im not saying he is the strongest. But i dont value hewitts mental strength over federer's. lets not forget fed's record in breakers :scared:

?
Well that is exactly what I said .... that Federer has very strong mental prowess, but unlike what Jeng originally posted I don't think he is the strongest in the game.

GonzoFed
12-02-2007, 06:00 PM
Well, considering that after the Gonzo loss at TMC, R.Federer wrote that Federer needed to get LUCKY (yes, this is not a mistake) to beat Roddick and Davydenko, it is very reasonable to conclude that she doesn't think very highly about Federer's mental strength.

Pixie
12-02-2007, 06:50 PM
richard's bh is overrated and you underrate the rest of his game.



Agree with that. I won't search for the comparison with Nalbandian as too much factors are involved as always and i find it pretty useless.

Gasquet's bh is sub-normal and there are certain things only him can do. But the fact he cant cut trajectories on high balls most of the time and the way he steps back when the opponent makes a long shot is very well-known. Actually, a lot of players use to play on the bh side vs Gasquet and the way Robredo did it at the AO this year is a perfect example of a good use of it. His slice also needs to be improved.

On the other hand, his fh is underrated : having cut the motion last year, he's now able to do certain things he can't do steadily on the bh side : returning steadily some quick first serves, using the CC angles on the run which works great on clay. Granted he gives too much short balls where he could kill the point but that's another story.

Then again, something that one doesn't talk a lot about and which is a big weapon is his forward footwork which allows him to do some great passing-shot and be in good position at the net. Gasquet isn't an amazing lateral mover but one have got to put that into balance.

Overall, I'd say his game is hard to describe because there's a lot of shades on every of his shots. And by shades i mean weaknesses/weapon.

Merton
12-02-2007, 07:13 PM
Thanks for the write-ups Leng and Stebs, I am too lazy to write analytically but I will give a sketch.

Berdych:
He has a devastating forehand that he can load from anywhere on court but these days (the last two years) he goes much less for ridiculously low percentage shots. He can also generate a lot of pace with his backhand and he has decent touch, even though he uses the slice much less than he should. Both forehand and backhand are flat shots that rely on timing, so good footwork to set him up is very important.

The serve is good but it lacks variation and it is flat, the result being that he ends up with a low 1st serve % and good returners can take advantage of this. He should develop and use a kick serve. Tomas lacks variety in the return of serve, he often reads the serve well but he tends to be overly aggressive, resulting in missed returns.

Perhaps the most important factor is footwork, he can move very well for his size (even though he is far from being Safin as he was in his god days) but he often gets lazy and his mood changes also affect this.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 07:43 PM
Agree with that. I won't search for the comparison with Nalbandian as too much factors are involved as always and i find it pretty useless.

Gasquet's bh is sub-normal and there are certain things only him can do. But the fact he cant cut trajectories on high balls most of the time and the way he steps back when the opponent makes a long shot is very well-known. Actually, a lot of players use to play on the bh side vs Gasquet and the way Robredo did it at the AO this year is a perfect example of a good use of it. His slice also needs to be improved.

On the other hand, his fh is underrated : having cut the motion last year, he's now able to do certain things he can't do steadily on the bh side : returning steadily some quick first serves, using the CC angles on the run which works great on clay. Granted he gives too much short balls where he could kill the point but that's another story.

Then again, something that one doesn't talk a lot about and which is a big weapon is his forward footwork which allows him to do some great passing-shot and be in good position at the net. Gasquet isn't an amazing lateral mover but one have got to put that into balance.

Overall, I'd say his game is hard to describe because there's a lot of shades on every of his shots. And by shades i mean weaknesses/weapon.

agree with this. You cant necessarily say that richard has the best bh or that he has the worst fh etc.

There are certain things richard can do on the bh which even nalbandian cannot do. While there are things federer can do on his bh that richard does not do so well. Overall i would say richard has one of the better bh in the game for sure, and that his fh is perhaps an average shot compared to top players.

His movement into the forecourt is very good while his lateral movement is average (he is decently quick though). He has tremendous racquet acceleration on both fh and bh as he can hit passing shots from far behind the baseline. This basically reflects all those years of practicing on clay. But he cannot take the ball early like some of the better fast court players.

Peoples
12-02-2007, 07:47 PM
I

DAVID FERRER (ESP) #5
Backhand - Another interesting shot. Very solid of course much like the FH and he tends to attack DTL with this shot and the cross court he makes a lot of UE's when he tries to be overly aggressive. His weaker wing for sure but still solid.

Excellent analysis, good job.

As for this point: you're right about the UEs on his backhand but these are more dependent on the opponent's aggression rather than his own. It's not like he tries to hit winners and then makes UEs. He certainly very rarely goes DTL. I would summarize: Ferrer has an extremely high percentage, deep backhand. It's very hard to attack it but it isn't aggressive and he doesn't attack with a down the line backhand unless pushed very wide out of position.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 07:49 PM
Yes, this was exactly my first post on this thread , which you responded to. Federer does play the big points well/best, but imo it is because of his sheer skills, which even under pressure is enough to hold up against 95% of the tour, and not all due to mental strength on big points.
.

well then i guess you have different definition of mental strength that i do. One important component is the ability to bring your best when it matters. i.e. big pts.


Yeah, I think he believes each of these things that he has said ;) so yes I do think he just always speaks honestly. Including the mentally strong (he did not say strongest, though)
.

You would be surprised at what some of these players say. Sampras is legendary for his mental strength but if you heard an interview of his after defeating goran at wimbledon, you would be shocked.

I don't remember which year, but sampras-goran played a 5 set match after which pete admitted that he felt during the match "goran would get him once they got to a 5th set". He mentioned in the interview that he was always scared to play goran because he felt like he could be served off the court. Seems strange that he would say this especially the way he owned goran.

Even nadal has said some interesting things about federer. Nadal in a candid interview basically said that his strategy to beat federer is to return every ball and make federer desperate. He feels that if federer's game is working, he cant do anything.

R.Federer
12-02-2007, 08:17 PM
Well, considering that after the Gonzo loss at TMC, R.Federer wrote that Federer needed to get LUCKY (yes, this is not a mistake) to beat Roddick and Davydenko, it is very reasonable to conclude that she doesn't think very highly about Federer's mental strength.

No no... you are mistaken.

The "lucky" part did not have to do with himself. It had do with the fact that depending on who else beat who else (which is out of his hands) and by how much, even if he won the rest of his matches he could be out. So yes, he needed luck to ensure that the others did enough damage between themselves to ensure that his fate was in his own hands. And, he did get lucky. He got into a situation where his fate did end up only in what HE did, because the others positioned themselves so poorly in the RR :lol:

If you read that post clearly, you would have seen that I said that the thing which helped him after being 0-1 down is that he played a tight match, so that if it came down to the wire, he would be in a good position in terms of # games won, # sets won, and % games won. Dig it up and verify

R.Federer
12-02-2007, 08:20 PM
You would be surprised at what some of these players say. Sampras is legendary for his mental strength but if you heard an interview of his after defeating goran at wimbledon, you would be shocked.

Nadal in a candid interview basically said that his strategy to beat federer is to return every ball and make federer desperate. He feels that if federer's game is working, he cant do anything.

Well.... I guess I am not clear on how you determine which interviews/statements are candid and which are not. I don't see why Sampras's statements come out as not candid but Nadal's would.

World Beater
12-02-2007, 08:43 PM
Well.... I guess I am not clear on how you determine which interviews/statements are candid and which are not. I don't see why Sampras's statements come out as not candid but Nadal's would.

i thought they were both candid.

Tennis players aren't mtf posters who post "expected win"..."never in doubt".

There is always a chance of losing and a fear of losing. From borg to sampras, im sure they were all shaking in their boots at one time or another expecting to lose but when it mattered they actually raised their games and won. Federer is no different.

R.Federer
12-02-2007, 09:22 PM
well then i guess you have different definition of mental strength that i do. One important component is the ability to bring your best when it matters. i.e. big pts.


Well, I am thinking more of belief. In the sense that some players may not believe very strongly on those points but even slight shakiness is not enough to offset their solid skills/gameplans/instincts.

Put another way, it is the opposite of whatever makes players choke. I have never known Hewitt to choke anything. Which is not true of some of the other elite players.

groundstroke
12-02-2007, 09:24 PM
Will read soon. :)

World Beater
12-02-2007, 09:26 PM
Well, I am thinking more of belief. In the sense that some players may not believe very strongly on those points but even slight shakiness is not enough to offset their solid skills/gameplans/instincts.

Put another way, it is the opposite of whatever makes players choke. I have never known Hewitt to choke anything. Which is not true of some of the other elite players.

:haha:

hewitt's choken on a quite a bit the last few years including matches against federer. Not a 2 sets up choke but doublefaulting at the most inopportunte times and choking on big pts. Choking that even PHM would be proud of.

stebs
12-02-2007, 11:07 PM
:haha:

hewitt's choken on a quite a bit the last few years including matches against federer. Not a 2 sets up choke but doublefaulting at the most inopportunte times and choking on big pts. Choking that even PHM would be proud of.

:yeah:

At RG he had the third set TB with Nadal on his racquet strings but made a bunch of UE's.

He also choked against Federer in Cincy.

KaxMisha
12-02-2007, 11:38 PM
Maybe too long and probably you and leng are the only two who will bother to read it.

Anyway, I bet you knew I would be in here imparting my "wisdom" :p on the rest of MTF before too long. :lol:

Hey! Give me some recognition here! ;)

On a more serious note, don't you consider Federer a baseliner? I'm refering to the "Nalbandian clearly the most talented baseliner" comment. :confused:

R.Federer
12-02-2007, 11:57 PM
:haha:

hewitt's choken on a quite a bit the last few years including matches against federer. Not a 2 sets up choke but doublefaulting at the most inopportunte times and choking on big pts. Choking that even PHM would be proud of.

And, which player was that which you had in mind as having never choked? There must be some player you think is mentally strongest. If they are that mentally strong, surely they don't choke on a big point...?

Okay, so now we are basically going to dissect what is a choke. Any point lost on a big point right? Isn't that how you are defining it?

World Beater
12-03-2007, 12:26 AM
And, which player was that which you had in mind as having never choked? There must be some player you think is mentally strongest. If they are that mentally strong, surely they don't choke on a big point...?



no. thats not the point. The point is that federer's and hewitt's records speak for themselves. everyone has choked at some point or other. Even sampras, borg, federer etc. But hewitt has choked on big pts far more than federer ever has.

i dont need to define who is the strongest player mentally in order to say federer >>> hewitt mentally.

ive seen hewitt DF on big pts too many times to call him stronger than roger.

Again, this depends on how you define mental strength. I think you define it differently than I do. There ends the matter.

World Beater
12-03-2007, 12:40 AM
:yeah:

At RG he had the third set TB with Nadal on his racquet strings but made a bunch of UE's.

He also choked against Federer in Cincy.

not only that but i could go on and on.

he played the big pts terribly against djokovic at wimbledon.

he sucked against nadal in hamburg when the going got tough. all UEs.

i remember hewitt handing breaks to federer with DFs in their encouter at wimbledon in 04 when hewitt took federer to 4 sets.

Hewitt played like a man possessed against federer in canada but still lost. But that was mostly due to federer just being in legend-mode. If hewitt could bring that type of performance to the table consistently, i could envision a top 8 spot TMC for him. But time will tell. I think hewitt's got some nice performances left in him. His body is still pretty good.

drf716
12-03-2007, 01:32 AM
their games sure are different now....or not...

Action Jackson
12-03-2007, 02:54 AM
Thanks for the write-ups Leng and Stebs, I am too lazy to write analytically but I will give a sketch.

Berdych:
He has a devastating forehand that he can load from anywhere on court but these days (the last two years) he goes much less for ridiculously low percentage shots. He can also generate a lot of pace with his backhand and he has decent touch, even though he uses the slice much less than he should. Both forehand and backhand are flat shots that rely on timing, so good footwork to set him up is very important.

The serve is good but it lacks variation and it is flat, the result being that he ends up with a low 1st serve % and good returners can take advantage of this. He should develop and use a kick serve. Tomas lacks variety in the return of serve, he often reads the serve well but he tends to be overly aggressive, resulting in missed returns.

Perhaps the most important factor is footwork, he can move very well for his size (even though he is far from being Safin as he was in his god days) but he often gets lazy and his mood changes also affect this.

His forehand is the more devastating shot, but also the one to leak more errors.

There are days when he moves very well, then there are the times where he plays Davydenko and he is shocking. Also vulnerable to the flat ball up the middle of the court because he doesn't always get around to hit the off forehand.

Mentally, he has a great 5 set record and he seems to be able to play for quite a long time, though when his game is not working. He won't take pace off the ball or give it a bit more air.

Action Jackson
12-03-2007, 03:19 AM
I wrote this on another thread about Baghdatis and will post it here.

Baghdatis

His low 1st serve percentage is a problem, not because he has a massive serve, it's the fact that he lacks variety with it. Has a high ball toss, but the serve is too flat and under pression, he is going to leak the double faults cause he doesn't have the kicker for safety.

There were signs that this was improving in the last 2 tournaments I saw Baghdatis hit more kick serves than before. He doesn't need the serve to be that fast, just instead of hitting flat ones all the time, use the sliding serve and develop a topspin serve and then keep them off balance mixed in with better placement and then he can impose his game.

Marcos has shed some kilos and still needs to be a bit fitter to improve his footwork, his anticipation is very good, but the footwork has suffered from
a lack of confidence and average fitness in recent times.

His forehand is a strength and a weakness, it's the one that is going to generate more winners and he is able to just rally normally and then with the same swing generate a significant increase of pace which surprises his opponents and gets him a lot of points. The problem with the shot is that he struggles badly when the ball is shoulder high and this is exposed by Nadal and even Roddick did it to him on clay.

The backhand is less likely to break down and hits it down the line quite well and he has good variation in his game. He likes to say "find the solution" and he can construct a point, it's just his goofy on court manner tends to have people overlook this part of the game.

Can play well on all surfaces, though on clay he struggles with the heavy ball and Andreev showed this at RG this year, where he had Marcos 5 and 6m behind the baseline hitting over his head.

ufokart
12-03-2007, 05:39 AM
Maybe too long and probably you and leng are the only two who will bother to read it.

Anyway, I bet you knew I would be in here imparting my "wisdom" :p on the rest of MTF before too long. :lol:

nah, i also enjoyed reading it very much. I follow tennis since 97 but i always payed attention just to the entertainment value and i don't really know that much about the technical aspect :lol: So this was a very interesting read for me :)

I think you underrate a percentage of MTF posters :p :lol:

stebs
12-03-2007, 07:17 AM
Hey! Give me some recognition here! ;)

On a more serious note, don't you consider Federer a baseliner? I'm refering to the "Nalbandian clearly the most talented baseliner" comment. :confused:

Kax :hatoff:

I don't mean the most talented player who is a baseliner but the player who has the most talent from the baseline and yes, Nalbandian at his very best is better from the back than Federer. Overall I would still take a top form Roger to beat Nalbandian on most courts in the world when you consider his serve and other options he has but rallies from the back Nalbandian is your man. For the record, I would've said that pre-Madrid 2007 as well (though I would've questioned whether we would ever see that form again).

Macbrother
12-03-2007, 08:35 AM
Kax :hatoff:

I don't mean the most talented player who is a baseliner but the player who has the most talent from the baseline and yes, Nalbandian at his very best is better from the back than Federer. Overall I would still take a top form Roger to beat Nalbandian on most courts in the world when you consider his serve and other options he has but rallies from the back Nalbandian is your man. For the record, I would've said that pre-Madrid 2007 as well (though I would've questioned whether we would ever see that form again).

And this based on what? Nalbandian's sublime forehand? Federer beats him in every rallying category that matters except the backhand.

leng jai
12-03-2007, 08:58 AM
The backhand is half the rallying category already. In my opinion Federer's slice backhand gives him the edge as the slightly better baseliner. Nalbandian's topspin backhand is way better than Federer's and Federer's forehand is way better than Nalbandian's.

stebs
12-03-2007, 03:39 PM
The backhand is half the rallying category already. In my opinion Federer's slice backhand gives him the edge as the slightly better baseliner. Nalbandian's topspin backhand is way better than Federer's and Federer's forehand is way better than Nalbandian's.

Nalbandians FH is closer to Federers FH than Federers BH is to Nalbandians BH. Then you are correct that Federer has the slice. It's very close.

Fedex
12-03-2007, 04:18 PM
Maybe too long and probably you and leng are the only two who will bother to read it.

Anyway, I bet you knew I would be in here imparting my "wisdom" :p on the rest of MTF before too long. :lol:

I read it and it was well worth it. :)

Maxine
12-03-2007, 04:23 PM
Kax :hatoff:

I don't mean the most talented player who is a baseliner but the player who has the most talent from the baseline and yes, Nalbandian at his very best is better from the back than Federer. Overall I would still take a top form Roger to beat Nalbandian on most courts in the world when you consider his serve and other options he has but rallies from the back Nalbandian is your man. For the record, I would've said that pre-Madrid 2007 as well (though I would've questioned whether we would ever see that form again).

This is perfectly put, Nalbandian has always been more talented from the baseline groundstrokes but he never had the variety and other aspects that Federer had.

Fedex
12-03-2007, 04:25 PM
Good description Stebs but I find you slighty harsh about Davydenko's netplay and to some extend with his serve. Nobody would say he's a great volleyer but he generally gets the job done thanks to his great footwork.

Davydenko is a terrible volleyer; Stebs' analysis was spot on. The thing is you dont even need to hit great passing shots to get the ball by him; he'll typically make unforced errors on passing shots right to him. His technique is rather poor. Easily the worst volleyer in the top 10.

Fedex
12-03-2007, 04:41 PM
Nalbandians FH is closer to Federers FH than Federers BH is to Nalbandians BH. Then you are correct that Federer has the slice. It's very close.

Stebs, would you mind doing a complete analysis of Federer's game?

Macbrother
12-03-2007, 04:49 PM
The backhand is half the rallying category already. In my opinion Federer's slice backhand gives him the edge as the slightly better baseliner. Nalbandian's topspin backhand is way better than Federer's and Federer's forehand is way better than Nalbandian's.

It's not half. Speed, movement, and defense are also critical rallying aspects and I would give Federer the edge in all of these categories. If we're talking "Fit Dave" here he has the best backhand on tour right now -- no question... but there's a reason Federer has won 12 grand slams and its' not just because he serves better or eats less donuts.

stebs
12-03-2007, 05:45 PM
Stebs, would you mind doing a complete analysis of Federer's game?

Not at all. Leng already did one but I am happy to give a second opinion.

ROGER FEDERER (SUI) #1

Forehand - A different shot than it was in '04 and '05. The Federer forehand is now more reliable, touches of genius still come fairl often but there is more topspin and less pace on this shot now although it is still a devastating weapon. Incredible disguise, inside out, up the line all looks the same until the last moment. Half volleys from the baseline with this shot in a way no other player has ever done regularly.

Backhand - the topspin BH is a solid shot cross court although shanks are far from rare. Down the line he is consistent although clean winners are rare the approach shot is good. He has the extra dimension of one of the best slice BH's ever seen and it can be used defensively to great effect and as an offensive weapon. Manipulates points off this wing but can be broken down.

Return of serve - Outrageous first serve return. Second serve return is nothing special and he can blast on the FH every now and then but on the whole plays it safe off both wings. It is fine now because he can then win the baseline rallies but this can cost him. Enjoys working off pace rather than being forced to attack a slow serve.

Netplay - Very good volleyer off both wings. High BH volleys are the best in the mens singles game by a stretch and he deals with low balls effectively as well. Great at put aways. His FH volleys are usually good but he makes more UE's off that side than the BH especially when there is little pace on the ball. Another positive are his excellent overheads, he always seems ready and very rarely mistimes the ball.

Defense - Extremely quick around the court and very clever with his defence. Off clay almost certainly the best in the game here when you consider that flick BH plus his passing shots on both wings. Struggles more against consistent depth than against consistent power. Good anticipation.

Serve - His most improved shot of 2007 was his first serve and the ace counts have grown higher. Becoming more and more reliable at pulling out aces on big points and this is important. His second serve is good and he has all the options but I also believe it to be overrated, while it is a good shot he wins so many points off the second delivery because of the rest of his game more than because of the serve itself.

Mental Strength - He is very strong mentally and has countless close wins over tough opposition recently. However, he is human in this department and has let leads slip before and no doubt will do again. Much like Nadal, confidence plays a big factor in his mental strength and that is evdient if you compare the FO final to the Wimbledon and USO finals.

Overall: The best player in the world and one of the best players of all time so of course he is going to look good compared to the rest of the world. He is not invulnerable and players with great left sided shots can trouble him but all in all, when on his game he is unbeatable and even when off his game he makes most of the tour look second rate. 11 out of 16 slams and 10 slam finals in a row basically tell the story of where he is at right now.

Fedex
12-03-2007, 06:12 PM
Great stuff stebs. :) :yeah:
Regarding his net play, I'd like to add that he has one of the best overheads in the game, if not the best. Federer is rarely fooled by lobs and his terrific athleticism make it very difficult to get one over him successfully.

stebs
12-03-2007, 06:15 PM
Great stuff stebs. :) :yeah:
Regarding his net play, I'd like to add that he has one of the best overheads in the game, if not the best. Federer is rarely fooled by lobs and his terrific athleticism make it very difficult to get one over him successfully.

Funny thing is I intended to put that but must've forgot when writing that section. I will edit it as I fully agree. Interestingly enough another player from the title, Haas, is another great overhead player.

barbadosan
12-03-2007, 06:52 PM
jeng lai and stebs: Just wanted to add my 2 cents of thanks for a really thoughtful thread.

elessar
12-03-2007, 07:37 PM
Thanks Stebs for your analysis once again :worship:

I'd just like to add that although Davydenko's volleys are dreadful for a top 10 player he's got some of the best drive volleys off both wings.

Also regarding Federer's second serve : I agree that it's not an incredible, but his kick serve on high bouncing surface is really good and it's worth to say that he has to have one of the lowest double faults ratio on the tour.

Pixie
12-03-2007, 07:44 PM
Davydenko is a terrible volleyer; Stebs' analysis was spot on. The thing is you dont even need to hit great passing shots to get the ball by him; he'll typically make unforced errors on passing shots right to him. His technique is rather poor. Easily the worst volleyer in the top 10.

This was a response to some special comment from stebs. It is very clear Davydenko has the poorest technics of the top ten when it comes to volleys. I know a lot of partners I play with who'd look more aestethic than him on the bh volley side. That been said, I've seen something like 10/15 matches this year when by being painstaking he eventually got the job done. Hence the remark to steb who was slightly harsh. But theres's no big deal and I reckon the conversation is over as it doesn't matter much.

Peoples
12-03-2007, 07:52 PM
Great stuff stebs. :) :yeah:
Regarding his net play, I'd like to add that he has one of the best overheads in the game, if not the best. Federer is rarely fooled by lobs and his terrific athleticism make it very difficult to get one over him successfully.
I disagree, many other players have better overhead smashes than Federer. Not that Federer makes a lot of mistakes - he often gives people a second shot off his smash.

leng jai
12-03-2007, 08:07 PM
Federer can get the yips on the overhead though. Case in point, AO 06 versus Haas. He missed a lot of easy smashes in that match.

FedFan_2007
12-03-2007, 08:31 PM
Yeah, but since that AO 2006 match vs Haas has Fed missed more then 5% of those?

stebs
12-03-2007, 08:44 PM
I disagree, many other players have better overhead smashes than Federer. Not that Federer makes a lot of mistakes - he often gives people a second shot off his smash.

I think he worked seriously on it earlier this year. vs Canas he was giving the Argie second chances all over the shop but since then he has hit the ball very hard, very accurate and missed almost none.

DrJules
12-03-2007, 10:04 PM
RICHARD GASQUET (FRA) #8

Forehand - Not many on the ATP tour can call the FH a weakness but Gasquet is one of them. He hits the ball with a lot of junk spin and often this shot seems quite aimless. Wehn he attacks with it inside out it is a decent shot and he does occasionally hit winerful running forehands but other than that all he can hope for is depth because the shot rarely has pace.

Backhand - Fantastic. He can defend with it, he can attack with it, he can hit passing shots, he can hit clean winners from 6 feet behind his own baseline. Technically perfect and a beautiful shot he shares the role of best BH on tour with David Nalbandian.

Return of serve - Nadal style return and it's a way of starting the point. He stands far back and aims for depth and not a lot else. When he does step in he can be aggressive especially off the BH but he tends not to do that.

Netplay - Of the new blood in the game today Gasquet is certainly on the better side as far as netplay goes. He makes some silly errors but he is technically very solid and makes most volleys that you'd expect an adept volleyer to make.

Defense - He is good at keeping a good length from deep and he is quick enough for sure. He is fantastic at hitting passing shots from deep but much like Roddick he is too quick to assume the position of defender in rallies that seem neutral.

Serve - A reasonable serve. He doesn't hit the ball particularly hard and tends to try and take control with the serve rather than to hit aces or service winners. His second serve is fairly strong and he tends to keep the ball deep but players who take the ball early can attack it as it does often end up in his opponents strike zone.

Mental Strength - A big weakness for Gasquet is his seeming refusal to fight for matches. During the end of the season this was not evident but whether this was a temprary thing or a change is unknown. He also plays extremely passively on big points.

Overall : A player with one glaring weakness and one huge strength. He will need to improve his FH if he wants to improve his ranking and his chances of a major title.



Insightful post about Gasquet.

However, when he played Nalbandian in Paris in 2007 I was certain that he was going to lose, not because of the quality of his serve, groundstrokes or volley, but because he stood too far behind the baseline and consequently forced into defense most of the time.

If he had played Nalbandian from the baseline taking the ball early on both groundstrokes and moving to the net he possibly could have won it; a strategy and option open to him because he has the hand eye coordination and ball skills to play that way. He plays a style of tennis totally unsuited to a player with so much natural ball skill.

LisaKoh
12-04-2007, 05:33 AM
That's a good point DrJules but I think the person who said that Gasquet stands so far behind the baseline because he needs extra time to set up for his shots was dead-on. I think this is a technical deficiency in his game that, unfortunately, results in him continuing to be a defensive player. He can half-volley from the baseline but those shots usually land short in the court with no pace.

stebs already mentioned this in his analysis of David Ferrer but I wanted to expound that Ferrer really doesn't like being fed junk balls such as slices. He's a rhythm player and when he's given no pace, he gets a little befuddled. Federer exploited this successfully during the TMC final and so did Fabrice during the 4th round of AO '06.

Action Jackson
12-04-2007, 05:51 AM
Insightful post about Gasquet.

However, when he played Nalbandian in Paris in 2007 I was certain that he was going to lose, not because of the quality of his serve, groundstrokes or volley, but because he stood too far behind the baseline and consequently forced into defense most of the time.

If he had played Nalbandian from the baseline taking the ball early on both groundstrokes and moving to the net he possibly could have won it; a strategy and option open to him because he has the hand eye coordination and ball skills to play that way. He plays a style of tennis totally unsuited to a player with so much natural ball skill.

Nalbandian is a poor match up for Gasquet on any surface.

Adler
12-04-2007, 06:40 AM
I think the thread title should be changed to a more general one, and probably made a sticky

Peoples
12-04-2007, 11:01 AM
I think he worked seriously on it earlier this year. vs Canas he was giving the Argie second chances all over the shop but since then he has hit the ball very hard, very accurate and missed almost none.

He does tend to give second chances and he probably will again when he gets a frustrating opponent that he's scared of, so it's by far an exaggeration to say he's got the best smash in the game. For him as he misses so few easy FH/BH putaways compared to other top players, this smash is a weakness.

stebs
12-04-2007, 02:11 PM
He does tend to give second chances and he probably will again when he gets a frustrating opponent that he's scared of, so it's by far an exaggeration to say he's got the best smash in the game. For him as he misses so few easy FH/BH putaways compared to other top players, this smash is a weakness.

Well he has played pressure matches and put away VERY tough smashes in the Wimbledon final and USO final for example and the smash is a confidence shot and I think all players will miss sometimes, believe it or not even Sampras has been known to miss vitally important smashes in his career.

I did not claim him to be the best in the game but when I think of the rest of the top players he certainly compares positively and that is what I have written. Smash is far from a weakness for sure and his movement to the ball is very, very good.

Kolya
12-05-2007, 12:53 AM
Like to add Davydenko has a good smash.

Marek.
12-05-2007, 01:29 AM
Well he has played pressure matches and put away VERY tough smashes in the Wimbledon final and USO final for example and the smash is a confidence shot and I think all players will miss sometimes, believe it or not even Sampras has been known to miss vitally important smashes in his career.

I recall a certain five set Wimbledon match where he missed a smash on break point. ;)

marcRD
12-05-2007, 04:07 AM
Great analyse by Stebs, I think tactical knowledge should be a cathegory of its own. Players like Davydenko, Roddick and Blake has lack of tactics as their greatest weakness in my opinion. Federer, Murray and Nalbandian all have great feel of how to find a way to beat their opponents, you get the feeling they are thinking during the rallies and trying to find a way to expose the weaknesses of their opponents, or find the right combinations of shots and angles during the rallies.

I also think Federers mental strength is slightly overrated, you dont have to have that much mental strength to win easy matches. Federer is no choker and he always belives in victory, but he is an emotional guy whose nerves get to him at important moments of his career. He certanly doesnt have the greatest mental strength out there, he just is good enought to win almost all important matches of his career without a fight.

Kolya
12-05-2007, 07:38 AM
Great analyse by Stebs, I think tactical knowledge should be a cathegory of its own. Players like Davydenko, Roddick and Blake has lack of tactics as their greatest weakness in my opinion. Federer, Murray and Nalbandian all have great feel of how to find a way to beat their opponents, you get the feeling they are thinking during the rallies and trying to find a way to expose the weaknesses of their opponents, or find the right combinations of shots and angles during the rallies.

Davydenko has tactics IMO. Taking the ball early is a tactic in itself. He does use the angles well for example against Nadal in Rome and Gonzalez in Shanghai.

LisaKoh
12-05-2007, 08:02 AM
A couple of years ago I would've agreed that Fed's mental strength was overrated until I realized that beneath that nice-guy exterior lies a mean bastard. I don't doubt that Feds is a nice guy or anything but he's also an incredibly stubborn and determined person who's been battle-tested after '06 and '07. The guy's a scrapper when he has to be.

Also, Davydenko perplexes me. If only he tightened the screws loose in his head, he'd have a decent h2h with Federer. Great technique but he needs to get over the mental blocks he has with certain players.

leng jai
12-05-2007, 08:17 AM
Davydenko has tactics IMO. Taking the ball early is a tactic in itself. He does use the angles well for example against Nadal in Rome and Gonzalez in Shanghai.

If taking the ball early is a tactic then James Blake is a master tactician.

Adler
12-05-2007, 09:45 AM
Exactly. Taking the ball early AND doing something with it - this is a tactic. Davydenko was great tacticially during the end of 2006 (in Paris he was breathtaking at times).

And one more thing - I disagree that Denko has a mediocre serve. When he played better he was serving like 210 km/h bombs (for a guy that size such serve is a bomb)

Action Jackson
12-05-2007, 09:51 AM
I also think Federers mental strength is slightly overrated, you dont have to have that much mental strength to win easy matches. Federer is no choker and he always belives in victory, but he is an emotional guy whose nerves get to him at important moments of his career. He certanly doesnt have the greatest mental strength out there, he just is good enought to win almost all important matches of his career without a fight.

I see where you are coming from with that comment. He doesn't have a great 5 set record, but like you say he normally wins before it gets to that stage.

Action Jackson
12-05-2007, 09:52 AM
If taking the ball early is a tactic then James Blake is a master tactician.

Blake is the Grandmaster of tactics.

Kolya
12-05-2007, 10:31 AM
If taking the ball early is a tactic then James Blake is a master tactician.

:lol: But he is too inconsistent because he just ball bashes.

Kolya is more in control.

stebs
12-05-2007, 10:59 AM
I see where you are coming from with that comment. He doesn't have a great 5 set record, but like you say he normally wins before it gets to that stage.

Thing with Federer and the five set record is he basically NEVER gets stretched to five against mediocre or second tier players. See the victory over Haas in '06 AO, if he played many five setters like that one then he'd have a very good five set record because I'd back him to win that kind of match almost every time. Look at guys like Sampras and Hewitt, they have good five set records but against the top players the records are only a little better than Federers, just they build it up by letting lesser players stretch them.

Action Jackson
12-05-2007, 01:57 PM
Thing with Federer and the five set record is he basically NEVER gets stretched to five against mediocre or second tier players. See the victory over Haas in '06 AO, if he played many five setters like that one then he'd have a very good five set record because I'd back him to win that kind of match almost every time. Look at guys like Sampras and Hewitt, they have good five set records but against the top players the records are only a little better than Federers, just they build it up by letting lesser players stretch them.

He hardly ever goes 5 sets against anyone and no I didn't expect Nadal to beat at Wimbledon, even when Rafa had 15-40 and if the situation was reversed at RG I'd say the same thing with Nadal winning.

He doesn't play them overall that well, maybe when he declines he will end up in more 5 set matches.

stebs
12-05-2007, 02:13 PM
He hardly ever goes 5 sets against anyone and no I didn't expect Nadal to beat at Wimbledon, even when Rafa had 15-40 and if the situation was reversed at RG I'd say the same thing with Nadal winning.

He doesn't play them overall that well, maybe when he declines he will end up in more 5 set matches.

I'm not arguing he is special in them but if he did play weaker opponents he would almost certainly have a + record.

Recent five setters:

Nadal, Nadal, Haas, Nalbandian, Nadal, Safin, Agassi.

Four victories out of these seven matches. Not bad at all and Haas is clearly the weak link so taking him out it is 3/6 against really world class top 5 opposition.

krystlel
12-05-2007, 02:39 PM
:lol: If that was someone else's record, Haas would be considered top opposition especially considering how well Haas played that match.

marcRD
12-05-2007, 02:40 PM
I'm not arguing he is special in them but if he did play weaker opponents he would almost certainly have a + record.

Recent five setters:

Nadal, Nadal, Haas, Nalbandian, Nadal, Safin, Agassi.

Four victories out of these seven matches. Not bad at all and Haas is clearly the weak link so taking him out it is 3/6 against really world class top 5 opposition.

Yes, but he choked in the 3 5 setters that he lost. I agree with you that he is better than his 5 set record tells you he is because only great players take him to a 5th set (except Haas), but you have to agree that his level dropps when he is forced to play a 5th set against a great player and you feel he is no longer the favorite.

The match against Haas hardly counts at all because Federer must have felt that it was a match he should win easily and therefor never felt a reason to feel worried about the outcome of the match. Against Nadal in Miami, Nadal was exhausted in the last 2 sets and there was never any doubt that Federer would win the 5th set.

I remember that match against Agassi in USOPEN 2004, ofcourse Agassi was quite old but Federer was really in trouble and his game had more problems than Agassi adjusting to the wind. He really served big against Agassi in that 5th set and lifted his game when he needed to. So I give full credit to Federers nerves in that match and in the wimbledon final against Nadal.

Even then in both matches he was fairly lucky to escape from some really difficult situations with some big serves, except the serve the rest of his game was shaky in both these 5th sets, he just cant relax his muscles in the 5th set and doesnt play his usual relaxed game, Nadal and Hewitt almost play better in 5th sets, they get all fired up and their game suits 5th sets alot better as it is not based on perfect timing and finding creative solutions to problems, but just hanging in there until their opponent game breaks down.

krystlel
12-05-2007, 02:54 PM
:lol: This reminds me of 2005 when Federer dug himself out of a hole on countless occasions and won many close matches, yet so many people were focused on his losses and "chokes" where he didn't even show a noticeable drop in level in most of them where he had a winning position. A loss from a slight winning position does not automatically mean a choke and if we're being picky and calling every lost match a choke where a player doesn't rise to the occasion and plays at the same level then we're being very picky and in fact that's not a choke at all.

Marek.
12-06-2007, 02:22 AM
He didn't really choke in the Safin match. He didn't play the best shot on match point but he played quite well in that fifth set. Some people forget he saved six match points and fell over trying to save the last one.

leng jai
12-06-2007, 05:35 AM
Federer's backhand costs him the 4th set tie break. Some terrible frames.

R.Federer
12-06-2007, 05:40 AM
:lol: This reminds me of 2005 when Federer dug himself out of a hole on countless occasions and won many close matches, yet so many people were focused on his losses and "chokes" where he didn't even show a noticeable drop in level in most of them where he had a winning position. A loss from a slight winning position does not automatically mean a choke and if we're being picky and calling every lost match a choke where a player doesn't rise to the occasion and plays at the same level then we're being very picky and in fact that's not a choke at all.
Yes but here many seem to think that double faulting on matchpoint must be choking, although of course some of these players are plenty brave, just going for a little extra to save the match. Hewitt is being labelled a choker for this reason. That is funny, to think of Hewitt as a bottler.

Macbrother
12-06-2007, 06:02 AM
I also think Federers mental strength is slightly overrated, you dont have to have that much mental strength to win easy matches. Federer is no choker and he always belives in victory, but he is an emotional guy whose nerves get to him at important moments of his career. He certanly doesnt have the greatest mental strength out there, he just is good enought to win almost all important matches of his career without a fight.

I'm sorry but this post contains so much ignorance it's baffling. What do you know about the mental strength required to win any match, easy, or otherwise? You think Federer just has an on/off switch to hit a forehand in? In all of those matches, those grand slam finals, there is a multitude of break, game, and set points, most of them big ones. Guess who comes out on top of those 90% of the time? Everyone in the top 100 has 'big' shots. The difference between the great ones and the average joe is the ability to execute -- and that's where your mental strength comes in.

Furthermore, you think it's mentally easy to beat someone you're 'supposed' to beat? The pressure is absolutely massive on Federer, who, if he doesn't win 3/4 Grand slams, it's a bad year.

I'm sorry, but it's truly laughable to consider a 12 grand slam winner someone of only above average mental strength -- and based on the most superficial/arbitrary of reasons. I rate Federer below Sampras, Borg, and Nadal (on clay only) in terms of mental strength but he is most certainly in the top 10, all time, in this category.

leng jai
12-06-2007, 06:25 AM
I'm sorry but this post contains so much ignorance it's baffling. What do you know about the mental strength required to win any match, easy, or otherwise? You think Federer just has an on/off switch to hit a forehand in? In all of those matches, those grand slam finals, there is a multitude of break, game, and set points, most of them big ones. Guess who comes out on top of those 90% of the time? Everyone in the top 100 has 'big' shots. The difference between the great ones and the average joe is the ability to execute -- and that's where your mental strength comes in.

Furthermore, you think it's mentally easy to beat someone you're 'supposed' to beat? The pressure is absolutely massive on Federer, who, if he doesn't win 3/4 Grand slams, it's a bad year.

I'm sorry, but it's truly laughable to consider a 12 grand slam winner someone of only above average mental strength -- and based on the most superficial/arbitrary of reasons. I rate Federer below Sampras, Borg, and Nadal (on clay only) in terms of mental strength but he is most certainly in the top 10, all time, in this category.

Spot on.

krystlel
12-06-2007, 11:28 AM
Yes but here many seem to think that double faulting on matchpoint must be choking, although of course some of these players are plenty brave, just going for a little extra to save the match. Hewitt is being labelled a choker for this reason. That is funny, to think of Hewitt as a bottler.
I have watched quite a number of recent Hewitt matches and I think he's a bottler at least at the moment. Not so much double faulting on match point because there have been occasions where he goes for a big second serve, but I have seen him make a string of weak errors at important stages of the match and it's happened enough times to know that he gets tight and it's not a coincidence - Djokovic at Wimbledon and Karlovic in Tokyo springs to mind.

But on Federer, I rate him highly in the mental strength area and far more often than not he comes up with the goods on the big points.

marcRD
12-06-2007, 03:39 PM
I'm sorry but this post contains so much ignorance it's baffling. What do you know about the mental strength required to win any match, easy, or otherwise? You think Federer just has an on/off switch to hit a forehand in? In all of those matches, those grand slam finals, there is a multitude of break, game, and set points, most of them big ones. Guess who comes out on top of those 90% of the time? Everyone in the top 100 has 'big' shots. The difference between the great ones and the average joe is the ability to execute -- and that's where your mental strength comes in.

Furthermore, you think it's mentally easy to beat someone you're 'supposed' to beat? The pressure is absolutely massive on Federer, who, if he doesn't win 3/4 Grand slams, it's a bad year.

I'm sorry, but it's truly laughable to consider a 12 grand slam winner someone of only above average mental strength -- and based on the most superficial/arbitrary of reasons. I rate Federer below Sampras, Borg, and Nadal (on clay only) in terms of mental strength but he is most certainly in the top 10, all time, in this category.

Sorry, you are the one who are not really beeing reasonable here. One thing is to save break points when you need to against players you know you are going to beat easily like Roddick, Davydenko or Blake, another thing is to take one break point or save break points in a match when you know every break point will be crucial like against Nadal in Roland Garros where Federer had 1/17 break points converted.

If you see at the statistics of this year Federer is surprisingly behind Nadal in break points saved even with his much better serve. In break points converted he is not even top 20, so how is he so special in the way he saves break points and converts bps compared to everybody else? If anything a player who is one of the best both at holding his serve and breaking his opponent, should be a top player at handling bps aswell.

Winning easy if you are much better than your opponent is not as hard as you make it sound and doesnt require that much mental strength, ofcourse if you are weak mentaly you can still lose these matches but I am not claiming that Federer is weak, just not that great as some claim him to be. Defeating an opponent better than you requires alot of mental strength and that would be beating Nadal on clay. Beating an opponent who is outplaying you require incredible mental strength and I dont see Federer beeing outplayed that often, if he is beeing outplayed his confidence often goes down and he plays worse than he uses to.

Macbrother
12-06-2007, 05:41 PM
Sorry, you are the one who are not really beeing reasonable here. One thing is to save break points when you need to against players you know you are going to beat easily like Roddick, Davydenko or Blake, another thing is to take one break point or save break points in a match when you know every break point will be crucial like against Nadal in Roland Garros where Federer had 1/17 break points converted.

If you see at the statistics of this year Federer is surprisingly behind Nadal in break points saved even with his much better serve. In break points converted he is not even top 20, so how is he so special in the way he saves break points and converts bps compared to everybody else? If anything a player who is one of the best both at holding his serve and breaking his opponent, should be a top player at handling bps aswell.

Re-read my post: I never said Federer was super special on converting break points, and this, frankly, is you taking another arbitrary statistic and trying to apply it as a form of mental weakness. You can have a 1/100 break point conversion, that's completely irrelevant as long as you win the match. Guess what? Federer won 3 out of 4 slams, and went to the other final, and has went to 10 straight of them. Guess what? That's a ton of big points, break, or otherwise, that Federer almost always got the better of. That's mental toughness, at the absolute highest stage.

Winning easy if you are much better than your opponent is not as hard as you make it sound and doesnt require that much mental strength, ofcourse if you are weak mentaly you can still lose these matches but I am not claiming that Federer is weak, just not that great as some claim him to be. Defeating an opponent better than you requires alot of mental strength and that would be beating Nadal on clay. Beating an opponent who is outplaying you require incredible mental strength and I dont see Federer beeing outplayed that often, if he is beeing outplayed his confidence often goes down and he plays worse than he uses to.

Once again, this is ignorance. Are you out there? Please, show me your grand slam results, or even less, show me any qualification you have to make this statement that beating (what you call) a "lesser opponent" doesn't require mental strength. Hell, my nerves can get frayed at a meaningless 3.5 level tennis league match, I can't imagine what these guys go through.

I know you didn't say Federer was mentally weak, but you are claiming its' not 'great' or am I not understanding you here? There's a reason Federer isn't outplayed very often, and it's because of his feet, his arms, and most importantly, his brain. Every single shot, every single serve, every decision made out there requires enormous focus and concentration, multiply that by 100 when you have 20,000 fans, commentators and other tennis pros who expect you play perfectly in every match.

Yeah, Federer struggles against Nadal on clay, however, Nadal simply plays a superior game than he does, as you would say, he gets outplayed. Why is this a function of mental strength? Sampras got thrashed at Roland Garros one more than one occasion, I don't see you knocking on him do you? What about Borg who lost 4 U.S. Open finals? Sometimes you just lose to the better player, that's all.

R.Federer
12-06-2007, 06:27 PM
I have watched quite a number of recent Hewitt matches and I think he's a bottler at least at the moment. Not so much double faulting on match point because there have been occasions where he goes for a big second serve, but I have seen him make a string of weak errors at important stages of the match and it's happened enough times to know that he gets tight and it's not a coincidence - Djokovic at Wimbledon and Karlovic in Tokyo springs to mind.

But on Federer, I rate him highly in the mental strength area and far more often than not he comes up with the goods on the big points.

Yes Federer is superlative in mental strength, but it is subjective as to whether he is the best there is. Some people think so, some don't. Federer has enough game, enough variety that even slightly mental wobbles on crucial points can leave him still in the point 9 out of 10 times. It is impossible to distinguish between the two things. Beyond that people have different opinions on this, as they do on other things as well.

marcRD
12-06-2007, 07:00 PM
Re-read my post: I never said Federer was super special on converting break points, and this, frankly, is you taking another arbitrary statistic and trying to apply it as a form of mental weakness. You can have a 1/100 break point conversion, that's completely irrelevant as long as you win the match. Guess what? Federer won 3 out of 4 slams, and went to the other final, and has went to 10 straight of them. Guess what? That's a ton of big points, break, or otherwise, that Federer almost always got the better of. That's mental toughness, at the absolute highest stage.

Well, Federer most often doesnt have alot of break points against him and he does seem to have the ability to get to deuce and break points on his opponents serve again and again until he breaks his serve. It is not like Sampras who usually had one chanse to break his opponent and usually took his chanse.


Once again, this is ignorance. Are you out there? Please, show me your grand slam results, or even less, show me any qualification you have to make this statement that beating (what you call) a "lesser opponent" doesn't require mental strength. Hell, my nerves can get frayed at a meaningless 3.5 level tennis league match, I can't imagine what these guys go through.

I play tennis just like you and I know the differense between playing against much weaker opponents than you, players at the same level and players better than you. When you face a break point against someone you own, there is no feeling this point will decide the match and you are relaxed because you know that you can break him back by will. Players at the same level as you make you very tense and players who constantly outplays you, will kill your nerves at important moments, it is like if this is the only chanse you have to win a set and you most often blow it. This is how Roddick feels when he gets into a tiebreak against Federer, a player who can control his emotions at such moments are really strong mentally.


I know you didn't say Federer was mentally weak, but you are claiming its' not 'great' or am I not understanding you here? There's a reason Federer isn't outplayed very often, and it's because of his feet, his arms, and most importantly, his brain. Every single shot, every single serve, every decision made out there requires enormous focus and concentration, multiply that by 100 when you have 20,000 fans, commentators and other tennis pros who expect you play perfectly in every match.

The greatest differense between Federer today and Federer yesterday is shot selection. It is not his mental strength that has by a miracle got improved from beeing terrible to beeing alltime great, but his tactical mind. Federer before had horrible shot selection, today he is one of the most tactical players out there, all the times using different strategies to approach different kind of opponents.


Yeah, Federer struggles against Nadal on clay, however, Nadal simply plays a superior game than he does, as you would say, he gets outplayed. Why is this a function of mental strength? Sampras got thrashed at Roland Garros one more than one occasion, I don't see you knocking on him do you? What about Borg who lost 4 U.S. Open finals? Sometimes you just lose to the better player, that's all.

Federer is a great player on clay while Sampras was beyond limited. Sampras once said that he never choked in his career but only lost because he was outplayed, which is definetly true. We can still find so many moments of overachieving on clay from Sampras, like coming back from 0-2 against Courier on clay in RG 96 and defeating Bruguera in another 5 set epic the same year in RG. In RG 91 Sampras came back from 0-2 against Muster on clay in RG, so there where moments of Sampras doing things he shouldnt be able to do.

I cant see Sampras blowing a 4-2 lead in Rome against anyone like Federer did. Neither can I see Sampras choking serving 5-2 in the AO tiebreak against Safin (and Federer did choke! Failing to serve out at 5-2 in a tiebreak is choking!) or 30-0 against Nalbandian in master cup.

Ofcourse the chokes are not that many for Federer, but that may be becaus he is so few times put in positions where he can choke. Beyond those few but quite important chokes Federer has to prove he can overachieve to be claimed to have such a strong mentality, Borg overachieved in wimbledon over and over again, Laver overachieved by winning RG 2 times, Sampras overachieved often in his career but surely his last grand slam is an amazing example of overachieving.

GonzoFed
12-06-2007, 08:04 PM
Well, Federer most often doesnt have alot of break points against him and he does seem to have the ability to get to deuce and break points on his opponents serve again and again until he breaks his serve. It is not like Sampras who usually had one chanse to break his opponent and usually took his chanse.



I play tennis just like you and I know the differense between playing against much weaker opponents than you, players at the same level and players better than you. When you face a break point against someone you own, there is no feeling this point will decide the match and you are relaxed because you know that you can break him back by will. Players at the same level as you make you very tense and players who constantly outplays you, will kill your nerves at important moments, it is like if this is the only chanse you have to win a set and you most often blow it. This is how Roddick feels when he gets into a tiebreak against Federer, a player who can control his emotions at such moments are really strong mentally.



The greatest differense between Federer today and Federer yesterday is shot selection. It is not his mental strength that has by a miracle got improved from beeing terrible to beeing alltime great, but his tactical mind. Federer before had horrible shot selection, today he is one of the most tactical players out there, all the times using different strategies to approach different kind of opponents.



Federer is a great player on clay while Sampras was beyond limited. Sampras once said that he never choked in his career but only lost because he was outplayed, which is definetly true. We can still find so many moments of overachieving on clay from Sampras, like coming back from 0-2 against Courier on clay in RG 96 and defeating Bruguera in another 5 set epic the same year in RG. In RG 91 Sampras came back from 0-2 against Muster on clay in RG, so there where moments of Sampras doing things he shouldnt be able to do.

I cant see Sampras blowing a 4-2 lead in Rome against anyone like Federer did. Neither can I see Sampras choking serving 5-2 in the AO tiebreak against Safin (and Federer did choke! Failing to serve out at 5-2 in a tiebreak is choking!) or 30-0 against Nalbandian in master cup.

Ofcourse the chokes are not that many for Federer, but that may be becaus he is so few times put in positions where he can choke. Beyond those few but quite important chokes Federer has to prove he can overachieve to be claimed to have such a strong mentality, Borg overachieved in wimbledon over and over again, Laver overachieved by winning RG 2 times, Sampras overachieved often in his career but surely his last grand slam is an amazing example of overachieving.

OK.are you saying that Sampras never choked in his career? would you be willing to bet some money on it?

Marek.
12-06-2007, 09:05 PM
95 AO final - Sampras failed to serve out the third set tie-break but people will of course say it was because Agassi played great to get back into it (which he did). If the same situation was for Federer those people will say it was a choke. Even if Federer was up in those matches against Nalbandian and Safin you have to give credit to them as they played well to come back. Federer is always in complete control of the match even if it's hard for some people to realize this.

And on the Rome Final: Sampras was up 3-0 in the fifth set against Korda in the 97 US Open yet went on to lose it in a tie-break (which he double faulted in).

Gulliver
12-06-2007, 09:05 PM
I have never understood "over-achieved". You achieve, or you don't. It's like under-achieve. Both categories are set against someone else's arbitrary standards.

Same with "choke". Same with "squandering" break points, in particular. No account taken of aces bombed down to save them, or that there were, say, 8 in one game not converted and none in the rest of the match, or going for a winner and just missing.

Marek.
12-06-2007, 09:08 PM
I have never understood "over-achieved". You achieve, or you don't. It's like under-achieve. Both categories are set against someone else's arbitrary standards.

Same with "choke". Same with "squandering" break points, in particular. No account taken of aces bombed down to save them, or that there were, say, 8 in one game not converted and none in the rest of the match, or going for a winner and just missing.

:yeah: to some people, if player A has triple match point but player B hit's five clean winners to break back, it would be a choke just because there were match points.

elessar
12-06-2007, 09:10 PM
I play tennis just like you and I know the differense between playing against much weaker opponents than you, players at the same level and players better than you. When you face a break point against someone you own, there is no feeling this point will decide the match and you are relaxed because you know that you can break him back by will. Players at the same level as you make you very tense and players who constantly outplays you, will kill your nerves at important moments, it is like if this is the only chanse you have to win a set and you most often blow it. This is how Roddick feels when he gets into a tiebreak against Federer, a player who can control his emotions at such moments are really strong mentally.

So according to you Nadal's not that strong mentally on clay because he's so much better than his opponents...

The greatest differense between Federer today and Federer yesterday is shot selection. It is not his mental strength that has by a miracle got improved from beeing terrible to beeing alltime great, but his tactical mind. Federer before had horrible shot selection, today he is one of the most tactical players out there, all the times using different strategies to approach different kind of opponents.

Federer was a mental midget before that's a fact : he never really fought when he was down an was incapable of keeping his temper. I don't know if I'd say he's an all time great in terms of mental strengh but no one can deny he has improved tremendously.

Federer is a great player on clay while Sampras was beyond limited. Sampras once said that he never choked in his career but only lost because he was outplayed, which is definetly true. We can still find so many moments of overachieving on clay from Sampras, like coming back from 0-2 against Courier on clay in RG 96 and defeating Bruguera in another 5 set epic the same year in RG. In RG 91 Sampras came back from 0-2 against Muster on clay in RG, so there where moments of Sampras doing things he shouldnt be able to do.

I cant see Sampras blowing a 4-2 lead in Rome against anyone like Federer did. Neither can I see Sampras choking serving 5-2 in the AO tiebreak against Safin (and Federer did choke! Failing to serve out at 5-2 in a tiebreak is choking!) or 30-0 against Nalbandian in master cup.

First of all everybody chokes, no matter what Sampras said, it may have happened very rarely but it has happened to everybody (and yes that includes Borg too;) ) And you really are kidding yourself if you think that Sampras would beat Nadal on clay, even if he was up 4-2 in the 5th:rolleyes:

Of course the chokes are not that many for Federer, but that may be becaus he is so few times put in positions where he can choke

Being in a choking position just means you're ahead in the score, which unless I'm mistaken happens farely often to Federer :scratch: It's amazing the rose tainted glasses people have when looking at past players. I really think Sampras and especially Borg were a little tougher mentally than Roger, but with 12 GS it's ridiculous to think he's nothing special in that department

World Beater
12-06-2007, 09:50 PM
OK.are you saying that Sampras never choked in his career? would you be willing to bet some money on it?

he has choked more than once too.. these are bigger chokes than even federer was capable of.

GonzoFed
12-06-2007, 10:07 PM
he has choked more than once too.. these are bigger chokes than even federer was capable of.

I know mate ;) (two words: Corretja.Grass. and a few others have been mentioned in other posts in this thread). Just trying to get marcRd to pull a "Kuhne" and receive easy money. Didn't work :sad:

marcRD
12-06-2007, 11:28 PM
So according to you Nadal's not that strong mentally on clay because he's so much better than his opponents...

Nadals easy victories on clay are no indication of amazing mental strength. Mental strength is proven when you can actually lose against your opponent. I think the wimbledon final and that match against Agassi in USOPEN 2004 are the only matches of that kind that Federer really stepped up and controlled his nerves.


Federer was a mental midget before that's a fact : he never really fought when he was down an was incapable of keeping his temper. I don't know if I'd say he's an all time great in terms of mental strengh but no one can deny he has improved tremendously....

He has greatly improved, but I still think it is the shot selection which is his greatest improvement from his young days.



First of all everybody chokes, no matter what Sampras said, it may have happened very rarely but it has happened to everybody (and yes that includes Borg too;) ) And you really are kidding yourself if you think that Sampras would beat Nadal on clay, even if he was up 4-2 in the 5th:rolleyes:

Maybe I exagerated a little, what I should have said is that Sampras wouldnt have choked in such an obvious way that Federer did in that match and belive me when I say that he would get 1st serves in.



Being in a choking position just means you're ahead in the score, which unless I'm mistaken happens farely often to Federer :scratch: It's amazing the rose tainted glasses people have when looking at past players. I really think Sampras and especially Borg were a little tougher mentally than Roger, but with 12 GS it's ridiculous to think he's nothing special in that department

All 3 GOAT contenders of the open era (including Laver) where mentaly stronger than Federer. It is difficult to compare Federer to players who have accomplished less than him, because their skills are so much inferior to Federer, like Nadal and Hewitt or old champs like Edberg (won 2 of the most important matches in his career against a player who had his numbers). But I am fairly sure that Hewitt and Nadal win depend alot more on their mental strength than Federer.

World Beater
12-07-2007, 03:22 AM
I know mate ;) (two words: Corretja.Grass. and a few others have been mentioned in other posts in this thread). Just trying to get marcRd to pull a "Kuhne" and receive easy money. Didn't work :sad:

sampras also had MP in the world championships against cough * corretja* cough and lost indoors.

Sampras was still closer to his prime than the match he lost on grass to corretja.

karma is a bitch especially since correjta choked against pete at the usopen.

Macbrother
12-07-2007, 03:40 AM
Elessar responded pretty good to the points you raised so I'll just go from here:

Nadals easy victories on clay are no indication of amazing mental strength. Mental strength is proven when you can actually lose against your opponent. I think the wimbledon final and that match against Agassi in USOPEN 2004 are the only matches of that kind that Federer really stepped up and controlled his nerves.

This isn't a playground nor is it league tennis. Everyone you play against in this field you can lose to, or did the Canas/Volandri losses mean nothing? This is world class tennis with depth 1-100 that has not been seen before, Federer is not some god icon that beats players automatically, there's a reason they play the matches.


He has greatly improved, but I still think it is the shot selection which is his greatest improvement from his young days.

And this based on what ?


Maybe I exagerated a little, what I should have said is that Sampras wouldnt have choked in such an obvious way that Federer did in that match and belive me when I say that he would get 1st serves in.

More than a little, Sampras is human, he tightened up in plenty of matches, not the least of which his match with Federer in '01. Name any other mental 'giants' and I can name plenty of blown matches. People tighten up, it's human nature. Either you are holding Federer to a higher standard, or you have nostalgic glasses concerning the past. Which is it?


All 3 GOAT contenders of the open era (including Laver) where mentaly stronger than Federer. It is difficult to compare Federer to players who have accomplished less than him, because their skills are so much inferior to Federer, like Nadal and Hewitt or old champs like Edberg (won 2 of the most important matches in his career against a player who had his numbers). But I am fairly sure that Hewitt and Nadal win depend alot more on their mental strength than Federer.

Again, based on what criteria? You're entire argument is based on the fact that you percieve Federer to have so much more talent and therefore he should win matches by rote, completely neglecting why he's able to play his absolute best tennis when it matters. This thought that Federer 'knows' he's not going to lose to players is purely your imagination.

Federerhingis
12-07-2007, 06:17 AM
Nalbandians FH is closer to Federers FH than Federers BH is to Nalbandians BH. Then you are correct that Federer has the slice. It's very close.

Precisely, David Nalbandian's forehand is very much underrated because his backhand seems so much better, it is an exquisite shot I must admit. ;) However, I can't bare when he makes Federer look like a fool, toying around with him with that lethal backhand of his. :mad: :o :lol:

Nonetheless, Nalbandian can take the ball very early with his forehand and he can change the direction of the ball quite effectively from both sides even with his less famous forehand. In fact it is this fact that hurts Federer so much, that Nalbandian can change the direction of the ball some and even most of the time therefore David can wrong foot Federer with this tactic.

This combination of tactics and ability is what makes David so lethal, his backhand is almost immaculate when it is on, his return off this wing is just baffling some times, he can almost be as effective with his forehand and this makes his game so impenetrable, except for his second serve, his first serve was very much questionable, but he always could place it very well and it seems to have improved quite a bit as of late.

marcRD
12-07-2007, 02:12 PM
Again, based on what criteria? You're entire argument is based on the fact that you percieve Federer to have so much more talent and therefore he should win matches by rote, completely neglecting why he's able to play his absolute best tennis when it matters. This thought that Federer 'knows' he's not going to lose to players is purely your imagination.

Federer is very concentrated and takes all his matches very seriously, that is ofcourse part of mental strength too. But I am questioning Federers nerves and not his ability to be mentaly ready to find a way to win matches easily. You cant possibly say that Federers nerves has been tested so many times in his career and to me the 5th set is the ultimate test of how shaky or strong a player is when he can lose the match anytime and beeing down 0-2 or 1-2 is to me where a players fighting abilities are shown or not.

My criteria? 5 set record is a good criteria:

5 set records:

Borg 23-4
Nadal 9-3
Sampras 33-15
Hewitt 25-10
Federer 10-10
Ivanisevic 25-11

KaxMisha
12-07-2007, 02:36 PM
Federer is very concentrated and takes all his matches very seriously, that is ofcourse part of mental strength too. But I am questioning Federers nerves and not his ability to be mentaly ready to find a way to win matches easily. You cant possibly say that Federers nerves has been tested so many times in his career and to me the 5th set is the ultimate test of how shaky or strong a player is when he can lose the match anytime and beeing down 0-2 or 1-2 is to me where a players fighting abilities are shown or not.

My criteria? 5 set record is a good criteria:

5 set records:

Borg 23-4
Nadal 9-3
Sampras 33-15
Hewitt 25-10
Federer 10-10
Ivanisevic 25-11

While I do agree with you that Federer is not as mentally strong as most make him out to be, I very much have to question fifth set records as a measure of mental fortitude, because going by that, Ivanisevic is mentally stronger than Sampras, as 25/(25+11) > 33/(33+15) and of course, we all know that Ivanisevic was somewhat of a choker and certainly was not mentally stronger than Sampras or even Federer.

stebs
12-07-2007, 03:42 PM
While I do agree with you that Federer is not as mentally strong as most make him out to be, I very much have to question fifth set records as a measure of mental fortitude, because going by that, Ivanisevic is mentally stronger than Sampras, as 25/(25+11) > 33/(33+15) and of course, we all know that Ivanisevic was somewhat of a choker and certainly was not mentally stronger than Sampras or even Federer.

That's seeing a sing of weakness in the argument and although 5 set matches do hold some kind of importance in this issue lets eee some of the matches Sampras won over five sets when near his prime 93-01:

Kafelnikov '94
Larsson '95
Martin, Novak, Corretja '96
Hrbaty, Costa, Korda '97
Marin '99
Black '00
Kauffmann, Chela, Cowan '01

Now, some of these are good players not to be laughed at. Kafelnikov became very good, but was #60 in the world vs Sampras. Larsson was a good player, but certainly no better than the Hewitts and Roddicks that Federer dispatches over and over again. Martin the same as before and Corretja off clay nothing special. Similar with the rest. Most not players to laugh at but certainly Federer would beat the equivalents of guys in straights practically every time.

I prefer tiebreaks as a way of determining mental strength because:

1. There is a greater # of breakers than five setters to analyse and
2. Playing a fifth set is largely to do with skill a lot of the time, say you let your concentration slip ala Federer/Haas AO '06, Federer won that match eventually because he stepped up in a systematic way, not because of mental strength. Tie breaks are quicker and over a period of a few points the differences in skill between most players on the ATP is very small.

As of now, Federer has a better TB record. Plus his GS final TB record which is currently 13-2 :eek as opposed to Sampras mediocre 8-6. For someone famous for being great at that kind of thing 8-6 looks very average when compared to 13-2. All in all, in grand slam play, Federer is an amazing 57-25 in GS TB's, better than 2 to 1. Sampras again comes up short, 94-62, an imprssive record but not when compared with the Swiss'.

Now I would still give Sampras the edge mentally due to a mix of great TB skills and five set skills but only just. Sampras choked often compared to what people think of him and almost certainly as much as Federer and Federer has a VERY good rate of BP's saved. Probably a little lower than Sampras but the bigger the serve the higher the rate is usually true and Sampras has an advantage. The thing that I think gives it to Sampras is his BP conversion rate which is something Federer struggles with.

However, this is a VERY VERY close thing and I almost called it a dead heat.

Macbrother
12-07-2007, 04:02 PM
Precisely Stebs. Why 5-set records alone are a bad indicator has already been done to death. Goran was infamous with "good goran, bad goran" and the fact that despite that he has a 5-set record better than Sampras says it all. And the fact that Sampras allowed guys like Barry Cowan (ranked in the 170s at the time) to hang around for 5 sets is actually supposed to credit his mental strength? And indeed, I had even forgotten about that sparkling GS TB record. Anyone who could see that and say this guy isn't great mentally I don't know what to say.

I too rank Sampras just above Federer, but just because of the sheer grittiness he has shown at times (AO '95, Corretja '96, his FO SF run that same year) that I haven't seen out of Federer, but again, not by very much at all.


While I do agree with you that Federer is not as mentally strong as most make him out to be, I very much have to question fifth set records as a measure of mental fortitude, because going by that, Ivanisevic is mentally stronger than Sampras, as 25/(25+11) > 33/(33+15) and of course, we all know that Ivanisevic was somewhat of a choker and certainly was not mentally stronger than Sampras or even Federer.

I'm curious then, how strong do you think 'most' make him out to be and where do you rank him?

Gulliver
12-07-2007, 10:03 PM
As best of five sets is now being restricted to the GS (ignore TMC/DC) I took a look at how many 5 setters Federer and Sampras have had since starting on the tour up to and including 2007 and 1997.

In that period they both entered 34 GS. Sampras played 25 five setters (W21 L4). Federer played 12 five setters (W8 L4). After they won their first GS, Sampras played 20 (W17 L3), Federer played 4 (W3 L1).

Their experience in the different GS is interesting as well (at least to me :) )
AO Sampras 7 (W7), Federer 4 (W1 L3)
RG Sampras 6 (W5 L1), Federer 2 (W2)
Wb Sampras 3 (W3), Federer 4 (W3 L1)
USO Sampras 9 (W6 L3), Federer 2 (W2)

So Sampras played twice as many five set matches as Federer and had 10 GS titles by the end of 1997, compared with 12 for Federer at the end of 2007. For all his big serve, Sampras was not tough enough to close out an opponent as often as Federer did in straights. So killer instinct (the silent assassin) which is mental toughness in my book, beats sweating it out over five sets and then winning. Who says that Federer needs to be tested for grittiness only by playing 5 sets?

KaxMisha
12-08-2007, 12:40 AM
Precisely Stebs. Why 5-set records alone are a bad indicator has already been done to death. Goran was infamous with "good goran, bad goran" and the fact that despite that he has a 5-set record better than Sampras says it all. And the fact that Sampras allowed guys like Barry Cowan (ranked in the 170s at the time) to hang around for 5 sets is actually supposed to credit his mental strength? And indeed, I had even forgotten about that sparkling GS TB record. Anyone who could see that and say this guy isn't great mentally I don't know what to say.

I too rank Sampras just above Federer, but just because of the sheer grittiness he has shown at times (AO '95, Corretja '96, his FO SF run that same year) that I haven't seen out of Federer, but again, not by very much at all.



I'm curious then, how strong do you think 'most' make him out to be and where do you rank him?

I think most make him out to be one of the mentally strongest ever, though I might be wrong. Where I'd put him... Well, that's hard to answer really, because I'm not sure what definition of "mental strength" we are working with. If we see it in the broadest sense, this is my take on the matter:
Federer is extremely strong in that he very rarely chokes (because as has been said, although he has chokedon occasion, so have all players and that does not mean much in the grand scheme of things) and I would put him near the very top in that department. However, Federer certainly is not as mentally strong as many others in matches where he is not the favorite (look no further than this year's French Open final - his break point conversion rate was total rubbish and kind of pathetic for a world number one, especially considering that Nadal has a pretty mediocre serve - heck, just swinging wildly on all returns on those break points would hand him more breaks than he got). Federer's mental strength seems to be based on him thinking "I know I can do this - I've done it a thousand times before and I know I am good enough. Why should I doubt myself?" In the situations where he is yet to "have done it" (hahaha, I just realized this is an unintentional sexual reference - sorry for the poor humor, but I'm leaving it as it is :devil:), he is for from as strong mentally. An example of the opposite would be Roddick, who always does everything he can to beat Federer, even though he never succeeds. He does not seem to get discouraged as much as Federer by this. I also want to point out that he is very strong mentally if he has lost the last match to a player, yet has beaten the player many times before (like against Djokovic at the US Open) and does not seem to get into the "oh my, I lost the last match - I'm in trouble!" mindset. I guess I'm taking a stance somewhere between you and marcRD - I agree that Federer is very strong mentally, but I think this is largely a result of him having won so much because he is incredibly good and that this is what his mental strength comes from, rather than it being some ever-present selfbelief that is there no matter what the situation. Sorry that this got a bit messy - it's late and I am quite tired. I hope that all of this makes sense. :)

World Beater
12-08-2007, 01:36 AM
while federer is losing to nadal on clay...sampras lost to giants like schaller and phillippoussis in 5 sets on clay.

Pete needs to up his game and repair that part of his GOAT like resume.

come back, pete!!!



i guess roger should lost in the 1st round more often to become more mentally tough :confused:

There should be a thread to examine mental strength and define it properly. TBs are imo a better indicator than 5 sets.

stebs
12-08-2007, 02:16 PM
There should be a thread to examine mental strength and define it properly. TBs are imo a better indicator than 5 sets.

It would be ruined by clowns like most threads are. If you got some good posters in there looking at things statistically and analytically it would be okay. I mean, how can you compare mental strength with people who believe Sampras has never choekd?

Action Jackson
12-08-2007, 02:22 PM
Problem with tiebreaks are that all it takes is just a mishit, a netcord, a bad call on a court that has no challenge system. Penalty shootouts aren't all about mental strength, there is luck and skill with them.

Example of mental strength when down 30-40 MP and the player say for example Moya in this case has to hit a backhand pass to save his skin, is he going to do it, more often than not. Having to hit winning or successful shots from the weaker side when in tough situations is a better indication.

World Beater
12-08-2007, 03:01 PM
It would be ruined by clowns like most threads are. If you got some good posters in there looking at things statistically and analytically it would be okay. I mean, how can you compare mental strength with people who believe Sampras has never choekd?

why start any thread then?:)

even though i think marcrd is wrong in this case about federer, he is no clown.

Macbrother
12-08-2007, 03:24 PM
Problem with tiebreaks are that all it takes is just a mishit, a netcord, a bad call on a court that has no challenge system. Penalty shootouts aren't all about mental strength, there is luck and skill with them.

Example of mental strength when down 30-40 MP and the player say for example Moya in this case has to hit a backhand pass to save his skin, is he going to do it, more often than not. Having to hit winning or successful shots from the weaker side when in tough situations is a better indication.

Yes, given that, you would think players tiebreak % would tend to be close to 50%, that's why Federer's record is so remarkable, or do you think he gets lucky all the time? But I definitely agree with the latter part of your post.

Action Jackson
12-08-2007, 03:34 PM
Yes, given that, you would think players tiebreak % would tend to be close to 50%, that's why Federer's record is so remarkable, or do you think he gets lucky all the time? But I definitely agree with the latter part of your post.

Tiebreaks aren't always a great indicator, that is my point. Tiebreakers are just tennis version of the penalty shootout in essence.

The example I gave of mental strength is a better indicator, or having the balls to say like Wilander used to do it when he was at his best. Serve/volleying on first serve and surprising the opponent and believing in the tactic is an example of it as well.

stebs
12-08-2007, 03:59 PM
Tiebreaks aren't always a great indicator, that is my point. Tiebreakers are just tennis version of the penalty shootout in essence.

The example I gave of mental strength is a better indicator, or having the balls to say like Wilander used to do it when he was at his best. Serve/volleying on first serve and surprising the opponent and believing in the tactic is an example of it as well.

I will address what you say about TB's.

TB's are NOT like penalty shootouts in ANY way. They are very little luck and almost all skill. The fact that most players are close to 50% is due to the fact that most players are fairly equal in terms of skill.

I will explain why this is the case:

1 - A penalty shootout is a very limited part of the game of football. It is a miniscule ability compared to skills such as passing. In tennis, a TB is just like a short form of a set, it IS tennis in its essence.

2 - Where is there big luck? No more so than each game played is luck. It's up to 7 points, assuming a TB is relatively close that's at least 11 points played distributed fairly between servers. Bad calls and net cords happen at any time and yes it is lucky if they do but, put simply, TB's are about who plays best over a reasonable period of time. Yes that time is shorter than a set by far but it is long enough to be fair and accurate.

3 - TB's are almost the definition of mental strength. A small-ish amount of time to use skill to determine who wins a set, there is a large amount of pressure in this situation and missing once can cost you a set. However, this is about either ability or mental strength unless variables (net cords, bad calls) change things. I mean, say Player A wins the set because he didn't miss a shot in the TB whilst Player B DID miss a shot in the TB. Is Player B unlucky for missing? No, he missed under pressure, whether it was due to lack of skill or lack of mental strength, he missed anyway and Player A didn't. Player A deserves to win the set.

TB's are NOT luck anymore so than the entire game of tennis depends of luck, I mean anything can happen at any time, if you have enough skill and mental strength, you win more TB's simple. Luck plays a small role, far, FAR smaller than skill and mental strength.

Action Jackson
12-08-2007, 04:12 PM
stebs, nice argument but TB's serve their purpose in deciding sets for practical purposes as advantage sets apart from the proper Slams aren't practical. If it was such a great way of doing things, then they should just do away with sets and play tiebreaks instead.

Big servers are at an advantage in TBs, well the consecutive deuce/ad factor isn't there and that is more of a mental test, being able to break serve after exerting constant pressure or hold serve after being down a host break points. The player that can't convert the chances, normally loses their serve next time.

Being able to play well over a long period of time within a match and being able to handle the various momentum shifts and coming through it, is more meaningful than having a 4 hour match being decided within just a few points.

Karlovic has an excellent TB record, but is shit in 5 set matches, this must mean he has great mental strength.

stebs
12-08-2007, 04:16 PM
stebs, nice argument but TB's serve their purpose in deciding sets for practical purposes as advantage sets apart from the proper Slams aren't practical. If it was such a great way of doing things, then they should just do away with sets and play tiebreaks instead.
Well of course that's not true and this is about mental strength not the reconstruction of tennis.

Big servers are at an advantage in TBs, well the consecutive deuce/ad factor isn't there and that is more of a mental test, being able to break serve after exerting constant pressure or hold serve after being down a host break points. The player that can't convert the chances, normally loses their serve next time.
In fact, the end of a close TB is EXACTLY like duece/ad isn't it? Being one point ahead is AD, being level is deuce.

For the record, if you actually think about it, big servers are at no more of an advantage in TB's than they are in sets. It's a common misconception and it's not hard to realise why.

Being able to play well over a long period of time within a match and being able to handle the various momentum shifts and coming through it, is more meaningful than having a 4 hour match being decided within just a few points.
Obviously.

Karlovic has an excellent TB record, but is shit in 5 set matches, this must mean he has great mental strength.

It's a better way of measuring it, it's not a definitive factor and there is no definitive factor. A large portion is objective and I never said 5 setters were irrelevant.

Action Jackson
12-08-2007, 04:30 PM
In fact, the end of a close TB is EXACTLY like duece/ad isn't it? Being one point ahead is AD, being level is deuce.

For the record, if you actually think about it, big servers are at no more of an advantage in TB's than they are in sets. It's a common misconception and it's not hard to realise why.

It's a better way of measuring it, it's not a definitive factor and there is no definitive factor. A large portion is objective and I never said 5 setters were irrelevant.

No it's not, because the server after the 1st point has 2 serves and then it changes. The pressure builds up from 0-15, 15-30 and not just starting at deuce as in a TB, less time to work over an opponent and that is part of mental strength.

Big servers aren't significantly disadvantaged in TB's.

To you it's a better way, but I'd rather watch matches and see how players perform on big points consistently or when under extreme pressure like the example I used earlier as a better gauge of it. TB's have a place for sure, but as a part and not the main core.

Macbrother
12-08-2007, 04:51 PM
No it's not, because the server after the 1st point has 2 serves and then it changes. The pressure builds up from 0-15, 15-30 and not just starting at deuce as in a TB, less time to work over an opponent and that is part of mental strength.

Big servers aren't significantly disadvantaged in TB's.

To you it's a better way, but I'd rather watch matches and see how players perform on big points consistently or when under extreme pressure like the example I used earlier as a better gauge of it. TB's have a place for sure, but as a part and not the main core.

My point was, despite you implying luck being a heavy part of TB's, Federer's TB record is 75%, putting that theory out the window. And no, Karlovic's TB record isn't particularly great, in fact it was .559 on the year, and this being his best year on the tour. A tiebreak is like any other high pressure situation, you may have the weapons, but mentally you have to execute, I don't care whether it's a serve or a forehand.

No, a TB alone, just like 5-set record alone, isn't going to be a great indicator. But it's definitely worth part of the analysis when reaching a conclusion.

World Beater
12-08-2007, 05:16 PM
My point was, despite you implying luck being a heavy part of TB's, Federer's TB record is 75%, putting that theory out the window. And no, Karlovic's TB record isn't particularly great, in fact it was .559 on the year, and this being his best year on the tour. A tiebreak is like any other high pressure situation, you may have the weapons, but mentally you have to execute, I don't care whether it's a serve or a forehand.

No, a TB alone, just like 5-set record alone, isn't going to be a great indicator. But it's definitely worth part of the analysis when reaching a conclusion.

Great arguments from yourself and stebs as to why TBs are a better indicator than 5 set matches.

Federer's record in TBs is exemplary and is further more impressive because he usually plays TBs against good players and not clowns. Sampras used to win many matches against clowns in TBs.

Sure there is luck in TB's, but the luck is no more evident than in a single game.

Is there no luck when serving to stay in the match 7-8 in the fifth set. All you need is 4 straight pts to win. Lets say its 30-40 MP for the opponent and he gets the let cord....is it luck? In a TB you need to secure 7 pts and there is much less luck than in any single suddend death type of game in the 5th set.

karlovic's record as you stated isn't great but it is better than average and it is why he is ranked where he is instead of being ranked 100+ because thats really mostly what he is --- a TB machine.

Action Jackson
12-08-2007, 05:34 PM
My point was, despite you implying luck being a heavy part of TB's, Federer's TB record is 75%, putting that theory out the window. And no, Karlovic's TB record isn't particularly great, in fact it was .559 on the year, and this being his best year on the tour. A tiebreak is like any other high pressure situation, you may have the weapons, but mentally you have to execute, I don't care whether it's a serve or a forehand.

No, a TB alone, just like 5-set record alone, isn't going to be a great indicator. But it's definitely worth part of the analysis when reaching a conclusion.

How come Fed's 5 set record is average then and his TB record good? Personally I'd give more credit to someone doing better in 5 sets than in TB, fitness is still part of the game, that they haven't chucked out yet. The 2 factors can be used together providing one doesn't outweigh the other, but that isn't going to happen.

Federer is going to hit that big or winning serves at bp down or 15-40 more often than not.

There is no numerical way to measure it accurately, at best it's highly subjective.

Merton
12-08-2007, 05:45 PM
Actually measuring mental fortitude is very tricky and there is no easy answer. Certainly tiebreaks and 5-set records are indicators but they are "noisy" indicators.

For example, one can argue that the tiebreak arrives after the opponents display relative equality of play prior to the tiebreak. Then a record beyond 50% indicates a player that is able to raise his level at the crucial moment, hence an indicator of mental fortitude. However, consider Federer for example. His tiebreak record is 75%, however this is significantly lower than his overall match record. Federer's overall match record indicates how he is significantly better than the opposition, so success on tiebreaks could just mean that he was playing subpar previously in the set and just reverted to normal at the tiebreak. Now make no mistake, this is still an indication of mental strength, but the meaning is significantly different than in the previous argument.

Merton
12-08-2007, 05:47 PM
As for Sampras never having choked, it is true only if we define "choking" in a sense so narrow that it would only include colossal ones like Calleri or PHM.

Merton
12-08-2007, 05:49 PM
The 5-set record is also not an altogether satisfactory indicator of mental strength because it also includes factors such as fitness.

World Beater
12-09-2007, 02:23 AM
I too rank Sampras just above Federer, but just because of the sheer grittiness he has shown at times (AO '95, Corretja '96, his FO SF run that same year) that I haven't seen out of Federer, but again, not by very much at all.



I'm curious then, how strong do you think 'most' make him out to be and where do you rank him?


I understand your POV and for sure you are entitled to your opinion. But I would like to illustrate some matches where i feel federer has shown his own "grittiness"

1. Wimbledon Match w/ Rafael Nadal : With the wimbledon record online and borg standing in the stands, federer withstood the pressure of history, hawkeye and his own "nemesis". In the 4th set, federer was melting down and imploding because of his frustration with hawkeye. Almost everyone thought he was going to lose especially being down 15-40 twice against a confident mentally tough rafael nadal.

2. Usopen match w/ Agassi: The match became a battle for survival against the pro-agassi crowd in blistering conditions caused by the remnants of hurricane ernesto. With Agassi winning the 4th set on a letcord and the american possessing the momentum, federer looked like he was going to lose against one of the greatest wind players of the 90's. He held his composure and overcame the conditions, the crowd and his opponent.

3. Australian Open Run : Federer couldnt have possibly dreamt up a more terrible nemesis filed draw. With tough matchups, nalbandian, hewitt, ferrero(at that time), and safin, it looked like federer was sure to fail. Serving at 15-40 and pulling out 4 aces against nalbandian, coming from a set down against hewitt in Australia (after losing just recently in davis cup), and beating an inform ferrero.

There are many more matches where i thought roger exhibited real toughness such as the roddick match in 2004 at wimbledon. But these are the ones that came to mind and the ones i wanted to highlight.

DrJules
12-09-2007, 06:46 AM
while federer is losing to nadal on clay...sampras lost to giants like schaller and phillippoussis in 5 sets on clay.

Pete needs to up his game and repair that part of his GOAT like resume.

come back, pete!!!



i guess roger should lost in the 1st round more often to become more mentally tough :confused:

There should be a thread to examine mental strength and define it properly. TBs are imo a better indicator than 5 sets.

Overall, probably true.

However, a tie break thread showed how badly Borg performed in tie breaks; mentally he was one of the strongest players.

stebs
12-09-2007, 01:57 PM
No it's not, because the server after the 1st point has 2 serves and then it changes. The pressure builds up from 0-15, 15-30 and not just starting at deuce as in a TB, less time to work over an opponent and that is part of mental strength.
Still the pressure is there and it builds up more in a TB. From 0-3 to 5-3 to 5-6 etc... More time for mini momentum shifts.

Big servers aren't significantly disadvantaged in TB's.
I never said they were. You said they were advantaged, this is a common myth that makes no sense. There is neither advantage or disadvantage for big servers.

To you it's a better way, but I'd rather watch matches and see how players perform on big points consistently or when under extreme pressure like the example I used earlier as a better gauge of it. TB's have a place for sure, but as a part and not the main core.
Obviously empirical evidence is the best way but if you want to go stat for stat, TB's > 5 setters in general but you need to get a number of things and no single statistic means you are strong or weak mentally.

Action Jackson
12-09-2007, 02:02 PM
Overall, probably true.

However, a tie break thread showed how badly Borg performed in tie breaks; mentally he was one of the strongest players.

Perfect example with Borg and tiebreaks, and we know how strong Borg was mentally.

leng jai
09-11-2008, 08:28 AM
Will probably update this thread in a week or so. Anyone else with their own dissections should feel free to contribute. The OP is from 2006 and clearly out of date, except for my description of Fedmug's backhand which still seems to be spot on.

Forehander
09-11-2008, 02:13 PM
I think the ones at the start for Djokovic and Nadal needs to be updated. Djokovic have now become probably the best returner (after I saw the US Open how well he returned Roddick's and Federer's serves.) in the game while Federer's return have totally fallen apart. Nadal now have result on grass as well :)

groundstroke
09-11-2008, 03:16 PM
You have overrated Haas too much.

groundstroke
09-11-2008, 06:37 PM
gasquet's bh is nowhere near nalbandian's bh. sorry.

in fact gasquet's bh is really a long loopy stroke which requires a lot of preparation. Thats why you see richard camping behind the baseline - 10 ft or so.

i would never call gasquet's bh anywhere near the best on fast surfaces. Even federer can take the ball early on his bh, and nalbandian does this extremely well which is why its the best bh in tennis.
Although this is an old post, Gasquet's BH is better than Nalbandian's, Gasquet has footwork all wrong on his technique, but his long preparation is so ridiculous it's unbelievable how good it is, he can rip winners inside the court and he has shortened the swing on more points now.

stebs
09-11-2008, 10:07 PM
I am not going to edit my player analysis because I don't have the time. If somebody else wants to edit them that would be fine, things certainly change.

crude oil
09-12-2008, 05:55 AM
I think the ones at the start for Djokovic and Nadal needs to be updated. Djokovic have now become probably the best returner (after I saw the US Open how well he returned Roddick's and Federer's serves.) in the game while Federer's return have totally fallen apart. Nadal now have result on grass as well :)

i dont think we saw the same match...djokovic had difficulty to return federer's serve...20 sth aces and many more service winners.

leng jai
09-15-2008, 08:12 AM
Updated Federer in the OP and will be doing Murray/Gasquet/Djokivic within the next week.

habibko
09-15-2008, 08:54 AM
very good thread and great analysis leng jai :) I'll be looking forward to more on other players' game :yeah:

Action Jackson
09-15-2008, 09:44 AM
Not a great or in depth analysis here.

Gasquet : His head doesn't seem to be in the right place. With him, there is the all too familiar playing 15km behind baseline and being too passive.

Now and then there like the 2007 Wimbledon match with Roddick in the last 3 sets, he was very agressive and showed a display very impressive shotmaking.

He still hasn't worked out what type of game he wants to play as his foundation. A bit like Monfils but he isn't as defensive and doesn't rely as much on footspeed.

The forehand looks a lot worse than it actually is, but the main thing is he doesn't know whether to be aggressive or a defensive player primarily.

Andy Murray, now he has got fitter, this has helped his game as it naturally should. Different from the majority of modern players who just ball bash for the sake of it.

Has good changes of pace and spin, tactically very good. Unlike Gasquet he has a base for his game and can adjust, at times can get passive, but he isn't just all about defensive skills, uses the short angles and the backhand down the line effectively.

Second serve is suspect.

Bernard Black
09-15-2008, 10:56 AM
Excellent stuff, Leng Jai.

Glad you weren't too harsh on the Federer defense. It's been easy for a lot of people to jump on the bandwagon this year that he's lost half a step therefore he can't retrieve balls like he used to. We clearly saw in the U.S. Open final the movement is still there, he effortlessly anticipated and returned everything Murray threw at him, a complete contrast to Nadal in the semis who constantly seemed to be out of position and struggled with Murray's pace.

Looking forward to the next installment :)

Forehander
09-15-2008, 11:14 AM
i dont think we saw the same match...djokovic had difficulty to return federer's serve...20 sth aces and many more service winners.

That doesn't mean Djokovic didn't return well, it meant Federer was serving very fast, accurate and intelligently, he would have aced anyone in the game with the aces he hit that day. It was right on the line and corners, no way anyone can reach it, maybe Usain Bolt at full reach.

adee-gee
09-15-2008, 11:46 AM
I know you amended some of the first post - out of interest, do you still think Federer's forehand is the best in the world?

leng jai
09-15-2008, 11:50 AM
I know you amended some of the first post - out of interest, do you still think Federer's forehand is the best in the world?

I amended basically the whole OP. Yes I still think he has the best forehand in the world, he destroyed your boy Murray with it in the first set of the USO final.

adee-gee
09-15-2008, 11:54 AM
I amended basically the whole OP. Yes I still think he has the best forehand in the world, he destroyed your boy Murray with it in the first set of the USO final.
He has the odd good set or match with it. But for pure consistency you'd surely have to say Nadal.

leng jai
09-15-2008, 11:56 AM
He has the odd good set or match with it. But for pure consistency you'd surely have to say Nadal.

Of course Nadal is going to be more consistent, his style of play is based on wearing down his opponent through consistency. Federer pushes the envelope at every opportunity with little net clearance a lot of the time, the errors are expected.

adee-gee
09-15-2008, 12:00 PM
Of course Nadal is going to be more consistent, his style of play is based on wearing down his opponent through consistency. Federer pushes the envelope at every opportunity with little net clearance a lot of the time, the errors are expected.
Well if you offered me the chance for Nadal to swap forehands with Federer, I wouldn't take it. Even if it's less pleasing on the eye, it's still a better forehand imo.

Jaap
09-15-2008, 12:00 PM
Andreev has a better forehand than Fed IMO.

TMJordan
09-15-2008, 12:01 PM
Andreev has a better forehand than Fed IMO.

Best in the game.

Bernard Black
09-15-2008, 12:03 PM
Well if you offered me the chance for Nadal to swap forehands with Federer, I wouldn't take it. Even if it's less pleasing on the eye, it's still a better forehand imo.

You forgot to add on clay. Any other surface Federer's is better.

adee-gee
09-15-2008, 12:08 PM
You forgot to add on clay. Any other surface Federer's is better.
On any surface, and only hard courts are even close. I'm talking only on recent form, forget about 2004-2005 because Federer's forehand was 10x better then and I won't dispute the fact it was the best in the world.

Bernard Black
09-15-2008, 12:12 PM
On any surface, and only hard courts are even close. I'm talking only on recent form, forget about 2004-2005 because Federer's forehand was 10x better then and I won't dispute the fact it was the best in the world.

Fair enough. I suppose it depends whether this thread means players games on a good day, or on average throughout a given season. If it's the latter, then I agree, Nadal's definitely had the most solid forehand on tour this year only letting him down at the U.S. Open really.

Jaap
09-15-2008, 12:13 PM
If you are going on purely the last 18 months, Fed's forehand is not even in the top 5.

Nadal, Andreev, Gonzo and Fish all have better forehands.

groundstroke
09-15-2008, 12:14 PM
Well if you offered me the chance for Nadal to swap forehands with Federer, I wouldn't take it. Even if it's less pleasing on the eye, it's still a better forehand imo.
Nadal has a good forehand on clay but on any other surface Federer's forehand is much better, I think Nadal's is more reliable because Federer's goes for more with his forehand and Nadal never hits flat, always topspin, which is more high percentage...

GlennMirnyi
09-15-2008, 05:04 PM
He has the odd good set or match with it. But for pure consistency you'd surely have to say Nadal.

:rolleyes: fanboy much?

Well if you offered me the chance for Nadal to swap forehands with Federer, I wouldn't take it. Even if it's less pleasing on the eye, it's still a better forehand imo.

I bet he'd exchange his moonballing forehand with Federer's eyes closed.

Andreev has a better forehand than Fed IMO.

:rolleyes:

Andreev has the worst forehand technique of the top 100, except for Nadull and Daniel.

richie21
09-15-2008, 05:18 PM
Andreev has the worst forehand technique of the top 100, except for Nadull and Daniel.


Hum,Gasquet anyone??

GlennMirnyi
09-15-2008, 05:22 PM
Hum,Gasquet anyone??

Yeah, that too.

fast_clay
09-15-2008, 07:19 PM
yeah nice one leng jai... really, really solid and comprehensive without ever being over the top... agree with everything i see... i wonder sometimes whether you work in the game...?

his forehand grip on return seems eastern on return in some shots, especially with some vision at wimbledon... and also watching him play ther, switching closer to semi-western in rally speed... really interesting to watch and also gives him an edge at the US Open where it is just as quick now...

I believe it is this small nod to the old school of tennis that sets him apart... he may not win as many return points as other guys, yet, he certainly gets to 'play' more return points than most others... allowing him into the groove of the match a lot easier...

and yeah... Sampras, Haas, Stich, Becker and Edberg... had better one handed backhands... due to the down-the-line options... but primarily this year - liability... Sampras' rally ball, while not the prettiest was heavy and effective in combination with his slice and perfect shot selecton... Federer's saving grace on the backhand wing is definitely his signature baseline half volley...

your analysis however, is surpassed only by the addition in the sig... the clown factor is high, and deserved a warning...

NinaNina19
09-15-2008, 08:07 PM
Hurry up and do Murray :kiss:, I don't care about the rest.

Vida
09-15-2008, 08:20 PM
very nice thread. enjoyed reading it from the start.

groundstroke
09-15-2008, 08:27 PM
In 2005, especially in Australian Open, Federer was ripping First and Second serves back with with some awesome BH winners, now he only ever slices..

ballbasher101
09-15-2008, 08:44 PM
In 2005, especially in Australian Open, Federer was ripping First and Second serves back with with some awesome BH winners, now he only ever slices..

It annoys me when Federer slices on the second serve but it has brought him countless majors so it's tough to criticise.

groundstroke
09-15-2008, 08:57 PM
It annoys me when Federer slices on the second serve but it has brought him countless majors so it's tough to criticise.
At least he gets the ball back in and deep.

alfonsojose
09-15-2008, 10:39 PM
Fair enough. I suppose it depends whether this thread means players games on a good day, or on average throughout a given season. If it's the latter, then I agree, Nadal's definitely had the most solid forehand on tour this year only letting him down at the U.S. Open really.

The disgusting backhands of most ATP guys make Nadal's forehand look good. Any guy with a good one means touble for Pocahontas.

alfonsojose
09-15-2008, 10:41 PM
Not a great or in depth analysis here.

Gasquet : His head doesn't seem to be in the right place. With him, there is the all too familiar playing 15km behind baseline and being too passive.

Now and then there like the 2007 Wimbledon match with Roddick in the last 3 sets, he was very agressive and showed a display very impressive shotmaking.

He still hasn't worked out what type of game he wants to play as his foundation. A bit like Monfils but he isn't as defensive and doesn't rely as much on footspeed.

The forehand looks a lot worse than it actually is, but the main thing is he doesn't know whether to be aggressive or a defensive player primarily.

Andy Murray, now he has got fitter, this has helped his game as it naturally should. Different from the majority of modern players who just ball bash for the sake of it.

Has good changes of pace and spin, tactically very good. Unlike Gasquet he has a base for his game and can adjust, at times can get passive, but he isn't just all about defensive skills, uses the short angles and the backhand down the line effectively.

Second serve is suspect.

And forehand can improve definitely. Some of his moonballs are :o

Action Jackson
09-16-2008, 08:16 AM
And forehand can improve definitely. Some of his moonballs are :o

Whose moonballs?

leng jai
09-16-2008, 08:20 AM
Richard Gasquet now added to the OP.

Action Jackson
09-16-2008, 08:45 AM
Good work leng, well written.

Bernard Black
09-16-2008, 08:53 AM
Richard Gasquet now added to the OP.

Spot on with Gasquet, mate. Can't think of anything else to add to that. Great stuff.

scoobs
09-16-2008, 09:42 AM
Great stuff so far.

I do think you should add on a fitness category as I think certainly in Gasquet's case it adds insight to his game - I still don't think he is fit enough - I remember him cramping badly against Hewitt at the Open in 2006 and I don't think much has changed since then.

Bernard Black
09-16-2008, 09:58 AM
Great stuff so far.

I do think you should add on a fitness category as I think certainly in Gasquet's case it adds insight to his game - I still don't think he is fit enough - I remember him cramping badly against Hewitt at the Open in 2006 and I don't think much has changed since then.

I thought the same thing but it's not really anything to do with a player's game. Could also be analysed unfairly when you have someone like Nadal playing many more matches than everyone, of course his fitness is going to let him down sometimes. Where the hell do you place Djokovic on that barometer too? You can never tell whether he is struggling or faking.

leng jai
09-16-2008, 10:00 AM
I did consider fitness, but its pretty subjective and there are so many variables which make it difficult to measure. At least we know that Murray is the second fittest player on tour thanks to clydey.

Action Jackson
09-16-2008, 10:05 AM
I did consider fitness, but its pretty subjective and there are so many variables which make it difficult to measure. At least we know that Murray is the second fittest player on tour thanks to clydey.

Never in doubt.

Puschkin
09-16-2008, 10:06 AM
Richard Gasquet now added to the OP.

Surprisingly objective, given the way you normally write about him. ;)

MatchFederer
09-16-2008, 11:04 AM
Federer

Backhand

A weak rally shot, Federer's backhand lets him down on numerous occasions, especially on the red clay. The backhand consistently misfires, giving (un)suspecting fans the chance to bag a ball to keep as a souvenir. While his slice is moderately effective, one cannot build their ground game around it, which brings us onto the...

Forehand

Given how weak the backhand is, it will be surprising to hear that in 2008 the forehand is the weaker wing. Off the ground, Federer is simply mince meat, with his forehand being shanked with even more precision than his backhand. This shot used to be a weapon, but is now nothing more than a mug shot. In quickfire exchanges the forehand will inevitably be drawn into an UE that will float just past the lines, at which point Federer will challenge the call, which inevitably fails. In fairness to Federer, his constant challenges of his slightly long forehands is an excellent use of accidental gamesmanship that offsets his opponents at important times during the match.

Stamina

For the potential GOAT to have such a mediocre 5 set record is proof of his moderately mediocre stamina.

Serve

Federer might well be the greatest server of all time. With all the rest of his game in such disarray, it is a wonder that he maintains a top position in the ranking (Though this can also be accounted for by the fact that todays era is the muggiest era in history). This Federer is "ALL serve", and without it he would drop to a lower level than Roddick would if they both lost most of their serving ability respectively. Federer can paint lines with his serve, displaying an uncanny accuracy, and this only makes his humongous ego inflate more. For him to paint those lines and ace supposedly bigger servers with pansy 110 mph serves gives Federer a raging semi (Just watch some footage).

Volleys

Federer has mug volleys that only look half way decent due to the fact that the current tennis era is one that is almost entirely devoid of volleying. Serena Williams could out volley him while shes drunk, not to mention that Serena would almost certainly do damage on the mens side at Wimbledon (... :retard:)

Movement

Federer's movement is last generation, with plays like Nadal, Djokovic and Murray constantly being touted as being faster or better movers. Roger's time at the top are over. He barely ever hits a good running forehand anymore and has to rely on incredible backhand flick miss-hits to win points.

Legend

His legend will be remembered for years to come with thought like: "OH yeah, Federer, that guy who always lost to Nadal?" and "Federer, oh! That guy who has that disgustingly fat HEFFER of a girlfriend?"

Ladies and gentlemen, Roger Federer.

Bernard Black
09-16-2008, 11:09 AM
Blah Blah Blah


Please edit this rubbish. This thread is supposed to be an accurate analysis of players' games.

*edit* just realised you're speaking in jest, you got me ;)
but still, I think we should keep this thread relatively serious, it's one of the better ones.

MatchFederer
09-16-2008, 11:16 AM
Please edit this rubbish. This thread is supposed to be an accurate analysis of players' games.

*edit* just realised you're speaking in jest, you got me ;)
but still, I think we should keep this thread relatively serious, it's one of the better ones.

Seriously, point taken. Next time I post in this thread I will make sure it is actually something that contributes positively, though I hope the post elicits a few smiles.

prima donna
09-16-2008, 02:35 PM
Nice dissection.

leng jai
09-17-2008, 08:08 AM
Murray added to the OP.

GuiroNl
09-17-2008, 08:54 AM
Do you take requests leng jai? ;)

theDreamer
09-17-2008, 08:55 AM
Nice analysis leng.

Bernard Black
09-17-2008, 08:55 AM
Murray added to the OP.

Not bad this one. :)

I would disagree that he lacks extra pace off the backhand side, it's one of the biggest backhands in the game and we've seen him time and time again that he can inject incredible pace off that wing from nothing balls. Not quite sure what he needs to do to convince you otherwise?

Also saying he doesn't have explosive speed is an error IMO. He's improved his speed around the court so much this year and retrieved balls that I believe would have been past 95% of players on the tour.

Could just be the fanboy in me talking here though ;)

Action Jackson
09-17-2008, 09:11 AM
Yes, Tidus it's the fanboy in you.

Halba
09-17-2008, 09:17 AM
Not bad this one. :)

I would disagree that he lacks extra pace off the backhand side, it's one of the biggest backhands in the game and we've seen him time and time again that he can inject incredible pace off that wing from nothing balls. Not quite sure what he needs to do to convince you otherwise?

Also saying he doesn't have explosive speed is an error IMO. He's improved his speed around the court so much this year and retrieved balls that I believe would have been past 95% of players on the tour.

Could just be the fanboy in me talking here though ;)

murrays got a great slice, good technical brain, but his weaknesses are in the forehand side(too loopy, not a comfortable looking shot, and an attackable side) and his serve which is too inconsistent.

Bernard Black
09-17-2008, 09:17 AM
Yes, Tidus it's the fanboy in you.

Fair call :p

Where's Clydey and NinaNina when you need them?

Bernard Black
09-17-2008, 09:21 AM
murrays got a great slice, good technical brain, but his weaknesses are in the forehand side(too loopy, not a comfortable looking shot, and an attackable side) and his serve which is too inconsistent.

Definitely two shots he'll need to improve if he's ever to win a slam or be world number 1.

scoobs
09-17-2008, 09:21 AM
Pretty fair analysis for Murray, I think - I also think his speed around the court is exceptional and not just because he anticipates where the next ball will come so well, he really does motor around out there and is very adept at making something off the ball at the end of the run.

Agree about the forehand - we have seen what he can do with it - he can go very big with it, down the line, crosscourt and in-to-out, but in its standard rallying mode it can be too loopy and too short and becomes attackable if not careful

Definitely needs to keep working on that second serve - it has improved, he's added more variety and has a pretty decent kick second serve when he remembers to use it - he does tend to like playing safe with it though. However not that many players seem able to exploit it, for all its weaknesses. Federer made mincemeat of it in the US Open final though. First serve can be very big and he can vary it enormously but it's also quite unreliable - sometimes it's there when he needs it, sometimes it's knocking back tequila somewhere on a beach in Tijuana. His first serve % has generally improved, as has his ace count, so it is going in the right direction, but in his matches I still worry about it because he does have those games where he can't buy a first serve and it does increase the pressure on the rest of his game.

The backhand is a superb shot, his banker shot. The slice is good, very good in comparison to most players - it can be too airy - reflecting his tendency to use it defensively - when he uses it on the short angle to sucker people forward it can be much more potent but he tends to either float it deep or go for the full-on dropshot most of the time.

His volleying skills are very good for the current players, although against past players he'd look pretty ordinary. He can handle both wings deep and stop and can improvise pretty well up there too, fast reactions. His approach shots need work, though - sometimes they are very old school deep to the line slice and very effective, but often he topspins them and they can land short, central and very attackable, leaving him very tough volleys to handle.

He definitely seems to have stopped making excuses for himself this year, particularly as it has worn on - no more do we here there "I'm only .... and my best tennis is ... years away yet" sort of stuff to excuse a poor defeat. Taking responsibility for his coaching setup and his own development as a player seems to have been the catalyst for eliminating this kind of junior thinking. He's put a ton of hard work in off the court - thankfully the days where people think he's not fit enough seem to be in the past, though he can get fitter still. That says nothing about the occasional kneetwinge faces he gets on court - he needs to be careful how he manages that condition. Mentally, though, he seems much more determined to grit out tough situations, sometimes a bit obnoxiously, although nowhere near Connors or McEnroe standards - his determination to try whatever it takes to turn around losing situations now is right up there, and is something that separates him from the chasing pack. That competitive fight is something you can't teach and it's something I noticed in him right back from the start and it's something I feel some of the others who had been tipped to go far, lack a little bit off. Hating to lose is perhaps something that counts for even more than forehands and backhands.

stebs
09-17-2008, 10:50 AM
Obviously it's up to you if you want to keep things as they are Leng but whilst I agreed with most of your Murray dissection there were a few things I would dispute.

Firstly, that he lacks the power Nalbandian does off the BH. Sure, Safin has a bit more strength but not Nalbandian, both can hit very hard and the Argentine hits flat less often than Murray imo, he prefers the topspin whilst Murray tends to employ a powerful flat CC BH a lot depending on opposition.

Secondly, Murray does go for his first serve and does hit a lot of aces. His major problem historically has been that he wins points when his big first serve goes in but that he doesn't have a high enough %. I think the stats would back me up with that one. He served arond 20 aces in 4 sets vs Rafa and he wasn't taking many more risks than usual (though it was a particularly good serving day).

sportsbag
09-17-2008, 07:54 PM
Good thread. Some interesting points being made.
I feel Murray's forehand still isn't back to pre-injury levels in terms of power/confidence.

prima donna
09-17-2008, 07:58 PM
Hating to lose is perhaps something that counts for even more than forehands and backhands.
Jimmy Connors would agree.

cocrcici
09-17-2008, 10:05 PM
MUG ERA.......:bs::bs::bs:

fast_clay
09-18-2008, 12:56 AM
again... good show mate...

poor general play hurt murray in the US final... the vast majority of shots vs fed must have a purpose... you just can't junkball the master, its disrespectful - poor tactic... but i liked his low-nothing-slice down the centre of the court to del potro - total diffusion and point lengthener - great tactic... i think his 2nd serve was actually looking beefier in the canadian open, but, for mine, was kinda de-powered again by the US Open...

out_here_grindin
09-18-2008, 01:00 AM
MUG ERA.......:bs::bs::bs:


:worship:

Clydey
09-18-2008, 03:23 AM
I think Murray's forehand has improved to a higher standard than "adequate at best", but other than that there's not too much I can disagree with. Just the odd bit here and there. Fair analysis overall.

Clydey
09-18-2008, 03:29 AM
I did consider fitness, but its pretty subjective and there are so many variables which make it difficult to measure. At least we know that Murray is the second fittest player on tour thanks to clydey.

Just an opinion, bro. Much like your opinion that Haas has one of the best slices the game has ever seen. Is my opinion biased? Quite possibly. At least I'm open to the possibility, however.

leng jai
09-18-2008, 03:31 AM
Just an opinion, bro. Much like your opinion that Haas has one of the best slices the game has ever seen. Is my opinion biased? Quite possibly. At least I'm open to the possibility, however.

I've never said Haas has the best slice the game has ever seen. I've always said he has one of the best slices in a mug era of slicing.

Fedex
09-18-2008, 03:32 AM
Yes, Tidus it's the fanboy in you.

Haha.

Give him props though. Not many people here actually admit to it.

fast_clay
09-18-2008, 03:35 AM
can you do Chris 'The Gooch' Gucionne next mate...?

i think he matches up very well with these guys...

leng jai
09-18-2008, 03:37 AM
can you do Chris 'The Gooch' Gucionne next mate...?

i think he matches up very well with these guys...

Yeah no worries, except I don't have any of his amazing matches on tape for reference.

Clydey
09-18-2008, 03:45 AM
Fair call :p

Where's Clydey and NinaNina when you need them?

I'm here. 'Tis tiring arguing with some of the people on here, though. They completely miss the point. They fail to grasp that we support certain players because of the opinions we hold. We do not hold these opinions as a result of our support.

In other words, I am a fan of Murray because I think he is a world class player and I enjoy his style. I didn't form these opinons after I became a fan. They fail to ascertain the difference.

On an somewhat related note, I see PMK is finally demonstrating some variety in his posts. In between pining for the days of wooden racquets, he's taking potshots at Murray. Nice to see he has broadened his horizons at least. :)

leng jai
09-18-2008, 03:47 AM
Can't believe Nina isn't here yet, she was the one that asked for Murray in the first place :rolleyes:

Clydey
09-18-2008, 03:49 AM
again... good show mate...

poor general play hurt murray in the US final... the vast majority of shots vs fed must have a purpose... you just can't junkball the master, its disrespectful - poor tactic... but i liked his low-nothing-slice down the centre of the court to del potro - total diffusion and point lengthener - great tactic... i think his 2nd serve was actually looking beefier in the canadian open, but, for mine, was kinda de-powered again by the US Open...

I agree. He really went for it against Djokovic and had great success. No idea why he inexplicably went back to rolling it in.

leng jai
09-18-2008, 03:54 AM
I agree. He really went for it against Djokovic and had great success. No idea why he inexplicably went back to rolling it in.

Its not that hard to understand. Murray is still a defensive player by nature, hes only recently been adopting a more aggressive style of play but its not something he has completely implemented into his game. It was his first grand slam final, playing under par is normal. It is rare that players play extremely well in this first GS final, nerves play a big part. Don't forget Federer put on a forehand master class in the first set which immediately put Murray on the back foot and set the trend for the whole match.

NinaNina19
09-18-2008, 03:54 AM
Can't believe Nina isn't here yet, she was the one that asked for Murray in the first place :rolleyes:
I read t and I thought it was great :yeah: . Sorry for nt responding, I'll rep you as soon as I can. I think his movwement is actually better than you say it is, it's not just his anticipation that makes him such a great defender but maybe I am just biased and plus I don't know much about tennis.

NinaNina19
09-18-2008, 03:58 AM
Its not that hard to understand. Murray is still a defensive player by nature, hes only recently been adopting a more aggressive style of play but its not something he has completely implemented into his game. It was his first grand slam final, playing under par is normal. It is rare that players play extremely well in this first GS final, nerves play a big part. Don't forget Federer put on a forehand master class in the first set which immediately put Murray on the back foot and set the trend for the whole match.I also think that Andy was expecting Fed to play like he did for most of this year. In the past, his strategy against Fed was to hit the ball back until Fed made an error for the most part. At the final t took a bit of adjusting but Roger was just playing too well. I do think that one game in the 2nd set was critical and that had Murray won it Fed would have lost some confidence and Andy would have had the momentum on his side for a bit. He could've taken a set and who knows, maybe 2. I think Fed would've won anyway.

Clydey
09-18-2008, 04:02 AM
Its not that hard to understand. Murray is still a defensive player by nature, hes only recently been adopting a more aggressive style of play but its not something he has completely implemented into his game. It was his first grand slam final, playing under par is normal. It is rare that players play extremely well in this first GS final, nerves play a big part. Don't forget Federer put on a forehand master class in the first set which immediately put Murray on the back foot and set the trend for the whole match.

Yeah, but I mean the second serve, not his general play. He decided to go for it in Toronto and, even though he won in Cinci, he has resorted to rolling it in ever since the Djokovic match in Canada. It put him in real trouble against Llodra and Melzer. He beat them in spite of that, but Federer took no prisoners in the final. With Federer hitting his forehand like that, it's suicidal to invite him to take a swing at your second serve.

fast_clay
09-18-2008, 04:04 AM
Yeah no worries, except I don't have any of his amazing matches on tape for reference.

yeah... i understand... :yeah:

i also feel that this analysis should take place in the non-tennis section...

:lol:

~*BGT*~
09-18-2008, 04:05 AM
Surprisingly objective, given the way you normally write about him. ;)

I agree. :) I wonder what he'd write about Roddick though. :lol: :worship: Just for laughs -- do it leng. :D

Action Jackson
09-18-2008, 04:17 AM
In other words, I am a fan of Murray because I think he is a world class player and I enjoy his style. I didn't form these opinons after I became a fan. They fail to ascertain the difference.

On an somewhat related note, I see PMK is finally demonstrating some variety in his posts. In between pining for the days of wooden racquets, he's taking potshots at Murray. Nice to see he has broadened his horizons at least. :)

No, just people like yourself help me appreciate Murray's losses more than I normally would. Considering I don't and haven't had a problem with Murray or his game.

Keep on dreaming, of course you missed the bit, where I said he has a very dry wit, that most people don't get it. If it's not fawning, then it must be criticism.

fast_clay
09-18-2008, 04:32 AM
I agree. :) I wonder what he'd write about Roddick though. :lol: :worship: Just for laughs -- do it leng. :D

it would be something simple... kinda like Ivanisevic's take on Mark Woodforde:

"Pretty old, can't move, with that shitty backhand you can't beat anybody. If I have son, just show Woodforde picture, you can't play tennis like him otherwise, man"

Clydey
09-18-2008, 04:32 AM
No, just people like yourself help me appreciate Murray's losses more than I normally would. Considering I don't and haven't had a problem with Murray or his game.

Keep on dreaming, of course you missed the bit, where I said he has a very dry wit, that most people don't get it. If it's not fawning, then it must be criticism.

Your logic is very questionable. Why does what I say have any bearing on your feelings towards Murray? He and I aren't related, nor are we in any way connected. It's a bit like me taking a dislike to Nadal because of ClayDeath or Scottish people disliking the English football team because of the media's penchant for pseudo-patriotic hyperbole. It's all very childish.

I don't have a problem with people criticising Murray. However, when people start to criticise him because of me, Nina, or Tidus, you really have to question their thinking. I mean, you did what Prima Donna does. You jumped in with a witless comment about Murray when leng jai mentioned my name. And all because of one brief exchange we had, what, 2 weeks ago? Come off it, mate. The only thing we even disagreed on was whether Murray is in any way comparable to Mecir. Hardly earth shattering, no?

Action Jackson
09-18-2008, 04:43 AM
Your logic is very questionable. Why does what I say have any bearing on your feelings towards Murray? He and I aren't related, nor are we in any way connected. It's a bit like me taking a dislike to Nadal because of ClayDeath or Scottish people disliking the English football team because of the media's penchant for pseudo-patriotic hyperbole. It's all very childish.

No, it's not questionable. I know you aren't related to Murray or if you were, you wouldn't brag about it on the board. Whether you like it or not, there are overzealous and overbearing fans of sporting teams or individual players, they are going to impact on that particular unit. Example, I mean there are people that appreciate Federer's game, but don't like his fanbase, it's not uncommon.

I don't have a problem with people criticising Murray. However, when people start to criticise him because of me, Nina, or Tidus, you really have to question their thinking. I mean, you did what Prima Donna does. You jumped in with a witless comment about Murray when leng jai mentioned my name. And all because of one brief exchange we had, what, 2 weeks ago? Come off it, mate. The only thing we even disagreed on was whether Murray is in any way comparable to Mecir. Hardly earth shattering, no?

What are you actually talking about? Where was I criticising Murray's game? That's what this subject is about, no more and no less. That's right I wasn't. I just highlighted what he does well and where he struggles and that's pretty much what leng did in greater detail.

No, I have actually read most of your posts and yes it does come across, if there isn't sufficient praising of Murray, then it has to be criticism. The Mecir thing is irrelevant, you see it one way and I don't.

In other words why whine about something that isn't there.

Clydey
09-18-2008, 05:05 AM
No, it's not questionable. I know you aren't related to Murray or if you were, you wouldn't brag about it on the board. Whether you like it or not, there are overzealous and overbearing fans of sporting teams or individual players, they are going to impact on that particular unit. Example, I mean there are people that appreciate Federer's game, but don't like his fanbase, it's not uncommon.



What are you actually talking about? Where was I criticising Murray's game? That's what this subject is about, no more and no less. That's right I wasn't. I just highlighted what he does well and where he struggles and that's pretty much what leng did in greater detail.

No, I have actually read most of your posts and yes it does come across, if there isn't sufficient praising of Murray, then it has to be criticism. The Mecir thing is irrelevant, you see it one way and I don't.

In other words why whine about something that isn't there.

Where did I say you were criticising his game? To paraphrase you: "That's right I didn't".

I said you criticised him, not his game. Perhaps "criticised" was the wrong word. You made a couple of snide remarks that seemingly had more to do with me than with him. leng jai made a sarcastic comment about my assertion that Murray is the second fittest player on tour. For some odd reason, you felt the need to add your own sarcastic remark.

I didn't even disagree with leng jai's analysis of Murray's game. If you scroll up, you'll see that I stated explicitly that I agree with basically everything he said. So that puts to bed the entirely false notion that I'm not comfortable with people criticising Murray. The world would be a boring place if everyone agreed. As I said earlier, my issue is with people taking a dislike to Murray (or any player, for that matter) because of what I say or anyone else says. My opinions should have no bearing on your opinion of Murray.

I take issue with it on principle, not because it's directed at Murray. It's just childish. "Oh, oh, I don't like a Murray fan, so that means I don't like Murray either". I hesitate to say this, since you won't think twice about banning me for the slightest indiscretion, but a few people on here really need to grow up.

Action Jackson
09-18-2008, 06:36 AM
clydey, we can keep going around in circles if you want. Facts are, if there is anything at all to do with Murray, no matter how trivial, you are right on top of it. Tidus and I were actually sharing a joke, but don't let that stop you.

Unlike yourself I actually can talk about other subjects involved in the tennis sphere that specifically don't involve Murray or Nadal. If you want to go down the bullshit path about wooden racquets, then be my guest.

I have made my points on this, but no doubt you will come up with something, just to have the last word ( yes I am very aware of this ,takes one to know one). Though the actual thread subject matter is of greater interest, than the over the top defence of anything slightly negative towards Murray, from any source.

Clydey
09-18-2008, 07:00 AM
clydey, we can keep going around in circles if you want. Facts are, if there is anything at all to do with Murray, no matter how trivial, you are right on top of it. Tidus and I were actually sharing a joke, but don't let that stop you.

Unlike yourself I actually can talk about other subjects involved in the tennis sphere that specifically don't involve Murray or Nadal. If you want to go down the bullshit path about wooden racquets, then be my guest.

I have made my points on this, but no doubt you will come up with something, just to have the last word ( yes I am very aware of this ,takes one to know one). Though the actual thread subject matter is of greater interest, than the over the top defence of anything slightly negative towards Murray, from any source.

I didn't defend Murray. I agreed almost entirely with leng jai's objective, oftentimes critical assessment of Murray's game, yet you'd still paint me as some delirious Murray-maniac? Whatever's most convenient for your argument, sir. It's a staple of this forum. When at a loss, simply respond with an ad hominem.

Once I start calling Murray the "high priest of death" or "hard court monster", you'll have a case. Until then, save your routine for the inarticulate, closed-minded fanboys.

scoobs
09-18-2008, 08:10 AM
Its not that hard to understand. Murray is still a defensive player by nature, hes only recently been adopting a more aggressive style of play but its not something he has completely implemented into his game. It was his first grand slam final, playing under par is normal. It is rare that players play extremely well in this first GS final, nerves play a big part. Don't forget Federer put on a forehand master class in the first set which immediately put Murray on the back foot and set the trend for the whole match.
I think that - and I think having played 28 sets of tennis to get to the final, including his 2 doubles matches, and the euphoria of finally toppling Nadal - I don't think he had a lot left to bring to take on Federer. And perhaps he hoped the same sort of tactics that beat Federer in Dubai and Cincy 06 would bring results. Instead Federer gave him a lesson that playing him first round in Dubai is not the same as playing him in a slam final and you'd better have enough left in the legs, in the head and in the gameplan if you want to make a dent.

Bernard Black
09-18-2008, 08:43 AM
I think that - and I think having played 28 sets of tennis to get to the final, including his 2 doubles matches, and the euphoria of finally toppling Nadal - I don't think he had a lot left to bring to take on Federer. And perhaps he hoped the same sort of tactics that beat Federer in Dubai and Cincy 06 would bring results. Instead Federer gave him a lesson that playing him first round in Dubai is not the same as playing him in a slam final and you'd better have enough left in the legs, in the head and in the gameplan if you want to make a dent.

I think the draining quarter-final with Del Potro caught up with him by the time of the final. He got past Nadal on pure adrenaline, and in hindsight, he was bound to have a come down from that. Like Nina said though, it was Federer's day no matter what, I think even if Murray played his best match ever in that final, Federer still had another gear or two to move up to if need be.

Now come on leng jai, let's have Djokovic! Should make for interesting reading, especially the mental aspect :lol:

Clydey
09-18-2008, 08:45 AM
I think the draining quarter-final with Del Potro caught up with him by the time of the final. He got past Nadal on pure adrenaline, and in hindsight, he was bound to have a come down from that. Like Nina said though, it was Federer's day no matter what, I think even if Murray played his best match ever in that final, Federer still had another gear or two to move up to if need be.

Now come on leng jai, let's have Djokovic! Should make for interesting reading, especially the mental aspect :lol:

Dunno about another gear or two. With the excepton of the second set, I think that was Federer's best.

fast_clay
09-18-2008, 08:58 AM
I agree. He really went for it against Djokovic and had great success. No idea why he inexplicably went back to rolling it in.

I think that - and I think having played 28 sets of tennis to get to the final, including his 2 doubles matches, and the euphoria of finally toppling Nadal - I don't think he had a lot left to bring to take on Federer. And perhaps he hoped the same sort of tactics that beat Federer in Dubai and Cincy 06 would bring results. Instead Federer gave him a lesson that playing him first round in Dubai is not the same as playing him in a slam final and you'd better have enough left in the legs, in the head and in the gameplan if you want to make a dent.

i think next time around in a similar scenario he'll know he'll have to go and take the match to federer... i have seen federer kind of hit his way into form and let the opponent play for the best part of a set, but he was simply on from the get go there... federer doesnt give grand slam finals away... oh... except for RG 08...

yeah scoobs, u can see the difference in the amount of emotional energy spent on a 1st rd MM tourney to what we saw from federer even from the QF's in New York...

will do muscles the world of good...

Action Jackson
09-18-2008, 09:14 AM
i think next time around in a similar scenario he'll know he'll have to go and take the match to federer... i have seen federer kind of hit his way into form and let the opponent play for the best part of a set, but he was simply on from the get go there... federer doesnt give grand slam finals away... oh... except for RG 08...

yeah scoobs, u can see the difference in the amount of emotional energy spent on a 1st rd MM tourney to what we saw from federer even from the QF's in New York...

will do muscles the world of good...

Not everyone can win their first GS at their first try. Federer turned it on this time around. It depends on what Murray learns from this match and how he applies the lessons learnt next time he plays Federer. Naturally Murray is going to try the tactics that worked in the past against Fed, but you made the important distinction in your last sentence.

habibko
09-18-2008, 11:09 AM
again a great read jeng lai, it would be great if you added all top 10 or even 15 in this thread :) and I also suggest you make a section on "movement" for every player since it's quite important and just a little comment in defence isn't enough for such a huge aspect of the game, it's for example what separates Djokovic from Murray and Gasquet IMO.

It depends on what Murray learns from this match and how he applies the lessons learnt next time he plays Federer. Naturally Murray is going to try the tactics that worked in the past against Fed

Murray never won Federer because he outplayed him, the tactics that worked for him is to make him hit the extra shot and keep the ball in play, I didn't watch the match in Cincy06 but I watched the one in Dubai and thats what Murray did and we all know how Fed was at that time of the year and it wasn't a surprise he lost just by that, as for the Cincy match, I believe Fed lost it because he is simply human and during his almost inhumane run at 2006 when he reached the final of clays and won every single tournament he participated in (Masters and GSs) and just winning Canada he was surely exhausted and thats why he lost.

when he attempted the same tactics at USO.. well we all saw what happened.

Clydey
09-18-2008, 12:35 PM
again a great read jeng lai, it would be great if you added all top 10 or even 15 in this thread :) and I also suggest you make a section on "movement" for every player since it's quite important and just a little comment in defence isn't enough for such a huge aspect of the game, it's for example what separates Djokovic from Murray and Gasquet IMO.


You think Djokovic has better movement than Murray? That's possibly the one area I think Murray is clearly better than Djokovic. Nole has a better forehand; backhands are probably on a par; Murray volleys better; Nole serves better. I'm surprised you think his movement separates him from Murray, though. Then again, I am constantly accused of being biased, so maybe my judgement is off.

Chiseller
09-18-2008, 12:40 PM
Too bad you edited your first post. Would've been a good read in a few years, just to see how the public opinion changed during the years. For example, add a link to your new analysis in the first post.
Anyway, good read!

Clydey
09-18-2008, 12:41 PM
again a great read jeng lai, it would be great if you added all top 10 or even 15 in this thread :) and I also suggest you make a section on "movement" for every player since it's quite important and just a little comment in defence isn't enough for such a huge aspect of the game, it's for example what separates Djokovic from Murray and Gasquet IMO.



Murray never won Federer because he outplayed him, the tactics that worked for him is to make him hit the extra shot and keep the ball in play, I didn't watch the match in Cincy06 but I watched the one in Dubai and thats what Murray did and we all know how Fed was at that time of the year and it wasn't a surprise he lost just by that, as for the Cincy match, I believe Fed lost it because he is simply human and during his almost inhumane run at 2006 when he reached the final of clays and won every single tournament he participated in (Masters and GSs) and just winning Canada he was surely exhausted and thats why he lost.

when he attempted the same tactics at USO.. well we all saw what happened.

There needn't be an excuse for Federer to lose. Every player loses. It's getting the same way with Rafa. Every time he loses, he's apparently exhausted. These guys are human. Sometimes they get outperformed on the day. No one can produce their best every time they step on court. However, not producing your best is not an excuse for a loss. If it was, 95% of the losses on tour could be attributed to not playing one's best.

MatchFederer
09-18-2008, 01:27 PM
Dunno about another gear or two. With the excepton of the second set, I think that was Federer's best.

Watching that second set was frustrating for me. In my mind, Federer was trying to front up against some major mental demons. Seeing him start to push his forehands made me feel uncomfortable! I think Federer can play slightly better than he did though. He implemented specific tactics but I have always found that Federer is at his absolute best when everything is completely instinct, his pure talent overriding anything the opponent can throw at him. He obviously respects Murray's game though, otherwise he wouldn't have gone in with a specific game plan. Certainly, the balls which Federer bludgeoned back at the feet of Murray in the center of the court just killed him.

bokehlicious
09-18-2008, 02:03 PM
Dunno about another gear or two. With the excepton of the second set, I think that was Federer's best.

If you didn't start following the sport recently (I guess since Murray is half successful :o) you'd know what TidusZidane meant ;)