Improvements in federer's game [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Improvements in federer's game

aneevar
02-23-2006, 04:41 AM
I know this thread belongs to Player forum , but I wanted to reach out to more people .

I just read somewhere( in a sports tab. ) that coach Roche feels Fed can improve/ needs improvement in these areas : 1 Volley/ net play 2 second serve 3 Hitting a heavier ball .

Though I'm not sure if it's a recent statement or an old one ( It's in the latest issue of the sports tabloid ).

What are the areas where Fed can improve / needs improvement acco. to you ?

(I'm a Fed fan but not a biased one . I also enjoy Nadal's intensity n safins explosiveness.)

I have never played tennis ( though I would like to ) so my opinions may seem a bit naive if not stupid/hilarious.It's based on watching matches only !!

BUT ACCO TO ME :

1 Fed needs a double-handed b/h occassionally . his b/h seems to give him problems against guys who hit heavy n steady b/h (Agassi/Safin or lefty f/h - nadal ).
This will give him more control , power in rallies . mOST OF FEDS errors seem to come from b/h ( b/h dumping in the net ). I'm not saying he needs to discard playing his fabulous ( when on )one hander. But just suggssting that a 2-hander will increase his options / control. Though I woder whether it is possible for a player to develop a new style. I must mention that Wilander mentioned in his interview that he developed a one handed b/h in addition tohis staple double-handed later in his career to add variety.

Also when his b/h is not on he seems more desperate to go for f/h winners
resulting in f/h errors also . The 2-handed b/h will also help him negotiate
Nadal's serve better .

2 Secondly , he needs to improve fitness ( he already is very fit ) - get
some more muscle n power .

3 I also feel that he can go for a bit more on his 1 st serves. More muscles
may add a few mph . I get the feel that he serves at 85-90 % of his
potential max speed . And he can add to it without sacrificing accuracy

what do u guys think ? imo A 2-handed b/h would make his game even
more versatile n complete . But is it possible to keep switching between
a 2-handed b/h and a 1-handed b/h ?

federated
02-23-2006, 04:56 AM
he needs to work on returning nadal's heavily spun high ball that so irked him at the FO

ExpectedWinner
02-23-2006, 04:56 AM
No, at this point he can't add a 2h bh. I'm sure he's never planned it.

helen phillips
02-23-2006, 05:19 AM
Not going to be cruel but you don't generally go from one hander to two. particularly if you have as good a one hander as Federer. Contact point\mechanics from one to two are completely different. Sometimes two handed players will have a one handed slice (Moya, Wilander, Maleeva sisters) which they use to change the pace. A lot of two handers will hit slice when pulled wide (ie Roddick) but the ones I mentioned and quite a few others (Hewitt & Murray) use it offensively. I can't think of a single player who hits a one handed topspin shot who would alternate using a two hander.

Muscle adds weight - the ideal physique for tennis is still lean. Bulky players like Philloupousis\S. Williams are very injury prone and tend to have suspect footwork which is a big part of the Federer magic.

Weakest part of Federer's game is definitely serving consistency but it is hardly hurting him.

Because Nadal kicks his serve it may be getting up on Federer's backhand but I doubt Nadal's serving is what really troubles Roger as Nadal has an effective but not overpowering serve.

The Nadal Federer dynamic comes down the issue that Federer is trying to create while Nadal is trying to defend. On clay it is harder to create and easier to defend. Federer excels on fast surfaces which allow him to create winners and forced errors but on clay that is much harder to do - a closely contested clay court match will usually have more errors than winners and almost never the kind of ratio you would get off a fast surface like grass.

Langers
02-23-2006, 07:14 AM
To be honest there’s not a lot Federer can improve. His game is unbelievably sound; he dominates from the back of the court, and at net. Take a look at the 2004 Wimbledon Final for instance; Roddick was beating him in the baseline battles, so Federer then changed his tactics and played the majority of the game at net. The game turned around, and Federer won the title. And considering he basically spent an entire year without a coach and still enjoyed plenty of success, I don’t think there’s many areas he can improve.

TheMightyFed
02-23-2006, 07:31 AM
The two aspects of his fabulous game that sometimes are suspect are his volley and his backhand. He got beaten by players with very good BH and one lefty in 2005 because he couldn't stand their consistency in the BH diagonal. Regarding volley it can be quite erratic at times as we have seen in AO this year. But this is a very demanding task to develop a consistent volley when it's not your basic strategy like Henman or Dent. It's quite antinomic to the groundstrokes, from high to low vs. low to high. But as Fed's B game is already better than most of the guys' A game, Federer is safe in the technical department and shouldn't bother too much to make drastic changes like going to a two-hander. However, I think it's clever to work with Roche on the volley game because he's currently in his prime and can sustain long rallies, but in 2-3 years he will need to shorten the points to win slams, like Sampras, and that requires some good net game.

helen phillips
02-24-2006, 04:43 AM
The two aspects of his fabulous game that sometimes are suspect are his volley and his backhand. He got beaten by players with very good BH and one lefty in 2005 because he couldn't stand their consistency in the BH diagonal. Regarding volley it can be quite erratic at times as we have seen in AO this year. But this is a very demanding task to develop a consistent volley when it's not your basic strategy like Henman or Dent. It's quite antinomic to the groundstrokes, from high to low vs. low to high. But as Fed's B game is already better than most of the guys' A game, Federer is safe in the technical department and shouldn't bother too much to make drastic changes like going to a two-hander. However, I think it's clever to work with Roche on the volley game because he's currently in his prime and can sustain long rallies, but in 2-3 years he will need to shorten the points to win slams, like Sampras, and that requires some good net game.

I have officially given up my life long commitment to atheism and, while I'm typing this, I am praying like a Nun at a porn convention that your prediction never comes to pass. No pleaase don't let Federer turn into tennis' #1 boring player of all time: Pete Sampras - no amount of winning can justify that level of dullness.

Other than that I agree he is wise to work on his volley. I am not a fan of one handers but I gotta say I find his backhand very sound - to me it doesn't shake under pressure but I didn't see him play on clay much last year.

aneevar
02-24-2006, 05:03 AM
Not going to be cruel but you don't generally go from one hander to two. particularly if you have as good a one hander as Federer. Contact point\mechanics from one to two are completely different. Sometimes two handed players will have a one handed slice (Moya, Wilander, Maleeva sisters) which they use to change the pace. A lot of two handers will hit slice when pulled wide (ie Roddick) but the ones I mentioned and quite a few others (Hewitt & Murray) use it offensively. I can't think of a single player who hits a one handed topspin shot who would alternate using a two hander.

Muscle adds weight - the ideal physique for tennis is still lean. Bulky players like Philloupousis\S. Williams are very injury prone and tend to have suspect footwork which is a big part of the Federer magic.

Weakest part of Federer's game is definitely serving consistency but it is hardly hurting him.

Because Nadal kicks his serve it may be getting up on Federer's backhand but I doubt Nadal's serving is what really troubles Roger as Nadal has an effective but not overpowering serve.

The Nadal Federer dynamic comes down the issue that Federer is trying to create while Nadal is trying to defend. On clay it is harder to create and easier to defend. Federer excels on fast surfaces which allow him to create winners and forced errors but on clay that is much harder to do - a closely contested clay court match will usually have more errors than winners and almost never the kind of ratio you would get off a fast surface like grass.

Sorry was late in replying . Got the point about muscles n build.( though I was suggessting a Nadal like build ) .

Also I wonder when Fed is also pretty good at defence why does he also not play so and keep grinding and attack only when there is the right opportunity .Is it b'cos his game is that way or is it b'cos he feels thats the right way against Nadal . Frankly I dont understand much of the technical aspects of shotmaking but I 've the gut feel that Nadal is going to give Fed a real hard time in future . What is FEds strategy for playing him would be interesting to see !

aneevar
02-24-2006, 05:13 AM
To be honest there’s not a lot Federer can improve. His game is unbelievably sound; he dominates from the back of the court, and at net. Take a look at the 2004 Wimbledon Final for instance; Roddick was beating him in the baseline battles, so Federer then changed his tactics and played the majority of the game at net. The game turned around, and Federer won the title. And considering he basically spent an entire year without a coach and still enjoyed plenty of success, I don’t think there’s many areas he can improve.


Probably he doesnt need to and maybe thats his highest level ( every guy has a limit however phenomenal it may be ) .

But lets discuss it HYPOTHETICALLY . As an amateur fan and Tennis watcher ( who hasnt actually played the game ) I made a few observations .What do U think abou them ? ( Obviously Roche knows what he's saying and there is no questioning that ) . Can u ( If practice hard) employ both 1-handed n 2-handed b/h s or is it utter harakiri ( And an absurdity to even think of )?

aneevar
02-24-2006, 05:16 AM
No, at this point he can't add a 2h bh. I'm sure he's never planned it.

HYPOTHETICALLY if he had tried right from his early years :

1 Would it lend him any advantage or would it be a disadvantage ?

2 Is it almost impossible to do so ( irrespective of however early u u try to )?

3 Is it a totally worthless pursuit ?

Federerthebest
02-24-2006, 05:17 AM
how can you play one-handed and two-handed backhand?
has there been any player in history who has done this (and of course i do not mean slice backhand)?

ugotlobbed
02-24-2006, 05:19 AM
he needs to improve 1h backhand, needs to improve forehand slice

aneevar
02-24-2006, 05:20 AM
he needs to work on returning nadal's heavily spun high ball that so irked him at the FO

HOW ? I mean what work he should do ? Practice like hell returning those serves the way he was doing then to gain consistency ? Or practice / employ some other strategy ?

robrulz5
02-24-2006, 05:24 AM
I think his backhand has improved alot over the last few years as everyone would hit it to that side.

As for a double-handed backhand, I don't think he needs it, he makes most of his errors with his backhand but so do most players with a one handed backhand.

I also think he needs to get into the gym. You see the bodies of Nadal and Hewitt and if Federer could put on some muscle he'd be even harder to beat.

aneevar
02-24-2006, 05:26 AM
how can you play one-handed and two-handed backhand?
has there been any player in history who has done this (and of course i do not mean slice backhand)?


Well obviously me n u havent seen anyone do that . And I'm sure no one else has either seen anybody do that as no player in history has done that ?

Can it be tried ?

aneevar
02-24-2006, 05:42 AM
I think his backhand has improved alot over the last few years as everyone would hit it to that side.

As for a double-handed backhand, I don't think he needs it, he makes most of his errors with his backhand but so do most players with a one handed backhand.

I also think he needs to get into the gym. You see the bodies of Nadal and Hewitt and if Federer could put on some muscle he'd be even harder to beat.

HI ROB ! Atleast there is one guy who thinks like me on one count !! (getting muscles ) You 're absolutely spot on - I had Nadal in mind while suggessting that.

Also u pointed that most errors are on b/h side for 1-handed b/h players . Thats why I suggessted a switching between the two - this hybrid b/h player( fed ) would simply be invincible - imagine Fed with his own 1-hander and a 2-hander b/h like Agassi/Safin !

I see that most people opine that its impossible to do so now . So i discuss it at a HYPOTHETICAL level that had he practised from early yrs . could he achieve that .

I must also apologise to experts like u guys ( for maybe asking stupid questions ) . Because saying so is like saying what if Agassi had had Pete's serve n volley skills and Feds movement and f/h .PURE FANTASY .

ExpectedWinner
02-24-2006, 05:51 AM
HYPOTHETICALLY if he had tried right from his early years :

1 Would it lend him any advantage or would it be a disadvantage ?

2 Is it almost impossible to do so ( irrespective of however early u u try to )?

3 Is it a totally worthless pursuit ?


Most kids start with 2hands because they don't have enough power (of course, there are always some exceptions). Later, those who are uncomfortable with their 2hbh, and/or or want to add more variety/reach/s&v game switch to one hander.

HI ROB ! Atleast there is one guy who thinks like me on one count !! (getting muscles )


It's a tricky issue. The more weight a player carries on from the neck down, the more pressure his hips/knees/ankles/feet have to sustain; and that might cause some injures.

robrulz5
02-24-2006, 05:52 AM
Hypothetically it would have been awesome to see him with both a double handed and single handed backhand.

I believe Federer uses his backhand to set up points instead of trying to hit outright winners even though he has hit some great bachand winners such as the one against Mirnyi at the Oz Open.

Rex
02-24-2006, 06:11 AM
federer is wonderful, i reckon he just needs some more spin, so he can actually fight fire with fire at the FO

bokehlicious
02-24-2006, 06:36 AM
I also think he needs to get into the gym. You see the bodies of Nadal and Hewitt and if Federer could put on some muscle he'd be even harder to beat.

He still works hard into the gym with Paganini ;) . He doesn't need to be more builky imo, he has already the most powerful FH in the game and has an amazing speed in his groundstrokes. And worse, he could loose his wonderful footwork speed if he became too muscular :shrug:

TheMightyFed
02-24-2006, 07:38 AM
I have officially given up my life long commitment to atheism and, while I'm typing this, I am praying like a Nun at a porn convention that your prediction never comes to pass. No pleaase don't let Federer turn into tennis' #1 boring player of all time: Pete Sampras - no amount of winning can justify that level of dullness.
Federer will never be dull in his game, but it's wise to shorten points and play more tactically when you get older, see Connors at 39, he almost finsihed all points at the net. Agassi stays on the center of the baseline and toys his adversaries, keeping his runnining to the minimum thanks to his great tempo and eye.
Regarding his frame I think Fed is fine, his coordination is perfect and his "biomechanical expertise" is doing the job in terms of speed and spin, what would be the aim to add muscle ? His serve is not the fastest but is so efficient in terms of variety and disguise.
Regarding two-handed BH, the choice is made so early for these guys that they stick to 2H or 1H. Only example I know of change is Sampras who went from 2H to 1H to develop a grass game. I'm not surprised Fed plays one-handed drive because it fits to the rest of his game: lot of slice BH, frequent volley, fluidity...

NYCtennisfan
02-24-2006, 08:24 AM
It's good to be on the West Coast so I can get in on some of these threads when they start :)

Federer can improve the heaviness of his ball and his 1st serve. His is very good volleyer but he doesn't believe he is. If you watch Federer volley in non-pressure situations, he is very good and can do a lot with both his FH and BH volleys. It is during the pressure points that he doesn't believe his best chance of winning the point is at the net, he hesitates, doesn't take the extra step forward (especially on his FH volleys), and nets a lot of balls. He has mentioned this in interviews many times that he doesn't believe the players of today have the same volleying instincts, etc. and so it shows that he doesn't believe at this point that he can win tournaments with a steady diet of S/V or attacking the net and ending points at the net.

As for the BH, it has improved TREMENDOUSLY in the last 3 or 4 years. He won a lot of BH to BH exchanges with Nalbandian, Agassi, and Safin the last couple of years which he almost never did before. His topspin BH CC deep into the AD court pushed Nalbandian around at the USO this year and was really, really good at the AO this year.

It is true that his BH does tend to break down the longer a point goes, but with his mobility and court positioning, it is extremely difficult to pin him on his BH. Agassi can do it, Nalbandian, Safin, Nadal with his lefty FH...not too many others can do it, and even these guys can't do it consistently. I remember at the USO final people talked about all the errors that Federer was making off of the BH side, but that was because Agassi did not miss hardly any balls for the first couple of sets and if you hit the ball long enough and pin Fed to the BH, eventually he will miss, but again, it is really hard to do. His BH is not made for that. In his old matches against Nalbandian and Agassi, his BH was not good enough (especially the topspin CC deep into the Ad court) to draw a BH back into the middle of the court to his FH thereby changing the nature of the rally. This was the main reason he couldn't beat those guys. His BH DTL has really improved as well. Going back to the volleying, the one big advantage for a player with a one-handed BH is that he can better attack the net and usually be a better volleyer. A one-hander is usually not as steady as the two-hander (which are usually built for those long BH-BH rallies) so Federer needs to take advantage of his volleying abilities and make the most of the one or two advantages of being a one-hander in today's game gives him.

One thing he can do is consistently hit a harder first serve. At the AO, he hit really big against Hass but was inconsistent. He hit a serve 135 mph, one 133, and two at 131 and that's really big for him. If he can do that consistently, he should be able to get even more cheap points on his first serve which can only help him. I think adding 7 or 8 pounds of upper body strength could help him consistently hit a bigger 1st serve. As for his second serve, it was the best 2nd serve I have seen since Pete's which was fy far the best ever in the game. It wasn't quite as good as Pete's, but he moved it around consistently at 92-95 mph and gave very little opportunities for oppontents to attack it directly. Baggy got a couple of cracks early, but they were really high risk with him standing inside the baseline and he couldn't keep it up.

If he gains confidence in his volleying, and serves a harder 1st serve ball more consistently, he will be even more difficult to defeat and his just about unbeatable now.

Gulliver
02-24-2006, 08:59 AM
Great post, NYCtennisfan!

RonE
02-24-2006, 09:40 AM
how can you play one-handed and two-handed backhand?
has there been any player in history who has done this (and of course i do not mean slice backhand)?

Marc Rosset is the only one that comes to mind- he started with a two hander and towards the end of his career he would switch between the double hander and single hander. His BH, however was never really top line with either.

Going back to what Federer can improve, it does not lie in the technical aspects of his game as they are of the highest order- and besides, no player in their right mind at this stage of their career after playing the way they had would ever change their styles. Transforming your game from one style to another or developing a stroke you never used would make the rest of your game fall apart.

The changes he can make are more tactical- if the strokes are the tools he uses, he needs to improve/change the way he applies them. And as Mats Wilander mentioned during the Australian Open, another area Roche has been working with Roger was working the point playing more percentage tennis, being patient, hitting deep consistent shots and then wait for the opening and only then attack. Till now, his problem sometimes was he was pulling the trigger too early in the rally going for low percentage shots. He actually did this well during the Kifer and Baghdatis matches in Australia and I feel while playing someone like Nadal for instance that is exactly what he needs to do.

It is more of a mindset and it is one he has gradually been developing but it still needs work. If he can maintain it and improve it, it will definitely hold him in good stead on the clay and also on the other surfaces too.

TheMightyFed
02-24-2006, 09:41 AM
If he gains confidence in his volleying, and serves a harder 1st serve ball more consistently, he will be even more difficult to defeat and his just about unbeatable now.
I totally agree with you on BH and volley, regarding serve I think he doesn't really need more power, especially if he develops his volleys, it's even harder to follow at the net if you fire a big serve because either the return is a bomb hard to catch, or it's a short put away that doesn't require great volleying skills (cf. Roddick game). So IMO bigger upper body muscles wouldn't bring a lot to his game. His body is well balanced I think, and this is part of his success on all surfaces, being able to rally on clay because he's not too bulky, and explosive and agile enough to master grass and fast courts.

TheMightyFed
02-24-2006, 09:44 AM
It is more of a mindset and it is one he has gradually been developing but it still needs work. If he can maintain it and improve it, it will definitely hold him in good stead on the clay and also on the other surfaces too.
Very true, and the RG SF 05 was the perfect example, Fed was there mentally only in the second set and begining of the 3rd, chosing carefully his approaches.

Peoples
02-24-2006, 10:00 AM
Federer should put more kick on his both serves on clay, he can do it very well and should practice even more.

But I don't agree that he should hit shots with as much spin as Nadal. Nadal's been playing his game for years and there's no way Federer can do it as well by maintaining control. He should play his game and only change smaller details. If Federer hit his normal shots very deep and in, while playing around with angles on other shots then he'll beat Nadal on clay.

nermo
02-24-2006, 10:30 AM
1-i think he's working /should be working on longer rallies with enough patience to get to the right time.
imho , it was a weak point that he usually wanted to end rallies rapidly ,so it ends up with a shot in the net.
I saw some improvement in the AO , but i guess it still needs some work and adaptation especially if he wants bigger results on clay.

2-His backhand also showed some improvement more than the US open.

3- i think he's using top spin Ok and successfully.

4- more aggressiveness closer to the net.