Change in Federer tactics vs Nadal/ Nalbandian [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Change in Federer tactics vs Nadal/ Nalbandian

Fed=ATPTourkilla
10-21-2006, 01:44 PM
Over the last few years, Federer has generally blocked the other guy's serve back, confident in the knowledge that he can win the rally even without doing too much with the return.

However, against Nadal and Nalbandian, there's been no guarantee that he will win the rally after a blocked return. They can both match him from the back. I think that his ability to get away with blocked returns against inferior backcourt players made him lazy against Nadal/Nalbandian. He got into the habit of blocking, even against players where he really needed to do more. Against Rafa and David, Roger needed to get the upper hand at the start of a rally to be sure of winning the point. He couldn't just win the rally from a 50-50 situation like he could with everyone else.

In the fourth set of the Wimbledon final, Roger ran round his backhand and simply blasted the Nadal second serve. Result: he found it a lot easier to get breaks. Against Nalbandian today, he was just as aggressive. And it worked. He needs to get a quick advantage against these guys, both of whom can match him from the back. And, luckily for him, he has the ability to get it - one of Roger's strengths is that he's much quicker to the return than anyone else is. He can certainly attack serves if he wants to; the only reason he hasn't done it so much in the past is that he hasn't needed to.

Nadal and Nalbandian are completely different from Roddick and require a different approach. Expect to see much more of this aggressive approach to returning against both of them in the future.

Sjengster
10-21-2006, 01:51 PM
I agree that aggressive returning is what's needed against both of them, and was certainly lacking in the days when he always lost to Nalbandian, but Nadal's serve is much harder to attack with the lefty swerve and slice that he gets on the ball. You say Federer can attack serves if he needs to, but to me he's never been great at punishing slow second serves; the number of times you see him slice a soft return into the net on an important point, even now, is remarkable (it happened all the time in his pre-no. 1 days). He's much better at reacting quickly to a fast first serve where instinct and reflexes take over. Don't forget what he told a coach back in Switzerland as a junior when asked what the hardest thing about playing on clay was for him: the return. Which the coach couldn't believe because clay should be the easiest surface to return on, but for Federer the more time he has the worse in some respects.

Fed=ATPTourkilla
10-21-2006, 02:03 PM
I think Roger can attack second serves, just sometimes not the high kicking ones to his backhand. Maybe the answer vs Nadal is to run round his backhand on second serve, like he did in the fourth set at Wimbledon - remember how effectively he attacked Rafa's second serve in that set?

Adler
10-21-2006, 02:06 PM
I think Roger can attack second serves, just sometimes not the high kicking ones to his backhand. Maybe the answer vs Nadal is to run round his backhand on second serve, like he did in the fourth set at Wimbledon - remember how effectively he attacked Rafa's second serve in that set?
yeah, for example the break on 5-1

NYCtennisfan
10-21-2006, 02:07 PM
Yes, he has worked on the attacking return. He has always had a very good FH return off of fast paced serves that aren't placed very well. For example, Blake serves a lot to his FH for whatever reason and the serves will be in the 125+ range but Federer will take good whacks at those serves and get a jump on the rally. His BH return has always been the of the chip variety, but at the Open and the summer events, I saw him doing a lot of the running around the bachand, inside out BH return on the deuce court, CC return on the AD side (which he hardly ever does) and so on. The guy gets better and better every tournament it seems.

GlennMirnyi
10-21-2006, 04:49 PM
He has problems with Nadal during rallies, because of the moonballs, but I don't see him losing significant rallies against Nalbandian.