Originally Posted by TenHound
Weight could be a symptom, or minor aggravation. But evidence is CONSIDERABLE that Major problem for him is back injury/chronic problem/debilitation. Why?
Read Stauffer bk. That's main reason to buy it. To discover that he lost 4th set to Safin when he lost control of his fh due to hurting back by over-compensating for foot injury/blisters. (Recall he said he had "blisters" @IW, just as he said when he lost to Safin.) There was pressing on nerve to his "pointing finger" which threw off his fh. (I posted exact quote previously on another thread.) This wasn't said by way of "whining", but of deep background - 'yes, RF said that "the better man won", but what he didn't say was...'
His fh is off & his kickserve is kaput. I spoke to very knowledgeable tennis friend about this today. He said that kickserves far harder on the back than his 1st serve. That's what fried Edberg's career - his 1st & 2nd serves were both kick serves & it damaged his back. Also, remember that Roger admitted under questioning about his physical condition/health, in Paris I believe, that he had a groin problem & back problem....
This is now Major Problem from the looks of his play. Maybe due to his back, he can't work out as hard as he used to so has gained weight. Or maybe he's distressed & is compensating...But weight not the driving force - otherwise it would be degrading everything equally...
CONSIDERABLE Evidences or CONSPIRACY theory?!Presenting "facts", "opinions of specialists", and out of context quotes from insiders to make a point sounds stronger than it is.
Your theory is that Roger is suffering from a cronic back problem and it is throwing his fh and kickserve off. And that injury was present at that AO05 semi-final. And it was there at the FO semi-final too- which made Roger fly back home during the middle of the tournament.
Let me see if I get this straight: Roger complains twice, since A005- FO07 about back problems, playing, in between, around 170 matches, winning quite a few titles along the way, and this is a sign of a cronic injury. Besides, there could be no other explanation for Roger, during 3 months of the 1st semester, having problems with his forehand and serve. Umm ... you should talk to your tennis expert buddy, and he will tell you that a lot of professional players go through stages when even hitting the simplest of shots isnt as easy as it usually is. And it doesnt necessarily means an injury.
Lets get back to the injury, and its reasons. At that AO05 semi-final Roger told the press he had blisters and that lead to him overcompesating his movements that lead to back pain. An acute problem, leading to another acute problem. At the same time, you throw Edberg to the mix, who, according to you, served a kick serve in both first and second serve- and that ruined his back. Is it me, or something isnt adding up?!
First: Roger's real chronic condition back at 05 was inflammation of his plantar ligament- there was a talk if Roger had or hadnt something called "plantar fasciitis": on his website, Roger wrote that it wasnt exactly plantar fasciitis in its full form, and, to prevent it, he started wearing speciall shoes designed by Nike. One might say: oh! so that is it: a chronic foot problem lead to a chronic back problem. Not quite: anyone who knows a thing or two about medicine, knows that a person with planatr fasciitis wont be able to run freely (because the symptoms include the feeling of walking as if there was a needle under your feet). How could we explain that Roger played around 170 matches in between, without showing evindences of that?! Martina Hingis is an example: he suffered from that condition and had to pull out of the game for 2 years or so. One can say: Roger just doesnt want to admit it! Doubtful: there is only so much you can pretend it is not hurting. Had that chronic feet problem still bothering Roger, after at least one of year of that, sings and symptoms would be too tough to hide.
Second: Roger doesnt serve both serves as kick serve- actually, Roger has a huge variety on his 1st and 2nd serve. He can hit flat, sliced, kicked serves, on the corner, down the T or at the opponent's body. Anyone who saw Roger serving knows his serve isnt effective only through power, but through placement and different spins. And even if a kick serve is harder on the back, back problems wouldnt affect only his kick serve. We should take in consideration, either, that one of the reasons some guys will have a more demanding kick serve on their backs is due to where they toss the ball. Some guys, to add top spin on their serves, toss the ball slightly behind their heads, which leads to arching their backs a little more. Roger's ball toss is usually at the same place, regardless on its spin: he adds spins mostly at the last second, through flick of his wrist: another thing that makes Roger's serves so tough to read.
Third: would a guy with back/ feet problems play back to back tournaments?! Specially a guy who makes his schedule based mostly on how it will allow him to have a longer career, instead of just aiming for points?! One might say: Roger is trying to defend his number one status, so he decided to take that chance. Again, doubtful: if he was so concerned about points, why didnt he try to get a wildcard for smaller tournaments before Montreal?! Or, lets say, play at South Hampton, just after Wimbledon, since grass is his fav turf- much like Nadal did at Stuttgart after SW19?!
Fourth: is his fh and kick serve really that off?!!! His fh was off between IW and Rome, no doubt. Now, what is off is his top spin backhand: a shot that Roger usually has problems with. Last time I checked, a guy with problems on his kick serve would double fault like Coria ... to my recolection, Roger's double-faults doesnt reach double digits if you add up all of them during an entire tournament. And, as I wrote, a back problem wouldnt throw off only his kick serve, it would affect his other types of serve. Even if it could affect a little bit more his kick serve, we would see signs of it on his flat and sliced serve. Is it me, or non-Fed fans are bitching about how "unfair" it is that Roger is winning too many points with his serve?!
Look at the stats from Wimbledon' final:
1st Serve Percentage 71% (111/156)
1st Serve Points Won 71% (79/111)
2nd Serve Points Won 62% (28/45)
Break Points Saved 63% (7/11)
Winning 62% of points with a second serve isnt bad at all. So much for the theory that Roger's second serve is "kaput".
One can say, though, that against Djoko and Blake, Roger won only 40% of points played with a second serve (even if he won around 70% of points with his 1st serve). Could it be that one of the reasons is that both Djoko and Blake were having a good day returning second serves?! We can use Lleyton's matches as an example of what a good/ bad day at a shot can do: in Montreal, Roger won only 30% of his points played with a second serve. One week later,on a much tougher match, he won 60% of them. Couldnt the player at the other side of the net (and his day's form) has something to do with it?!
Just take a look at Roger's serve stats until August, 20:
Service Record Year-to-Date
Double Faults: 64
1st Serve %: 61
1st Serve Points Won %: 77
2nd Serve Points Won %: 57
And, again, Roger doenst always serve a first serve as a flat serve, and a second serve as a kick serve.
Lets compare Roger's serve with Roddick's:
Double Faults: 84
1st Serve %: 65
1st Serve Points Won %: 81
2nd Serve Points Won %: 57
Look, I am not just writing all of that to "defend" Roger (or, even worse , to "defend" my denial state). If I were to pick something, I would, rationally, pick the weight issue: and not because Roger let go of his physical shape, but, maybe, it was a strategy he and his physical coach designed- and it might not be working as good as they planned (which I think might be even a premature conclusion, but I recognize that on that it is more my "fan" side acting up).However, while reading your post, I had the feeling that on one moment or another, the issue of an alien abducting Roger and implanting on him a device on his back would come up ...
Note after edit: when I talk about Roger's and his physical coach strategy, I dont meat that they planned for Roger to get fat. Instead, bulking up a bit, much like Lleyton did at the AO05.