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Old 09-08-2006, 08:45 AM   #1
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Default Player's games dissected - last update: Berdych

Roger Federer

Steb's version: http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...2&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/show...&postcount=319

David Nalbandian: http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...&postcount=461

Tomas Berdych: http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...&postcount=469

Greg Rusedski (Bernard Black): http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...&postcount=348

Tim Henman (Bernard Black): http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...&postcount=317

Rafael Nadal (Bernard Black): http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...&postcount=309

Tsonga (out_here_grindin): http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...&postcount=422

Roddick, Gonzalez, Gasquet, Nalbandian, Robredo (stebs): http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...2&postcount=25

Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Davydenko (stebs): http://www.menstennisforums.com/show...7&postcount=13

Last edited by leng jai : 06-20-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

Remarkable analysis
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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.

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Old 09-08-2006, 09:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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.

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Old 09-08-2006, 09:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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?

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Old 09-12-2006, 06:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

Quote:
Originally Posted by PMK is Innocent View Post
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
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

Lets do it for more players....
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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.
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:52 AM   #11
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peoples View Post
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.
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On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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.
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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.
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:53 AM   #14
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

Good stuff stebney.
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Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:08 PM   #15
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Default Re: Player's games dissected - Fedex, Haas, Safin

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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" on the rest of MTF before too long.
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