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Doesn't it seem to you that Federer's been playing poorly lately? Actually I brought this up awhile ago but my frustration is coming out again. In fact, I've felt he's been playing pretty badly all year, except for that wimbledon final. He frames a lot more shots than he used to, and he doesn't hit that mid court forehand as well as he used to. He plays good enough of course, but not as well as last year i don't htink. I think this year he's riding on his intimidation, rank, and success from last year a lot. Half the players he's beating are losing not really because federer's playing outstanding, but because they're just so afraid of him from what he's done last year or because he's #1 or because of his court presence. But he can't just keep feeding on his prior success forever. He needs play like he was before. I think he's doing something differnetly cause he keeps framing shots and he's not as accurate with his midcourt forehand. Before that was like 100% chance he'd win the point. And his passing shots aren't quite as good as last year's. That's all guys. You can yell at me now. Luckiliy for him, I don't think agassi's playing very good either.
 

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I dont think poorly is the rigth word not as well as he was last year but did you watch the Wimbledon final this year. That was crazy shit, he played like a ninja :armed:

Part of the reason too is that more players are pushing him. Hewitt played really well against him today, probably better than I've seen him play against him in a long time. Also after that long injury layoff due to his feet his adjusting to playing has been slow :shrug: but the difference is he plays the big points better than his opponents
 

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This year could be a "work in progress" for him, if that's the right term. He's tweaking his game - trying to be more aggressive under Tony Roche, coming to net more, mix in more S-V, etc. He's "raised the bar" and the top players are trying to improve to catch up to him, so the gap is getting closer.

My take on various aspects of his game - this year vs. last year:

* Mental toughness - seems better, or at least he's had to rely on it more. He's played a lot more tight matches this year (seems like a lot of 3rd set TB's) and has come out on top all but 2 of the tight ones (AO vs. Safin, MC vs. Gasquet, Nadal FO I don't consider a close match).

* Serve - declined a bit from last year. His toss seems more to the left and seems to be causing him to lose a little MPH and accuracy. He seems to have gotten broken a lot more this year, judging by the number of tie-breaks already played, he must be getting broken more often but is able to get the break back to get into more tie-breaks - tie-break record (2004: 21-5 vs. 2005: 23-10). Not as clutch - the timely aces from last year don't seem to be happening on the breakpoints, along with what seems to be a habit of having his serving broken more often when serving out a set this year.

* Return of serve - about the same. Breakpoint conversions are probably a little down judging from the number of tie-breaks played already, although I don't have the stats on that on hand.

* Groundstrokes - about the same. The one shot I noticed he hasn't been employing is the tricky short-angle off-forehand approach that he used a lot last year. Backhand might improved a little more though - esp. the wicked short crosscourt slice shot he employs on a lot of breakpoints.

* Volleys - improved. Forehand volley still needs work.

* Movement/Defense - improved.
 

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IMMORTALCHAMP said:
Tony Roche isn't Federer's coach anymore actually. That was a temporary thing.
He still is, he just talked to him the other day according to the conference. Just not your usual full time coach
 

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Fi-Fi said:
so he's not at the top of his game but he's in the us open final what more can u expect of the guy?! :shrug:
Good question, thanks :yeah:
 
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BHH, I agree that Federer has been playing poorly this year. He has struggled a lot more but funny enough I don't think it's because he has been pushed. Well, if he's winning off of intimidation that's not his fault. If you're suggesting that he 's too confident in himself to consider anyone else a threat, I disagree.

Roger's level has truly dropped a bit this year and the sad part about it is he has still been very dominant, nonetheless! He has not struck that forehand the way he struck it last year and his serve has also been inconsistent. Still, it must be borne in mind that Roger has had some issues with his feet so maybe that, too, concerns him and makes him play more conservatively now.

He played an excellent Final at Wimby and an excellent Final at Cincy but the lead-up to the Cincy Final was scary. Wimby wasn't bad at all even though he lost that set to Kiefer and struggled a little bit in the match; after all he is human.

But every time you thought Roger would take off in NY he just seemed to lapse a little bit. I thought after that thrashing of Nalbandian that I would have seen a different ROger dominating Hewitt as usual, and instead I saw him losing interest in parts of the game. Hewitt did improve his play but ROger just seemed totally disinterested as opposed to clueless by the challenge of Hewitt.

I don't know, maybe as some feared Roger's just getting tired of tennis. I believe he wants to end this year in grand style by winning the US, as many of the AMS as he can to keep that record and the Tennis Masters Championships. After that I just don't know what to expect from Roger. I just don't see that fire in his eyes anymore; he loves the taste of victory, no doubt, but he may be bored.

Today's anybody's match, IMO. I never underestimate another player against Roger, no matter who it is. Roger has a lot on the line today: his Finals streak, defending and winning another Slam, continuing to strike the fear of the Ninja in the hearts of all the ATP (and he will if he wins). Maybe this is all the motivation he needs.

I wish him the best.
 

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Look, this is just retarded. The problem with totally awesome SF and F matches he played at USO last year is that they set the bar stupendously high. Now, people are watching every point he plays and if the execution is not absolutely perfect, it's as if there is a national crisis. "OMG, Federer just dropped his serve! He may lose this set! He won't ever win another slam! His domination is over!"

Everybody agrees that Sampras was at his absolute prime at 1993-1996. Lets look at how he played at USO at 1996:

R128 Szymanski, Jimy (VEN ) 164 6-2 6-2 6-1
R64 Novak, Jiri (CZE ) 47 6-3 1-6 6-3 4-6 6-4
R32 Volkov, Alexander (RUS ) 78 6-3 6-4 6-2
R16 Philippoussis, Mark (AUS ) 22 6-3 6-3 6-4
Q Corretja, Alex (ESP ) 31 7-6(5) 5-7 5-7 6-4 7-6(7)
S Ivanisevic, Goran (CRO ) 6 6-3 6-4 6-7(11) 6-3
W Chang, Michael (USA ) 3 6-1 6-4 7-6(3)

Drops 2 sets to then-unknown Novak, barely eeks out a win against Corretja, puking on the court, plays a tough match against Ivanisevic. Had MTF existed back then, I'm sure everybody would have been saying "Pete is toast, he plays crap, he won't have a prayer against Chang with the way he plays..."

What are people saying now? "Look at how he demolished Chang in the finals, Chang was at his peak, Pete was just awesome & unbeatable then..."
 

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If Fed is playing poorly, how would you define Agassi's performance yesterday?

Fed obviously isn't as good as last year, but he still is amazing. The way he played the setpoints in the 2nd set yesterday and then the tiebreak was out of this world.
 

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BHH1988 said:
Doesn't it seem to you that Federer's been playing poorly lately?
I don't agree. I think you missed to notice that mens tennis became pretty sohisticated strategic game, not anymore that much for the eye. Federer seems as he is playing not so good, but he is loosing even fewer matches than last year. Federer knows how to win even better than the last year, he is even more able to play as much as he needs and no more, saving energy that way. "Poor game" I think is more the outcome of Federer's in-advance thinking and his efforst to win with as little effort, and as little inspiration as possible. He is in that phase. Only exception from this is his work on aproaching the net and volleying. Now this an interesting place:
It seems that Federer subcoussnesly still want to give his oponent the chance to trouble him at the net. When he wants to serve&volley, his serve is never so good - have any of you noticed this? His aproach shots are regulary bad, giving his oponent so much options. He still doesn't have the way of thinking about the game to aproach the net with more authority, and that is the only thing I notice he is realy working on, when his game is concerned. Other aspects - he just tries to utilise what he already knows and care not to break to much sweat.
 

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This year he had a lot more pressure in terms of defending an insane amount of points from last season and living up to the expectations (both from the media and himself) after winning 3 slams last year. Also, the fact that he failed to win first two GS of the year didn't help. Last year he "defended" his Wimbledon title in advance by winning the AO and could swing more or less freely the rest of the year. The increased pressure interfered with the tennis quality but probably strengthened his mind. JMHO.

And here is the age issue. He's middle aged by tennis standards. Like many champions before him he has to figure out the most economical way to win. He can't afford to play every match with the intensity of of 18-20 yo guys. He has to "play the score", pick the right moments for going up to a different level.
 

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Playing poorly compared to what? If winning 9 titles (including 4 TMS), being in the semis of 2 grand slams, winning 1 and in the finals of the 4th is playing poorly then you must think the rest of the tour absoluetly sucks. I'm sure any player would like to have the record Fed has this year.
 

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i guess he just couldnt summon his best tennis for a lot of matches, in other words, a loss of motivation. i really doubt how excited roger can be with the prospect of playing hewitt, who basically offers little resistance before yesterday's match.
roger can raise his game when it matters, thats the most important thing. i hope in today's final, he will give us a lot to cheer on.
 

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Not anymore he isn't. I think his play was lackluster in the early rounds, just enough to get through but now when it matters he's blowing pretenders to his throne off the court.
In yesterday's match against Hewie he had a lot of errors on his backhand and Hewie started serving to it. Bad move on Hewies part wasn't it? You could almost see Fed get p.o.'d and gather himself.

He's obviously picked it up now. I guess he was using Ali's rope-a-dope after all. Instead of just a match he used it throughout the tournament.
 

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Many of you are missing the point. Because someone is still winning does not demonstrate that he is playing at the same level as he did previously, or at the best you've seen from him. That probably says more about the lack of competition than it says about Federer's game and this has been said so many times: that even when he's not playing wel, he's still head and shoulders above the competition.

Federer is definitely not playing as well as he can, not nearly as well as he played last year. That is just a fact. Lucky for him his less than perfect form is still good enough to beat 99.99% of the tour. But there is still no doubt that his level has dropped.

He has struggled through almost every tournament this year, has had to win matches in third set tie-breaks, has lost sets (which of course is not bad as long as he wins the match), and has lost two matches this year that he had match points to win.

It is normal to expect a higher level of play from him because he has already shown he has it in him, but sometimes it just seems as if he's cutting it a bit close.

OTOH Roger is very mentally tough which goes a long way when he is unable to play his best. That's why he's No. 1. Correction: That's why he's a winning No. 1.
 
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