Roger Federer

A forum to discuss all things Roger Federer, not relating to specific matches.

Fed presser 2

149 Comments on Roger Federer

    • Rogi papy confirmed NOT playing Dubai.

      MichalSamulski 1m1 minute ago
      Roger Federer has confirmed that he will not play Dubai. His first tournament after Rotterdam will be Indian Wells.

      dubai will have the field of a 250…

        • Andre Agassi‏ Verified account @AndreAgassi
          36 years 195 days… @RogerFederer continues to raise the bar in our sport. Congratulations on yet another remarkable achievement!!

          Boris Becker‏ Verified account @TheBorisBecker
          @rogerfederer continues writing history!!! #goat @ATPWorldTour

          julien benneteau‏
          @rogerfederer Dear Maestro I dare not imagine the number of messages you must receive, but know that you are the most beautiful number 1 that our sport can dream, what you have just accomplished is one more line to your legend and that it is an honor to have been able to play against you…

          Incredible achievement. Congratulations to the whole family and team @ivanljubicic

          Riccardo Piatti‏Verified account @RPiatti
          I’m glad he started coaching my son a long time ago… Bravo @theljubicic and bravo @rogerfederer #proudofyou #happyforyou #backtothetop

          Karolina Pliskova‏ Verified account @KaPliskova
          Congratulations to @rogerfederer who will become the oldest ever world No. 1 on Monday… Age is just a number!

          Billie Jean King‏ Verified account @BillieJeanKing
          Age is nothing but a number. Congratulations, @rogerfederer! #championstatus

          Michael Russell‏ Verified account @MRusselltennis
          Age is just a number…@rogerfederer back to #1!

          Jack Sock ‏Verified account @JackSock
          congrats #goat

          Brad Gilbert‏ Verified account @bgtennisnation
          congrats to RF2.0 @rogerfederer amazing accomplishment back at #1 at 36 years young

          Timea Bacsinszky‏ Verified account @TimeaOfficial
          Absolute #GOAT @rogerfederer

          US Open Tennis‏ Verified account @usopen
          To say it’s well deserved is a massive understatement. Huge congratulations to Roger and his team.

          Boris Becker is a clown.

  1. Just to end my take on the Roger racket situation I’ll say this. I believe that the larger racket head gave Roger heightened confidence, which has helped with his aggression, particularly on the backhand side. More importantly for Roger, I think he has been able to handle the vicious topspin of Rafa a bit easier with the backhand. That being said, I don’t think it is the MAIN reason or the be all end all. I just think it has helped very much in his resurgence. I think his rise back to the upper echelons of the game has been very much due to hard work, some time off (i.e. the layoff before AO17), his very smart scheduling, injuries to guys like Murray and Djokovic, and his persistent and growing aggression in big matches and crucial situations (basically trying to shorten points as he gets older AKA evolving and adapting his game with age and experience). And as for if it would have helped his career if he had switched rackets earlier…. who cares? 😄

    • Well said Benny. I agree 100% with that.

      The only remaining question in my mind is would it be enough to beat Rafa with his forehand at its best and Rafa standing closer to the baseline when receiving serve, two things that suffer when he’s not confident and two things he hasn’t done as well since 2013. But he can and if he does we will see. But I think Rafa would still have the advantage. Moot at this point.

      • Agreed Hawkeye. If Rafa stays close to the baseline, hitting with depth and power, I doubt Fed would find it easy taking the ball early with his BH.

        We saw Rafa couldn’t change that pattern of play (hitting to Fed’s BH) when he hit that dumb shot to Fed’s BH in that first game at Shanghai final last year, when Fed was there waiting and returned with a BHDTL Winner to get the break right away. I bet Rafa was regretting hitting that shot once he hit it.

      • Hawkeye, Rafa needs to tweak the patterns a bit and not be slave to the older patterns when under pressure. It is not easy. He had those patterns giving him a 9-2 head to head advantage in slams! I think after last year’s losses, he has already begun the process and the effects will hopefully show. Just like they did against Novak in 2012-13.

        To me the biggest adjustment he has to make is responding to fed’s much more aggressive returning. As long as he his hitting his forehand well, he can still overpower Roger’s backhand but my main concern is the serve-return dynamic.

        In the past Roger was slicing so many returns and Rafa had more chances to dictate with his forehand at the start but now Roger’s made it a bit tougher. There are obviously solutions. There always are because these two players to so driven to find solutions.

        Roger’s literally spend 10 years trying to figure out how to break Rafa’s stranglehold so wouldn’t be fair on Rafa if we expect him to simply turn the tables all over again instantly. It would be fair to give him some time as well. Unfortunately he lost the opportunity to train in the off-season and that is where historically he comes up with solutions. I really hope he can implement the plans he has with Coach Moya.

        • Serve more to the FH instead.

          I noticed most players made the mistake of serving to Fed’s BH most of the times expecting a weaker return; Cilic was also making that mistake in the AO final, but once he served to Fed’s FH, Fed was surprised and was caught off guard.

          The most important thing is not to be predictable, perhaps mixed in some body serves, some serves to the FH, or serves down the T. Just be unpredictable!

          • Yep, that is one thing he needs. He did try new patterns in Miami but his execution was just poor in that match. I thought Fed was there for the taking in Miami! IW Fed was too good for him in that moment. In shanghai, I thought Rafa started the match hitting aggressively and the serve was decent as well but the conditions were too fast and perfectly suited to Fed. It was perhaps not only the fastest court on the tour but also made indoors that day due to rain. Fed hit some ridiculous half-volley winners off his forehands in the first set and just didn’t let Rafa build momentum. I think Rafa would’ve lost to him in similar conditions in the past as well so no regrets.

            Moya also mentioned how team rafa decided to go after Fed’s forehand more in Miami but execution wasn’t up to the mark.

            Remember that Fed doesn’t feel the need to run-around his backhand all the time now since he has more confidence in that wing now. So, in that sense, he has more time to cover his forehand side even though he is a bit slower. His running CC forehand is still one of the best though and he can get a lot of pop behind it.

            For Rafa, he must continue to make the second serve even better.

            • When Fed was at the forecourt, he was slow to run to cover his FH corner (I saw that when he played Agut. Agut was hitting deep penetrating flat shots but couldn’t get anything from Fed’s BH so he instead attacked the FH with some successes but Agut wasn’t good enough to capitalize due to his limited game).

              Rafa has to move closer to the baseline to hit his CC FH, and expect the ball to return to him with interest, and then applies his FHDTL. The FO2014 final vs Djoko comes to mind, Djoko was having trouble with Rafa’s DTL FH each time Djoko’s CC BH came back to Rafa.

              On the slower courts Rafa will have time to do all those and doing some counterpunching. Rafa’s improved BH will come into play when Fed hits his BH DTL. On the quicker court it’s obviously very difficult because Fed with his great serve and moving forward quickly to the net to take the next shot makes it difficult for anyone to counter that. I feel only big server cum hard hitters have a chance, and they have to stay clutch the whole match to have a chance to beat Fed, very difficult to do. I feel only Delpo is able to do that among the current players as he is 1) clutch, 2) serves big and hits hard flat shots off both wings, 3) never gives up, having self belief!

              Djoko couldn’t do it on the quick HCs, Rafa too; Cilic has the game but not the mindset. Kyrgios when his game is on maybe but hard to come by. Goffin maybe good for BO3 (he could move inside the court, takes the ball early and plays attacking tennis but I doubt he pulls sustain it over BO5 match). No one else imo.

            • I forget a Tsonga at his best (though I suspect he’s not playing his best at the moment). Tsonga at his best could rush the net, S&V etc; as long as he doesn’t stay at the baseline all the time, he’ll have his chances.

      • Roger Federer would still defeat Rafa.

        He has won 5 in a roll so if they meet I won’t be surprised if Rafa wins, Rafa might win their next 2 matches if the meet or they might split it.

        • Well Roger doesn’t play on clay anymore that is more challenging for Rafa now. Getting a win regardless of the surface is always good for mentality and finding positivity.

          • This guy’s are too experienced and have played hundreds of matches on different courts, playing on a different court should not be an excuse.

            Tennis is tennis, tennis players have favourite court/courts but it shouldn’t make a big difference, practice makes perfect and this guy’s are talented and experienced.

            • ‘shouldn’t make a big difference’ ? This is a very very strange thing to say to be honest. A match on clay or indoor hard court makes ALL the difference lol

            • Rafa has played almost 500 matches on hard court and more than 670 matches on non-clay courts.

              Of course the ball reacts differently on different surfaces but you miss my point.

              This guy’s are too experienced and too talented for that kind of excuse.

              I am taking care of some things so… will catch up.

            • Who is giving an excuse here? It is a fact and reality. Federer himself says that he is not playing on clay and that is helping him. Here is what he said after Shanghai:

              “My head is screwed on a better way because I haven’t lost so much in the clay-court season like I had in the past.”

              “Not playing so much on clay, that’s helped me not to lose there.”

              “That’s helpful to avoid an entire clay court season.”

      • True. I would like to think Roger’s heightened aggression on serve and return from the start of the point has somewhat contributed to Rafa not being able to get his forehand as deep against Roger, but the court positioning on the return is obviously in Rafa’s control. I do think it is probably pretty tough to return Roger’s serve (particularly out wide on the deuce) if you are standing on the baseline and not a giant with a huge wingspan like Cilic or Del Po. Then again, like you said, he used to do that more in the past, so there’s always a possibility that Rafa starts to move in closer on the return. Like you said, we’ll see I guess.

  2. @Benny,

    You mentioned on the previous post that I am trying to disprove something and that my posts simply reinforced the notion that the larger racket is the answer to his resurgence.

    Firstll, my friend, I am not trying to ‘disprove’ anything in particular. I read it so many times from Fed fans that he would have done this and that had he used a larger racket in his ‘heyday’ that I was forced to come out and say it is NOT that simple. I suggest you please re-read my posts as I am sure you read a few of of the posts only and I don’t blame as I wrote a lot haha.

    Sure, the racket has helped him and I said that it was a nice boost to his back improvements over the years and combined with the 6 months layoff, it then turned into a ‘resurgence.

    He ONLY could switch to a larger racket once he had the confidence in his backhand abilities which was acquired by making it a better shot over the last 15 years. There was a huge misconception floating here that larger racket is just a more powerful racket for every shot you hit. NO! Even with the smaller racket when you are middling it, power is NOT an issue! Now please go watch his 2004-2007 matches and note that even when he is middling it, the pace and penetration is not even close! Why? Because it was just a weak shot. Simply wielding a larger stick would not have done magic and transformed his backhand into Wawrinka’s backhand.

    Also, 2017 backhand was more effective because he hit it stronger AND he hit it much earlier. The training to hit it earlier was done under Edberg who developed his forecourt game and they worked on crazy things like the SABR.
    The larger racket obviously helped him getting that piece of mind and also with avoiding shanks.

    The only thing I have been trying to prove is: It is NOT that simple 🙂

  3. Shanking had become a problem for Fed esp against Rafa. As @Luckystar mentioned on the previous page, his timing was so good in his 2005-2007 period that shanking was not an issue. It started to become more of an issue as he was getting older and losing the mental battle against Rafa. Going forward, he kept working on taking his backhand earlier and making it more penetrative. He surely achieved both and the larger racket helped him towards the end of this process and then helped him achieve consistency and instil more confidence.

    However, you need to keep in mind that the Fed of 2005-2007 was a different player. He was a more instinctive player and the players he was against on non-clay surfaces were giving him all the pace and that Fed was invincible for them. He was relying on timing and precision and his forehand was a monster. his backhand was also awesome in general but much weaker in comparison to what we see today. Watch his match against Blake in Masters Cup 2006 and see the effect of timing and precision off both wings!

    I just searched for Fed’s view on his old racket and yes, he confirms it:

    “I used to shank balls often with my older racket.But then again, it helped me a lot with my slice and my forehand.”

    So, the larger racket really gave him a big confidence boost and made his backhand attack more consistent. But, one cannot tell whether he ‘d had the same success with the forehand and the slice in his earlier years with the larger one. I doubt that esp based on what Fed himself says.

    • Yeah very true VR. I feel that in 2013, he was particularly mishitting a lot from the backhand side, so it sort of served as a wake up call that a bigger racket head might help him reduce the shanking, which it obviously has.

      • Yes 2013 was when he decided to change things. He got Edberg, experimented with a new racket and this triggered a process of change/evolution for him. To me the 2017 fed was clearly superior to the 2006-07 one game wise and tactically. You can stay he moved better in the younger years obviously but his movement, astonishingly, was awesome in 2017 as well. The serve, backhand, return were SURELY better and so was his tactical acumen and forecourt game. The younger Fed was kind of immature at the net in that he would just go there just for the sake of it and hit some genius volleys here and there. He current Fed moves forward with a purpose, has better technique and his approach to the net is so much better.

    • Again, VR, some very good points. I don’t think there’s much disagreement between us, to be honest. However, I would simply take on board many of the points you have stressed: about coaches, tactics, hard work on the BH, and so forth; and simply note that in some sense of “could have,” indeed a younger version of Fed could have done those things as well switch to a larger racquet.

      Now, he would have had very little reason even to consider doing that before 2007. He was having too much success. As I’ve said, however, by 2010 he had ample reason to think about it. Perhaps, as you say, he was working very hard on the BH by then, and we saw the results in 2011. That’s perfectly compatible with the observation that the larger racquet may have pushed him over the hump in 2011. Perhaps he not only beats Novak at RG, but at USO as well. And perhaps he beats Rafa at RG. All hypotheticals, no matter at this point. But fair questions to ask, assuming the other factors you have stressed are indeed important.

      The one point I still don’t think you’ve addressed goes back to my initial question: what best explains Federer’s resurgence *from the ages of 32-36* a period when historically he should be experiencing a sharp decline? With respect, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that years and years of hard work should start to pay off just when steep biological decline kicks in. We should have seen those results from 2011.

      Rather, the more sensible explanation is that while the hard work, coaching, etc. laid a foundation, it was the larger racquet that really pushed Fed over the hump. The only alternative, in my view, is that it was the six months of rest that did it more than anything else. One can, after all, point to the fact that Fed didn’t actually win a slam until after that rest had occurred.

      My own view is to agree with the strength of opposition crowd on this one: Fed has been only fractionally, if at all, better in 2017-18 than he was from mid 2014-2016; but he hasn’t had to face Djokovic in world-beater form.

      The question about why he has been so good from 2014 remains, however.

  4. Federer
    Head size: 97 sq. inches
    Strung Weight: 355 g

    Head Size: 100 sq.inches
    Weight: 300 g

    Head Size: 100 sq.inches
    Strung Weight: 332 g

    Head size: 104 sq.inches or 98 sq.inches
    Weight: 289 g

  5. Good discussion about the racquet, agree its not a simple thing.
    A big part of it is Confidence , as some people have mentioned.
    Cant be underestimated. In 2008-9, Fed was under a lot more pressure until he won RG , not pretty when you watch his out-of character Miami meltdown.
    After winning RG, he was a different player with a weight off his shoulders.
    Similarly ,after his break , he was totally relaxed in 2017 so played much more freely .

      • I’d like to think that Fed in this form, having won 3 slams in 12 months, would be much more relaxed if he met that version of Novak in a slam final, and could play his best, unlike in 2015. I think that mental attitude is the main difference between this Fed and 2-3 years ago.

        • Well, he was under more pressure to win a Slam in 2014-5 . Now he isn’t.
          But he still had to beat a lot of good players to win that AO 2017 ,and looked like a different player after his break.He got through five setters he might have lost , in previous years .

  6. Many tennis greats both past and present suggest that Federer is not the defacto GOAT. Such as Boris Becker for example who recently opines…

    “Would he have beaten McEnroe when he was at his very best in the 1984 Wimbledon final using a very different type of racquet to the one he has now? I doubt it.

    “Would he have beaten Bjorn Borg at his very best when he was dominating at the French Open at Wimbledon? Again, I doubt it, but that is not to belittle Federer’s achievements for one moment.”

    • Maybe he doesn’t think Federer’s the ‘GOAT’ but he doesn’t say it there. Seems to have reservations about calling Federer (or perhaps anyone) the GOAT, which I think is fair.

      Would Fed (or Nadal, or Djokovic or Sampras for that matter) have beaten McEnroe/Borg at their best? There’s no way of knowing, only speculation and difficulties with ‘this era v that era’ comparisons. Assuming it can reasonably be answered one way or the other, after opening a Pandora’s box of speculation & abstractions, how much does the answer matter?

      My opinion – I think Fed will come up well relative to his generation if you put him in a wooden racquet era. He’s very good with a small racquets, faster courts, and could probably play a good old-style game. The ‘how would you do in another era’ question potentially favours Federer over some of his contemporaries. Its relevance would still be debatable though. Nadal’s heavy top-spin game, for example, would probably be more difficult to play in a wooden racquet era, but what does that mean? If it were true you could say ‘maybe he doesn’t translate as well to another era, therefore it’s a caveat on ‘GOAT’ status’. But there are at least two good arguments against this anyway: (1) He could/would adapt and play a different style of game to suit the 60’s/80’s [insert decade here]. (2) Query whether it’s fair to judge a player on this basis – you can only play in YOUR era, you aim to win as much as possible under the conditions that you face. Your own game develops within the confines of the era – the racquets, the level/styles of competition, the physicality, the courts, the technology etc.

      • If Borg could hit his topspin with a wooden racket, I don’t see why Rafa couldn’t.

        If Fed could adapt from smaller to bigger racket, I don’t see why Rafa couldn’t from a bigger to a smaller racket, more so if he would be using a smaller racket all along during the wooden racket era.

        To me Rafa is highly intelligent and highly adaptable, and is the best in doing so among the current players, so he would adapt the best among the current players. It took him a year or so to figure out how to counter Djoko’s dominance in 2012; it took Fed a whole career to figure out how to beat Rafa! Who’s more adaptable?

        • Yeah I’m sure Rafa could hit a lot of top-spin with a wooden racquet, it’s just that it would make that kind of game more difficult, so he might have to adapt/change his game style more than some other players (though there would be a lot of changes for everyone, obviously). Like I say, I’m sure he would adapt in many ways, it’s what the top players do and have done throughout their careers.

          The Djoko/Rafa thing is a good example of Rafa’s adaptability, I agree. It’s in a slightly different context though, as adapting your strategy/tactics against one player is a bit different to reinventing your game for an era of different conditions.

          • Rafa would grow up playing according to the conditions at those times. He’s very similar to Borg, who could adapt quickly to play on grass. So, Rafa would still be his winning self in whichever era he plays in.

            I would think so for Murray too who also has deft touches and prefers quicker surfaces.

            I think Djoko might have to spend more time improving his volleying and net approaches as hes the most ‘unnatural’ among the big four when at the net.

        • I could argue that it was a short lived counter of his dominance and that Djokovic was suffering a lack of confidence in 2013 after his FO loss , not that convincing , when you look at their subsequent matchups.But he did come up with a bit of answer by hitting his forehand up the line more.

      • Just about everyone I know would love to see a wood racquet tournament featuring today’s players, but it’s hard to see what motivation there would be for them unless it were insane prize money. The result would say more about which player could adapt most quickly than anything else.

          • One thing I marvel at Rafa is how he’s hitting with both power and deft touches using a bigger racket and loose strings, that means he has very good hands, good control of his racket and his own power.

            • But,its only opinion that he would have been anywhere near as effective with a small wooden racquet.You’ve made an assumption that just because Borg could , Nadal is very similar so could he.
              Borgs racquet was very tightly strung with a much smaller sweet spot.
              Nor could I imagine anyone else playing with Connors old racquet.Esp.todays lot.
              Id like to see a tournament played exactly like seventies/early eighties Wimbledon , to see how todays players would cope.

        • It would be great to see an exho like that. Seeing the current players try and play an older style game, or watching Fed try to hit his ‘2.0’ BH / Rafa hitting his FH with a wooden racquet – it’d be funny if not entertaining.

      • TWD, I agree that Fed would have something of a natural advantage in that he played with a much smaller racquet for most of his career and still has a relatively small racquet.

        Imo, he also has the type of game that’s relatively less reliant on modern technology, especially string tech, than some of his peers, especially Nadal and Djokovic. But it’s really hard to imagine anything like modern tennis without current technology.

        As Rosewall said in response to a question about how Fed and co. would match up against stars from his generation, they’re just playing a different game today.

        • “As Rosewall said in response to a question about how Fed and co. would match up against stars from his generation, they’re just playing a different game today.”

          Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me as well. One can’t help but compare eras…but it’s so difficult to make like-for-like comparisons.

        • But excuse me Joe, Fed is playing with modern string technology, he’s also hitting with topspin; minus that he won’t be playing as well, not as well as those who hit flat shots all along, like a Simon or a Berdych for examples!

          You talked as if Fed is being disadvantaged by not using modern technology but in fact he’s using it all along!

          • Absolutely Fed’s game relies on current technology, Lucky. My main point was that he’s used (or was used) to playing with a much smaller racquet, which imo is the largest difference between the wood era and today (indeed, between the 70s and mid-80s. Wood racquets were about 68 sq. inches, compared to around 100 today. That’s a huge advantage that virtually every professional took advantage of in the early 80s.

            I also said that Fed’s game is *relatively* less reliant on string tech. He doesn’t hit quite the topspin as Nadal, or rely on hitting passing shots from any angle like Novak. Also, he’s more of a net player than either of them, and volleys are probably the shot that has been least affected by modern string tech.

            So it’s a relatively weak claim, and as I said, the whole modern game -certainly Federer’s- is impossible to imagine without modern racquets and strings.

            • You know what Joe, all along I thought Fed started out in the S&V era so he must be great at the net but now I realized its not the case. He had to get the expertise of Edberg, to teach him about good volleying and good net approaches, even though hes generally better than most when at the net.

              The only advantage he had over Rafa and Djoko is his S&V when he could do it more naturally. Rafa didnt get in an Edberg or a Becker to help with his volleying and net game and yet he’s not bad with his net approaches and his volleying. I think had Rafa grown up playing in the S&V era, he might end up being a very different player and would be great at the net.

            • Well, I think Rafa’s relatively little time at the net is simply by choice. He has about as good a volley as anyone, and you’re right that he has terrific instincts about when to come in. But it’s just not a big part of his game, more psychologically than anything else, imo, it’s not how he sees himself as a player.

        • “As Rosewall said in response to a question about how Fed and co. would match up against stars from his generation, they’re just playing a different game today.”

          Then how can Federer be GOAT?

          Some people want their cake and eat it too. It’s called a Joey Needles fallacy.

  7. An interesting article that suggests Fed may follow the same schedule as last year, skipping clay entirely.

    Personally, I would love for Fed to consider the following schedule: Rotterdam, Dubai; and if he wins/does well in both, then Indian Wells but skip Miami. Then Madrid and maybe RG; then same as last year except skip Montreal and right to Cinci after Wimbledon.

    • Agree about skipping Miami this year, as well as Montreal goes without saying. And I’d like him winning some ‘free’ points on clay as well.

    • You don’t get what I mean, he’s good enough when at the net and so if he’s playing in the S&V era, he would have no problem! Fed didn’t approach the net much either and had to add in Edberg to his team to help him with his volleying and net approaches before approaching the net more often.

      • But Luckystar,in the era of S&V they used to talk about natural and made volleyers. Lendl worked hard but was nowhere near as good a volleyer as McEnroe.

          • McEnroe has a bit of a problem with Federer.
            I don’t know how he judges this,maybe because Nadal plays doubles so hits a lot more volleys than most others.

        • Big Al, Rafa is more a natural volleyer than a manufactured one! Look at him and look at Djoko, you’ll see the difference. Djoko may be a Lendl type of volleyer, whilst both Rafa and Murray are the natural type.

          Rafa works on his volleying skills by playing doubles, and how you approach the net depends very much on your own feel and instinct, a coach could only teach you so much. Of course all of them, including Fed, have to work hard to improve their volleying skills, if not why get in Edberg or Becker?

      • Well, no need to exaggerate, Lucky. Nadal almost never gets passed at the net because he (almost) only comes in to finish the point. A natural volleyer, like M. Zverev, expects to get passed a lot, but hopes that he’ll hit more winners or force more errors.

        My point was that Rafa doesn’t see himself as a volleyer and never really has, even if he used to do it more. Perhaps he could have been a S&V type player, but he really would have been a completely different player if so.

        In any case, absolutely I agree that Rafa has one of the very best volleys in the game, and has an especially good touch volley.

        • I said it already earlier on, that Rafa would play differently if he grew up to play during the S&V era. When did I exaggerate? I say it when I see it; the guy has good feel when at the net, and hits some nice deft volleys, he doesn’t need a Becker to help him to achieve those, and he doesn’t even have the chance to play in the adult tour of the S&V era.

        • Lol! If you had one of the best baseline/defensive games ever why would you come to the net if you weren’t pretty sure of winning the point? Nadal comes in more nowadays because his serve is much better and he’s at the age where it’s best to keep the points short. Same for Federer. He hired Edberg and started coming to the net more frequently as he aged.

          • What I said wasn’t meant as a criticism. Nadal is an excellent judge of when to come to the net, and as you say, there’s little reason for him to do so more often than he does. That was my point, really.

            I agree with you that it will be increasingly important for him to come to net as he gets older.

            • I should qualify this by saying that Nadal rarely passes up the opportunity to come to net *when that is obviously the right play*, i.e. when he has built a decisive advantage in the point from the baseline.

              I suspect, however, that he could use his net skills to greater effect if he were more willing to move forward even when there is a decent chance of getting passed. After all, part of the value of coming to net is forcing errors by one’s opponent. If the volleyers winners and forced errors outnumber the times he gets passed, coming to net is generally a good strategy.

              In this more comprehensive respect I don’t think Rafa uses his volleying skills enough, and it makes it more difficult to assess how good a net player he really is.

        • It’s a myth that Federer play at the net a lot. Recently, he’s been trying to do it a bit more but he is a baseline player and often gets passed at the net. Rafa knows when to go to the net that’s why he’s so successful at it.

          • It depends on what you mean by “a lot”. He’s obviously not rushing the net every point like Mischa Zverev or someone like that. He definitely goes to the net more than the other top players the last year or so. But it’s still much less than a straight up serve-and-volley player. If some people want to make it sound like he’s the second-coming of Patrick Rafter, then they haven’t been watching Federer play…

            I think people confuse his recent hyper-aggressive game with meaning he just comes to the net all the time. There is no question that he has played more aggressively in the last couple years, and seems to only increase it as time goes on. He goes for winners more quickly than he used to in general, and he takes the ball so incredibly early that most players are taken out of their comfort zones.

            That being said, while he is more of an overall “all-court” player than the other top guys (save for Raonic?), he is still a majority baseline player like you say, Nadline. The truth is that he often doesn’t need to come into the net that much because his straight-up baseline play in more than enough to beat like 98% of the tour.

            It also seems that Fed does step up the aggression and net play the faster the conditions are. Whether or not it means actually attacking the net and volleying, there is no question that he has employed a more aggressive, more forward-playing style in recent years. And let’s be honest- he had to change up his style to continue to compete with guys like Novak and Rafa because they just took the game to a whole new level once Fed got into his thirties, and he just couldn’t consistently contend with them anymore without getting more aggressive.

            But like Lucky said, most guys have had to be mostly baseliners over the last 15 years because of the courts being slowed down and homogenized so much.

            • Kevin, Federer’s more aggressive style dates to his adopting the new racquet. He simply wasn’t able to do it successfully with the old one. More than anything else, the larger racquet makes it easier to take the ball early, which is the cornerstone of his more aggressive play.

              Although he is volleying more often, the volley is secondary.

        • One of the very best is not the same as The Best which is what McEnroe said.

          I agree with Mac’s assessment considering his volleying expertise (compared to Joe Smith’s expertise on racquet size).

      • When I’ve watched Fed’s matches from his 2003 Wimbledon run and in his 2001 QF run where he ended Sampras’ 30-something win streak there, I feel like he came to the net constantly… I don’t think I’m making this up? He was always an excellent volleyer, he just stopped doing it because he didn’t have to as much, and as you said- it became less effective as the courts were slowed down. But let’s not pretend like Federer took on Edberg as a coach because he was never a great volleyer. He was always a great volleyer, he just wanted to be better!

        • Nah, Fed was a good volleyer, not great! A great volleyer would be someone like a Llodra, a Mischa Zverev, or a Mahut in the current era. Fed is no where near the great volleyers the likes of John Mac, Edberg, Becker, Rafter.

          He approached the net when he knew he’s going to win the point there, just like what Rafa did. He’s not going to get passed by the great baseline counterpunchers!

          Fed was S&V’ing during 2001-2003 because that’s basically how they played during those times, not that it’s by choice. He wasn’t that great in 2001 Wimbledon hence he lost to Henman after beating Sampras. He did win his 2003 Wimbledon title by S&V in the final vs Phillipousis but his opponent wasn’t an Edberg or a Sampras at his peak.

          • I know it’s nearly 10 years ago, but I remember Federer trying to go to the net in the final at RG 2008 and only won 4 games because he just got passed everytime by Rafa. To play at the net these days, you have to be careful to pick your time because players like Rafa are great at threading their passing shots through the eye of a needle.

    • And if you’ve watched Rafa in his earlier years, you would notice that he approached the net more than he’s doing during his peak years; it’s because of the slowing of the courts that everyone has/had to adapt, including Rafa, Fed and Djoko.

  8. On another subject. I’ve heard commies go on about how other players should copy Roger’s scheduling and space themselves out and just play the big tournaments. What they don’t seem to realise is that Roger no longer gets penalised for not playing mandatory tournaments. He doesn’t need the money and he doesn’t need the small titles because he can make enough points just by playing some M1000s and slams. He is more or less just enjoying himself now.

    If young players only play the big tournaments, they won’t earn enough money and their ranking will suffer; on top of that, they will be penalised for not playing the mandatory tournaments. How can the so-called experts not know this?

    • Yes, it’s totally naïve to think a rank and file player can copy Fed’s scheduling (though Rafa and Novak arguably could). The other day, Fed made the suggestion that they could, without any mention of the fact that he enjoys advantages (gobs of money, a private jet) that almost all others lack).

      • luckystar FEBRUARY 15, 2018 AT 6:17 AM

        “If everyone is to copy Fed’s schedule, the smaller tournaments would have to close down! This is NOT what the ATP wants! What were the commies thinking! A one track mind, just because they want to kowtow to Fed!”

        That’s exactly what I thought, that the ATP would not be chuffed with commies encouraging players to skip tournaments. There must be a reason why there are mandatory tournaments. The ATP would have to guarantee sponsors and tournament owners the participation of the all the top players without appearance fees.

        Sometimes I wonder what these silly commies are thinking.

          • Rafa and Djoko did not overplay; like what Rafa said, he’s 31 not 36, so why should he do as Fed did?

            What Rafa should do is build in more time between some events for rest and recovery.

            Did they say the same thing about Fed having to cut down his schedule during 2012/2013 when he was having back issues?? Fed benefitted from Djoko’s injury last season, if not he might not even win a single slam, and might not be in top two (as Djoko was the most likely person to stop Fed at AO and Wimbledon given their history at those two slams) and I doubt the commies would then tell the other players to play a schedule like Fed’s.

            • Yes,the very top players need more time between tournaments so that they peak at the big ones.
              I don’t think any player should only play the Slams,though.

            • Maybe they just meant they should have a look at Feds scheduling and see how it benefits him,rather than try to copy it exactly?

      • According to the ATP Rulebook, players who satisfy the following conditions can skip tournaments. So all the B4 plus the likes of Stan, Berdy, Ferrer, Feli etc can skip whatever they like. But most of those players are not going to earn enough points to be able to automatically qualify for tournaments if they played Federer’s schedule. If Federer hadn’t won the AO 2017 plus IW and Miami, I am sure he would have played the clay season because he wanted to get his ranking up from #17 where it was at the start of the season.

        ATP Rulebook:

        1.08 Reduction of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Commitment
        A. A player’s number of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 commitment tournaments shall be reduced by one (1) tournament for reaching each of the following milestones:
        1) 600 matches (as of 1 January of the commitment year);
        2) 12 years of service;
        3) 31 years of age (as of 1 January of the commitment year).
        If all three (3) conditions are met then the player has a complete exemption from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 player commitment.

    • Exactly!

      If everyone is to copy Fed’s schedule, the smaller tournaments would have to close down! This is NOT what the ATP wants! What were the commies thinking! A one track mind, just because they want to kowtow to Fed!

      Djoko was already cutting down his schedule from 2011 onwards, playing 15-16 events when he could skip a Masters event ( or two later). Djoko was wise after hitting his peak for not overplaying; it’s just that he had many epics with Rafa, and some with Fed, that he had to extend himself physically and that had culminated to his physical problem in 2016.

      Rafa was injury prone but since 2010, he’s sticking to playing 17 events including the WTF. It’s when he’s back from his injury break last season that he played 18 events, because he’s relatively fresh physically.

  9. Reading the above,I can’t understand why people are comparing Fed negatively to other great volleyers.He’s not noted for doing it,but he’s got all the skills and more to be one.
    One of his best shots in Wimby 2003 was a volley,against Roddick.

    • The problem is people are calling him (Fed) a great volleyer which imo he’s not. He’s not even better than a Llodra or Mischa or a Mahut imo. People are using the word ‘great’ loosely imo; he has improved after having Edberg to help him in his volleying.

      • Going to one of the greats for help in their area of expertise is no shame.Doesnt mean he wouldnt have been as great himself if he had played that way more often.

      • Silly to say Federer is not a great volleyer. Of course he is. In line with some of my comments above, you can’t really compare him to Nadal because it’s a much more integral part of his game that it is of Nadal’s.

        If Roger limited himself to coming in as much as Nadal does, he would be just as good at it; Rafa mostly hits easy volleys because he’s so judicious about when to come in. However, as I said above, this is an area in which Rafa, as he ages, should consider copying Roger: Nadal should start coming to the net more, imo.

        • Its ridiculous to say Fed isn’t even as good a volleyer as the Frenchmen .Why would a player with such great feel, timing ,reactions etc etc not be a great volleyer?

      • People say he’s a great volleyer, and at least in the context of *today’s game* (i.e. not very fast courts), I think they’re right. Are there better volleyers from the fast court days? Sure. However back then it was a much more integral skill, a shot players would practice and hit a lot more, especially on grass obviously. Sadly, developing that skill just isn’t rewarded like it used to be. Now who are the current players on tour with better volleying skills than Federer? If the list has anyone on it, it’s very short.

        Llodra is retired I believe, which leaves Mahut and maybe Zverev. I’m not really convinced Zverev is a better volleyer than Fed, despite his Serve/Volley game. In that 2017 AO match he frequently came in behind the serve, but when he volleyed he wasn’t able to put it at Fed’s feet enough. And so he just got passed, time and time again, often on the BH side. No doubt Zverev has great touch, reflexes, and can really slice the ball dead, but at 36 Fed can do much the same. When he S/V’s he tends to dig out good drop volleys off the returns to kill points, it’s a pretty effective one-two punch. He’s also capable of taking the ball from deep in the court on the full, which is a pretty rare volleying skill in general.

          • Lopez is very good at the net, definitely has great touch. I think he’s around the same level. But unfortunately for guys like him, the grass season is short, and it’s not as fast as it used to be.

            The only reason you would play a S/V game these days is if your groundstrokes are basically poor/inconsistent, but your serve and touch are both strong. And that’s what you have with a guy like M Zverev. His touch and reflexes at the net can rival the best, whereas if he tries to play a baseline game he won’t get close. At least with S/V he is playing to his strengths, and if the court is medium-fast that can work pretty well.

            But a guy like him approaches the net more than Fed and does way more volleying…because he has to. Fed/Murray/Nadal all naturally have at least very good touch and reflexes, and yet all could probably have played their careers as even better volleyers than they are. But they have been so comfortable from the baseline and so good at passing opponents that there hasn’t been a huge need to improve their respective net games. If you’re not going to play at the net a lot, perfecting that part of your game can’t exactly be a priority.

            I think what eventually changed for Fed was that he realised long baseline rallies with Nadal/Djoker/Murray were becoming less and less advantageous for him as he got older. In BO5 matches against prime Nadal/Djokovic, long rallies were generally going to go against Federer more than for him. Fed has always been a very strong baseline player and a good defender, but imo the physicality and stamina of prime Nadal/Djoker over five sets is pretty much unmatched in tennis. Facing that, and 5 years older, it made sense for Fed to player shorter, more aggressive points, which required him to get into the court and revert to using more of his net game. Even then, he still couldn’t get past Novak in those 3 slam finals of 2014-2015, but it was the right move given each player’s relative strengths.

        • And, it’s sad that because there’re no more S&V players left, then we have to ‘promote’ Fed to become a great volleyer, don’t you think?

          • I don’t feel like he has to be ‘promoted’, but it’s something of an incomplete assessment I guess. Yes it’s disappointing that there aren’t more courts which encourage a S/V game these days, and that makes it harder to gauge respective volleying skills. One can (mostly) only speculate on how the current crop of players would have gone on lightening fast grass. Given the touch of guys like Fed and Murray, for example, I see no reason to think they necessarily *couldn’t* match it with the best volleyers of other eras…but at the same time, unproven is still unproven.

    • Same goes for the point you make about Nadal s&ving.Because he did it as a junior, how do you know he would have been able to compete at the highest level?
      Maybe he would, or maybe it would just be a minority tactic.

      • Imo, Nadal should consider S&V much more often on his wide serve to the ad court, which is already very effective. It would produce a lot of easy and shorter points on serve.

      • Big Al, I’m not assuming that he would turn out to be a great volleyer in the baseline tennis era! However, given how good he is in his volleying despite not growing up to play in the S&V era, unlike Fed, it’s reasonable to assume he would be S&V’g during the S&V era and would be not bad at it.

    • Big Al, they have to be and that’s a FACT, but you people are assuming Fed would be as great if not a better volleyer than they and that’s arguable because Fed has not approached the net as much as they do. I won’t be surprised that had Fed approached the net as frequently as they did, he would be passed even more there at the net.

      It’s just like Rafa, and I can’t say he’s a better volleyer than the S&V players, just a good to very good volleyer. If he played in the S&V era, it’s reasonable to assume that he would also play the S&V game like Fed did during those times but I won’t say he would be as great as the likes of John Mac etc There’s no way we could know for sure.

    • Ls,there’s still Feds matches at Wimbledon where he serve-volleyed. You’ve put down his won over Sampras by saying he then lost to Henman,but where’s the shame in that at 19?Henman was an excellent s&v er.

      • In that match it’s probably fair to say that Henman hit better volleys than Fed…but really what won it for him was the way he played on the big points. Fed had plenty of chances, he led in both tie-breaks by I think about 5-2 and 6-3. Just made a few errors when the pressure was on, and Henman to his credit played the big points better. Unlike Sampras in the previous round, who seemed a bit caught off-guard by a young player going for broke and having it all come off, and who seemed to feel the pressure, Henman was (uncharacteristically?) ready and composed.

    • Now that the establishment has been outed on constantly smoothing Federer’s path maybe they’ll stop but I doubt it. Old habits die hard.

  10. Fed just said in his interview, once again, that he doesn’t believe he is THE greatest tennis player. I don’t understand why sports media doesn’t listen to him when he says this, and stop trying to anoint one player as definitively “greater” than the others… It’s ridiculous, imo. All the all-time greats are so amazing for their own unique reasons. I just don’t understand why or how one of them has to be considered “greater” than the others. Who really knows what “greatness” really is. Sheesh.

    • Kevin, anything beyond a results-based GOAT assessment is just a pissing contest -into the wind. That’s why I try to stick to the facts in my arguments about GOAT. As I showed above on this forum, Fed has roughly a 9-10 slam equivalent lead on his nearest rivals. It’s not really close. A much more complete, but basically similar, assessment, is provided here:

      I agree, in general, that the whole debate is kind of silly. I engage in it mainly to counter the “weak-era” nonsense that one hears constantly from some Nadal fans who for some reason, not content with their man’s incredible accomplishments, desperately resort to trying to minimize Federer’s achievements.

    • Because humans have flaws. When everything goes well, they are looking for troubles. For some reasons people are bored of stability and peace. Instead of enjoying what every player has to offer, why not create some conflict?

  11. Kevin, you are bang on and obviously genuine. Unlike certain others who feign sincerity. (Don’t tell anyone but I agree with you.) Jeff Sackmann backs that up quite well numerically with ELO analysis.

  12. Incidentally, regarding what Federer or McEnroe, or any other great past or present says about GOAT: that’s their (presumably informed) opinion, nothing more.

    Federer, obviously, has good reason to disclaim being GOAT. Nobody except Muhammad Ali has ever called himself the Greatest. Why would you?

    More generally, of all the logical fallacies committed on this forum, the argument from authority may be the most common.

    In a nutshell, no interesting claim of fact (e.g. Federer is the GOAT) is made true or false by someone’s say so, including the say so of even the most eminent authority.

    It’s easy to see this in clear cases. For instance, suppose that Boris Becker claimed that Diego Schwartzmann has the best serve of anyone in the top 100. Would that make it true? Obviously not. It’s one piece of evidence -in this case a pretty dubious piece when considered against other evidence- but in any case it’s nothing more than that. Same with McEnroe’s long-ago claim that Nadal is the best volleyer in the top 100.

    • Top 100 singles players, but how often does Nadal actually hit volleys in singles? Does he hit them with his usual grip ?He does play well in doubles .
      As someone else said, in sinlges ,the volley is only an integral part of the overall gameplan, these days.
      Maybe what McEnroe is really saying is that todays players are pretty crap volleyers compared to him .

      • Yeah, that’s probably Mac’s point as much as anything. Even limiting ourselves to current players, it’s a bit pointless to compare Nadal as a volleyer to someone like M Zverev. The volley plays a totally different role in their respective singles’ games. A similar point holds for a Nadal-Fed volley comparison, though not as strongly.

        Regarding the grip, I’m not sure how much Rafa changes grip to hit his volley, if at all. That may be why he almost never hits a drive volley (at least in singles) like Fed does.

      • Well, I don’t know about Rafa’s “average” volley attempt per match but in his 3 set USO final v Anderson he went 16 for 16 at net. And did an S&V to claim match point!

  13. Indicators of Weak Eras:
    Old men at No 1 (Agassi, Federer)
    Former greats winning slams after 2+ years slump (Sampras, Agassi, Federer)
    Random players making slam finals (Johanson, Anderson)

    When this trifecta occurs, it might be a Weak Era

    Just sayin.

      • Yeah, except it isn’t. Lost almost all interest in tennis after Sampras won his last until 2006. And even then, that was because I was a big Sampras fan but tennis had gotten boring on the men’s side already.

        Similarly, only fedfans would enjoy tennis atm (which fortunately for the business of tennis) is the majority.

        • I have currently lost interest in tennis. No idea how long it will last, but the AO just killed it for me. I think the last straw was Cilic’s claim that he had not been told the roof would be closed for the final?!?! WTF? For me, tennis is about fair competition. Or should be. It’s not like I wanted Cilic to win, preferred Fed, honestly. But…that blatant favoritism. Yuck! Very, very distasteful. And Fed gets all the Laver night matches, plus ONE cool day afternoon match (see, look how fair we are!) while that poor Korean kid blisters the skin off his feet playing in the heat.

          • The first slam final I didn’t watch that I can recall.

            It’s a business Ramara and they are giving the majority what they want.

            That’s why for me, as much as his game can never be replaced, I look forward to his retirement so tennis can start over and be more of a sport and less of a business at least in terms of perceive fairness.

            The 20 slams is tainted for me as good as it is but full credit to Federer for his unparalleled longevity.

            Tennis is dull again without Rafa, Nole and Murray being in form if you are a tennis fan more than a Federer fan.

  14. Didn’t Fed use the volley against Nadal on clay quite successfully ?
    It was attacking tennis finishing at the net,not much s&v.
    Still,says something about his volleying skills.

  15. It really doesn’t get more objectively quantitative that this.

    Sorry, Roger: Rafael Nadal is not just the king of clay
    The Spaniard has overcome unusually strong opposition to rack up 16 grand-slam wins


    One of the best arguments left to Mr Nadal’s supporters is that Mr Federer padded his statistics in the weak era of 2003-07, before Mr Djokovic and Mr Murray reached their primes, and when a young Mr Nadal was primarily a threat on clay courts. The Swiss maestro enjoyed years swatting away lesser lights, whereas Mr Nadal has spent much of his career doing battle with Mr Djokovic and Mr Murray.

    At majors, the Spaniard has faced the other three members of the Big Four 13% of the time, and won a remarkable 74% of those meetings. In contrast, Mr Federer has played his Big Four peers in just 9% of his grand-slam matches, and won only 42% of them.

    The average grand-slam title run requires beating a set of opponents that the typical champion would defeat 23% of the time. Only eight of Mr Federer’s 19 major titles have come against competition more difficult than that. But 13 of Mr Nadal’s 16 championships have required him to confront harder-than-average obstacles.

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