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View Full Version : The Federer Forehand: Better or worse since 2004 (ish)?


Fedman
06-13-2011, 08:40 PM
Recently people have been saying that because Roger has been adding much more spin to his forehand wing that somehow it is less powerful or less effective than it was in say 2004 or 2005 when he was really hitting winners left, right, up and down with that thing.

For example in this clip v. Hewitt:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRj2tk8bQns

Just the sound it makes when he hits his forehand seems to break the sound barrier.

Compare this to the forehands you see v. Djokovic at the US Open in 2010:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgdbCfRy4RY

Factors to take into consideration:
-He was playing Hewitt in the first clip
- In 2004 players hit with less spin making ripper forehands like Rog's a bit easier to hit
- In 2010 the game has much more spin
- Roger is now a far more complete player than he was back then

Having considered everything, what do you guys think? Is Rog's forehand better or worse than when he was at his "absolute" prime in 2004, 2005, and 2006?

BrooklynNY
06-13-2011, 08:46 PM
I think when Hewitt plays him, its similar to A-Rod or Albert Pujols taking home run derby type pitches.

Cup8489
06-13-2011, 08:46 PM
Two things to point out: Hewitt does not hit as big, or as heavy, a ball as Djokovic, giving Federer more ability to tee off on the forehand wing. Secondly, Federer has shortened his swing in order to gain more consistency, and he's gained it.

So I suppose the question is, what's better, a bigger, but streakier forehand, or something that's a bit easier to rally with but can still be devastating?

Lsmkenpo
06-13-2011, 09:02 PM
The big difference I see in the comparison of the two videos isn't really his forehand but his footwork and court positioning.

The first video he is more dynamic with his footwork and is staying closer to the baseline and often hitting on the rise with his forehand.

Second video he is playing less aggressive with his court positioning and isn't
moving into the court as much with his footwork.

That split second not moving into the court is the difference between hitting a forcing shot or just a good rally ball.

Fugazi
06-13-2011, 09:54 PM
I think he shortened his back swing over the years, not entirely sure why, but I never liked it. At some point he was very inconsistent with this shorter swing... There's also the back pain issues, flexibility, movement, and age. Finally, he's a little shakier mentally than he used to be (maybe because of all those tough losses to Nadal), so the confidence isn't always there in the big moments, and he doesn't quite go for it as he used to be.

Lion King
06-13-2011, 10:04 PM
Fed's forehand used to be devastating. I remember watching him vs. Agassi at the YEC in 2003. He was making Agassi look slow and clueless out there.

FedExpress 333
06-14-2011, 01:26 PM
It also seems like he used a more semi western grip rather than the EE grip he uses now.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRzLgGPShUw

He seems to be using a regular semi western grip with a more bent arm....or is it just me?

IvanisevicServe
06-15-2011, 12:38 AM
Is this a serious question?

Bud
06-15-2011, 01:59 AM
Fed's forehand used to be devastating. I remember watching him vs. Agassi at the YEC in 2003. He was making Agassi look slow and clueless out there.

Like Rafa made Federer look in Miami a few months ago :)

- -

According to Federer, his game is better now than ever ;)

zagor
06-15-2011, 02:00 AM
Is this a serious question?

LOL,was thinking the same thing.

Manus Domini
06-15-2011, 05:35 AM
can't really get better than perfect, can only get worse.

Look at this forehand, and tell me he hits better than this now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qVEmO8rCt4&feature=player_detailpage#t=96s

mcenroefan
06-15-2011, 05:38 AM
The movement is the difference. He doesn't move as well today.

mcenroefan
06-15-2011, 05:40 AM
Like Rafa made Federer look in Miami a few months ago :)

- -

According to Federer, his game is better now than ever ;)

More like Nole made NAdal look in Rome.....reducing him to hitting outright lobs from the baseline....that sort of thing.

wy2sl0
06-15-2011, 07:14 AM
This is terrible, all these threads. Fed has lost one thing over the last few years, his nerve. Thats it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5t-L0fShSo

He is up against much more difficult opponents. Whether it be they are in better shape now, faster, stronger, string technology, whatever, Roger has not declined physically. His technique is as good as ever. The Aus Open final is proof of that.

It is also proof however under tight situations he cannot keep it together anymore. That video shows that, along with several other tournaments since then.

citrixscu
06-15-2011, 08:19 AM
This is terrible, all these threads. Fed has lost one thing over the last few years, his nerve. Thats it.

Agreed. There is little about his game that stops him from losing these big matches, but rather his ability to choke has greatly improved over the last few years :)

GoDawgs2011
06-15-2011, 10:32 AM
Agreed. There is little about his game that stops him from losing these big matches, but rather his ability to choke has greatly improved over the last few years :)

Sure, that's a legitimate belief...if you also believe that Federer is the only tennis player in history to avoid a degradation in physical ability as he was about to turn 30 - at a time when the game is more physical than ever. That's not to say that the competition doesn't have anything to do with it, but 40 years of data and video evidence disagrees with the assertion that Federer's abilities have not deteriorated slightly. (Hell, even "slightly worse" at 30 is bucking the trend of significant degradation).

While I don't believe that his rally forehand is any worse, I do believe that his foot speed and footwork are slightly worse and have affected his ability to hit winners, esp. on the run. In fact, they have affected pretty much every shot in the bag (aside from the serve) and his overall game.

I still think he will win majors for the records but his brilliance started with his feet and the slight decrease in footwork/footspeed means he is unable to harness the brilliance as consistently as he once did.

Jchurch
06-15-2011, 10:33 AM
Like Rafa made Federer look in Miami a few months ago :)

- -

According to Federer, his game is better now than ever ;)

So you take all players at their words except Nadal it seems. Good to know.

Fugazi
06-15-2011, 11:00 AM
It also seems like he used a more semi western grip rather than the EE grip he uses now.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRzLgGPShUw

He seems to be using a regular semi western grip with a more bent arm....or is it just me?
I think you might be right... The older grip does seem more semi-western than eastern. And the arm is indeed more bent.

jackson vile
06-15-2011, 11:24 AM
Two things to point out: Hewitt does not hit as big, or as heavy, a ball as Djokovic, giving Federer more ability to tee off on the forehand wing. Secondly, Federer has shortened his swing in order to gain more consistency, and he's gained it.

So I suppose the question is, what's better, a bigger, but streakier forehand, or something that's a bit easier to rally with but can still be devastating?

You bring up a good point, perhaps in reality it is neither better nor worse. Rather it has simply some aspects have been changed to gain other advantages over time.

The guy is #3 right now and very possibly could change all that come summer HC season.

Emet74
06-15-2011, 11:32 AM
While I don't believe that his rally forehand is any worse, I do believe that his foot speed and footwork are slightly worse and have affected his ability to hit winners, esp. on the run. In fact, they have affected pretty much every shot in the bag (aside from the serve) and his overall game.



I do think he takes less risk w/ the rally forehand than he was in 2005 or so.

But about footspeed, ESPN classic showed Wimby 2003 final last night; could not believe some of Fed's forehand gets on the run. Being stretched out wide to his forehand is a weakness now, but it certainly was not then.

Sid_Vicious
06-15-2011, 12:16 PM
Two things to point out: Hewitt does not hit as big, or as heavy, a ball as Djokovic, giving Federer more ability to tee off on the forehand wing. Secondly, Federer has shortened his swing in order to gain more consistency, and he's gained it.

So I suppose the question is, what's better, a bigger, but streakier forehand, or something that's a bit easier to rally with but can still be devastating?
Consistency? Even with his more massive forehand back in 04, Federer had way more consistency to go along with that power.

BeHappy
06-15-2011, 12:30 PM
His forehand was just as good in the 2009 US Open final against Andy Murray.

A flat forehand like that is just not a percentage shot on any other surface but flushing meadows, which is probably the fastest surface on the professional tour now.

IvanisevicServe
06-15-2011, 12:43 PM
Federer used to hit with a lot more spin. Could be related to different racket technology, could be alterations in his ground strokes...but his shots don't have nearly the same bite.

I thought he played tremendous at this year's French Open, but it wasn't 03-06 Federer style tennis. He's a different looking player now.

Kobble
06-15-2011, 01:26 PM
I liked the old Federer better, with the pony tail. The real difference is that the opponents mean business, now. Nadal and Djokovic are hard workers who are looking to beat some ***.

Manus Domini
06-15-2011, 02:20 PM
This is terrible, all these threads. Fed has lost one thing over the last few years, his nerve. Thats it.

He also lost speed and court coverage.

He is up against much more difficult opponents

Sorry. Safin, pre-injury Hewitt, Nalby, and prime Roddick were greater competition than Djokovic and Murray are. Nadal is the only one who is better.

Whether it be they are in better shape now, faster, stronger, string technology, whatever, Roger has not declined physically. His technique is as good as ever.

Yeah, I'm sure that's why UE counts are rising. Because he's just as good as he was 6 years ago :roll:

The Aus Open final is proof of that.

Err, he got to the SF this year, and that year you showed was the one where he was two years younger.

It is also proof however under tight situations he cannot keep it together anymore. That video shows that, along with several other tournaments since then.

That is not necessarily true.

wy2sl0
06-15-2011, 02:30 PM
He also lost speed and court coverage.
I don't agree here either. 30 is now the new 25 - especially for someone who doesn't have bad joints. It is possible to be at the same level - not to mention most athletes continue to gain strength until they are 30. Besides the physical aspect of court coverage, Roger is better at mentally seeing the game and guessing where the ball is going, all from years of experience which all contribute to court coverage. Djokovic is a better mover than Federer ever was, and he beat him at the French Open on clay - that means Roger was moving well.



Sorry. Safin, pre-injury Hewitt, Nalby, and prime Roddick were greater competition than Djokovic and Murray are. Nadal is the only one who is better.

I can't agree I am sorry. The level we have seen from Djokovic this year has been as high as anyone else in the last decade. Murray has serious mental fragility issues, so yes I agree with you there. Roddick, although my favourite player, does not have the variety that the Top 4 have now, which make it very difficult to figure out their game and apply that strategy consistently, which is why Federer has been able to contain Roddick.



Yeah, I'm sure that's why UE counts are rising. Because he's just as good as he was 6 years ago :roll:
Everyone has explicitly expressed the fact that the courts are leaps and bounds slower than they were when he first started owning the competition. For someone like Federer who requires the ability to hit winners and aces to win him matches, when the surface slows you go for more - period.


Err, he got to the SF this year, and that year you showed was the one where he was two years younger.

...and lost to a guy that ended up winning 40+ straight matches - and then became the man to end that streak.