PDA

View Full Version : Is it a consensus among TV analysts that Federer is better now than in his prime?


Federer20042006
10-24-2012, 10:36 AM
I just keep hearing this over and over, and it's a real head scratcher. Do these people honestly believe that?

The 31-year-old Federer is a better player now than he was in 2004-2006? That if prime Federer had begun his career in 2010 or so, he'd only win 2-3 majors or so at most?

That's not a very strong indictment for Federer's greatness. I don't believe Federer is the greatest player of all-time, and I don't deny that Nadal/Djokovic/Murray is a tougher lineup at the top than Nadal and the others who went in and out of the Top 4 (Roddick, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Davydenko, etc.).

But Federer's not playing members of the Big 4 every match, and the former human highlight reel is mostly an X's and O'x player now. How can they just ignore the obvious change in his play to the less spectacular?

RF20Lennon
10-24-2012, 10:38 AM
The two things tha have improves are serve and backhand his movement even close!! In 2006 he was soo explosive!!!!

NadalAgassi
10-24-2012, 10:45 AM
I dont think he is better now than in his prime. I agree his serve and backhand are stronger than ever though. He also volleys as well or better IMO. However his forehand has less power and is less consistent than in his prime, his returning is poorer, and his movement is much worse, and mentally he is less concentrated. So those things make him weaker than his prime.

Steve0904
10-24-2012, 10:48 AM
I just keep hearing this over and over, and it's a real head scratcher. Do these people honestly believe that?

The 31-year-old Federer is a better player now than he was in 2004-2006? That if prime Federer had begun his career in 2010 or so, he'd only win 2-3 majors or so at most?

That's not a very strong indictment for Federer's greatness. I don't believe Federer is the greatest player of all-time, and I don't deny that Nadal/Djokovic/Murray is a tougher lineup at the top than Nadal and the others who went in and out of the Top 4 (Roddick, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Davydenko, etc.).

But Federer's not playing members of the Big 4 every match, and the former human highlight reel is mostly an X's and O'x player now. How can they just ignore the obvious change in his play to the less spectacular?

I've heard that a few times as well, and like you said it's a bit of a head scratcher. I think it's just trying to pump up anything to do with the present. They're not going to say stuff like "Oh he would've made that shot in his prime, etc.." It's natural to forget whether conveniently or otherwise how great somebody like Federer was in their prime. It also would make todays competition look a lot worse.

sureshs
10-24-2012, 10:50 AM
Yeah his backhand is acceptable now

RF20Lennon
10-24-2012, 10:52 AM
Yeah his backhand is acceptable now

Lol acceptable?? You don't 17 majors with acceptable

zam88
10-24-2012, 11:17 AM
I'm sure he's smarter, and maybe tactically slightly superior.

When you've played as many matches as Feds I doubt anything surprises you ever.

Not to mention the intangibles like being able to handle weather, the crowd, situations, the travel, etc... and an improved backhand and a pretty filthy drop shot.


But 2005-7 Feds had better hand eye coordination, and explosive shots.

The only surface i would expect 2010-12 Federer to be better on than 2005-7 Federer would be clay.. it did seem like he got better on clay over time.

On every other surface i'd expect a straight set or 4 set win... and even on clay i'd expect 2005-7 Federer to probably win

*Sparkle*
10-24-2012, 11:18 AM
It's mainly tv pundit hyperbole. It's hard-wired into their psyche that everything happening now must be communicated as being the most dramatic, most epic thing ever.

NadalAgassi
10-24-2012, 11:19 AM
The only surface i would expect 2010-12 Federer to be better on than 2005-7 Federer would be clay.. it did seem like he got better on clay over time.

On every other surface i'd expect a straight set or 4 set win... and even on clay i'd expect 2005-7 Federer to probably win

Clay and indoors I think the current Federer would split matches with the 2005-2007 one. However on grass and outdoor hard courts the Federer of 2005-2007 would win the vast majority over the current one.

AnotherTennisProdigy
10-24-2012, 11:23 AM
IMO

Prime Federer
-More speed, explosive foot work
-Marginally better, more powerful backhand
-Less spin, more power/flat
-Endurance

Olderer
-Better serve
-Better backhand
-Better slice (slices more frequently)
-More spin

Prime would still be the current Federer fairly easy.

veroniquem
10-24-2012, 11:26 AM
Fed did EVERYTHING better in his prime. The TV analysts are talking out of their ***. And I'm still not a big fan of Fed's backhand, sorry.

BauerAlmeida
10-24-2012, 11:30 AM
Lol acceptable?? You don't 17 majors with acceptable

You do if the rest of your game is perfect/almost perfect.

Sampras bh was great? No. And he got to 14.

above bored
10-24-2012, 11:40 AM
I just keep hearing this over and over, and it's a real head scratcher. Do these people honestly believe that?

The 31-year-old Federer is a better player now than he was in 2004-2006? That if prime Federer had begun his career in 2010 or so, he'd only win 2-3 majors or so at most?

That's not a very strong indictment for Federer's greatness. I don't believe Federer is the greatest player of all-time, and I don't deny that Nadal/Djokovic/Murray is a tougher lineup at the top than Nadal and the others who went in and out of the Top 4 (Roddick, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Davydenko, etc.).

But Federer's not playing members of the Big 4 every match, and the former human highlight reel is mostly an X's and O'x player now. How can they just ignore the obvious change in his play to the less spectacular?
I don't think it's quite as simple as saying Federer is better or worse in all instances. He has moments when he plays as well as he ever did and he has other moments when he doesn't play as well as he can.

In his best years I think he maintained a consistently higher level, but he still can reach those heights from time to time now.

I think he is dealing with more challenges personally than he had to in the past, which can also affect performance. For instance he now has kids, he has more responsibilities, he's not as young and fresh as he used to be etc. Sometimes getting older can also make you doubt more, which again can affect performance. However, that does not mean he cannot at times play as well as he did in the past. So this is not a simple linear thing, there is constant fluctuation.

In some respects players have to improve to remain competitive, so going up in ranking can sometimes indicate improvement, but not necessarily. At the same time if Federer were 5 years younger, he would be better than he is now and there would be even more scope for improvement.

If I had to point to anything I would say Federer is not quite as explosive, agile or consistent as he used to be. His reactions and speed might just be a tad slower, but he has the experience to bridge some of that gap and still is very quick despite everything.

Hood_Man
10-24-2012, 11:40 AM
He's smarter and more experienced, and has more knowledge of the sport and of what to expect, so in that sense he probably is a better player.

But it's TV commentator hyperbole for the most part.

I sympathise however. It's amazing the daft things we human beings can say when we're put under pressure to say exactly what we think at any given moment. If given time to think I imagine their thoughts won't be too different to our own, but it's a luxury we can take for granted.

above bored
10-24-2012, 11:46 AM
You do if the rest of your game is perfect/almost perfect.

Sampras bh was great? No. And he got to 14.
Sampras' backhand was not great, but it was decent enough. I think Federer has a great backhand, especially during his best years.

Steve0904
10-24-2012, 11:51 AM
Yeah his backhand is acceptable now

It's always been better than just acceptable, but it's gotten even better than acceptable over the years because people keep going to it. The only reason it was regarded as a "weakness" in his prime IMO was because the rest of his game was so good. His BH wasn't neccesarily bad or just acceptable.

Cup8489
10-24-2012, 11:58 AM
Federer's backhand is better. His serve is not as good as it was a few years ago.. i'd say its around 2006 level again.

Movement isn't even close.. and because his body doesn't recover as fast, he's not as consistent at playing at high levels anymore.

I do think current Fed would beat prime Fed on clay, though. Just because he's so good at point construction. And by current Fed I actually mean last year.

sureshs
10-24-2012, 12:06 PM
It's always been better than just acceptable, but it's gotten even better than acceptable over the years because people keep going to it. The only reason it was regarded as a "weakness" in his prime IMO was because the rest of his game was so good. His BH wasn't neccesarily bad or just acceptable.

It was bad. Too many slices. It wasn't a weapon, but just a setup for his forehand.

It is a good thing that Nadal showed up and made Federer improve.

Federer20042006
10-24-2012, 12:06 PM
Nobody was talking about Federer's backhand being a weakness in 2003-2007. He was "the perfect player." The most anyone would ever say about it is, "it's not as good as his forehand, so players might wanna try going there instead."

It was when he started losing in 2008 that all the "Federer's backhand is his weakness" stuff started popping up everywhere.

Not sure what the recent trend is on this board to gloss over 2004 Federer is all about (people starting at 2005). Have people forgotten how terrifying a player Federer was in 2004? That he won 3 slams and the YEC that year, losing only 6 matches? That he demolished Hewitt in the US Open final in one of the most overpowering matches you'll ever witness?

Sure, present Federer can hit serves and forehands and backhands and win a ton of points and a ton of matches, but that's not the way you used to describe him. Federer in his prime was a highlight reel - he found angles and came up with shots that left you stunned, and he did this every single match. I'm not talking about some inside-out FH winner or some backhand down the line winner or some strong volley. I'm talking about hitting a winner out of nowhere, when nobody was expecting it...just making up his own shot in an unpredictable way.

tennis_pro
10-24-2012, 12:07 PM
One sentence:

Prime Federer did every single thing better, even served better (remember Federer's serving performances in 2007? Especially Wimbledon, the US Open, the Tennis Masters Cup) BUT Federer nowadays is smarter.

Netspirit
10-24-2012, 12:08 PM
His dropshot is better (mostly because the prime Fed would refuse to hit any).

His volleys are better than his prime, but worse than his young age (S&V days circa 2001).

His serve is better placed and has more variety. He has lost a couple of MPHs on the serve (the prime Fed would hit a few down the T at 130mph, these days it happens very, very rarely).

His court speed has declined the most.

His forehand has become much spinnier (because of all those years of training on clay to win RG? or because of not trying to hit as many winners?).

His return of serve is mostly the same. It always kind of sucked, despite a few miraculous pick-ups on youtube.

Tactically, he seems to have improved.

Stamina-wise he is much weaker these days and cannot keep his level in a tough 4-setter (see his AO and RG matches).

Mentally, he has many more lapses than during his prime, when he was just a killing machine.

Federer20042006
10-24-2012, 12:10 PM
You do if the rest of your game is perfect/almost perfect.

Sampras bh was great? No. And he got to 14.

Federer's serve isn't even half as good as Sampras's was. They're two completely different styles of players, despite the comparisons made early in their careers.

Sampras wasn't nearly as dominant as Federer, and he had a better serve, an all-time great forehand himself, and better volleys. He was also a great athlete.

veroniquem
10-24-2012, 12:10 PM
Nobody was talking about Federer's backhand being a weakness in 2003-2007. He was "the perfect player." The most anyone would ever say about it is, "it's not as good as his forehand, so players might wanna try going there instead."

It was when he started losing in 2008 that all the "Federer's backhand is his weakness" stuff started popping up everywhere.



. Not true. Fed's backhand was exposed at the beginning of 2005 when Nadal started raping it on a regular basis. That's when everyone started commenting on his backhand making Fed vulnerable and Fed was still at his best then and would be for quite a while.

Carsomyr
10-24-2012, 12:13 PM
Federer plays smarter now (i.e. uses more variety, like drop shots, fake drop shots, etc.), he's improved his serve a bit over the years, which have allowed him to stay competitive with the younger, hungrier members of the top 4.

But he's certainly lost a step and half over the last few years, which means he doesn't defend as well, can't transition from defense to offense as well, etc. He's lost some stamina, which also hurts the defense. And, his groundstrokes, particularly his forehand, have lost some of their venom. As someone mentioned, he's also lost the absolute laser-like focus now that he's achieved a plethora of records and has a family.

Federer of 2004-2007 was clearly better than he is currently.

Federer20042006
10-24-2012, 12:15 PM
Not true. Fed's backhand was exposed at the beginning of 2005 when Nadal started raping it on a regular basis. That's when everyone started commenting on his backhand making Fed vulnerable and Fed was still at his best then and would be for quite a while.

On a regular basis? They only played twice in 2005, and it was 1-1.

Nobody thought Federer was vulnerable then. What the hell are you smoking?

Steve0904
10-24-2012, 12:17 PM
Not true. Fed's backhand was exposed at the beginning of 2005 when Nadal started raping it on a regular basis. That's when everyone started commenting on his backhand making Fed vulnerable and Fed was still at his best then and would be for quite a while.

Yes this may be true, but Nadal has always been the only player who could consistently get to Fed's BH because of his incredible topspin. Nobody else could really do it consistently. Safin hit with a lot of pace to his BH in the 05 AO SF, and Agassi exposed it a bit with his flat ballstriking in the 05 USO final, but neither really was consistent.

above bored
10-24-2012, 12:17 PM
Nobody was talking about Federer's backhand being a weakness in 2003-2007. He was "the perfect player." The most anyone would ever say about it is, "it's not as good as his forehand, so players might wanna try going there instead."

It was when he started losing in 2008 that all the "Federer's backhand is his weakness" stuff started popping up everywhere.

Not sure what the recent trend is on this board to gloss over 2004 Federer is all about (people starting at 2005). Have people forgotten how terrifying a player Federer was in 2004? That he won 3 slams and the YEC that year, losing only 6 matches? That he demolished Hewitt in the US Open final in one of the most overpowering matches you'll ever witness?

Sure, present Federer can hit serves and forehands and backhands and win a ton of points and a ton of matches, but that's not the way you used to describe him. Federer in his prime was a highlight reel - he found angles and came up with shots that left you stunned, and he did this every single match. I'm not talking about some inside-out FH winner or some backhand down the line winner or some strong volley. I'm talking about hitting a winner out of nowhere, when nobody was expecting it...just making up his own shot in an unpredictable way.
Precisely. Federer's backhand was excellent throughout his prime.

ctoth666
10-24-2012, 12:23 PM
Right. Supposedly, the supposed greatest player who ever lived has won 1 of the last 13 majors playing the best tennis of his career. Can't argue with that...

NadalAgassi
10-24-2012, 12:27 PM
One sentence:

Prime Federer did every single thing better, even served better (remember Federer's serving performances in 2007? Especially Wimbledon, the US Open, the Tennis Masters Cup) BUT Federer nowadays is smarter.

Federer had 50 aces at Wimbledon 2009 in the final. That is the most his career by far that I know.

tennis_pro
10-24-2012, 12:28 PM
Federer had 50 aces at Wimbledon 2009 in the final. That is the most his career by far that I know.

How many aces did he hit en average per service game?

Federer in mid 2009 was serving as well as ever, though, comparable to his 2007 level.

NadalAgassi
10-24-2012, 12:31 PM
How many aces did he hit en average per service game?

Federer in mid 2009 was serving as well as ever, though, comparable to his 2007 level.

Well I am pretty sure it would still be alot more than the 2007 final, as 2007 was also a long match. Then again Nadal is a much better returner than Roddick.

tennis_pro
10-24-2012, 12:34 PM
Well I am pretty sure it would still be alot more than the 2007 final, as 2007 was also a long match. Then again Nadal is a much better returner than Roddick.

I'm not talking about the finals only.

2007 US Open quarters against Roddick, 2007 US Open final against Djokovic, 2007 Wimbledon final, 2007 Tennis Masters Cup all the matches virtually, he served over 80 % against Nadal in the semi-finals.

mattennis
10-24-2012, 12:40 PM
It's mainly tv pundit hyperbole. It's hard-wired into their psyche that everything happening now must be communicated as being the most dramatic, most epic thing ever.

This.

Wait and in 10 years you will see them saying that Nadal, Djokovic and Federer were good but NOTHING compared to the current top players because the game is always much better in the present than any time in the past.

It is nauseating to say the least.

smoledman
10-24-2012, 12:53 PM
Fed did EVERYTHING better in his prime. The TV analysts are talking out of their ***. And I'm still not a big fan of Fed's backhand, sorry.

I agree. Fed's absolute peak of destroying tennis was mid 2006 to early 2007. Untouchable in all phases.

veroniquem
10-24-2012, 12:54 PM
On a regular basis? They only played twice in 2005, and it was 1-1.

Nobody thought Federer was vulnerable then. What the hell are you smoking? One of those "twice" in 2005 was pretty major since it happened in a slam. In Miami, Rafa had already beaten Fed in 2004 and was quite close to beating Fed in straights in 2005 before Fed started his come back (the 5th set was due to Rafa completely running out of gas). In 2006, they played more often including in Dubai where Rafa won. By then, if people hadn't noticed Rafa could attack Fed's backhand, they hadn't been paying attention...

TheFifthSet
10-24-2012, 12:56 PM
I honestly don't think his BH is better now than 2004-2006. I'd say his 2012 BH is better than his 2008-2010 though.

TheFifthSet
10-24-2012, 12:58 PM
One of those "twice" in 2005 was pretty major since it happened in a slam. In Miami, Rafa had already beaten Fed in 2004 and was quite close to beating Fed in straights in 2005 before Fed started his come back (the 5th set was due to Rafa completely running out of gas). In 2006, they played more often including in Dubai where Rafa won. By then, if people hadn't noticed Rafa could attack Fed's backhand, they hadn't been paying attention...

Well if we're going to make excuses, Federer had the flu in 2004 when they played Miami, was hella sick and had no business even playing, and his movement (if you watched the match) was QUITE sluggish.

BauerAlmeida
10-24-2012, 01:02 PM
I agree. Fed's absolute peak of destroying tennis was mid 2006 to early 2007. Untouchable in all phases.

2005 was his best season IMO.

He only lost 4 matches. One was against Nadal on clay, against Safin and Gasquet he had match points and against Nalbandian he was 2 points away with his serve.

It doesn't seem that great against his other prime seasons (04, 06, 07) because in those he won 3 slams and the TMC and in 05' "only" 2 slams. He only lost 2 times outside clay, but those came in important matches (AO SF and TMC Final).

BauerAlmeida
10-24-2012, 01:02 PM
Federer's serve isn't even half as good as Sampras's was. They're two completely different styles of players, despite the comparisons made early in their careers.

Sampras wasn't nearly as dominant as Federer, and he had a better serve, an all-time great forehand himself, and better volleys. He was also a great athlete.

My point was that if you're great at everything else, you may have a weakness in your game.

Not that Sampras and Federer have similar styles.

smoledman
10-24-2012, 01:03 PM
I honestly don't think his BH is better now than 2004-2006. I'd say his 2012 BH is better than his 2008-2010 though.

QFT. QFT. QFT.

smoledman
10-24-2012, 01:04 PM
My point was that if you're great at everything else, you may have a weakness in your game.

Not that Sampras and Federer have similar styles.

Federer's serve is hardly a weakness. He's regularly at 90% service games won year after year and remember the legendary 2007/2009 Wimby final ace-fests? Or how he served this Wimbledon?

Also Fed has served 4 consecutive aces on at least 3 occasions. Once against Nadal(2007 YEC semis).

veroniquem
10-24-2012, 01:10 PM
Without his serve, Fed wouldn't be a top 4 player at this point.

veroniquem
10-24-2012, 01:12 PM
Well if we're going to make excuses, Federer had the flu in 2004 when they played Miami, was hella sick and had no business even playing, and his movement (if you watched the match) was QUITE sluggish. The point is: people started paying attention to Fed's bh because of how much Nadal abused it. And they played 5 times in 2006, so people had plenty of time to observe it. But I would say it was apparent enough already at RG 2005.

BauerAlmeida
10-24-2012, 01:17 PM
Federer's serve is hardly a weakness. He's regularly at 90% service games won year after year and remember the legendary 2007/2009 Wimby final ace-fests? Or how he served this Wimbledon?

Also Fed has served 4 consecutive aces on at least 3 occasions. Once against Nadal(2007 YEC semis).

I never said his serve was the weakness.:confused:

It's his backhand. (Talking about prime Fed).

Federer20042006
10-24-2012, 01:33 PM
The point is: people started paying attention to Fed's bh because of how much Nadal abused it. And they played 5 times in 2006, so people had plenty of time to observe it. But I would say it was apparent enough already at RG 2005.

I remember reading an article from 2005 where a bunch of tennis analysts were asked who would be the next to challenge Federer, and all but one were scratching their head and had no idea when his dominance would end.

Only Darren Cahill mentioned Nadal, saying that Federer's weakness was the high backhand, and Nadal could get it there.

The only time the backhand issue really caught national attention during Federer's prime was the 2006 French Open final. But he followed that up by going on a tear, blasting backhand winners left and right at Wimbledon.

Steve0904
10-24-2012, 01:37 PM
I remember reading an article from 2005 where a bunch of tennis analysts were asked who would be the next to challenge Federer, and all but one were scratching their head and had no idea when his dominance would end.

Only Darren Cahill mentioned Nadal, saying that Federer's weakness was the high backhand, and Nadal could get it there.

The only time the backhand issue really caught national attention during Federer's prime was the 2006 French Open final. But he followed that up by going on a tear, blasting backhand winners left and right at Wimbledon.

That just tells me that Cahill knows what he's talking about, and the other analysts are idiots.

Federer20042006
10-24-2012, 01:38 PM
My point was that if you're great at everything else, you may have a weakness in your game.

Not that Sampras and Federer have similar styles.

And my point is if Federer's backhand was nearly as big a weakness as it was for Sampras, Federer would not have anywhere near 17 slams. Sampras could rely on his serve, which is huge in tennis. Look where dominant serving got John Isner, for example.

Federer's serve is nowhere near the weapon Sampras's was. In fact, it's better now than in his prime in terms of winning cheap points...so how was Federer dominating tennis at a level Sampras never did with a weak backhand? Remember, he didn't (and even now still doesn't) possess nearly the serve Sampras did.

above bored
10-24-2012, 01:41 PM
As someone mentioned, criticism of Federer's backhand only really started to happen after his mono in 2008 and after some dismal performances. I mean, the consistency he had went completely.

Prior to that Federer was coming back in the h2h with Nadal, which was 6-8 at the end of 2007, and people were always really surprised anytime Nadal beat Federer outside of clay, which was only twice. Even on clay, there was a widespread expectation that Federer would eventually figure Nadal out. There certainly was not this idea that Federer's backhand was poor, but that becaome the cliché after he lost each of their 2008 encounters, particularly snowballing after Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2008.

I think this boards has many new tennis fans, some of whom only started watching tennis in 2008 and only know Federer from this period. This probably also had something to do with the poor backhand cliché.

Federer20042006
10-24-2012, 01:45 PM
I honestly don't think his BH is better now than 2004-2006. I'd say his 2012 BH is better than his 2008-2010 though.

I agree, though I think his current backhand may be better than his 2004 backhand (he was slicing a lot more in 2004 and running around it a lot more as well). His 2003 backhand was terrific, though.

I think I'd rate Federer's backhand as follows by year:

1. 2006 (have to block out the FO final, though)
2. 2005
3. 2003
4. 2007
5. 2012
6. 2011
7. 2004
8. 2002
9. 2001
10. 2008
11. 2009
12. 2010

Basically, Federer's backhand quality has gone up and down. It hasn't been this steady incline that many analysts and fans claim. He went through a period in 2009-2010 where he couldn't hit a backhand down the line to save his life, when before that shot used to be routine for him. Sometime around the French Open last year, he found his backhand again. I credit Annacone.

forzamilan90
10-24-2012, 01:56 PM
His forehand is a shadow of what it once was, and he's lost a step. That's a freaking fact

above bored
10-24-2012, 02:19 PM
I agree, though I think his current backhand may be better than his 2004 backhand (he was slicing a lot more in 2004 and running around it a lot more as well). His 2003 backhand was terrific, though.

I think I'd rate Federer's backhand as follows by year:

1. 2006 (have to block out the FO final, though)
2. 2005
3. 2003
4. 2007
5. 2012
6. 2011
7. 2004
8. 2002
9. 2001
10. 2008
11. 2009
12. 2010

Basically, Federer's backhand quality has gone up and down. It hasn't been this steady incline that many analysts and fans claim. He went through a period in 2009-2010 where he couldn't hit a backhand down the line to save his life, when before that shot used to be routine for him. Sometime around the French Open last year, he found his backhand again. I credit Annacone.
I can't remember Federer's backhand ever being questioned prior to 2008. I thought his backhand in 2004 was great, just as in the other years. I mean, all players have ups and downs, but 2004 was a great and very consistent year for Federer all round.

For example, his backhand in the highlights from the Australian Open 2004 final looks great. He was hitting winners all over the place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uodBrxGPpvs

Agassifan
10-24-2012, 02:20 PM
I don't think Fed's backhand is better. Just see some of his matches from 2006 - the BH was way more explosive. You could argue that these days, in *SOME* matches, he is hitting more consistently than before, but man, if you think his BH was not good during his prime, you're smoking some bad ****.

Note: Just like someone has pointed out, just because he didn't do well in that 2008 time frame, people think his BH was always inconsistent. It wasn't.

MichaelNadal
10-24-2012, 03:36 PM
His prime backhand is better than his backhand now, everything was better.

dominikk1985
10-24-2012, 04:59 PM
maybe because fed says that himself all the time:D.

but no, fed is not as good as he was 03 to 09. he is still very good but a step slower on his feet.

tennisaddict
10-24-2012, 05:16 PM
Fed is at least half a step slower than his peak , if I may borrow Rusedski's "phrase".

Federer had his peak 2004-2007, deteriorated in 2008 compared to that level. 2009 he had things aligned for him and won 2 majors even though he was not at his peak level. 2010/2011 he played poorer than 2008 - some of his worst.

Since end 2011/2012 he has improved back hand, spin, drop shots as compared to 2010/11. Serve is worse as compared to previous years. He is far more consistent than 2010/ 2011, hence the results show that.

On the whole he has declined from 2007.

The-Champ
10-24-2012, 11:09 PM
Prime Federer did everything better than current Federer. Yes, even serve and backhand.

Zarfot Z
10-24-2012, 11:52 PM
Goderer outstrips Olderer by a considerable mile. If they met in a match, Goderer def Olderer 7-6 6-3 6-3

Tafmatch
10-25-2012, 12:16 AM
I'm surprised as well when I hear people say Federer is better then ever. I wonder if those people watched him play at all between 2004-2007. He did improve his strategy over the years and he plays a smarter game nowadays but his shots aren't as dominating. His forehand was unbelievable a couple of years ago, now it's just very good.

I recently watched Fed-Safin AO2005 and Fed-Agassi USopen final and the difference between PrimeFed and OldFed was pretty big and really easy to see. Against Agassi his forehand was so explosive...

joeri888
10-25-2012, 12:22 AM
His service game is equal or 1% better now, his overall game has declined big time. His explosiveness, his ROS, his slice backhand, his forehand, everything.

Volleys improved since annacone and his serve and tactical ability have become better too, but rest dropped a lot.

TheMusicLover
10-25-2012, 09:56 AM
It's mainly tv pundit hyperbole. It's hard-wired into their psyche that everything happening now must be communicated as being the most dramatic, most epic thing ever.

This, of course.
Pundits talking out of their behinds. No player ever is better at age 31 than in his prime. Especially not with said player's huge mileage.

DeShaun
10-25-2012, 01:06 PM
Yeah, he played his game differently back then. Was more reliant on a rare combination of fluid yet taught movements in getting himself repeatedly into ideal ball striking position. In a sense, Roger was The original elastic gumby man before Novak came along; except, Roger's ball striking positions were superior IMO. Roger had deceptively powerful legs and his lower body was as tuned to covering the court's geometry and his trunk rotation was fast, which is to say both to an extremely high level. He could really snap off some serious follow through on his shots, and it all came from the ground up, starting with his dynamic balance that was years ahead of the sport and his peers.

pame
10-25-2012, 03:56 PM
Sure, present Federer can hit serves and forehands and backhands and win a ton of points and a ton of matches, but that's not the way you used to describe him. Federer in his prime was a highlight reel - he found angles and came up with shots that left you stunned, and he did this every single match. I'm not talking about some inside-out FH winner or some backhand down the line winner or some strong volley. I'm talking about hitting a winner out of nowhere, when nobody was expecting it...just making up his own shot in an unpredictable way.

What we started to call an HTF shot - How The F*** (did he get that done) shot :)

pame
10-25-2012, 04:02 PM
The point is: people started paying attention to Fed's bh because of how much Nadal abused it. And they played 5 times in 2006, so people had plenty of time to observe it. But I would say it was apparent enough already at RG 2005.

No, I don't think your recall is accurate there. I was listening to commentary on a USO 2004 match, and the commentator remarked that while Fed's backhand couldn't be considered a weakness, it just wasn't as strong as his FH, Federer had said earlier that year that he had to thank the guys on tour for making it better by constantly hitting to it.

Steve0904
10-25-2012, 04:12 PM
No, I don't think your recall is accurate there. I was listening to commentary on a USO 2004 match, and the commentator remarked that while Fed's backhand couldn't be considered a weakness, it just wasn't as strong as his FH, Federer had said earlier that year that he had to thank the guys on tour for making it better by constantly hitting to it.

This makes no sense. veroniquem said it was at least apparent at RG in 2005 (debatable), and you go on to quote commentary from a USO 2004 match that happened before RG 2005.

Gonzo_style
10-25-2012, 04:14 PM
No, I don't think your recall is accurate there. I was listening to commentary on a USO 2004 match, and the commentator remarked that while Fed's backhand couldn't be considered a weakness, it just wasn't as strong as his FH, Federer had said earlier that year that he had to thank the guys on tour for making it better by constantly hitting to it.

Arrogant again!

Steve0904
10-25-2012, 04:21 PM
Arrogant again!

Why?

10 chars

Federer20042006
10-25-2012, 06:42 PM
This makes no sense. veroniquem said it was at least apparent at RG in 2005 (debatable), and you go on to quote commentary from a USO 2004 match that happened before RG 2005.

Well, what it does show is the whole "Federer's backhand has improved" line has been around pretty much since the beginning of Federer's dominance.

And what's funny is...if you load up a Federer match from 2001 or 2002, there's a very good chance you'll hear a commentator raving about Federer's backhand.

After 2 rocket blast winners vs. Henman at Wimbledon - "Federer has such a beautiful backhand."

In a 2002 indoor match (forgot where) - "And Federer's backhand is one of the game's great shots."

About when his prime really began - TMC 2003 - Mary Carillo referenced discussing the best backhands in the game, and said she'd take Federer's over Guga's.

Seems to me like tennis analysts get these scouting reports (this happens in other sports, too), and no matter what happens, they never go away from them.

So on Federer's, it says:

Great forehand
Good serve
Improving backhand

It's probably said that since around 1999.

Steve0904
10-25-2012, 06:48 PM
Well, what it does show is the whole "Federer's backhand has improved" line has been around pretty much since the beginning of Federer's dominance.

And what's funny is...if you load up a Federer match from 2001 or 2002, there's a very good chance you'll hear a commentator raving about Federer's backhand.

After 2 rocket blast winners vs. Henman at Wimbledon - "Federer has such a beautiful backhand."

In a 2002 indoor match (forgot where) - "And Federer's backhand is one of the game's great shots."

About when his prime really began - TMC 2003 - Mary Carillo referenced discussing the best backhands in the game, and said she'd take Federer's over Guga's.

Seems to me like tennis analysts get these scouting reports (this happens in other sports, too), and no matter what happens, they never go away from them.

So on Federer's, it says:

Great forehand
Good serve
Improving backhand

It's probably said that since around 1999.

I agree, in some sense, but again, some of that is TV commentator hype. I think his BH is a great shot, but you have to take things in context. If commentators are watching him blast a few winners while they have a front row seat to the match, then of course they'll say good things about his BH. In fact, as I said, they often exaggerate as many have already mentioned.

smoledman
10-25-2012, 06:58 PM
Well, what it does show is the whole "Federer's backhand has improved" line has been around pretty much since the beginning of Federer's dominance.

And what's funny is...if you load up a Federer match from 2001 or 2002, there's a very good chance you'll hear a commentator raving about Federer's backhand.

After 2 rocket blast winners vs. Henman at Wimbledon - "Federer has such a beautiful backhand."

In a 2002 indoor match (forgot where) - "And Federer's backhand is one of the game's great shots."

About when his prime really began - TMC 2003 - Mary Carillo referenced discussing the best backhands in the game, and said she'd take Federer's over Guga's.

Seems to me like tennis analysts get these scouting reports (this happens in other sports, too), and no matter what happens, they never go away from them.

So on Federer's, it says:

Great forehand
Good serve
Improving backhand

It's probably said that since around 1999.

STFU. From 2006 to early 2007 his backhand was mostly ON and in god-mode. Especially Wimbledon, US Open, YEC. Remember that 2006 final against Blake? OMG.

jokinla
10-25-2012, 07:11 PM
A link to one of these "analysts" saying this would be good, but to make a consensus it would have to be repeated by most and I'm yet to hear one say he is currently better than in his prime, because that's absurd.

pame
10-25-2012, 07:30 PM
This makes no sense. veroniquem said it was at least apparent at RG in 2005 (debatable), and you go on to quote commentary from a USO 2004 match that happened before RG 2005.

How does it not make sense, pray tell. I am pointing out that the whole "play to Fed's backhand" started before Nadal... so much so that a commentator brought it up when his colleague made reference to the "weaker" backhand during USO 2004 commentary - well before RG 2005

pame
10-25-2012, 07:35 PM
A link to one of these "analysts" saying this would be good, but to make a consensus it would have to be repeated by most and I'm yet to hear one say he is currently better than in his prime, because that's absurd.

Been said by commentators on ESPN, and quite a bit on Sky - Mark Petchey & another guy who works with him - gaunt-faced guy whose name escapes me now... those I've heard saying this for almost a year now. I too shake my head and wonder if they watched Fed in his prime years for real.

jokinla
10-25-2012, 07:43 PM
Been said by commentators on ESPN, and quite a bit on Sky - Mark Petchey & another guy who works with him - gaunt-faced guy whose name escapes me now... those I've heard saying this for almost a year now. I too shake my head and wonder if they watched Fed in his prime years for real.

The only commentator on ESPN who I would believe said it would be Chris Fowler. BG, PMac, or any of the other ex-pros on there aren't saying that. I don't have Sky, so I wouldn't know their analysis, again a link would help to verify just one "analyst" with this view, much less a "consensus".

Steve0904
10-25-2012, 07:50 PM
How does it not make sense, pray tell. I am pointing out that the whole "play to Fed's backhand" started before Nadal... so much so that a commentator brought it up when his colleague made reference to the "weaker" backhand during USO 2004 commentary - well before RG 2005

Yes it started before Nadal simply because nobody in their right mind was going to his FH, but the first guy to expose it a bit especially on clay was Nadal, so referencing a 2004 match is stretching it because to that point it wasn't a "weakness" it just wasn't as good as his FH.

pame
10-25-2012, 08:04 PM
The only commentator on ESPN who I would believe said it would be Chris Fowler. BG, PMac, or any of the other ex-pros on there aren't saying that. I don't have Sky, so I wouldn't know their analysis, again a link would help to verify just one "analyst" with this view, much less a "consensus".

First of all and just in passing, it's obvious we get different ESPN feeds,; I get ESPNI or LA (Latin America in English) - commentators are different. And most of us who have heard that said, and enough people have attested to hearing it across several boards, have heard it on live commentary... I'm sorry, but I don't tend to note the date, time and colour of the sky for every comment I hear :)

pame
10-25-2012, 08:09 PM
Yes it started before Nadal simply because nobody in their right mind was going to his FH, but the first guy to expose it a bit especially on clay was Nadal, so referencing a 2004 match is stretching it because to that point it wasn't a "weakness" it just wasn't as good as his FH.

For heaven's sake, if you have a beef about how the commentators described it, take it up with them, sheesh. I already pointed out by the very quotes and more or less direct attribution that they themselves regarded it as more the weaker side; it obviously came up at some point pre-2005, as the commentator quoted Federer himself as saying the guys had made it better by constantly playing to it - would that not suggest to you that he himself recognised that people had tried to attack it? And it wasn't one 2004 match Federer would appear to be referencing.. or even only 2004... the COMMENT came in a specific 2004 match. I hope that's clear enough for you now

BrooklynNY
10-25-2012, 08:25 PM
No player ever is better at age 31 than in his prime. Especially not with said player's huge mileage.

According to *******s Agassi at 35 was playing his best tennis ever :rolleyes:

Look at the way people refer to "Fed vs Agassi 2005 USO" as God mode Federer


Imagine Federer in 4 years playing against the #1 player in the world. Much less the supposed GOAT.


Fed isn't his best anymore, but he is definitely playing better players now. It's tough to think someone is better at 31 than they are at 25.
He can still play unreal tennis, but its just tougher for him to play consecutive matches at his highest level, it takes more time to recover.

Steve0904
10-26-2012, 01:56 AM
For heaven's sake, if you have a beef about how the commentators described it, take it up with them, sheesh. I already pointed out by the very quotes and more or less direct attribution that they themselves regarded it as more the weaker side; it obviously came up at some point pre-2005, as the commentator quoted Federer himself as saying the guys had made it better by constantly playing to it - would that not suggest to you that he himself recognised that people had tried to attack it? And it wasn't one 2004 match Federer would appear to be referencing.. or even only 2004... the COMMENT came in a specific 2004 match. I hope that's clear enough for you now

Yes that clears it up. Next time relax a little bit would ya? :)

joeri888
10-26-2012, 02:14 AM
Fed did EVERYTHING better in his prime. The TV analysts are talking out of their ***. And I'm still not a big fan of Fed's backhand, sorry.

Go see it live, ESPECIALLY (but not only) on an indoor court. The power, the small margins and consistency are amazing. The pressure he puts on opponents you don't really see it on TV I think.

Sabratha
10-26-2012, 02:18 AM
Yes, Federer who loses to the likes of Berdych and Tsonga is better than the Federer who demolished Hewitt in the US Open final of 2004. :roll:

TheNatural
10-26-2012, 03:03 AM
Fed was at his best 5 years ago when Sampras thumped him in Macau ;)

Carsomyr
10-26-2012, 03:31 AM
According to *******s Agassi at 35 was playing his best tennis ever :rolleyes:

Look at the way people refer to "Fed vs Agassi 2005 USO" as God mode Federer


Imagine Federer in 4 years playing against the #1 player in the world. Much less the supposed GOAT.


Fed isn't his best anymore, but he is definitely playing better players now. It's tough to think someone is better at 31 than they are at 25.
He can still play unreal tennis, but its just tougher for him to play consecutive matches at his highest level, it takes more time to recover.

Agassi was still playing great tennis, and honestly wasn't far removed from the highest quality years he produced from '99-'02. Had Agassi shown the same commitment in his mid-twenties ('94-'95) that he did in the aforementioned stretch, I think that those would have been his best years. But as it stands, I consider Agassi of the mid-90s and of '99-'02 roughly equal in terms of playing level.

And because he was, like Federer, very good at scheduling, he could still produce great tennis in his mid-30s, too. The Safin-Agassi 2004 AO encounter is a classic and some of the best tennis either produced.

zagor
10-26-2012, 03:51 AM
According to *******s Agassi at 35 was playing his best tennis ever :rolleyes:

So? Petetards like yourself claimed 29-30 year old Fed is as good as ever (in 2011) and hasn't declined one bit all the while making a crap-ton of excuses for green teenage (he wasn't even top 10 player at the time) Fed's win over defending champion Sampras on the Center Court of Wimbledon, not to mention his drubbings at the hand of Safin and Hewitt in USO finals.

I won't even go into using exos as "proof" of Sampras' superiority (that's just too nuts, even for me).

Look at the way people refer to "Fed vs Agassi 2005 USO" as God mode Federer

I agree with this one actually, that highlights video is overused, Fed had plenty of matches in which he played much better than that, especially in that period of his career.

Imagine Federer in 4 years playing against the #1 player in the world. Much less the supposed GOAT.

Except for the fact that Agassi and Fed had radically different career paths so that wouldn't be the best comparison but if you insist we can play that game.

Fed isn't his best anymore, but he is definitely playing better players now. It's tough to think someone is better at 31 than they are at 25.
He can still play unreal tennis, but its just tougher for him to play consecutive matches at his highest level, it takes more time to recover.

That's a very interesting conclusion, so if we presume that these better players you talk about are Nadal, Novak and Murray(even though he has yet to beat Fed in a slam, I'm sure that will happen soon so we can include him in the group), given the fact that Fed played those 3 players combined 20+ times in slams only your "now" time-frame must be 6 or 7 years long or something? You do realize he couldn't have played them 20+ times in slams in one year?

I guess we can also draw a parallel to your hero's twilight stage of career and conclude that one of the reasons he wasn't as dominant as before (and received 2 slam final drubbings in front of his home crowd) was because he was playing "better" players, not that he was just plain old.

zagor
10-26-2012, 03:59 AM
Agassi was still playing great tennis, and honestly wasn't far removed from the highest quality years he produced from '99-'02. Had Agassi shown the same commitment in his mid-twenties ('94-'95) that he did in the aforementioned stretch, I think that those would have been his best years. But as it stands, I consider Agassi of the mid-90s and of '99-'02 roughly equal in terms of playing level.

And because he was, like Federer, very good at scheduling, he could still produce great tennis in his mid-30s, too. The Safin-Agassi 2004 AO encounter is a classic and some of the best tennis either produced.

I'd say Agassi's highest level of play came in 1995, definitely better than what he shown before or after but that's still one single year, Agassi did win 5 out of his 8 slams at the age of 29-33, a stark contrast to Fed who won the bulk of his slams at a much younger age.

However, 2005 was Agassi's last year before retirement (in 2006 he played a very light schedule and was really struggling physically), he played a good match in that USO final but I wouldn't say he was anywhere near his best, he struck the ball beautifully as always (and Fed's BH was pretty shaky the whole tourney) but couldn't play defense worth crap anymore (Dre's defense while not great was still solid in his younger days) and he did crumble physically in the 4th set.

Federer20042006
10-27-2012, 02:08 PM
I've heard John McEnroe say it, or at least imply that's what he thinks.

Mats Wilander has said it time and again.

And then a couple days ago on a stream, I heard someone else say it.

ctoth666
10-27-2012, 09:17 PM
I'm sorry but this is absurd. I'm just watching back some vintage Federer, and he's a machine. He is no way shape or form better today, and to suggest that he is makes no sense. In fact, his overall level has dropped significantly. His game has always been predicated on movement, after all. For goodness sake, watch any match from 2004 and then watch a match from 2012. It's night and day almost.

Steve0904
10-28-2012, 07:17 AM
I'm sorry but this is absurd. I'm just watching back some vintage Federer, and he's a machine. He is no way shape or form better today, and to suggest that he is makes no sense. In fact, his overall level has dropped significantly. His game has always been predicated on movement, after all. For goodness sake, watch any match from 2004 and then watch a match from 2012. It's night and day almost.

You know what I'd like to see? Some split screen videos showing his movement and/or general playing level from 2004 on one side and 2012 on the other, because I agree. Even if you just watch the videos in quick succession you can tell.

abmk
10-28-2012, 07:59 AM
I honestly don't think his BH is better now than 2004-2006. I'd say his 2012 BH is better than his 2008-2010 though.

just change that to 2004-2007 ...... his BH was excellent in 2007 .....

ctoth666
10-28-2012, 08:57 AM
You know what I'd like to see? Some split screen videos showing his movement and/or general playing level from 2004 on one side and 2012 on the other, because I agree. Even if you just watch the videos in quick succession you can tell.

As would I. Let's put someone up to the task, because I'm not good at such things. But I'll give it a shot, maybe. Heck I'll have some time on my hands with almost a week-long projected power outage coming up...

RF20Lennon
10-28-2012, 09:00 AM
LOL a 2006 Federer wouldve won 6-1 6-1 today

rofl_copter3
10-28-2012, 09:22 AM
Federer has a better serve a more consistent backhand and better tactics now than in his prime.

Even with those being improved over recent years he is nowhere near where he was at his peak... The power and footwork he used to have is just not there anymore and he can't play defense like he could years ago... Oh and then there was the forehand a shot above all others incomparable to any other probably ever, its good still but but good doesn't even hold a candle to the shot it used to be...

TheFifthSet
10-28-2012, 10:54 AM
just change that to 2004-2007 ...... his BH was excellent in 2007 .....

Yes, a bit below '06 but it was still great particularly at the Masters Cup.


You see his BH today? No way it's better now. It was horrendous today.

TheF1Bob
10-28-2012, 10:56 AM
Fed is more fitter than he was back in '05, that's the difference.

His mind however...

TheFifthSet
10-28-2012, 11:06 AM
Fed is more fitter than he was back in '05, that's the difference.

His mind however...

Might be the other way around.

tennis_pro
10-28-2012, 11:15 AM
For those analysist (Barry Cowan?) who claim that Federer struggles so much because of the competition.

Well no wonder, it's because of his return of serve. Remember the times when he returned Roddick's serve like it was nothing?

Federer of 2006 would probably have a slightly more difficult time holding serve but Del Potro wouldn't be holding to love all the time, Fed would've been in every single returning game, damn I think Fed in 2006 won like 36-38 % of his return games,, then to back this up with his serve you get some insane level.

tennis_pro
10-28-2012, 11:18 AM
Fed is more fitter than he was back in '05, that's the difference.

His mind however...

I think it's the other way round. Federer doesn't give up as easily at all these days but purely tennis levelwise he's half as good as he was in 2005. Especially his speed, movement, footwork, returns have deteriorated quite a lot.

TheF1Bob
10-28-2012, 11:30 AM
Might be the other way around.

I think it's the other way round. Federer doesn't give up as easily at all these days but purely tennis levelwise he's half as good as he was in 2005. Especially his speed, movement, footwork, returns have deteriorated quite a lot.

Ok I should of rephrased it, he's more athletic than he was in '05. Yes, he had youth in his side, hence he was quick but the matches now last a lot longer with the courts slow down as they have and he's defo more athletic to deal with the conditions of these courts these days.

However, you can't defeat your age and no doubt his joints and stamina isn't good as it once was, regardless how conditioned he is these days.

ctoth666
10-28-2012, 12:30 PM
Again, I would like to remind everyone that Federer at his peak was capable of playing possibly the highest level of tennis we've ever seen, so no he's not as good as he used to be.

cork_screw
10-28-2012, 12:56 PM
I just keep hearing this over and over, and it's a real head scratcher. Do these people honestly believe that?

The 31-year-old Federer is a better player now than he was in 2004-2006? That if prime Federer had begun his career in 2010 or so, he'd only win 2-3 majors or so at most?

That's not a very strong indictment for Federer's greatness. I don't believe Federer is the greatest player of all-time, and I don't deny that Nadal/Djokovic/Murray is a tougher lineup at the top than Nadal and the others who went in and out of the Top 4 (Roddick, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Davydenko, etc.).

But Federer's not playing members of the Big 4 every match, and the former human highlight reel is mostly an X's and O'x player now. How can they just ignore the obvious change in his play to the less spectacular?

Nobody says that. That's something you came up with on your own. Never heard an analyst say that before. And I bootleg all the illegal streams so I hear a lot of them.

Steve0904
10-28-2012, 02:40 PM
Nobody says that. That's something you came up with on your own. Never heard an analyst say that before. And I bootleg all the illegal streams so I hear a lot of them.

You're going to have to listen to a few more streams then. JMac has said it many times before.

NadalAgassi
10-28-2012, 02:44 PM
For those analysist (Barry Cowan?) who claim that Federer struggles so much because of the competition.

Well no wonder, it's because of his return of serve. Remember the times when he returned Roddick's serve like it was nothing?

Federer of 2006 would probably have a slightly more difficult time holding serve but Del Potro wouldn't be holding to love all the time, Fed would've been in every single returning game, damn I think Fed in 2006 won like 36-38 % of his return games,, then to back this up with his serve you get some insane level.

Roddick has nothing to back his serve up. Federer could just float or bunt it back (which is often all he did) and still likely to win the point. Against Del Potro if you do that, and DP is even decent form, he will likely slam a forehand and the point will either be over, are you are immediately on your heels. So your returning stance and mindset is totally different.

NatF
10-28-2012, 02:56 PM
Roddick has nothing to back his serve up. Federer could just float or bunt it back (which is often all he did) and still likely to win the point. Against Del Potro if you do that, and DP is even decent form, he will likely slam a forehand and the point will either be over, are you are immediately on your heels. So your returning stance and mindset is totally different.

Yes because prime Roddick's forehand was a push right...

smoledman
10-28-2012, 03:12 PM
The difference between now and his prime is that the "champagne tennis" only happens in fits & spurts rather than all the time. I mean admit it, at the end of the 3rd set going into the tiebreaker he was serving like a demon.

Federer20042006
10-28-2012, 03:14 PM
I think it's the other way round. Federer doesn't give up as easily at all these days but purely tennis levelwise he's half as good as he was in 2005. Especially his speed, movement, footwork, returns have deteriorated quite a lot.

When did Federer ever give up in his prime?

The only match I ever watched where Federer gave up was the 3rd set of the French Open final in 2008.

I get annoyed watching Federer fail time and again to convert break chances, but I can never question his effort.

Federer20042006
10-28-2012, 03:17 PM
Nobody says that. That's something you came up with on your own. Never heard an analyst say that before. And I bootleg all the illegal streams so I hear a lot of them.

Yeah, you're a complete idiot.

NLBwell
10-28-2012, 04:19 PM
I've heard commentators say that before, but it is silly. He certainly can't move as well as when he was younger (no one can) and movement is critical. He isn't able to call upon a service winner whenever he gets in trouble like he used to. His topspin backhand may be better, but because of movement, the backhand side of the court is not better. His forehand has picked up from when he was shanking it a lot, but it isn't as good as it was at his peak.

NadalAgassi
10-28-2012, 05:23 PM
Yes because prime Roddick's forehand was a push right...

LOL what the hell is prime Roddick. A 3 month period, another month there, a 2 month period a few years later, and that is it. The rest of the time he is a reliable top 10 player (during the Federer era which lacked any great players besides Federer top 4) who serves huge, and otherwise relies on a mixture of determination, heart, and consistency and junk balling from the baseline.

merwy
10-28-2012, 05:50 PM
I don't think is backhand now is better than ever. Maybe better than a few years ago as others have already pointed out, but it used to be almost a weapon instead of a weakness. Perhaps you could say that his ability to deal with heavy topspin balls to his backhand is better than ever (I'm not even sure about this by the way, I can't recall how he dealt with them in 2004-2007). That weakness has been exposed so many times by Nadal that he probably started focusing on it a lot.

Anyway, watch this video: He's hitting these shots a lot easier than he does now, right?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrAx5ae_BR0

cc0509
10-28-2012, 06:02 PM
I think it's the other way round. Federer doesn't give up as easily at all these days but purely tennis levelwise he's half as good as he was in 2005. Especially his speed, movement, footwork, returns have deteriorated quite a lot.

+1.

It is like watching a completely different player. It is scary how much he has deteriorated in certain areas. What is strange is how good he looked at the beginning of the year, like he was refreshed and ready to go, but after the Olympics, :confused::confused::confused: That is what happens with an aging player, one day he is brilliant and the next can't hit a ball in the court.

roberttennis54
10-28-2012, 07:29 PM
Commentators and TV analyst have a job to sell the sport. If they said the truth it would NOT be good for the game. Going on about how the world no1 is a shadow of the player he was 5 years ago, is not going to attract new viewers.

Federer does EVERYTHING worse now and many things MUCH worse. Some people say he is smarter, but that is because peak Federer did not need to be smart. He just blasted away.

Just pop in a Federer match and see the difference.

10is
10-28-2012, 10:54 PM
I can't believe how some are saying that his backhand got "better" compared to 04-06. In that case here he is all the way back in 2001 before he knew how to hit a backhand at all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAze6...eature=related

And here he is back in 2006 when he clearly had one of the worst backhands of all time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2OcNKr011E

His backhand is not "better". He is no longer a potent shot maker off of that wing, and contrary to opinion he hardly shanked his backhand during his peak. Hardly any down the line winners or flick cross-court winners to be seen anymore which were once a staple of his game in his prime. The shanks started appearing with more and more regularity from 07 onwards. It merely appears to be a more consistent rallying shot only because he strengthened his shoulders (at the loss of some flexibility) during his latter years to better deal with high bouncing shots off that wing which is why (in addition to experience, tactics and strategy) he now "appears" to be better equipped to handle Nadal's cross court forhand spamming to his backhand side. However, in this regard one should also note that Nadal's game has also declined particularly his raw foot speed and defensive attributes which could also be a factor as to why Federer (despite his own decline) can still compete somewhat favorably with him despite the age disparity. I would content 2006 Federer would have been victorious aginst 2011 Nadal at Roland Garros.

Anyhow, all in all, Federer has definitely lost a step. his footwork is still great but whenever someone gets him running he ends up in trouble. He cannot play top-level defence any more - the days of him hitting absurd winners out of nowhere are gone.

The (only) improvement in this context (i.e. in the context of his decline) is that he has recognized this problem and tweaked his game ever so slightly to compensate. He now builds his game around his serve (strategy and placement) and looks to finish points quickly, taking more risks. While in the past his defence to offence and (vice versa) transitional game was peerless, now due to his flagging physical/athletic attributes, he now knows he has to dominate points from the outset to win them.

He has visibly altered his technique (on his serve and forehand in particular) to compensate for his physical decline (i.e. loss of a step and back issues) which have altered the potency of both these shots. His forehand is no long the liquid whip that it used to be due to the lack of torso coil (i.e hitting or swivelling off the back foot and rotating the trunk and shoulders to generate pace) -- using more spin instead of hitting flat. His takeback on the swing is different as well -- he used to straighten his arm out a little more; now its position is a tad closer to his body, more compact and the swing is a lot more abbreviated.

Similarly, Federer used to hit his backhand by starting his motion low, than lifting his arms up, and flicking his wrist -- thus the abundance of those insane flicked cross court winners we were used to seeing back in the day, as well as the backhand masterclass on display during the 06 TMC Finak. However, due to the low margin of error, this became a liability on high bouncing balls (especially against Nadal), which resulted in him starting to hit with more topspin resulting in his backhand becoming a more stable rallying shot (which gradually enhanced into a somewhat potent wing when he strengthened his shoulder to more adequately manage high bouncing balls). Thus YMMV with regards to which BH technique was better. I am more partial to the 04-06 BHs on the run defensive shotmaking attributes than the more steady but less remarkable 09-12 BH.

If you analyse the relative net clearance height of both his back and forehand compared to his prime you'll realize that between 04-06 both the shots had a much flatter trajectory compared to the ensuing years.

Regarding his 2nd serve, during his prime Federer consistenly used to be amongst the top in terms of service points won. His decline in that regard is also prominently highlighted by the fact that he doesn't get the massive rip on his kicker/twister that he used to. It's less vicious than it used to be:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM1P2ej4YtY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfJFikZkCv8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-enVQiknD2U

He used to hit those sorts of second serves semi-regularly, and even the ones he didn't tended to move around substantially and hit the racquet heavy. At that stage I would venture that he was one of the best second servers ever. Now he still hits it better than a lot of players, but it seems to lack sting... and players are able to attack it much more. Not sure I'd really consider him a condender for the best on tour any more in that regard.

Service return wise, between 03-07, he never went below 29% return games won, and averaged 30.2%. In 2008 thorugh 2011, the "postpeak" years, Fed never went *above* 28% return games won, and averaged 26.5%. That's a clear and significant decline. Furthermore,as I have previously mentioned, when comparing stats such as these, its important to look at "trends", not year-to-year blips in order for a hypothesis to have statistical validity. No one goes straight up or straight down uninterruptedly. Federer's best years, as defined by sustained slam results, coincide with significantly better return game average winning percentage. His following years coincide with worse return game average winning percentage. The correlation is undeniable.

Technically, if he has improved it is only relative to 2008-2010, not 2004-2006 - namely his serve and backhand. Strategically he has undoubtedly improved since it was necessitated due to his physical decline. Even going as far back as 2003 you can see teh decline inherent in his present movement, backhand and forehand mechanics vis-a-vis the past:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBYFnwUJP_8

Honestly this thread is a bit pointless, people who dislike Federer, ignorant sensationalizing "pundits" or overzealous Federer "fanatics" (who would like to imagine that he could never ever decline) will indulge in petty rhetoric to such degree that they will claim that "everything" has "improved" and that he's playing better than ever or good as he did in 2004-2007, and will not change their mind no matter what. Of course someone might add that Federer himself said that he's playing better than ever, but then again so did Agassi and Sampras in their 30s (when it was obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes how wrong they were) - that sort of mindset is almost necessary in order for tennis greats in the twilight of their careers to still believe they can win big titles.

firepanda
10-28-2012, 11:09 PM
He looked better back then, but he has improved in every aspect since his prime (as odd as that sounds). Apart from footwork and UEs.

He greatest asset now is his court-sense and mental strength which is even better now than it was in '06, where it wasn't too shabby.

jokinla
10-28-2012, 11:16 PM
Nobody says that. That's something you came up with on your own. Never heard an analyst say that before. And I bootleg all the illegal streams so I hear a lot of them.

I've been asking for some proof, links to videos, etc. from these "analysts" saying this, and of course we haven't seen any, because they don't exist.

jokinla
10-28-2012, 11:18 PM
I can't believe how some are saying that his backhand got "better" compared to 04-06. In that case here he is all the way back in 2001 before he knew how to hit a backhand at all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAze6...eature=related

And here he is back in 2006 when he clearly had one of the worst backhands of all time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2OcNKr011E

His backhand is not "better". He is no longer a potent shot maker off of that wing, and contrary to opinion he hardly shanked his backhand during his peak. Hardly any down the line winners or flick cross-court winners to be seen anymore which were once a staple of his game in his prime. The shanks started appearing with more and more regularity from 07 onwards. It merely appears to be a more consistent rallying shot only because he strengthened his shoulders (at the loss of some flexibility) during his latter years to better deal with high bouncing shots off that wing which is why (in addition to experience, tactics and strategy) he now "appears" to be better equipped to handle Nadal's cross court forhand spamming to his backhand side. However, in this regard one should also note that Nadal's game has also declined particularly his raw foot speed and defensive attributes which could also be a factor as to why Federer (despite his own decline) can still compete somewhat favorably with him despite the age disparity. I would content 2006 Federer would have been victorious aginst 2011 Nadal at Roland Garros.

Anyhow, all in all, Federer has definitely lost a step. his footwork is still great but whenever someone gets him running he ends up in trouble. He cannot play top-level defence any more - the days of him hitting absurd winners out of nowhere are gone.

The (only) improvement in this context (i.e. in the context of his decline) is that he has recognized this problem and tweaked his game ever so slightly to compensate. He now builds his game around his serve (strategy and placement) and looks to finish points quickly, taking more risks. While in the past his defence to offence and (vice versa) transitional game was peerless, now due to his flagging physical/athletic attributes, he now knows he has to dominate points from the outset to win them.

He has visibly altered his technique (on his serve and forehand in particular) to compensate for his physical decline (i.e. loss of a step and back issues) which have altered the potency of both these shots. His forehand is no long the liquid whip that it used to be due to the lack of torso coil (i.e hitting or swivelling off the back foot and rotating the trunk and shoulders to generate pace) -- using more spin instead of hitting flat. His takeback on the swing is different as well -- he used to straighten his arm out a little more; now its position is a tad closer to his body, more compact and the swing is a lot more abbreviated.

Similarly, Federer used to hit his backhand by starting his motion low, than lifting his arms up, and flicking his wrist -- thus the abundance of those insane flicked cross court winners we were used to seeing back in the day, as well as the backhand masterclass on display during the 06 TMC Finak. However, due to the low margin of error, this became a liability on high bouncing balls (especially against Nadal), which resulted in him starting to hit with more topspin resulting in his backhand becoming a more stable rallying shot (which gradually enhanced into a somewhat potent wing when he strengthened his shoulder to more adequately manage high bouncing balls). Thus YMMV with regards to which BH technique was better. I am more partial to the 04-06 BHs on the run defensive shotmaking attributes than the more steady but less remarkable 09-12 BH.

If you analyse the relative net clearance height of both his back and forehand compared to his prime you'll realize that between 04-06 both the shots had a much flatter trajectory compared to the ensuing years.

Regarding his 2nd serve, during his prime Federer consistenly used to be amongst the top in terms of service points won. His decline in that regard is also prominently highlighted by the fact that he doesn't get the massive rip on his kicker/twister that he used to. It's less vicious than it used to be:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM1P2ej4YtY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfJFikZkCv8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-enVQiknD2U

He used to hit those sorts of second serves semi-regularly, and even the ones he didn't tended to move around substantially and hit the racquet heavy. At that stage I would venture that he was one of the best second servers ever. Now he still hits it better than a lot of players, but it seems to lack sting... and players are able to attack it much more. Not sure I'd really consider him a condender for the best on tour any more in that regard.

Service return wise, between 03-07, he never went below 29% return games won, and averaged 30.2%. In 2008 thorugh 2011, the "postpeak" years, Fed never went *above* 28% return games won, and averaged 26.5%. That's a clear and significant decline. Furthermore,as I have previously mentioned, when comparing stats such as these, its important to look at "trends", not year-to-year blips in order for a hypothesis to have statistical validity. No one goes straight up or straight down uninterruptedly. Federer's best years, as defined by sustained slam results, coincide with significantly better return game average winning percentage. His following years coincide with worse return game average winning percentage. The correlation is undeniable.

Technically, if he has improved it is only relative to 2008-2010, not 2004-2006 - namely his serve and backhand. Strategically he has undoubtedly improved since it was necessitated due to his physical decline. Even going as far back as 2003 you can see teh decline inherent in his present movement, backhand and forehand mechanics vis-a-vis the past:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBYFnwUJP_8

Honestly this thread is a bit pointless, people who dislike Federer, ignorant sensationalizing "pundits" or overzealous Federer "fanatics" (who would like to imagine that he could never ever decline) will indulge in petty rhetoric to such degree that they will claim that "everything" has "improved" and that he's playing better than ever or good as he did in 2004-2007, and will not change their mind no matter what. Of course someone might add that Federer himself said that he's playing better than ever, but then again so did Agassi and Sampras in their 30s (when it was obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes how wrong they were) - that sort of mindset is almost necessary in order for tennis greats in the twilight of their careers to still believe they can win big titles.

You can say that again. I don't know what's worse, this thread, or the fact that I've posted three times in it.

smoledman
10-28-2012, 11:20 PM
Agreed Federer was at his absolute peak in 2005-2007 and hasn't been the same since the mono hit.

Federer20042006
10-29-2012, 12:14 AM
I don't think the mono was responsible. The mono thing did hurt his confidence in 2008, and he always felt like he was playing catchup...but slight chinks in the armor were starting to show in 2007. Canas twice, Volandri, Nalbandian back-to-back, and Gonzo...those were all eye-opening losses.

Plus, he was pushed to the brink by Nadal at Wimbledon. In retrospect, that was clearly going to be Federer's last stand as the clear cut #1 player in the men's game.

Remember, after the Volandri loss he split with Tony Roche. Something about his game clearly changed in 2007, and he was really having to fight to hold onto all the important titles.

MTF07
10-29-2012, 12:51 AM
I dont think he is better now than in his prime. I agree his serve and backhand are stronger than ever though. He also volleys as well or better IMO. However his forehand has less power and is less consistent than in his prime, his returning is poorer, and his movement is much worse, and mentally he is less concentrated. So those things make him weaker than his prime.

His backhand is not better than it was in 2006. No way. Volleys might be better than they were in his prime, but not even close to the level he was at in 2002/03 when he was a regular volleyer.

TheMusicLover
10-29-2012, 05:28 AM
I don't think the mono was responsible. The mono thing did hurt his confidence in 2008, and he always felt like he was playing catchup...but slight chinks in the armor were starting to show in 2007. Canas twice, Volandri, Nalbandian back-to-back, and Gonzo...those were all eye-opening losses.

Plus, he was pushed to the brink by Nadal at Wimbledon. In retrospect, that was clearly going to be Federer's last stand as the clear cut #1 player in the men's game.

Remember, after the Volandri loss he split with Tony Roche. Something about his game clearly changed in 2007, and he was really having to fight to hold onto all the important titles.

Very well noticed and I cannot agree more.
I think the most remarkable aspect of Fed's decline is in fact the absurdly slow rate of it. Just compare Fed's rankings of the past five years with those of his contempories - Safin, Roddick, Nalbandian, Haas, Ferrero et al. - whereas all of them faded pretty quickly after their heighdays, Fed's always managed to stay on or close to the absolute top.
Remember when Sampras bagged his final GS title - at the same age as Fed bagged his #17, which I in all honesty believe will be his final one as well - his ranking had already plummeted. In contrary... Fed regained #1 with getting probably his last GS title.
Truly :shock: :shock: :shock: I think, and it may well attribute to some sillies claiming that "he's now playing better than ever", or words the like.