Federer's racquet head speed - no comparison to his previous years

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by RalphNYC, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. RalphNYC

    RalphNYC Semi-Pro

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    Between 2004 and 2009 he has slowed it down a huge amount

    Look at Fed's racquet head speed on his shots in 2004

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C78bsuvVP3s&NR=1

    It's AMAZINGLY FAST and he zips the ball around for a lot of unreachable winners.

    And look at him today. Some great shots for sure.. but a MUCH SLOWER racquet head speed, and much less penetration on his ground strokes as a result. Looks like he's playing in molasses compared to 5 years ago. Great player still, but much much slower - especially on the backhand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_MzxRRnSPA
     
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  2. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    Ohh jeesh.. He was playing Hewitt on faster grass back in 04 there . Now he is playing Murray on HC's. Hewitt- like but more weapons in his arsenal that can hurt Fed.

    Even though Murray is slamless at this point, hes a better overrall player and weapons in his game that can hurt Fed, that what Hewitt had in his game. I think Murray would have picked up a slam or two as well during that brief 01-02 period where Hewitt picked up his. Even later as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
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  3. RCizzle65

    RCizzle65 Hall of Fame

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  4. Blank

    Blank Rookie

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    I agree, during those 2003-2006 year Fed also had a much faster footwork. I guess it has something to do with Mirka's pregnancy. Fed at the moment is not able to find such an attentive replacement manager.
     
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  5. ty slothrop

    ty slothrop Semi-Pro

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    look at Fed's footwork/court positioning in 2004 vs. today. Once -- and if -- he gets that figured out, the racket head speed may return
     
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  6. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    I don't see the slower racquet head speed you suggest, if you are talking about his forehand.

    On his backhand he varies the depth and spin, when he wants depth he slows his speed down and hits through the ball more, when he is trying to create an angle he hits it very fast with a lot of spin.
     
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  7. ty slothrop

    ty slothrop Semi-Pro

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    no, he clearly said "why couldn't I be playing fat dave again..."
     
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  8. egn

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    wow is it more or does 2004 grass even seem fast compared to now lol oh and on fed's racquet head its called age face it he won't have the relfexes as he did in his early twenites.
     
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  9. ronalditop

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    federer's slower racquet head speed is a sample that hes made changes in his racquet throughout this years, and this has had a bad effect on his performance. he's definitely using a heavier racquet now than what he has used years ago, thats why he cant swing it as fast.
     
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  10. VictorS.

    VictorS. Professional

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    I think it's a testament to what a great athlete Federer was in his prime. When watching the two videos, one thing jumps out at me: movement. His legs are definitely springier & his body looks more slender & lithe in '04. The consensus on this board appears that Federer is "over the hill" & cannot recapture his youth, so to speak. I personally disagree with this position. I think he's gained a little bit of weight. I'm almost certain his body fat composition is more. In fact, I bet his muscle mass has even decreased. I don't claim to be an expert on training/sports medicine. But at age 27, I don't think it's too late to change these things. Will he ever run around like in this video? Who knows? But I think he can do better than he's doing now.
     
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  11. RalphNYC

    RalphNYC Semi-Pro

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    And with the racquet head speed he was also hitting the ball considerably higher over the net, so we didn't see all the errors into the net we see today. He's swinging his backhand so fast that he almost pulls his body off the ground.. today he blocks that shot back with a slow hit.
     
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  12. Grizvok

    Grizvok Semi-Pro

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    I absolutely agree and have noticed it for the past year. His racquet head speed used to be incredible especially when he was playing with the nCode for a while there. His racquet would be a ****ing blur of white and red and the ball would leave his racquet like a cannon.
     
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  13. Grizvok

    Grizvok Semi-Pro

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    I also think that Federer will never dance around the ball quite like how he used to.
     
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  14. luckyguy

    luckyguy Rookie

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    his racquet head speed and footwork are much better during the 2004-2006 seasons compared to his game today. just watch the 2004 US open final against hewitt and you'll be amazed at how solidly and cleanly he hits the balls and how he moves so much better..
     
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  15. dextor

    dextor Rookie

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    Samson needs his hair back.
     
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  16. tennis_hand

    tennis_hand Hall of Fame

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    The most visible difference is, he SHORTENED his back swing on his forehand.

    Maybe the racket also got heavier, but no one can see.
     
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  17. ronalditop

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    i also think his racquet got heavier, thats why he cant swing it as fast. I wish he go back to his old n90 PJ racquet.
     
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  18. ShcMad

    ShcMad Hall of Fame

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    What a coincidence. I've said in other threads the same thing.

    As you said, it doesn't look like he's taking his racquet as far back as he used to. Back in 2004-2006, his racquet face would face the back fence and the side fence during the takeback. Now, it just faces the side fence. In my opinion, this shortened takeback allows Fed to drive through the ball more albeit sacrificing spin and heaviness of the ball.

    In my honest opinion, his forehand used to look aesthetically so much better back in the days. Also, it was more devastating.
     
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  19. Stchamps

    Stchamps Banned

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    I heard the same thing.
     
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  20. defrule

    defrule Professional

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    Shorter backswing is clear. Look back at 2004 US Open against Hewitt, it's the only video I have left, you can see the take back and the huge acceleration from that point.

    Maybe the longer backswing allowed a more gradual and smooth racquet head speed increase so you get a more steady stroke. With the shorter backswing you need to higher acceleration to get the equivalent racquet head speed at contact. I'm guessing the later can cause a jerk in the stroke and result in shanks.

    In USO 04 vs Hewitt, his forehand looked flat but seemed like it really stings Hewitt and so he can't get a good shot of it. Federer could then hit a chain of forehands, effectively pounding the opponent with it.

    Now however his forehand shots seem more loopy, while still good, it's no longer the devastating forehand he can "pound" his opponents with. Seems now players can keep up with Federer's forehand, whereas in the past you may have been asking to lose the point if you tried to play to his forehand.

    Federer's forehand being looked at as a "liquid whip", it certainly doesn't look whip-like now with the shortened backswing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
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  21. 080825

    080825 New User

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    I was surprised that Roger refused to shake hand with the umpire after loss to Andy.
     
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  22. JediMindTrick

    JediMindTrick Professional

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  23. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Looks the same to me.
     
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  24. 080825

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    I felt Roger's forehand became loopier since Tony Roche came into his box. It was not a bad tactical change at all because it allowed Roger to open up more angle with his shot-making abilities and play high-percentage and high-intelligence tennis. It worked greatly against his main rivalries (Roddick, Nadal and Nalbandian, etc) on fast courts. However, players start to realize how it worked and improve their shot-making abilities and movement to handle it, then the leading margin in rally becomes thiner for Roger.
     
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  25. fps

    fps Legend

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    it would be interesting to find out if federer really has shortened his backswing, based on more than a few random points.

    it would also be interesting to find out whether he is putting the same RPM on the ball as he used to. It was reported on this forum that after Nadal, Federer put the most RPM on the ball on tour. This would mean that his forehand would be more likely to go in when he was hitting the ball in his most attacking frame of mind, no? which would mean that the more defensive style he has been employing recently, and the reduced backswing, are actually counterproductive to him playing high % tennis, as well as going against his legend-creating brilliant attacking game.
     
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  26. RalphNYC

    RalphNYC Semi-Pro

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    There's no doubt in my mind that his 2004 backhand was swung with much higher velocity. Taking the velocity off this shot seems to have made him very vulnerable on this wing. Not sure about the fh shortening, but that's important. No matter how you slice it, he does not whip the ball consistently like he used to.
     
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  27. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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  28. dextor

    dextor Rookie

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    That's what I thought too, but maybe he shook hands already with the ump and THEN the camera cut to him, let's not judge too quick.
     
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  29. defrule

    defrule Professional

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    I can get a few clips of his forehand from USO 04 and 08.

    I do see a difference when I watch the videos but we'll see. I'll try do some snipping.
     
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  30. Clydey2times

    Clydey2times Hall of Fame

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    It's impossible to tell anything meaningful when you're watching Federer's best bits from one match and then him losing in another match.
     
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  31. fps

    fps Legend

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    oooooooooooooooooooooooops double post
     
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  32. BlahDow

    BlahDow Rookie

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  33. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I saw him play 3 days in a row at the Sony Miami, and took hundreds of photos, and high speed video of all his strokes.

    I don't see anything about him shortening his swing, nor do I see a decline in his swing speed.

    Only thing I note, is his court movment since early last year has not been the same, although it has gotten better over the last few tournaments.
     
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  34. ShcMad

    ShcMad Hall of Fame

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    It's my personal opinion that Fed's forehand has changed.

    Pause at 0:07
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCm6OIjbPr4

    Pause at 0:10
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_oenWftWCc

    Does anybody beside me see that he is not taking his racquet back as high or as much as he used to?

    In the old video of him playing Safin, I noticed that the stringbed is facing the rear fence (when he's done taking it back). In the recent one (filmed in Indian Wells) the stringbed points at the side fence at the end of the forehand takeback. It's not so hard to see the difference.

    Some of you might argue this point by saying that in the old video, Federer was going for a winner, subsequently, he was taking his racquet back more than usual. But that's not true. That is an accurate depiction of how much the old Federer used to take his racquet back on the forehand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
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  35. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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  36. RalphNYC

    RalphNYC Semi-Pro

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    In that video look at 1:05, you never see him hit a bh like that anymore -- unless he's desperate and about to lose a match, like one of those return of serves against Rafa in the set 4 (?) tiebreak of Wimbledon 2008, or if he feels like really going for it like he felt in the last two backhands against Roddick in Miami last week to win that match. Otherwise, that BH is basically a thing of the past - though he can still do it physically.
     
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  37. ShcMad

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  38. LanceStern

    LanceStern Professional

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    AMEN TO THIS!

    I am not joking, I was just going to make a topic on this last night when I was watching his US Open 2004 Final with Hewitt. He does not have the same racquet head speed. Back then it was scary, almost inhuman like!
     
    #38
  39. LanceStern

    LanceStern Professional

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    Go check the US Open 2004 Video and that footwork is AMAZING.

    Really check it out
     
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  40. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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  41. ChiefAce

    ChiefAce Semi-Pro

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    His footwork in these last few events has been terrible, he still had grade A footwork last year through the US Open. Hopefully he gets those quick feet back because it allows him to do so much with the ball, if he continues to not move they way he once did his results will continue the way they have been lately. And obviously if you're not in a good position to strike the ball you won't be able to hit the same types of shots you previously did.
     
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  42. 080825

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    Why always blame Roger's foot speed and not give the credit to the shot-making ability of his opponent? Age of 27 should be one of the best years for most track athletes. So why should Roger lose his speed and agility? In tennis, when you are out of position to prepare your shot, it is usually caused by either a bad shot you made previously or an excellent shot pulled out by your opponent.
     
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  43. RalphNYC

    RalphNYC Semi-Pro

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    Do you agree that when he's swinging his backhand at full speed (like in the above 2004 footage) that his follow-through finish naturally pulls his right shoulder back and sometimes causes him to open up his chest quite a bit more - just due to the extreme power in the swing? How often did you see that happening in Miami?
     
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  44. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^^^when he does what you are referring to it is caused more-so by a higher incoming shot, which he still does. He also does it on lower shots like in this video, and he is hitting the absolute pi$$ out of the ball here with tons of spin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQpBaCnVYbE
     
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  45. 080825

    080825 New User

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    I think when we compare those footages we have to consider another factor that would affect Roger's swing path and speed: the height of contact point. For example, on forehand side, the optimal height to generate maximum racket speed is around the waist level, where angular and linear momentum converge. And this height is slightly higher than the net, which gives a psychological advantage to the hitter as well, because it allows the hitter to swing freely without worrying netting the ball or hitting it long.

     
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  46. 080825

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    Man, you were one step ahead of me to point out the same thing:)
     
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  47. ShcMad

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    Drakulie, with all due respect, I don't think you read my post completely.

    I said in my previous post that there is a slight possibility that some people might think that in the 2nd video Federer is taking it easy because it's a only a practice rally. By saying that, I implied that COULD well be a valid point. But, sadly that's not the case. You may be asking "Why is that not the case?" Because he has been using that shortened-takeback forehand shown in the practice video all throughout last year and this year in PRACTICE and REAL MATCH situations.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not going to argue with anybody anymore here in this thread whether Fed changed his forehand or what not. I thought that the fact that Federer's forehand changed slightly was well-apparent to everyone with an eye for details. But I guess it's not so obvious. We're not discussing something subjective here. It's actually NOT that hard to see from a freeze frame that his forehand looks different, yet people still argue about it. If any of you have any doubt, just analyze his forehand of 2005 and 2009 frame-by-frame. Just look how much more closed his racquet face is all throughout the takeback motion compared to now (his racquet face is noticeably more open) and compare the stringbed position to the back fence for reference. I'm not gonna try to convince anybody anymore here. Believe whatever you wanna believe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
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  48. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Why do people say things like this? Hewitt was a fantastic player in 2001 and 2002. He was a lesser player in 2004 and 2005 and still made slam finals. "A slam or two"? Come on. Senseless speculation and just attempts to take away from Hewitt's achievements. Hewitt wasn't a fluke slam winner. He was the number one player in the world.
     
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  49. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Not that I have seen, nor witnessed. As I said before, I saw him 3 times this past weekend, from a few feet away, and took hundreds of photos (high speed), and video (high speed). He is using the same take back as he always has.

    Lastly, as I said before you are comparing a "soft practice hit", to a match play FH he rips for a winner.

    The most telling sign in comparing the two vids you compared are his legs/feet. Notice in the practice video you provide, his feet don't leave the ground, and he has very little knee bend. Whereas, in the match play footage he has extreme knee bend and explodes completely into the ball, launching his feet off the ground.

     
    #49
  50. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    This thread is funny. People looking at snippets of his forehand and looking for differences. Why not look for a difference between his forehand now and the one he just used to win the US Open just a few months ago? There's no difference in mechanics.

    Tennis is a mental game. When are people going to realize this?
     
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