Fed's improved backhand

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Apun94, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Apun94

    Apun94 Semi-Pro

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    Just saw the semi between Fed and Nadal. IMO the reason why fed won was because of his backhand. He is not holding baclk and just ripping it to nadal's forehand, something which he has not been able to do before.
    As usual, Fed's forehand was magic but it was the backhand that really set up the match for him. Plus, he returned so good with his backhand.
    Unfortunately (because I am a big Rafa fan) his backhand is still improving at this age and his forehand is still devastating.
    The only reason Fed is not winning as much as before is because he is has become a bit inconsistent and saves his energy for the big tournaments i.e Majors
     
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  2. Apun94

    Apun94 Semi-Pro

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  3. tata

    tata Professional

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    Apart from a not so failing backhand today, I do feel part reason why rafa lost was because he was too passive. I didn't see rafa ripping many forehands. There were balls he could have ran around to go inside out.
     
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  4. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Interesting - he did one thing that also worked well in the WTF last year. Instead of trying to blast so many backhands he made good used of a high looper to Nadal's backhand.

    It's not mentioned much but Nadal also struggles with high backhands. The conditions earlier it seemed to be conducive to Federer preventing Nadal from using his own backhand to get on top of points for the most part.

    Doing this over and over worked - it only took one backhand from Nadal during a rally to not be quite wide or deep enough and Federer was hitting it from half way into the service line = point over in the next 1-3 shots most of the time. Nadal by contrast was not jumping on nearly as many of these opportunities when Federer hit comparably short.
     
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  5. IvanisevicServe

    IvanisevicServe Banned

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    Improving from where it was in 08-10, yes.

    Improving from where it was in 05-07, no...well, perhaps in the way in which he handles the high balls Nadal throws at him, which I guess is what you're trying to say, so in that sense, I agree.

    He's been striking his backhand beautifully since last year's French Open.

    But I think the most important thing in the Federer/Nadal context is the fact that he's got a good bread-and-butter tactic going with his CC forehand going to Nadal's BH. The patterns have been altered, and I'm actually starting to believe the dynamic may have slightly shifted. Federer is taking from the Djokovic blueprint, and it's helping.
     
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  6. Homeboy Hotel

    Homeboy Hotel Hall of Fame

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    He's tweaked his motion ever so slightly, he knows that hitting his backhand much more also adds a bit of a psychophysical toll on Nadal. That's where Federer's gameplan works so perfectly.
     
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  7. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    And when you are court side, it is even more noticeable. Short from Nadal and it was pretty much all over.

    Perhaps having a slightly modded frame hurts in the wind until you are 100% happy with it. Adding weight/changing the balance of a frame is always more problematic in windy conditions, and Nadal looked pretty frustrated to me.

    Not making break points in the first game kind of got Nadal off on the wrong foot too.
     
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  8. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    He was also using that tactic in 2009 Madrid final, I was actually surprised when I saw it at the time but it worked well in that match.
     
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  9. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, indeed. Federer has since then found a better tactic against Nadal I feel. He has actually scored 4 victories against Nadal from Madrid 2009. I think it's often his consistency lacking, especially over 5 sets. Now Federer is out of his prime, but purely matchup and tactic wise, I think he closed the gap quite a lot. He had a shocker in Miami last year but other than that, their matches are close, Federer employs good tactic, and when he loses it's usually executing just not good enough.

    Still not a good matchup, but Federer losing against Nadal in his prime on a HC was just a joke, even in 2009 at the AO it was purely mental, tactic and matchup. Now that seems less of an issue and its just that he's not in his prime while Nadal still kind of is. At least physically.
     
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  10. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    I absolutely agree. Hitting his backhand (especially the backhand return of serve) is something he has been doing more and more against Nadal (Annacone's influence?) and it is very effective. What was very striking to me was the effect of taking time away from Nadal when he tried to go after Fed's BH. Fed would take the ball early and not give Nadal the time to effectively set up to rip the ball like he likes to. As they go through the exchange of Nadal's FH to Fed's BH and each ball gets back quicker to Nadal than he is comfortable, one of Nadal's crosscourt FHs lands a little to the middle of the court and like a cat Fed pounces and takes it as a FH. At that point Nadal is at Federer's mercy. Federer will either win that point or less frequently make an error. But at that point it is on Fed's racquet. It was great to see.
     
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  11. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    this.

    but the question is, was his ball not getting his usual jump, or was fed taking the ball early and net letting the topspin eat him up?

    if the ball wasnt getting his usual jump, was it the wind, the rain, what?
     
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  12. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    It's not so much it wasn't getting it's usual jump, rather Federer hit a lot more with a shorter half volley-ish stroke from right on the baseline and didn't let Nadal get into a groove pushing him wide. He was keeping low well on them and hardly went for any backhand rips outside of the ideal strike range. He kept to the plan and it worked.

    I don't think the courts played noticeably lower bouncing but it was windy and a lot cooler which can change a hell of a lot. Nadal did himself no favours though - letting the ball come to him way too often. Federer was hitting his forehand well so he was somewhat hamstrung as soon as Federer got a couple in a row (same as in his matches against Del Potro and Raonic basically).
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
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  13. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    He hits that kind of shot indoors as well. It's insane to hit halfvolleys in this kind of conditions. only federer can do.

    I also saw a lot shots on the other hand where fed actually took a step backwards and let the ball descend a little before absolutely ripping it.
     
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  14. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    When I watch the highlights what I see is Fed standing on the baseline not giving up ground and hitting any deep Nadal FH at the top of the bounce. Even though Indian Wells is probably a slow hard court, I'm sure Nadal's topspin FH doesn't have the same jump it will have in Roland Garros.

    One of my biggest pet peeves against Fed was when he would chip the backhand return of serve just to get the point started. Against the overwhelming majority of players just getting the point started meant a win for Fed, but not against Nadal. Just floating the return back allowed Nadal from the start of the point to get in perfect position to punish Fed's BH with those heavy balls.

    I think that Djokovic's domination of Nadal has exposed the chink in Nadal's armor (go after his BH and take away his time) but there are only a few players talented enough to be able to effectively do this.
     
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  15. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Annacone has helped Federer make a lot of improvements. With the field being stronger than ever that is the only way that Federer could even hold on to #3 let alone have the possibility to make it to #2-#1.

    Like I said, he is not an old man. Only stupid little kiddies would make that excuse, and no there are no match up issues.
     
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  16. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Agreed .
     
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  17. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    Not only that, he was able to send his BH to Nadal's BH, which is much tougher than sending it cc, of course. just like WTF.

    And, the fact that I dont remember even one slice BH in that match by Fed.
     
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  18. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    well, that's what matters, he didnt need to improve his Bh against any other player, really.
     
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  19. Apun94

    Apun94 Semi-Pro

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    FINALLY! Thats the same thing that i have been saying from 2010, when Fed started to loose a bit more. Fed is not getting old that much. His explosiveness or speed may be a bit less but his tactics and skill level has increased SO MUCH. His match yesterday against Rafa was so tactically brilliant that its hard to believe that Fed was "old".
    Seriously, *******s need to stop making excuses. They need to accept the fact that sometimes Nadal and Jokovic are just playing better than him...
     
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  20. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    He a slower and old man....now he is much smarter and uses better tactics.

    What of that you don't get. He lost some of that spring.
     
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  21. Apun94

    Apun94 Semi-Pro

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    Nadal and Fed will probably meet in the semis of Miami. If that happens it will be very interesting to see how Nadal responds to Fed's improved backhand. What does he do to defeat Fed now, tactically? Does he still go to Fed's Backhand and use more spin or do something else... (maybe treat Fed like Jokovic and constantly change his direction of his forehand and try to hit it deep to Fed's forehand with a lot of spin or something else... I am not a tennis expert so i dont know a lot). Really looking forward to that match...
     
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  22. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    I don't think "They" need to accept anything, in the end they just look ignorant. However, Federer needs to accept this and go out there with no excuses. I believe that is what he did last night, the guy playing there was a guy that had zero excuses at that moment in time. He was ready to do what ever it took to win, and had a brilliant match.
     
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  23. Marius_Hancu

    Marius_Hancu G.O.A.T.

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  24. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Will you sing the same song when Nadal is 30-31? It would be utterly hypocritical if you didn't.
     
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  25. niff

    niff Legend

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  26. Sardines

    Sardines Rookie

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    The other difference is the balls didn't bounce as high due to the conditions. If it were hot, dry and sunny, the balls would jump a bit higher out of Fed's backhand strike zone. He has worked on his backhand but the one difference is that conditions need to be right still for him to stave off the big topspin from Nadal's forehand to his backhand.
    Even the Nadal serve didn't spin out as hard because of the conditions. That's why Djoko and Nalby handle Nadal much better off the backhand. They can handle the high backhand which a single hander has difficult doing so consistently and hitting it cross court with enough pace and spin.
    Federator played excellently in those adverse conditions but watch out once the high bouncing slow courts play normally. It's more difficult for the Fed to execute when the ball is high on his backhand. Nadal said as much in his interview.
    What's more interesting is that Nadal said some interesting things about Federer and the time delay issue. There's a bit more friction now between the 2, which adds to the rivalry!
     
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  27. Cnote

    Cnote Rookie

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    Yes I agree that Federer's backhand is much different, perhaps even improved. Cahill mentioned that Federer is coming more over the ball on his return of service, ie topspin, as opposed to slicing it back as much. Ironically I noticed he returned to the slice backhand return today for the first set, but then he we primarily to topspin return in the second set.
     
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  28. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    Did everyone forgotten Raonic's serve to Fed's backhand? That's the time the ball's bouncing higher than Nadal match. Would it be the same Federer-Nadal result if we take Raonic weather condition into play?
     
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  29. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Annacone has done so much to help Federer. The biggest issue in Federer's way was not his back, sickness, or age rather it was his ego. He finally started taking the proper directions, using his backhand correctly and not cowering to Nadal like he usually does.
     
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  30. Apun94

    Apun94 Semi-Pro

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    Everyone is different. Very few players can play at/near their peak at an older age. Three players immediately come to mind: Agassi, Fed, Connors. (Maybe McEnroe should be mentioned, his volleys are still sick)
    Nada is another issue. Only time will tell but the way his game is, it's going to be very difficult for him to maintain his current level at the age of 30+
    If Nadal is at his current level at 30-31 then I will definitely sing the song
     
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  31. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    So basically you're saying that Fed fans can't use "old age" excuse (if they do they're retards) but it will be fine for Nadal fans to use it because hey his game is so difficult to maintain (or some such nonsense)?

    BTW. McEnroe didn't win a single slam after the age the age of 25.
     
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  32. ChanceEncounter

    ChanceEncounter Professional

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    lol at a 30 year old not being considered an "old man" in tennis terms.

    How many 30 year olds are in the top 10? Top 20?
     
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  33. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Federer did not allow Nadal to get into an offensive mood. Federer extended the rallies and commited less unforced errors and this contributed to his win. When Federer plays consistently, he is tough to beat.
     
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  34. Apun94

    Apun94 Semi-Pro

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    Yes, and No. Yes, in the sense that Fed fans cannot the "old age" excuse. This just shows Fed's greatness and his unbelieveable consistency, thus truly making him GOAT.
    What I am saying is that even if Nadal gets more than 16 Majors, he wont be GOAT in my eyes (even though I am a Nadal fan) unless he stays/near at his current level when he is 30-33.
    I was just praising Fed's consistency even at this age. Dont take it the wrong way...
     
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  35. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    How many GOATs are in the Top 10? Just one :)
     
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  36. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Remember when he was defiant and claimed that he would not work on his backhand and instead work more on the forehand. Then later claimed that he was not working more on his backhand. He did not want to admit that he was ignorant. Looks like arrogance was holding him back.
     
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  37. DjokovicForTheWin

    DjokovicForTheWin Banned

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    Poor bitter NAdaltards. It must be killing them that Djoker ended Nadal's run to even get close to FEd :) LOL
     
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  38. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    I know it's been a while since I've posted here, but weren't you originally a Nadal fan? What happened?
     
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  39. Apun94

    Apun94 Semi-Pro

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    Wow, man. You are really desperate to have any chance to jump at Nadal or his fans... That is very SAD. Like i have said many times before, PLZ get a life.
    This discussion isnt even about Nadal. It is about Federer improving his backhand and finally "looking" as if he could maybe handle Nadal's forehand CC loops. Most of the posts in this thread contain praise about Fed's game. This has nothing to do with Nadal. Thank You.
    Ps. Hope you will get a life and post something useful. I am sick of people like you and "Monfed" of being unbeliveably ignorant and biased.
     
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  40. DjokovicForTheWin

    DjokovicForTheWin Banned

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    LOL, yes, he is also known as Mr. Bandwagon :)
     
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  41. celoft

    celoft Guest

    #41
  42. kanamit

    kanamit Hall of Fame

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    It's not that it has technically improved. It's that he's incorporated his BH into his tactical toolbelt more effectively. He's becoming a beast at taking the BH up the line and dropping it short cross-court to lure his opponent to the net.
     
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  43. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    I think Fed is running around his BH more these days to great effect.
     
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  44. Talker

    Talker Hall of Fame

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    I don't think he wanted to admit that the great game he always had was no longer good enough. The result is little change.

    Now it seems that Fed has accepted that the game that worked 5 years ago won't work near as well now.

    Fed has to accept his limitations before he can progress, I think he finally has.
     
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  45. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    It certainly has paid off well, some times you have to swallow your pride. IW was a lot of fun to watch, only bad part was that the final was with a player that had never even made it that far in a masters 1000.
     
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