The real reason why Federer is so dominant in Slams

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Mdubb23, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. Mdubb23

    Mdubb23 Hall of Fame

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    With Tennis Channel becoming more and more common in homes and tennis in general being televised more and more often, people are finally beginning to realize how vulnerable Roger Federer can be outside of slams.

    I've had countless conversations as to why Federer is more dominant in slams than in any other tournaments, and I keep hearing essentially, "Great players play their best when it matters most."

    While I don't necessarily disagree, I believe the real reason lies in Fed's level of fitness. In two-out-of-three set matches (non-slams), fitness, while obviously still being a huge component of the match, is not nearly as vital as it is in three-out-of-five set matches (slams). And Federer's level of fitness is astounding. The speed, grace, and endurance which he displays takes almost no toll on his body, and allows him to function at his fullest in fourth and fifth sets--sets when his opponent would love to stop and rest.

    However, in two-out-of-three set matches, Fed loses this fitness advantage. His opponents have simply not been on court long enough to tire them out. Do you really think Marcos Baghdatis would have beaten Fed at Indian Wells, for instance, had it been a five set match? I don't.

    Just a theory.
     
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  2. Sumo

    Sumo Semi-Pro

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    I think you've got something there.
     
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  3. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    he might be pound for pound the greatest singles slam player ever
     
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  4. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Wes_Loves_Dunlop

    Wes_Loves_Dunlop Professional

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    Do you think if slams were 2/3 instead of 3/5, Fed wouldnt win 16?
    The reason Fed doesnt work his hardest in slams is because he probably doesnt care as much as a GS.
    Looking at the FO, he was down 2 sets against Haas, and he came back. I dont think its because of his fitness, but because of his passion to have a ton of Gs titles.
     
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  6. Mdubb23

    Mdubb23 Hall of Fame

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    Totally, and respectfully, disagree. If I've learned one thing from watching Fed throughout the years, it's always to give every ounce of your energy into every point of the match. I just truly don't think he is a better pure tennis player than many players on tour in two-out-of-three set matches because he doesn't attain the same fitness advantage. I certainly don't think he doesn't care as much.
     
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  7. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    But Federer wins a substantial number of his slam matches in straights.
     
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  8. svijk

    svijk Semi-Pro

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    good point by op but w/o data its kinda half baked. most of fed's GS matches end in 3 sets so the stamina factor does'nt arise....also you always get a days break in the slams so niether Fed nor his opponent is really tired.....know-m-sayin?
     
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  9. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    Still, straight set victories in slams equal full-distance wins in non-slam-matches. ;)
     
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  10. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    It's down to simple statistics. Winning 2 sets with TB on the last set is far more doable than winning 3 sets w/o TB on the 5th. A late break will get you a set and then all you have to do is hold serve and get lucky on a TB later on.
    Top players don't make too many mistakes. So for them to drop 3 sets in a row is very unlikely.
    There are plenty of younger players who can play 5-6 hrs A game no prob. The prob is their A game is not good enough.
    Other than 1000 masters I don't think any 2 out of 3 format tournaments means that much to top players. They won't risk injury and miss a GS.
     
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  11. Mdubb23

    Mdubb23 Hall of Fame

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    Stole the words right from my hands. ;)
     
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  12. Mdubb23

    Mdubb23 Hall of Fame

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    Are you watching Fed and Berdych's match at the Sony Ericsson in Miami!? If you are, to say the match doesn't "mean that much" to Fed would be absolutely ridiculous.
     
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  13. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    Well the question then becomes why doesn't Nadal reach the final of every slam he plays in? Sure his fitness is superior to that of Federer's.
     
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  14. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    Anyway, Federer himself has said, iirc, that he's now interested in the majors only.
     
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  15. svijk

    svijk Semi-Pro

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    i think you are confused....your point is that players stay with Fed if its a 3 set match and not 5 due to stamina issues....if Fed wins a lot of slam matches 3-0 its got nothing to do with stamina...its just that he is good
     
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  16. DownTheLine

    DownTheLine Hall of Fame

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    Federers game doesn't take such a tole on his body as does Nadals. Nadal may be faster, but I think healthy Federer has a higher fitness level then a healthy Nadal.
     
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  17. fireice

    fireice New User

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    Right, because Fed'll win those 3-0 Grand Slammers in the first or second round against people not quite to his level. But if he's playing much tougher opponents in 1000 events in 3-set matches in best of 3 set matches, he can't use the fitness that he could if it were a 5-set slam match.
     
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  18. nikdom

    nikdom Hall of Fame

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    Dear "real reason",
    We know you exist. We also know that all your brother and sister "reasons" are not as real as you. They may make sense, and look just as good as you, but we are in love with YOU and you alone. We cannot deal with multiple, equally valid "reasons" when we can just appoint you the sole heir of Roger's GS legacy. So "real reason", please stand up, please stand up.
     
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  19. MrFlip

    MrFlip Semi-Pro

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    While I agree with all of the OP, I dont think its he dominant cause why he does so well in Slams. He can play well in Masters Tournaments but due to his lax attitude in the smaller tournaments now its no big deal for him to lose. In slams it is. He has a record he built himself he cant stand not to replicate time and time again so time come when a slam is on he plays like he means it and double. You wont see him miss much at a slam unless the other guy is playing phenomenal tennis or its Nadal.

    If his ranking is slipping or hes in trouble of not winning a title for a while he will put more effort into the smaller tournament. He preserves his body for slams, thats a fact now. Back in the days of 2003-2006 he was fit enough to play hard at Basel, Shanghai, Houston, hale, etc etc etc.
     
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  20. fireice

    fireice New User

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    I sincerely doubt he loses to Berdych in a best of 5 set match.
     
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  21. Chezbeeno

    Chezbeeno Semi-Pro

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    Nadal's fitness level is not as good, I'm not sure if you've noticed the several weeks at a time Nadal is out due to injury but Federer has never been sidelined for that long with an injury, I remember one time he withdrew because of injury. Fed's body mechanics are just so much smoother and better than Nadal's meaning that his body doesn't pay the price for his time on court.
     
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  22. wangs78

    wangs78 Hall of Fame

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    His fitness is one of his many advantages so I agree with you that his fitness has helped him win so many GS titles but I don't think it's the primary reason. He still has more talent than anyone out there as he ever has. Only two things have changed since his period of invincibility (2004-2007) (1) his consistency and (2) the quality/consistency of his opponents.

    (1) His consistency. Since spring of 2007 (after AO 2007, arguably where we last saw "invincible" Federer) Fed has been prone to bouts of mediocre play. It's just that because he's so talented even when he plays mediocre he can win 80% of his matches (depends on who he's playing). In general, he won't play lousy for an entire match, generally just screws up one set then gets his act together and wins.

    (2) Quality/consistency of opponents. After AO 2007 was really when a small flock of players began challenging Fed on a regular basis. You already had Nadal. Murray was getting started with annoying Federer with his style of play and Djokovic came onto the scene after Wimby 2007. All three of these guys have challenged Federer ever since. Prior to these guys the only regular challenger for Fed was Roddick so while I don't think Fed necessarily had weak competition prior to 2004 (relative to previous eras), but his competition in 2007-2009 has definitely been more consistent.

    Anyway, back to your original point. Yes, fitness definitely gives Fed an edge, no question. But talent will always be the biggest reason.
     
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  23. samprasvsfederer123

    samprasvsfederer123 Banned

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    its starting to look more like the late 90s pete sampras, doing kinda horribly in the masters but owning the grand slams, or atleast the one he cared about, wimbledon, and us open he always made the final of that but failed miserably against safin and hewitt for various reasons, i just hope federer gets to 20 grand slams, and wins monter carlo rome and paris he can tank miami if he wants, which he doesnt.

    and dam that was a great match vs tomas not for the quality of the match, dam did fed make so many errors, but because of the intensity of the 3rd set tiebreak.

    what is that interview i heard of federer saying he shouldnt be playing tiebreakers? whyd he say that?
     
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  24. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Well, it depends when you look at him. During the period he was winning 10 odd matches a year, he was winning all the 2 out of 3 matches as well. It's only really since 2008 that his matches in 2 out of 3 have been more mixed. Also, invariably in the 2 out of 3 matches he loses, his opponent has to practically play the match of their life. Opponents have to and do often play above their normal level, because they have nothing to lose, so play without pressure. It's a special occasion when they get to play Federer, so they aso have that special motivation and inspiration. I have lost count of the amount of times Federer has lost to an opponent, only for them to lose comfortably to their next opponent. The fact that they are playing without pressure and also have to give every ounce of their energy to every point to win, would suggest Federer is indeed a better pure tennis play, since he is not doing the same. That's not even to mention numerous examples of Federer clearly playing superior tennis to the rest of the tour.
     
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  25. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    No he hasn't. I've lost count of the number of times he has said this is not true. Fans say this, not Federer.
     
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  26. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    He almost has already.
     
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  27. slicefox

    slicefox Banned

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    rofl what a retarded statement.

    Fed wins most of his slam matches in straight sets, how can you blame it on fitness?

    There are few people that have taken sets from Fed in slams, so even if they were best of 2 sets, he would still win.

    noob
     
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  28. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Fitness is certainly an aspect of Federer's strength, but it's not the biggest part.

    Look at his record against Murray. He lost quite a few best of 3 matches to Murray, then in slams he has dominated him.

    I think it comes down to two things: 1. Fed doesn't take masters nearly as seriously. 2. A lot of players can achieve extremely high levels of play for a short amount of time. In a best of 3, a half hour of amazing play can get you the match, in a GS you have to sustain it longer.
     
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  29. Mdubb23

    Mdubb23 Hall of Fame

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    Several solid, accurate points. I don't disagree with you, but I do think you sensationalize Roger's success in 2-out-of-3 set matches pre-2008. Just a few examples: Fed lost in three to Rafa at Dubai in 2006, lost in straights to Rafa at Monte Carlo in 2007, Djokovic in three at Montreal in 2007, Nalbandian in three at Madrid in 2007, and others.
     
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  30. Mdubb23

    Mdubb23 Hall of Fame

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    Grow up.

    10 char.

     
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  31. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    This. I also think it's a mental thing. People believe "Okay, all I need is two sets and i'm done!"

    In the slams it's "Ok, i need to win 3 sets against this guy, that's gonna be tough"
     
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  32. TheTruth

    TheTruth G.O.A.T.

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    I agree, but would add, sustaining and holding your nerves. That's the tough part.
     
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  33. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    I'm not saying Federer did not lose some best of 3 matches pre-2008, just that his record was better in those matches during that period. Everyone is going to lose their share of matches, whether in best of 3 or 5. As it stands, Federer has had more success in best of 3 matches than anyone currently playing on tour, so what does that tell us?

    No one is arguing Federer is perfect or infallible, just that he's the best.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
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  34. MotherMarjorie

    MotherMarjorie Banned

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    Mother Marjorie senses that you are onto something. Something which has been overlooked by many, many folks throughout the land of tennis.

    Federers shots and his on-court movement on any surface is clean and crisp. No excessive topspin, no jerking forehands or wild backswings.

    Athlete's like Nadal who hit with excessive topspin and run-down almost un-gettable shots are prone to injury. Nadal also over trains/practices which has lead to his knee problems.

    Cardio fitness is essential for the top level of the mens game. Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl used to run with the wolves....figuratively speaking. In his top form in the late '70's, Bjorn Borg's heart rate rarely rose during his tennis matches.
     
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  35. billnepill

    billnepill Hall of Fame

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    Well, the fact that players know that they will be playing 3/5 sets at GS defines their strategy, tactics, fitness, preparation etc. Yes, definitely Federer is favored with his fitness, but this preparation is due the fact that Federer's main focus are Slams. If Slams were played 2/3, maybe Federer would have developed different regime.
    So yes, his fitness is a big part of his success. Because he has adapted it to the reality. If the reality were different, his fitness would have been different.
    There is a thing about Federer that is amazing - his ability to adapt. If Slams were player 2/3 sets, Federer would have adapted his whole lifestyle to it. Be sure of it.
     
    #35
  36. piece

    piece Professional

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    No they don't. There's the same number of sets in both victories, but in one of those victories federer wouldn't have lost any sets.

    Stamina doesn't have much to do with it because in grand slams fed barely loses ANY sets. If your (and the OP's) hypothesis were correct, fed would lose the early sets of slam matches just as often as he loses masters 1000 sets.

    Can you explain, with your hypothesis, how fed almost always wins the first set of a grand slam match when his stamina (or his opponents) hasn't become a factor yet, but he will (more) often lose the first set of masters 1000 matches? It's definitely more to do with federer's attitude and deliberate regulation of his form so he peaks for the slams than it is do with stamina.
     
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  37. svijk

    svijk Semi-Pro

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    the OP and mikro112 have got it all wrong ....the op actually contradicts his own point.....guys take a step back and think it through.
     
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  38. The Edberg

    The Edberg Banned

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    Hate to say it... Federer is turning into Serena anymore. Maybe thats why is so dominant. Crap on the rest of the year, just bother with slams
     
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  39. Markov

    Markov Semi-Pro

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    C'mon are you saying that he doesn't have as much skills to play tennis as guys like Berdych do, but manages to outlast them in GS matches? That doesn't sound like Fed.. more like Nadal, except Nadal has much more skills than Berdych or some other top 20 guys.
     
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  40. The Edberg

    The Edberg Banned

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    In a way though its smart for his longevity of winning slams.. As long as he keeps in condition, and continues to the ability to peak in at slams, he can still rack up slams until he is 31-32 anyways. Like sampras
     
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  41. rovex

    rovex Legend

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    Who are you?
     
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  42. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    Unfortunately, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
     
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  43. Tobias Fünke

    Tobias Fünke Rookie

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    Exactly. Think of the most recent Australian Open. If that's best 2 of 3, he probably loses to Andreev (set points for 2 sets to 1 lead) and Davydenko (a set and a break up in the second). 3 out of 5 sets gives these guys something to think about and makes them sustain their level that much longer. That and the fact that he is so mentally strong in these situations makes him really tough in slams.
     
    #43
  44. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    Fed is overrated on hard courts in 3 set events. There's at least 3 or 4 ranked above him in these events including Nadal.
     
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  45. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    haha. i would drop the pound for pound but yes
     
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  46. *Val*

    *Val* Semi-Pro

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    No, it's not just because of his fitness. I can't believe anyone could actually seriously suggest the only reason Federer dominates slams is because he has a 'fitness advantage' over the five sets against other players. That's absolutely ludicrous. So, his ability, mental tougness, experience and natural talent have nothing to do with it?

    The fact is that Federer brings his best to Slams, and the fact that they are played over 5 sets means that not only does his fitness give him the edge, but his mental fortitude, experience and of course ability. Federer gives more at the slams. As I said in another thread, the Federer that turns up at slams is different to the one that turns up at masters.
     
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  47. fireice

    fireice New User

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    There's never just one reason for anything, but this was originally about why he's so much better in slams than masters, and yes, a big part of that is fitness (2 of 3 or 3 of 5)
     
    #47
  48. kslick

    kslick Rookie

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    I do think his fitness and footwork do help in this respect but not the reason as to why he does better in GS. I mean look at his record in GS 5 set finals, not so good. Like any great champion in the latter years of their career, they really focus on the big ones. Many years back I remember reading where Lendl said he only really focused on the GS. Does that mean Roger doesn't care about the smaller tournaments...no. He's a competitor and wants to win but his focus in on the big ones.
     
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  49. jamesblakefan#1

    jamesblakefan#1 G.O.A.T.

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    Nadal? The guy who went winless at the YEC last year and hasn't won a HC event in over a year? Yeah he's ranked ahead of him...
     
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  50. Rippy

    Rippy Hall of Fame

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    Fitness is certainly part of it, but there are other reasons as well. I certainly think he tries harder at the slams, which some people have disputed in this thread.
     
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