The Roddick Forehand

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Andrew, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew Rookie

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    Lately (from the Australian Open up to his recent Davis Cup Matches) it seems like his forehand has no zip on it at all. It looks like he's taking a whip at it instead of a full swing and putting his body into it, so he gets way too much spin and a hell of a lot less pace.

    Did anyone else notice this? If so, when did it begin to occur? I remember last year his forehand was definitely a force, even when the rest of his game was extremely poor. Why do you think it changed? If I recall correctly, Connors told him to flatten out that forehand for better penetration, but it sure doesn't look like that to me.
     
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  2. Indrid Cold

    Indrid Cold New User

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    It definitely lands short a lot. I don't know what changed either but its a pretty weak looking shot lately.
     
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  3. @wright

    @wright Hall of Fame

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    The past couple years his FH has been nowhere near as big as it was back in '03. It may just be court positioning combined with a little flatter stroke, but he needs to learn how to hit flatter FH's, they make much better approaches. If Nadal can do it, he should be able to also.
     
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  4. 4brotherdrive

    4brotherdrive Rookie

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    Yes, in an attempt to get safety on his shot he has become vulnerable and he is transtioning where his backhand is more solid, and he has ok volleys. These improvements seem to take away from his strength.
     
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  5. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    i think he messed up his timing on the forehand a bit. he used to stay really far back, but now, he is trying to play closer to the court and take the ball earlier. also, he is trying to put more topspin for more control and weight of shot. but he is not as good at timing the ball as someone like agassi. so instead of improving the shot, it has become seemingly weaker. time will tell if he can fix it to become a big weapon again.
     
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  6. alienhamster

    alienhamster Hall of Fame

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    People have been noticing this change for over a year now. Do some thread searches on here to see what I mean.

    Look, he needs to be able to hit a penetrating forehand, and he can still do it. The added spin on regular rally shots isn't necessarily a problem as long as it's well-placed. The *placement*, IMO, is more of a problem at times. He's better able to work the ball around the court with the added spin, getting sharper angles and such, but at times he just hits a spinny shot to the middle of the court. That is definitely a problem.
     
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  7. Cfidave

    Cfidave Professional

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    Many of Roddicks forehands were are definately landing short. Some just around the service line. An aggresive, smart player, is going to make him pay, big time. He is more consistent, but has lost any real weapons from the ground. He won't get away with this type of game against most of the top 10.
     
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  8. Andrew

    Andrew Rookie

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    Yeah, when I was watching him play Berdych on play he had an opportunity to put the ball away a fair amount of times and he would just spin it up the line and it'd sit up, letting Berdych stay in the point.
     
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  9. GRANITECHIEF

    GRANITECHIEF Hall of Fame

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    Did i miss something? Roddick won and had many FH and BH winners.
     
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  10. Mr. Sean

    Mr. Sean Rookie

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    I watched roddick from 2002-present is his forehand has definately changed. From 2003-2004 his forehand was very flat and alor faster. His swing was more of a straight back and forth motion which made it faster. Compared to now his forehand is a more down and up motion which causes more topspin. I don't know why he's prefers this one because his error stats are still roughly the same. He should revert back to his older flatter forehand especially for all the approaches he does now. His new forehand just isn't deep enough to beat federer. Also if you havnt noticed but as I got better I noticed roddick stroke techniques aren't the best ones on the tour. I mean his eyes are completely off the ball when he makes contact and he tends to jump off the ground on every forehand. He just has so much damn power he can get away with it.
     
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  11. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Could this be at least partially because he's been trying to be more all around player ?
    It's so hard to be a true all-courter... a really good all courter...
     
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  12. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    Roddick is not hitting through the ball. Another poster, in another thread, said that safarova was hitting harder groundstrokes than roddick and it's true. Even on hardcourts Roddick is not generating much pace these days. Many wta players are hitting faster groundstrokes because they are technically better than his.
     
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  13. splink779

    splink779 Guest

    Roddick has technically changed his forehand since '03 and it is now a slower shot with more spin. Simple as that.

    In my opinion - FAR LESS EFFECTIVE and I feel like I'm on crazy pills because if he kept his forehand and combined it with his game as of now, he would be soo much better.
     
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  14. Raj

    Raj New User

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    As others have said, Roddick has transitioned the flatter, more penetrating forehand shot to a heavier, safer shot. While this is certainly not effective for approach shots or keeping your opponent off balance, it does provide more stability, and can draw errors from the opponent. However, if the opponent is hitting hard flat balls, then Roddick's ball is landing right into the hitting zone.

    Serena Williams did the same with her forehand for a while, particularly between 2005-06. Granted this was likely due to not being able to move as well, however it was apparent that opponents were able to hit winners off her shots easier. At the Australian Open this year, she started hitting her forehand much flatter and deeper, and look at the results. Hopefully Andy can get back to hitting flatter forehands when he's in position, so that the ball moves through the court as opposed to sitting up and short. :)


    -Raj
     
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  15. ShcMad

    ShcMad Hall of Fame

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    Andrew, there have been many threads about the deterioration of Roddick's forehand. Do a search, and I'm sure you'll find lots of insightful posts, including my opinion on the issue. ;)
     
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  16. Ripper

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    Exactly, it can't all be bad, because is winning more, isn't he?
     
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  17. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    no..........
     
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  18. GRANITECHIEF

    GRANITECHIEF Hall of Fame

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    Actually you are exactly correct. He IS winning more. As is evident from his climb up the rankings. I fully expect much more winning in the near future.
     
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  19. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    nope


    old forehand: world no. 1

    new forehand: world no. 4
     
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  20. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    The problem is in his take back of the racquet.

    There is too much tightness when he takes the racquet back. He thinks by tightening the forehand he can release more energy in an explosive move. There is no fluidity and the momentum that the racquet can generate is not being taken advantage of. It's not as energy effecient as Federer's and it appears as though he's expending more.
     
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  21. splink779

    splink779 Guest

    He's winning more than 2004-2005, but not 2003!

    He changed his forehand around 04-05 and his results dropped. He then improved other parts of his game and thats where he is today.
     
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  22. TennisNewby

    TennisNewby New User

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    It is very strange that Roddick prefers this ARod as oppose to the ARod of 2003 where he just punished the ball. I doubt he likes the way his forehand is now. So is it because he doesn't know how to revert back to the 2003 ARod? Forehand that is.

    take care
     
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  23. Alexandros

    Alexandros Professional

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    That's a good observation, Serena had been massaging her forehand into play these past few years instead of lining up the shot and belting through with a full blooded stroke like she did in her dominant years.

    The loopy heavily spun forehand is a fine shot if you are on the defensive but Roddick needs to find his old fast ball to close out points and approach on.
     
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  24. Mr. Sean

    Mr. Sean Rookie

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    I also remember watching a roddick match a year ago when brad gilbert was still commentating. He was actually doing some commentating on a roddick match and right away brought up the point that his forehand was getting hit with more spin than it was when he was coaching him. He was saying how roddick should be hitting the ball flatter in order to generate more pace like he used to. I think what happened was when roddick lost his aggression he started to stay away from the baseline even more than usual which didn't allow him to hit those flat forehands as much and forced him to hit with more spin to get those far balls over the net. Its funny under goldfine roddick vowed to become more aggresive and all he did was become less aggressive. All goldfine did for him was improve a defensive slice that roddick used to hit on every shot placed at his backhand. Now hes up at the baseline and hitting his safe shots and needs to revert back to his flatter forehand somehow.
     
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  25. alienhamster

    alienhamster Hall of Fame

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    It's all about managing your variety. There *are* times when you want to approach with a heavily spun shot, depending on surface and opponent. Roddick hit a great loopy, deep approach DTL to Berdych on clay this past weekend and got a really weak reply. It was *exactly* the right shot in the situation. He's much smarter than we was three years ago.

    Roddick's done a great job integrating more variety into his game and bettering his overall court position. His game suffered in the last couple of years because he was executing a lot of things at the wrong times. He has opted for variety over slam-bam tennis, so you have to expect some occasionally poor results while he's figuring out his new game.

    Main point again: Roddick CAN flatten out the forehand. He was doing it at the Aussie this year when he got an open court and a good forehand to hit. I think it's erroneous to assume that if he was hitting it that way the majority of time that he'd be winning more majors now. He does need to do it more on the faster surfaces (like grass), and he's starting to. He had a good stretch in 2003 where he made very few errors hitting flatter, but that's hard to maintain over long periods of time. (Blake's doing it now, but he's gonna break down at some point.) Roddick's smart to develop a versatile forehand, and that's what he seems to be doing (to me, anyway).
     
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  26. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    I actually wonder that, because he longer takes the ball low or on the rise as well as he used to. Sure, he like anybody can flatten out a shot if he has the whole court available to him. But, the fact that he doesn't go for winners as often as when he should has been alarming.

    That said, he did change his strategy a lot. During 2004-05, he started to use topspin to go for wide angles in order to run his opponents off the courts. Now, that's a really good strategy if you attack the net, because you've cut off the majority of the court for him to pass you. Which is what he does now.

    So now Roddick uses a power serve game with high topspin FH and aggressive net play in order to control the service game. And I think he tries to now grind his opponent down a bit by playing high TS shots windshield wiper style, so that he can break the guy.

    I'm not saying this is an ideal way to play, but people have been talking forever about the death of serve and volley. Well maybe this is part of the next iteration of men's tennis.
     
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  27. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Roddick knows he can't beat Federer with a flat penetrating forehand. Federer eats those kinds of shot for breakfast. The reason why he was in a slump for awhile was because he pretty much modeled his game to match-up better against Federer's. Because of this, his matches are alot closer with Federer (except the Australian Semi, but that was just Federer in the 6th gear).



    Roddick was #1 in the world because he was on a streak that comes and goes. Roddick's results are much more consistent now that he plays a game with more margin for error.



    Hitting flat is fine and all, but flat hitters don't win consistently. Safin is a perfect example of that. Not only is he a headcase, but because of the way he hits the ball, he practically has no margin for error. His game basically implodes once his mind goes away, because he needs to be 100% focused to keep it up.
     
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  28. rrhstennis

    rrhstennis Rookie

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    Federer a top ten player : other players trade off world no.1

    Federer at the top: other players don't have a prayer to be world no.1
     
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  29. Mr. Sean

    Mr. Sean Rookie

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    So with a flat forehand, you think he cant beat federer. I think it would be harder for federer to hit a flatter faster paced forehand than his new high bouncing one. It gives federer less time to set up a shot plus roddick now rushes the net more often so it would make it that much harder for federer. I still think if blake incorporated some of roddicks tactics he would have a better chance against federer than roddick. He has more speed and a killer forehand and better backhand. His volleys are terrible though and his mental game is very weak.
     
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  30. capriatifanatic

    capriatifanatic Banned

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    He was world no #1 by a mere 37 Champions Race points(for example the difference between a quarter and semi of a slam is 40 points, final and quarter of a Masters event is 45 points) over a version of Federer who lost in the 1st round or 4th round of 3 of his 4 slam events that year, and failed to win a single Masters event. Even that Federer though, that year, went 2-1 vs Roddick, and Federer's 2 wins were convincing wins in a grand slam semi and the year end semis, while Roddick's was in a final set tiebreaker of a Masters event semi. Even that version of Federer clearly had the edge in head to head with Roddick that year, and as his results show that version of Federer was still a shadow of the player he has been 2004-today. At years end most considered Federer by a slight margin the worlds best player over Roddick, despite the rankings, and it was their matches in the Wimbledon semis and the year end semis, where Federer outclassed Roddick so significantly, that established that belief by most.

    Quite honestly Roddick can send a thank you note to David Nalbandian for his year end #1 that year, as it was Federer's many losses to his then nemisis Nalbandian that made Roddick's year end #1 even a possability. Nalbandian took out Federer in the Australian Open 4th round, Cincinnati 2nd round, U.S Open 4th round, costing Federer a huge deal in points for the year. Quite conceivably he can also probably thank Nalbandian for making his lone slam title until now possable. After all at that U.S Open Nalbandian took out Federer in 4th round in 4 sets, then had match point to beat Roddick in straights in the semis before falling in 5 sets. Roddick would have had to play Fed in the semis, would have the miracelous task to post back to back wins over Federer after his very narrow win in the Canadian Open semis, keeping in mind his other 2 matches vs Fed that year, were decisive straight sets wins for Federer, and doing so in a match he barely played well enough to avoid losing to Nalbandian in straight sets-a player who Roddick, unlike Federer, did not have trouble with until that point in their careers. Since Federer suffered those defeats he did not deserve the year end #1, Roddick had the best overall results by a little bit, even though some areas of either guys records was a bit better then the other, and did not allow for any one nemisis to beat him that regularly, so he was worthy of the year end #1 honor, and player of the years honours, over Federer. However if you speak in a practical sense to who was the better player, as Roddick's #1 ranking was based more on the damage inflicted to Federer by top 10 player Nalbandian then on Roddick's having any proven even mild superiority over Federer, or among the rest of the top 5, it is valid to consider Federer as the worlds best player over Roddick still even at that point.

    You also did not have a Nadal piling up points with dominating the years major clay court events, combined with good success on other surfaces making him untouchable in the rankings unless you dominate like Federer does. I dont remember the exact numbers but I expect Nadal ended the last two years with more ranking points then Roddick in his year at #1.

    So of course he isnt going to be any better then #3, that is at the absolute most, unless he somehow reaches a much higher standard then he had in 2003, the same standard certainly wouldnt do it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2007
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  31. ibemadskillzz

    ibemadskillzz Semi-Pro

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    I said this before. When he won the US Open his forehand was banging and had a lot of heat on it. Now it's much weaker. it may be due to his diet or something.
     
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  32. Mr. Sean

    Mr. Sean Rookie

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    Yo ibemadskillz. I totally agree. Just watch it on youtube and theres a drastic difference. It really is a straight back and forth motion rather than thte down and up. If you watch the 2004 match with roddick and luby he had the same forehand and he broke ankles with it. I am also pretty confident that nadal will not win the french open this year. Its going to be fed. Plus monfils has a pretty good shot at getting to the finals.
     
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  33. teedub

    teedub Rookie

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    Disagree with your saying Roddick's topspin forehand is more effective against Roger. Hitting out and flat, with more pace is going to rob Fed of some of his time, making it more difficult for him to hit his amazing shots. As opposed to Roddick's forehands now..which just sit up nicely for Fed..Fed just eats up Andy's groundstrokes now, when you see both on the baseline neutrally, you know 80% of the time Fed's going to win the point against Andy with his current groundstrokes. No pace = no problem for Fed. Unless you're Nadal who has obviously ridiculous amounts of spin that jump into Fed's backhand...hitting flat with huge pace is more effective against the Fed. Realize Nadal also utilizes his flat running back hand effectively against Fed.

    I agree with Mr. Sean, flat hitting is going to stay lower and run through the court quicker, essentially making the pass more difficult to make. I mean I read some people saying that topspun approach shots are more effective approach shots than flat shots? That is really ridiculous, especially the point raised about using the top spin forehand to open up the court using angles and approaching on them. First of all, as I said flat shots are more 'pacey' thus cut through the court quicker and stay lower, thereby staying further away from the ideal strike zone of the person that is to make the pass and robbing them of valuable time. If you approach with topspin..depending on how deep you get the shot..let's say in the middle of no-man's land, where most of Roddick's approaches ended up during their last match..the balls jumped right into Federer's ideal strike zone and they didn't have much pace, therefore Roddick got owned by the passes. Secondly...taking it out wide maybe a good idea if you really get the guy stretched out, but if you could get Federer in that position the angled forehand would probably win the point outright. If you don't have him out of position, that angled topspin forehand approach is just going to give the guy more court to hit into..easier to go down the line and almost as much space to hit the crosscourt pass.

    Let's face it, if Roddick hits flatter forehands like he did in 03, with his currently improved "all-court" game, with his A+ serving game like in Shanghai last year, he could just beat Fed maybe once more..:)
     
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  34. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Federer thrives on pace. No way you are going to beat Federer with JUST pace. This is a PROVEN fact. He owns pretty much every big hitter that he's faced, such as Gonzo, Tursinov, Blake, etc.
     
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  35. iamke55

    iamke55 Professional

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    Here's Roddick's old forehand.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=o2b8mXXvwQs

    It was a super awesome motion that hit massive winners and established his status as a power player. Nowadays you look at his technique and wonder who taught him to play tennis. The fact that old Roddick with no backhand or volley had more success than the current "improved" Roddick says something about how good his forehand was in 2003 and how bad it is now.
     
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  36. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I agree with Nam. This yet again goes back to the Safin vs. Federer meme (i.e. at "peak" Safin's flat, powerful strokes will beat Federer's "spinny" shots.) Most of us are raced on the American "big shot" philosophy on tennis, and so we think the best way to beat your opponent is to pound on him.

    Basically it goes like this -- if you play Federer using nothing but flat strokes, you essentially feed Federer low bounce balls with the same spin and mostly the same pace. Uhm, you do this, well now you've given all Federer needs to dominate you with just his 1H BH. He'll rip DTL shots on you all day with that.

    As for the ideal FH height, Fed's ideal FH height is roughly where Agassi's would be. So feeding him low balls into his FH cuts down on his errors big-time.

    Uhm, I was the one who made that point. If you watch how Roddick constructs points, that's more or less what he does now.
     
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  37. M J

    M J Rookie

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    I completely agree with all of the comments that his forehand was just a better shot in 2003. It is very mysterious why he would change it to what he has now. It's certainly a different stroke. I think there is only one explanation that makes sense:
    There is only one guy who can beat Federer, and he doesn't do it with a flat forehand. Did Roddick change is forehand just for Federer?
     
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  38. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Forehand aside, what's with these cross court approaches? It just stinks of a man who has run out of ideas.
     
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  39. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    I think one key issue is that, though he did have a big forehand, he was never your classic "take the ball on the rise" baseline basher. And he was never the kind to play lines anyway. He can dominate the service game because his opponents rarely can rarely return his shots with real authority. But his opponents got better at reading his serve, so at least he had to trade shots with them.

    Bad habits creeped into his game, overall too. His serve selection became more predictable. He got lazy with his 2h BH and sliced when he got tired. He telegraphed his inside-out shot reflexively, thus exposing the opposite court for DTL shots. So it wasn't just his spinnier FH.

    In a way, Gonzo's style at Oz reflected how Roddick used to rock it. Except that Gonzo can hit high bounce shots harder than Roddick, and so he can sit on a ball and pound it down the middle.

    Roddick's overall game plan is better now, I think. Roddick can grind his opponent down now, and he plays much better defense. My thinking is that, even if Roddick wanted to go back to a pure power game, most of the surfaces don't play well for him anymore.
     
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  40. ibemadskillzz

    ibemadskillzz Semi-Pro

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    Look, roddick in 2003 when he won US Open and when he beat federer (when he was still a top player- Andy was ranked lower) is better in my opinion. His net game and instincts has improved but his shots are much weaker nowadays.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=o2b8mXXvwQs
    His forehands has a lot of zip on it, watch at :18, and around 1:00, 2:28, I mean these shot are banging..
    If he is hitting forehands like that now I think he defintely has a shot at beating Fed again. In my opinion, roddicks ground game got worse while Federer's game improved, this made a bigger gap between these two rivals.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007
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  41. alienhamster

    alienhamster Hall of Fame

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    Regarding the approach shot . . .

    I was referring to a DTL approach on the forehand side, and specifically against Federer. I've been watching Andy play for forever, and I've watched people try and try again to approach against Fed on the backhand side. IN GENERAL, a high topsin shot DTL that lands deep gives Federer far more trouble than a flat, low ball, unless the flat ball is hit unbelievably fast and/or Fed was pulled incredibly wide on the previous shot. Roddick himself has mentioned this in interviews as a tactic against Fed. And part of why he was able to get match points on him at Shanghai was with this tactic.

    OF COURSE flat approaches are better as a general tactic. But we're talkin' nuance here. We're talkin' trying to play Federer.
     
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  42. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, but even in those clips, he's mostly punishing Fed's slice shot, when Fed pretty much went slice on everything. The topspin on Fed's BH now is precisely why other players can't go inside-out on that shot for winners anymore. Also, for some reason, Fed's shots lacked depth during the match.

    The bounce on the ball is overall lower than many of the surfaces Roddick plays now, enabling him to flatten out the shot. He just doesn't get those opportunities anymore unless he plays a favorable surface.

    A key thing in Oz 2007 was Federer now being able to consistently hit the 1H BH on the rise. He absolutely controlled shots that spun to his BH.
     
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