why don't more players serve to Federer's backhand and put away the slice return?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Messarger, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. Messarger

    Messarger Hall of Fame

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    When Federer returns, especiall against bigger serves like Soderling, Del Do, Karlovic on his backhand, he more often than not choose to slice it. So why dont these players come to the net after serving to his backhand? This should leave them with an easy volley which they can put away.

    Sure, if they try it too many times Federer will adjust, but right now there's hardly anyone emplying this tactic against him.
     
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  2. Anaconda

    Anaconda Hall of Fame

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    It's hard to generate pace on slices.
     
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  3. Recon

    Recon Semi-Pro

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    ^^ Agreed, If you've ever had a low skidding slice against you, its really hard to hit a winner off of it without causing an unforced error. The Slice backhand is really underrated..its one of the most un-attack-able balls ever.
    1. Federers Slice is no joke.
    2. Putting a ball away on Fed is no joke. (The man posses crazy passing abilities.
    3. Your pulling the trigger to soon, you can do it for maybe 2 points and get away with it, but then he'll catch on and move the ball around.
    4. Its Federer. (The pressure causes unforced errors)
     
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  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Isner complained after losing to Federer about that short chip return on his shoe laces. Once you have to hit up against Federer, he is going to blow the next ball by you.
     
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  5. DNShade

    DNShade Professional

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    He hits a short low slice return for that very reason - so it is low and you can't volley it out of the air. Kinda the whole point. It's not a floater slice - it is below the level of the net a few feet past. You are going to be hitting a half volley or a very low volley. Now if there were some true serve and volley players out there - they might be able to get in fast enough and put pressure on - but players with those skills are very rare these days.

    Bottom line - it is a very effective return - especially against hard servers. It deflects and kills the power of the serve and gets you back on even terms in the point if not better.
     
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  6. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    Depending on where the Slice goes, it may be slightly easier for some "left" handed players. Nadal seems to be handling the slices well for whatever reason (though if you read general characteristics of a Western forehand grip, it supposed to suck against Low balls)
     
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  7. sh@de

    sh@de Hall of Fame

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    Because those players with huge serves tend to be very tall (Isner, Safin, Soderling etc.). And if they're tall, that means it becomes even more difficult for them to get down low to reach that low slice, thereby making the slice return even more effective against big servers. Of course, if Fed ever meets someobody who serves massive or forces him to return with a slice, and has no problem getting down low to that return, Fed gets owned. That person has already appeared, he's called Nadal (his lefty spins force Fed to return with the slice, it's not necessarily because Nadal serves massive). One main weapon Nadal takes away from Fed is actually Fed's slice backhand, be it off the return or as a normal groundie.
     
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  8. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Very good points. Watch next time Fed and Nadal play. Fed comes over his backhand on most of his returns now because he knows that Nadal is in charge of the point if he slices it.
     
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  9. dropshot winner

    dropshot winner Hall of Fame

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    Federer knows about it for years, but playing consistent and deep topspun backhand-shots off the return and from the baseline is far from easy to do against Nadal.
     
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  10. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah that lefty spinny serve is nasty.
     
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  11. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Yup.

    If you can, watch Federer live and sit on the side of the court. His slice just skims the net. Then when it hits the court (especially on hardcourts) it just slides. It comes up less than a foot like it's coming off a hardwood basketball court.

    It forces his opponent to come forward and from such a low ball position, it really puts the player in an awkward position from which it's very difficult to attack.
     
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  12. sh@de

    sh@de Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I know he comes over his backhand more now, but the issue remains that Fed has basically lost one of his big weapons. I watched Fed play live before in an exo when he came to Hong Kong in 2004. He was playing Ferrero, and I remember just how low Ferrero had to bend his knees to get to Fed's slice backhand. It was great to watch. Not always a very fast shot (it can be fast and skidding sometimes), but that slice was, and still is, certainly an extremely nasty shot.
     
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  13. ebrainsoft

    ebrainsoft Rookie

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    I think Federer lost the US Open final because he flattened out his backhand return (started late in the second set). Someone in Delpo's camp figured out that Federer will flatten out his backhand return if you take pace off the server. I thought it was very odd for Delpo to serve with such little pace, but it was actually brilliant!
     
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  14. hityellowball

    hityellowball New User

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    This is right
     
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  15. Ultimatum

    Ultimatum Rookie

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    It is not that easy. Fed's slice is generated with so much backspin that it skims the net cord, and skids off the court. When it does, it is very difficult to hit outright winners and would instead force the opponent to be on the defense. It travels low to repel net chargers, unlike floater slices, forcing the to hit low volleys and not swinging volleys to win the point outright. In my opinion, an excellent slice is more difficult to handle than a huge return really.
     
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  16. Well, considering that many people before Federer had a much better slice, and during eras when people would serve and volley a LOT, it's basically because most current tennis players just aren't that good at that kinda thing.

    Putting away a slice backhand return? Plenty of players throughout history would eat that up.
     
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  17. Matt H.

    Matt H. Professional

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    it happens all the time in the ad court serve.

    he hits a cross court slice return that lands inside the service box. Most everyone choses to hit a deep cross court and retreat back to the baseline, in which the point has been neutralized.

    i'm surprised no one ever tries to hit a drop shot off that. Fed would have to cover a lot of court, and depending on his response the server should at least still be in control of the point.
     
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  18. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    He slices the ball short to the add court to setup his forehand on the next shot.


    The short slice at that spot isn't easily attacked, the opponents possible responses generally leaves them out of position and on the defensive immediately.

    A dropshot in return is not going to work, Federer is right on the baseline or inside after the return no chance of hitting a successful dropshot in reply.

    A slice approach shot DTL in return is a better option if the player wants to take the initiative, coming to the net..... but doesn't seem like a high percentage play, Federer is going to get a chance to hit a forehand passing shot against them.

    Trying to hit a DTL winner off that shot is tough only player I have seen execute that shot consistently against him is Nadal with his lefty topspin forehand he gets the net clearance and can hit the winner, Roger doesnt use this play against Nadal nearly as much as he does against other players for this reason.

    Hitting back crosscourt is the safe play but forces the player to retreat backwards to get back into position, so Federer pretty much takes control of the point after that shot in reply.

    Federer knows exactly what he is doing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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  19. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Excellent writeup. I agree with everything here.
     
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  20. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    Here is your answer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnAW3h5aZ_k&NR=

    Name 3, that should be really easy to do since Federer's isn't that good. Well that's easier said than done. It's not even the slice that makes next approach shot difficult, it's Federer's anticipation and food speed that makes life very complicated for the person coming in trying to put it away. I'm curious to hear why you think this era is just full of chumps that just can't do anything right. You are basically putting down every ATP pro.
     
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  21. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    People do this sometimes and yes, if they do it too often Fed will be onto them, it will only really work as a change of pace/surprise tactic unless the person is a master of serve and volley. But likewise, why didn't people junk ball Connors the way Ashe did or attack the net with reckless abandon to win the French Open the way Noah did? It's folly to assume that every player is equally capable of hitting every shot and executing every style and it's all just matter of formulating the correct strategy. Lot of people don't serve to Fed's backhand and come in on his "weak slice" return because they have no confidence in that tactic. They might do it with confidence when they're up 40-luv or have double match point against a lesser player, but to use it as the foundation of a winning strategy against Federer? If their A game stands no chance, then how in the world is their C game going to get it done.

    Guys like Del Potro might have super high confidence in his ability to crush a serve, draw a weak return, and win the point by demolishing the weak return with a groundstroke, but have very little confidence in being able to serve and volley against Federer. If they do serve and volley, it's just to give Fed something to think about and to mix things up. Serve and volley is not as easy as it looks. They would almost have more success against a guy who hits loopy returns and comes over everything. A nasty slice return is not an easy shot to "put away
    " at the net especially for a guy who doesn't normally serve and volley.

    Notice that Fed really only loses to Nadal on clay, yet it's no secret how Nadal beats him. Why doesn't everybody on the tour get that easy win by hitting vicious kicking shots to Fed's backhand all day long? Because they can't do it nearly as well as Nadal's forehand can.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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  22. sh@de

    sh@de Hall of Fame

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    Reaslly? Many people? Name me ten people who had a better slice outright. By that I don't mean having a slice which may or may not be better than Fed's. I want to see you name ten people who most definitely had a better slice than Fed.
     
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  23. matchmaker

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    Good analysis, Fed lowers the percentages for his opponents to find solutions.

    But still, as you indicate, there are solutions.

    One player who seems to have learnt over time to deal with this is JMDP. In the beginning he would be hopelessly lost on the Fed slice, whereas now he copes with it quite nicely.

    I still think a good serve and volley player would have options too, but then it would have to be a consistent strategy, because chances are he would get passed a number of times.

    Even Sampras stretched out wide on a wide serve to the ad court sometimes came up with brilliant slice angles, so you have to live with that.

    I believe sometimes a body serve would also be effective to neutralize the slice and make it less penetrating.

    The problem is that current players are not really masters at those varying strategies. One of the solutions to deal with that low skidding slice is putting him in a position where he can't hit it well. Serving to the body or a very good kicker could do, but most just hit the standard kicker to the BH, and Fed already knows that by heart.
     
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  24. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    I think the OP has been watching too many matches on TV - the ball looks like it's moving a lot slower. When you stand at the practice courts you realize how much 'stuff' the players' shots have. Fed's slice isn't like the one you see at your club or public courts.

    I skimmed the responses. Two things that I didn't see a) that the players are looking to get into a point. Going for winners that early is a good way to get blown out; b) he isn't that predictable - he blocks quite a few back too. If you are sitting on the slice return and get a block you're probably going to be in deep sh*t.
     
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