Originally Posted by BeHappy
Well Roddick overpowered him for a set or 2 in wimbledon 2004.
I'm not saying Federer is as good as he was because he has lost so much footspeed, just that his strokes are working absolutely beautifully like they used to. I am 100% confident Murray and Djoker won't be able to break his backhand down for example.
That is a good point. I don't think he hits as many backhand winners as he used to, so in that aspect his backhand has not improved, but he committed fewer errors off that wing than Tsonga yesterday, and Tsonga was really hitting his two-hander and trying to pick on Fed's one-hander.
On Eurosport Wilander talked quite a bit about Fed's backhand. First, he was saying he didn't understand why he was coming over it constantly instead of changing pace with the slice. Then he said he generally came over it more than before, and didn't think this was a good thing, as his slice is the best in the game. Later he mused that perhaps the reason why he's hitting fewer slices nowadays is that the forehands of today's top 10 have gotten better than what he faced back in the Roddick/Hewitt days and that these guys today can put him on the defensive by ripping forehands off the slice, and that Fed knows he can't win playing defense against the elite players.
All good points, I thought, but I also wonder if Fed commits to coming over the backhand because he feels that he has to groove the stroke in order to stay in backhand to backhand rallies. As anyone with a OHBH knows, the slice is great, but you essentially have two backhands and so the topspin shot gets less reps and less practice than the forehand. Maybe stubbornly committing to the topspin backhand is the only way he can keep the shot tuned well enough in a match for it to stand up to pounding. He used to mess with opponents by switching from slice to topspin backhands during a rally, throwing off his opponents' rhythm. Nowadays, maybe switching back and forth throws off his own rhythm and timing. Just guessing. But anyway, yeah, I don't fear for his backhand like I used to when an opponent persists in attacking it, and he does seem to hold his own and even get the better of some two-handers in crosscourt rallies.