Federer disguise - do you see what I see?

Tranqville

Rookie
When I watch tennis, I usually try to read the direction of play for each player. Most of the time, I can guess it right. With Federer, I keep getting it wrong, again and again. Is it just me? Even the matches I saw many times before, like the 5th set of AU 2017, when I rewatch them, I keep misreading him.

I remember one match where commentators tried to predict his serve direction and always failed. I'm not even talking about the serve. Just a regular rally ball. Is it true, what I see? Does Federer indeed have such an amazing disguise and misdirection? How does he do it? I have been watching Federer for years and I'm puzzled. I'm supposed to get a read on him, but I just can't. I wonder if anyone can relate.
 

Tranqville

Rookie
I watched some videos on tactics. I understand the basics - defensive ball cross-court or to the middle, neutral ball cross-court, attacking short balls down the line, hitting behind the player, or attacking down the middle. I'm used to the patterns of play for most pro players after watching thousands of hours of tennis on TV. Federer just mocks my understanding and anticipation every single time.
 

socallefty

Legend
Is it just me?
It’s just you - you are blinded by your admiration of him. He is textbook in terms of Wardlaw directionals with his decision-making and shot selection during rallies. If anything he changes the direction of the ball to go DTL much less than Djokovic as his comfort zone is hitting more FHs (including inside-out) than BHs. He uses the slice as an offensive BH weapon more than most players, but you can usually tell when he gets a ball he can attack with his slice.

He doesn’t win by disguise, but because he has bigger weapons and high-level consistency compared to just about every other player and he executes well day after day with rarely any bad days.
 
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Kralingen

Legend
It’s his insane wrist flexibility and subsequent lag that he gets. Tennis is a physical sport, there is no magic involved. It all has an explanation when you get down to the technique. With Fed’s it’s his golden wrist.

a) Fed’s eyes are always looking at the ball for contact ; usually you can read a player’s eyes or neck direction to tell where they’ll hit, not him

b) his wrist hits acute angles like the Exorcist nearly every time he hit a FH in his prime.. So when 99% of other players would have hit the ball his wrist is still laid back generating velocity before snapping

c) maybe it just looks like that bc the opposing players can’t tell and get confused. Not hard to wrong foot guys when you’re playing in the Baghdatis era though LMAO
 
It’s just you - you are blinded by your admiration of him. He is textbook in terms of Wardlaw directionals with his decision-making and shot selection during rallies. If anything he changes the direction of the ball to go DTL much less than Djokovic as his comfort zone is hitting more FHs (including inside-out) than BHs. He uses the slice as an offensive BH weapon more than most players, but you can usually tell when he gets a ball he can attack with his slice.

He doesn’t win by disguise, but because he has bigger weapons and high-level consistency compared to just about every other player and he executes well day after day with rarely any bad days.
This covers the backhand but not the forehand or the serve. Now tell us Federer doesn't have particular disguise on serve and couldn't hit any kind of forehand when he was prime-fit, lel.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
His serve is practically unreadable and even a returner like Djokovic has a hard time guessing it. I think other players like Murray have commented on it being particularly difficult to read. The rest of his game does incorporate some disguise but the serve is the big one.
 

Jokervich

Hall of Fame
When I watch tennis, I usually try to read the direction of play for each player. Most of the time, I can guess it right. With Federer, I keep getting it wrong, again and again. Is it just me? Even the matches I saw many times before, like the 5th set of AU 2017, when I rewatch them, I keep misreading him.

I remember one match where commentators tried to predict his serve direction and always failed. I'm not even talking about the serve. Just a regular rally ball. Is it true, what I see? Does Federer indeed have such an amazing disguise and misdirection? How does he do it? I have been watching Federer for years and I'm puzzled. I'm supposed to get a read on him, but I just can't. I wonder if anyone can relate.
In my experience, when I'm watching a tennis match or some highlights, you can tell with a lot of players where they will hit the ball roughly half a second before they do. The earlier you can anticipate this, the easier it becomes to beat a player - you just need the athletic ability to get to the ball and then execute your own shot.

With Federer, I often watched his matches and you have to guess where he will hit the ball later than other players, because his racquet swing is much faster than other players and he changes direction at the last moment - both on the serve and during normal rallies. I felt myself getting better and better the more matches of his I watched, but it's still very tough to read his shots. On his serve, he will have a slight bend of the racquet head just as he is about the hit the ball and if you can anticipate that, the serve becomes easier to read - even so, you will guess wrong a decent chunk of the time, because of how late it comes in the service motion and how little time you have to react.

I'm sure if you studied his matches closely for many many hours, you could guess effectively. But he gives you less time to guess the shot direction than other players do, for the reasons I stated.

Anyway, I'm no expert but I hope that helps. :p Someone like Djokovic and his team would have no doubt studied Federer religiously in order to beat him as much as he did.
 

Sir Weed

Professional
Apparently his ball toss is absolutely unreadable. There is no way to even slightly be able to guess where the ball is going when you're on the other side of the court. Kinda cool. I think Murray was saying this in an interview.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Sampras said in 2017, "people out there, mostly non-tennis players, think that the speed of the serve is like the biggest thing... it's isn't. Disguise and placement are the big things when you receive serve. For me, Federer has the best disguise of anyone I've ever played or seen. There was no way for me to pick it.... when Goran served, I almost always knew where it was going. With Roger, honestly I never had any idea. That's a big part of being a really great server."
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
Apparently his ball toss is absolutely unreadable. There is no way to even slightly be able to guess where the ball is going when you're on the other side of the court. Kinda cool. I think Murray was saying this in an interview.
His serve is practically unreadable and even a returner like Djokovic has a hard time guessing it. I think other players like Murray have commented on it being particularly difficult to read. The rest of his game does incorporate some disguise but the serve is the big one.
Sampras said in 2017, "people out there, mostly non-tennis players, think that the speed of the serve is like the biggest thing... it's isn't. Disguise and placement are the big things when you receive serve. For me, Federer has the best disguise of anyone I've ever played or seen. There was no way for me to pick it.... when Goran served, I almost always knew where it was going. With Roger, honestly I never had any idea. That's a big part of being a really great server."
theres a video i saw where hes practicing his serve and his coach tells him where to hit it but not until after he tosses it... thats gotta help
 

Jokervich

Hall of Fame
Apparently his ball toss is absolutely unreadable. There is no way to even slightly be able to guess where the ball is going when you're on the other side of the court. Kinda cool. I think Murray was saying this in an interview.
It must have been readable, otherwise how could Djokovic and Nadal beat him? Murray was not the same caliber as these guys.
 

threehandedbackhand

Hall of Fame
Does Federer indeed have such an amazing disguise and misdirection? How does he do it?
Look at this:

Wimbledon 2019 final

5th set, game #15, Djokovic to serve
7:7 30-30
N1
UFE (out, ad sideline)
N2 FH to deuce court
N3 no response to long cross-court ball, no volley

(4 minutes later)

5th set, game #16, Federer to serve
8:7 40-15
R1
UFE (out, ad sideline) [see N1]
R2
FH to deuce court [see N2]
R3
no response to long cross-court ball, no volley [see N3]



It's a bit puzzling, isn't it?
 

The Big Foe fan

Hall of Fame
When I watch tennis, I usually try to read the direction of play for each player. Most of the time, I can guess it right. With Federer, I keep getting it wrong, again and again. Is it just me? Even the matches I saw many times before, like the 5th set of AU 2017, when I rewatch them, I keep misreading him.

I remember one match where commentators tried to predict his serve direction and always failed. I'm not even talking about the serve. Just a regular rally ball. Is it true, what I see? Does Federer indeed have such an amazing disguise and misdirection? How does he do it? I have been watching Federer for years and I'm puzzled. I'm supposed to get a read on him, but I just can't. I wonder if anyone can relate.
Choke too
 

Artanis

Semi-Pro
Not sure is he is the most impredictable, but for sure is one of the fastest hitters/decision maker and is hitting ball on the rise more often.
 

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame
When I watch tennis, I usually try to read the direction of play for each player. Most of the time, I can guess it right. With Federer, I keep getting it wrong, again and again. Is it just me? Even the matches I saw many times before, like the 5th set of AU 2017, when I rewatch them, I keep misreading him.

I remember one match where commentators tried to predict his serve direction and always failed. I'm not even talking about the serve. Just a regular rally ball. Is it true, what I see? Does Federer indeed have such an amazing disguise and misdirection? How does he do it? I have been watching Federer for years and I'm puzzled. I'm supposed to get a read on him, but I just can't. I wonder if anyone can relate.
Apparently his ball toss is absolutely unreadable. There is no way to even slightly be able to guess where the ball is going when you're on the other side of the court. Kinda cool. I think Murray was saying this in an interview.
The toss is perfection…absolutely still, no way of knowing where it is going. It’s the reason why all-time great returners like Djoko and Murray have had difficulty at times in returning 110-113 mph serves (not out wide on the deuce court that’s naturally going to be slower due to the slice motion). Djokovic’s improvement on serve has been due to his own perfection of the toss.

I remember when I really started to get into tennis around 2007, I remember watching the US Open like it was yesterday and I watched tons of Fed's matches. Till this day I have no idea how anyone could live with peak Fed, he was wrongfooting his opponents at will.
On the FH, Federer can disguise where it’s headed because he takes it so early and can even when ”holding“ the ball late, he can get a good, clean swing.
 

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame
It is just you. Federer’s pattern is too predictable:

Hit sharp first serve, hit forehand/run to the net mindlessly. If rally continues, move on to the next point.

Boring
Yes these sharp 107 mph serves and hit FH. Wonder why nobody else does this.
 

DjokoLand

Hall of Fame
It is just you. Federer’s pattern is too predictable:

Hit sharp first serve, hit forehand/run to the net mindlessly. If rally continues, move on to the next point.

Boring
He’s actually one of the best at footwork, FH, volleys and moving forward but I agree he is predictable and I feel it was the biggest downfall in the Nadal matchup in his prime
 

tex123

Hall of Fame
Good God! All this Federer a* se licking is embarrassing here. Is he some magician that he's conjuring up low percentage shots and winning all the time against opponents? He's playing percentages and that's why he's got 20 Slams. If not, he'll be Kyrgios. Try guessing Kyrgios' pattern of play. Watching TV and guessing pattern of play is not the same thing as playing your opponent.

His serve is unpredictable but not to the extent Sampras' serve was. When Sampras used to practice his serve his coach used to shout after the ball toss which way to go. That's how unpredictable Sampras' serve was.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
His serve is unpredictable but not to the extent Sampras' serve was. When Sampras used to practice his serve his coach used to shout after the ball toss which way to go. That's how unpredictable Sampras' serve was.
Seems like this is a story shared by Federer if this post is to be believed:
theres a video i saw where hes practicing his serve and his coach tells him where to hit it but not until after he tosses it... thats gotta help
 
Good God! All this Federer a* se licking is embarrassing here. Is he some magician that he's conjuring up low percentage shots and winning all the time against opponents? He's playing percentages and that's why he's got 20 Slams. If not, he'll be Kyrgios. Try guessing Kyrgios' pattern of play. Watching TV and guessing pattern of play is not the same thing as playing your opponent.

His serve is unpredictable but not to the extent Sampras' serve was. When Sampras used to practice his serve his coach used to shout after the ball toss which way to go. That's how unpredictable Sampras' serve was.
Well, not much to be embarrassed about these days since we found out he's a historically irrelevant weak era vulture who got bagelled at Wimbledon in his absolute peak.
 
theres a video i saw where hes practicing his serve and his coach tells him where to hit it but not until after he tosses it... thats gotta help
Huh, that’s a pretty neat coaching tactic

"One of the drills we had, he would toss the ball and I would call the serve. He could react that quickly, so that nobody is able to read his serve. He can kick, slice and go flat off the same motion, that's one of the reasons he got so many aces."

---Pete Sampras' former coach Pete Fischer, excerpted from "The Mechanics Behind a Big Serve" by Samantha Stevenson, New York Times, September 10, 1990
 

The Big Foe fan

Hall of Fame
Yes, it was a choke. Weird that prime Djokovic needed a 38 old geriatric to choke and hand him the match after wining more serve points, return points, breaking more often holding serve the entire match with a 110 mph serve, etc., than blow him off the court
Whatever it is bruh, but aye, age wasn't fed's excuse in 4 of his biggest career losses in slams, clutch and mental toughness were.
Uso 2009
Wim 2019
Ao 2009
Uso 2011
 
His serve is practically unreadable and even a returner like Djokovic has a hard time guessing it. I think other players like Murray have commented on it being particularly difficult to read. The rest of his game does incorporate some disguise but the serve is the big one.
Yup!--and since the serve is the most important shot in tennis, it gives RF all the edge he needs to win.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Yup!--and since the serve is the most important shot in tennis, it gives RF all the edge he needs to win.
Yeah these days, even with Fed’s declined ground game and the MPH he’s taken off the serve, he can still cause serious trouble to his opponents with his serve placement.
 
In my experience, when I'm watching a tennis match or some highlights, you can tell with a lot of players where they will hit the ball roughly half a second before they do. The earlier you can anticipate this, the easier it becomes to beat a player - you just need the athletic ability to get to the ball and then execute your own shot.

With Federer, I often watched his matches and you have to guess where he will hit the ball later than other players, because his racquet swing is much faster than other players and he changes direction at the last moment - both on the serve and during normal rallies. I felt myself getting better and better the more matches of his I watched, but it's still very tough to read his shots. On his serve, he will have a slight bend of the racquet head just as he is about the hit the ball and if you can anticipate that, the serve becomes easier to read - even so, you will guess wrong a decent chunk of the time, because of how late it comes in the service motion and how little time you have to react.

I'm sure if you studied his matches closely for many many hours, you could guess effectively. But he gives you less time to guess the shot direction than other players do, for the reasons I stated.

Anyway, I'm no expert but I hope that helps. :p Someone like Djokovic and his team would have no doubt studied Federer religiously in order to beat him as much as he did.
Yup!--Excellent analysis--and I bet young RF studied Pete's matches also, as do I, Pistol Pete's my hero in the modern era.
 
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It’s just you - you are blinded by your admiration of him. He is textbook in terms of Wardlaw directionals with his decision-making and shot selection during rallies. If anything he changes the direction of the ball to go DTL much less than Djokovic as his comfort zone is hitting more FHs (including inside-out) than BHs. He uses the slice as an offensive BH weapon more than most players, but you can usually tell when he gets a ball he can attack with his slice.

He doesn’t win by disguise, but because he has bigger weapons and high-level consistency compared to just about every other player and he executes well day after day with rarely any bad days.
Nah.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
fed is textbook with his decision-making and shot selection during rallies

I see LOLfty aka @socallefty is speaking nonsense again. Guy was already mediocre in terms of tennis posting before 2021. Now with 2021 Djoko success going to his head, he's turned into utter complete sh*te in that regard.
 
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