Federer made a mistake...what am I missing?

mxmx

Hall of Fame
To me Federer played his best with his smaller Wilson rackets. (K-factor and so forth). There was a switch I think to a larger racket at one stage which immediately seemed like a mistake. His shots seemed loopier and less powerful with more unforced errors. He was spraying it.

Did anyone perceive this? What am I missing? Am I the only one to believe he played better with smaller frames than the larger ones? Yes, even on his backhand. Perhaps someone can clarify with his racket history and his thinking behind it. Did he not complain about the changes etc?
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
The bigger racket helped him on the backhand but massively worsened his forehand, which is his best shot. But the bigger frame also allows him to play that attacking game of taking the balls so early and on the rise as well, which would have been harder with the original frame. So yes while you could have that opinion that his game worsened, he needed to change it. He no longer was able to run around his forehand as much. His backhand was getting pounded by the other two. And so he needed to change his play style to account for the loss in footspeed, and so the racquet switch makes sense for how he plays now, along with the backhand security.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
To me Federer played his best with his smaller Wilson rackets. (K-factor and so forth). There was a switch I think to a larger racket at one stage which immediately seemed like a mistake. His shots seemed loopier and less powerful with more unforced errors. He was spraying it.

Did anyone perceive this? What am I missing? Am I the only one to believe he played better with smaller frames than the larger ones? Yes, even on his backhand. Perhaps someone can clarify with his racket history and his thinking behind it. Did he not complain about the changes etc?
His results improved after the switch. He won 3 GS. The forehand was never quite the same, though.
 
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mxmx

Hall of Fame
How can it be a mistake. Did you not watch that 5th set of the AO 17 final? Did you see all those neo BH bombs blasting past a shell-shocked and flummoxed Rafael Nadal ? Have you ever seen that happen before the racket switch?
It seemed like his switch was premature and took years for him to adapt to the larger rackets. I could be wrong.

Can someone please list his racket history and size? Perhaps we will learn that the rackets did or did not influence his decline much.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
To me Federer played his best with his smaller Wilson rackets. (K-factor and so forth). There was a switch I think to a larger racket at one stage which immediately seemed like a mistake. His shots seemed loopier and less powerful with more unforced errors. He was spraying it.

Did anyone perceive this? What am I missing? Am I the only one to believe he played better with smaller frames than the larger ones? Yes, even on his backhand. Perhaps someone can clarify with his racket history and his thinking behind it. Did he not complain about the changes etc?
The main positive change from the big racquet that I saw is the BH return, he seemed more comfortable coming over it instead of chipping it back all the time. It's what helped him turn around the match-up against the Nadal.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
To me Federer played his best with his smaller Wilson rackets. (K-factor and so forth). There was a switch I think to a larger racket at one stage which immediately seemed like a mistake. His shots seemed loopier and less powerful with more unforced errors. He was spraying it.

Did anyone perceive this? What am I missing? Am I the only one to believe he played better with smaller frames than the larger ones? Yes, even on his backhand. Perhaps someone can clarify with his racket history and his thinking behind it. Did he not complain about the changes etc?
Like Zeb and others said, he changed to generate more (read: easier, spineless) power from his fundamentally weak backhand drive, at the cost of forehand accuracy, general accuracy, and further impounding his confidence. That's the principle of a switch to a bigger racket- loss of accuracy and a lazier generation of power- and then you compensate by going for fewer flat shots due to your lack of confidence in painting your lines. That naturally progresses to more fruity loops as you try to maintain some semblance of margin and pace, which is very nearly a paradox at the top levels of tennis and one that early Agassi (who went for way too much at the dawn of his career) suffered from. That increased topspin you're hitting results in more stressful swinging motions that lead to greater injury risk- surprise. And you lose pace against opponents like Djokovic who know when and how to flatten their shots out, anyway. 2011 US Open return winners on match point come to mind. Wonder why Federer never hit any of those at 40-15.

Anyway, I don't hate the guy. But the criticism he gets for the safeguarded play's what's only coming to him from an objective standpoint. Hingis did the same thing in '98 after getting crushed on her serves. Switched to a bigger frame from the sleeker frame she was perfect with, and she started hitting UEs everywhere and compensating with topspin. The reliance on topspin over flat drives feeds into that positive feedback loop that your body simply isn't "geared anymore" towards playing a strong, attacking game, even though it's your mechanics that're changing because of your equipment-change. Though Hingis changed to get more service power, all the good players have interconnected games. The shots she hit were reliant on a well-placed serve to predict a return for her groundies.

Federer's backhands, were at least well-placed when DTL, and that coverage was the one still-a-weak point he sufficiently covered with natural talent to make him feel illusively invulnerable. But at what price when you don't work on your technique the right way once it's under pressure, and you instead hastily change your tools to get a cheap fix, forgetting that your groundies are connected to your serve, and that your forehand is connected to your backhand, and that strong net approaches work best with smaller frames? Sometimes you don't even realize these connections until you're already midway through your subconscious change; and by then, it's too late to go back. You're in, what I call, the in-between zone.
 
D

Deleted member 781040

Guest
He went from a 10-23 enslavement to his Career rival and a multi-year major drought to a 16-24 paid employment with benefits and 3 additional inflationary Majors. I'd say the switch worked well
 
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NADALalot

Hall of Fame
Hingis wouldn't have had a problem with the switch to a bigger racquet in 1998.....because she won the AO again in 1998 and 1999, and made the AO Final in 2000, 2001 and 2002.....and made the US Open Final in 1998 and 1999.....and French Open Final in 1999, and many other slam SFs too.
Would she have won more slams with the smaller racquet? I'm not sure, because she faced Capriati, Serena, Davenport, Graf whereas she didn't have to play them in her 1997 slams (except for Davenport in 1997 US Open SF, but Davenport wasn't a great player that year).
 
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wangs78

Hall of Fame
The bigger racquet resulted in less precision on his FH but more importantly Fed has just gotten slower and slower. His peak (2003-2007) was when he was the best mover on tour and easily got his feet set to hit bazookas with his forehand. In his post-peak prime (2008-2012) he was still moving very well but a smidgeon slower and his FH was still quite a weapon but not quite as awesome as before. 2013-2017 he lost a bit more footspeed but he compensated for it by getting that bigger racquet and standing closer to the baseline to attack. So we saw fewer clean FH winners and more FH shots that led to a weak return for Fed to put away. In 2018-2019 he really slowed down and for the first time there were occasions when he seemed unable to defend effectively against shots hit wide to his FH. At this stage, his speed is barely top 10 and he relies on his serve, an aggressive mindset and variety to win matches. His movement seemed quite good when he came back from his first knee surgery in 2017. But I'm doubtful that he'll maintain that this time around.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
It's unreal what people are writing after Federer turned Nadal match-up on it's head since 2015.
But the truth he did worsen his FH. It no longer has the pop nor the wilful accuracy. Federer with old racquet could go for shorter angles and his on the run FH was pretty good. With the present one he hits it as hard but it no longer has the same flexibility. Federer I/O FH was actually an important shot in 2012 which helped him keep up, now he doesn't commit to it one bit.
 

NoleIsBoat

Hall of Fame
Regarding the “massively worse FH” ->


“I think I’m a better player now than when I was at 24 because I’ve practiced for another 10 years and I’ve got 10 years more experience,” Federer said. “Maybe I don’t have the confidence level that I had at 24 when I was winning 40 matches in a row, but I feel like I hit a bigger serve, my backhand is better, my forehand is still as good as it’s ever been, I volley better than I have in the past. I think I’ve had to adapt to a new generation of players again.” (August, 2015)
 
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But the truth he did worsen his FH. It no longer has the pop nor the wilful accuracy. Federer with old racquet could go for shorter angles and his on the run FH was pretty good. With the present one he hits it as hard but it no longer has the same flexibility. Federer I/O FH was actually an important shot in 2012 which helped him keep up, now he doesn't commit to it one bit.
Pop is more powerful with bigger racquet, it just depends how you hit it. Control is better with a smaller head but that's what he was willing to sacrifice. I've seen him unload as powerful as ever since the change, and if he's mixing the pace or whatever, it's intentional/tactical change. It's ridiculous that some of his fans are holding on to this ridiculous myth, thinking they know better than Federer and his team.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
Regarding the “massively worse FH” ->


“I think I’m a better player now than when I was at 24 because I’ve practiced for another 10 years and I’ve got 10 years more experience,” Federer said. “Maybe I don’t have the confidence level that I had at 24 when I was winning 40 matches in a row, but I feel like I hit a bigger serve, my backhand is better, my forehand is still as good as it’s ever been, I volley better than I have in the past. I think I’ve had to adapt to a new generation of players again.” (August, 2015)
"I used to shank balls often with my older racket, but then again it helped me a lot with my slice and my forehand. I think my forehand was unbelievable with my old racket."
 

duaneeo

Legend
The bigger racket helped him on the backhand but massively worsened his forehand, which is his best shot. But the bigger frame also allows him to play that attacking game of taking the balls so early and on the rise as well, which would have been harder with the original frame.
This is why I've always been so-so about the change. Yes, the bigger frame allows him to play a more attacking game, but so often the attacking plays end with a FH error. Never had Federer sprayed so many wild FHs before switching. And, I wonder if the loss of control on the FH is why he now lacks confidence on the big points when facing a Novak Djokovic.
 

NoleIsBoat

Hall of Fame
"I used to shank balls often with my older racket, but then again it helped me a lot with my slice and my forehand. I think my forehand was unbelievable with my old racket."
Doesn’t invalidate the “FH good as ever” statement. We all know his FH was always unbelievable. It’s the other areas he has improved immensely, like the serve, return, BH.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
Doesn’t invalidate the “FH good as ever” statement. We all know his FH was always unbelievable. It’s the other areas he has improved immensely, like the serve, return, BH.
Well if the new racket didn't change anything with his forehand and he had extra years of practice & experience then his FH isn't as good as ever. His forehand would be better than ever.

2021 = peak Fedr forehand
 

uscwang

Hall of Fame
To me Federer played his best with his smaller Wilson rackets. (K-factor and so forth). There was a switch I think to a larger racket at one stage which immediately seemed like a mistake. His shots seemed loopier and less powerful with more unforced errors. He was spraying it.

Did anyone perceive this? What am I missing? Am I the only one to believe he played better with smaller frames than the larger ones? Yes, even on his backhand. Perhaps someone can clarify with his racket history and his thinking behind it. Did he not complain about the changes etc?
You think you know better than Federer and his team. I don't follow.
 

NoleIsBoat

Hall of Fame
Well if the new racket didn't change anything with his forehand and he had extra years of practice & experience then his FH isn't as good as ever. His forehand would be better than ever.

2021 = peak Fedr forehand
Maybe.
I think over the last couple of years he’s lost a little bit of footspeed so finds it harder to get into ideal position, or defend to the FH side.

As a pure shot, in 2019 looked as good as ever.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
He won 17 Slams with outdated under powered racket. Says a lot about his talent. His records may be gone but someone who understands Tennis always know he is the best we have ever seen.
That is a logical fallacy (wrong argument) known as argumentum ad hominem, which consists in attacking the person who defends an argument, rather than the argument that the person defends. If someone assert that the Slam count is the most important GOAT criterion, you will simply say "you don't really know about tennis" (attack to the person, not to the argument). You have not given any valid argument as of why is supposedly better to have less Slam titles than your opponents in the GOAT race.
 
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junior74

G.O.A.T.
Well if the new racket didn't change anything with his forehand and he had extra years of practice & experience then his FH isn't as good as ever. His forehand would be better than ever.

2021 = peak Fedr forehand
14 months of gaining experience and maturing since AO20 was not enough to top Basil which tells us era is just too strong.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Pop is more powerful with bigger racquet, it just depends how you hit it. Control is better with a smaller head but that's what he was willing to sacrifice. I've seen him unload as powerful as ever since the change, and if he's mixing the pace or whatever, it's intentional/tactical change. It's ridiculous that some of his fans are holding on to this ridiculous myth, thinking they know better than Federer and his team.
Yeah, how ridiculous from us to doubt the man instead of praising Seppi and Stan for improving their games by ten folds.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
Pop is more powerful with bigger racquet, it just depends how you hit it. Control is better with a smaller head but that's what he was willing to sacrifice. I've seen him unload as powerful as ever since the change, and if he's mixing the pace or whatever, it's intentional/tactical change. It's ridiculous that some of his fans are holding on to this ridiculous myth, thinking they know better than Federer and his team.
"It's ridiculous that some of his fans are holding on to this ridiculous myth, thinking they know better than Federer and his team."

Yes exactly. Ugggh I definitely hate this kind of arguments. I see arrogance reeking through. Federer fans aren't the best bunch but sometimes they get mocked for no reason.


Ridiculous here is you , despite claiming to be different than others, pretending to know exactly what the Federer team thought about the FH while switching to the new racquet. No that's not ridiculous that's simply funny.

How the heck can you claim that FH wasn't a sacrifice that Federer actually weighed in for a stronger serve and more stable BH? Do you have any inside info?

I remember very clearly Federer said in an interview post AO 2017 that his BH had improved but his Slice had degraded and FH had some more restrictions.

I will look that up.

Meanwhile,what's really funny is that you "believe" It's his pace variations and yada yada. You say you have seen him hit as hard and as well and others say they haven't( I say he hits it harder but not better. You are a ignoramus to think his ability on that wing touches 2005-06.)

YOU LIKE OTHERS DON'T KNOW. YOU ARE SPECULATING TOO.

You, like others are basing your beliefs on your observations, Mr. Woke supremo. And there's no proof that your observations or understanding is better.

So before blasting others for myth making please climb down from your high tower.
 
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swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Maybe 1/4 step slower, but more than compensated for with his technical improvements.

I don’t think Fed really slowed down until around 2018.
Roddick mentioned that. 2019 Wimbledon Fed lost a step.
Passing shots harder for him to execute.
For some reason i am fascinated listening to these pros analyze.
Cannot wait to read Pete's book.
 
"It's ridiculous that some of his fans are holding on to this ridiculous myth, thinking they know better than Federer and his team."

Yes exactly. Ugggh I definitely hate this kind of arguments. I see arrogance reeking through. Federer fans aren't the best bunch but sometimes they get mocked for no reason.


Ridiculous here is you , despite claiming to be different than others, pretending to know exactly what the Federer team thought about the FH while switching to the new racquet. No that's not ridiculous that's simply funny.

How the heck can you claim that FH wasn't a sacrifice that Federer actually weighed in for a stronger serve and more stable BH? Do you have any inside info?

I remember very clearly Federer said in an interview post AO 2017 that his BH had improved but his Slice had degraded and FH had some more restrictions.

I will look that up.

Meanwhile,what's really funny is that you "believe" It's his pace variations and yada yada. You say you have seen him hit as hard and as well and others say they haven't( I say he hits it harder but not better. You are a ignoramus to think his ability on that wing touches 2005-06.)

YOU LIKE OTHERS DON'T KNOW. YOU ARE SPECULATING TOO.

You, like others are basing your beliefs on your observations, Mr. Woke supremo. And there's no proof that your observations or understanding is better.

So before blasting others for myth making please climb down off.
Oh my, what a rant from the supposed "next gen" fan. Has it ever crossed your mind that Federer played with 90 si racquet from 2002 to 2014? Was his forehand equally lethal all that time? Was he successful with it equally all that time? Does Federer's forehand exists in it's own universe, or is it attached to the man who ages, gets in and out of form, is making changes to tackle his greatest opponents and so on?

I'm not even telling you anything that is my opinion. I'm telling you that Federer and his team know better than his fans when it comes to his game. I'm telling you to look at his results, his sudden ownage of Nadal and excellent showings against Djokovic at advanced age. You want to keep thinking that Federer can't hit a FH as hard with a bigger racquet, then go to 'racquets' section here, see how that goes.
 

Krish0608

Hall of Fame
Pop is more powerful with bigger racquet, it just depends how you hit it. Control is better with a smaller head but that's what he was willing to sacrifice. I've seen him unload as powerful as ever since the change, and if he's mixing the pace or whatever, it's intentional/tactical change. It's ridiculous that some of his fans are holding on to this ridiculous myth, thinking they know better than Federer and his team.
Regarding the “massively worse FH” ->


“I think I’m a better player now than when I was at 24 because I’ve practiced for another 10 years and I’ve got 10 years more experience,” Federer said. “Maybe I don’t have the confidence level that I had at 24 when I was winning 40 matches in a row, but I feel like I hit a bigger serve, my backhand is better, my forehand is still as good as it’s ever been, I volley better than I have in the past. I think I’ve had to adapt to a new generation of players again.” (August, 2015)
I wish one of Fed's fans would confront him and explain to him that he "massively worsened" his forehand.
Love to hear Fed's reply.
I agree. We need to hear it from the man himself. Let’s see what the man has to say now, shall we?

Around 01:40 mark Fed is clearly stating that his FH and Slice were “unbelievable” with the previous racket and he essentially traded two of his most potent weapons during his prime for a better backhand, which did help his matchup with Rafa. But it’s a fact that his racket switch fundamentally altered Federer’s game. He was not as explosive as he once was on his FH side. And he lost his trademark Slice. That’s huge!
He definitely became more stable and consistent on his BH side. But you his claiming that the racket switch largely helped Federer is not true. It helped Federer solve Nadal. That is all.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
I agree. We need to hear it from the man himself. Let’s see what the man has to say now, shall we?

Around 01:40 mark Fed is clearly stating that his FH and Slice were “unbelievable” with the previous racket and he essentially traded two of his most potent weapons during his prime for a better backhand, which did help his matchup with Rafa. But it’s a fact that his racket switch fundamentally altered Federer’s game. He was not as explosive as he once was on his FH side. And he lost his trademark Slice. That’s huge!
He definitely became more stable and consistent on his BH side. But you his claiming that the racket switch largely helped Federer is not true. It helped Federer solve Nadal. That is all.
Yep this was the video I was talking of.
 

NoleIsBoat

Hall of Fame
I agree. We need to hear it from the man himself. Let’s see what the man has to say now, shall we?

Around 01:40 mark Fed is clearly stating that his FH and Slice were “unbelievable” with the previous racket and he essentially traded two of his most potent weapons during his prime for a better backhand, which did help his matchup with Rafa. But it’s a fact that his racket switch fundamentally altered Federer’s game. He was not as explosive as he once was on his FH side. And he lost his trademark Slice. That’s huge!
He definitely became more stable and consistent on his BH side. But you his claiming that the racket switch largely helped Federer is not true. It helped Federer solve Nadal. That is all.
Where does he say that his FH is worse now?
 
I agree. We need to hear it from the man himself. Let’s see what the man has to say now, shall we?

Around 01:40 mark Fed is clearly stating that his FH and Slice were “unbelievable” with the previous racket and he essentially traded two of his most potent weapons during his prime for a better backhand, which did help his matchup with Rafa. But it’s a fact that his racket switch fundamentally altered Federer’s game. He was not as explosive as he once was on his FH side. And he lost his trademark Slice. That’s huge!
He definitely became more stable and consistent on his BH side. But you his claiming that the racket switch largely helped Federer is not true. It helped Federer solve Nadal. That is all.
He doesn't say that his forehand and slice are bad with a bigger head racquet. He actually says nothing about how his Fh and slice are with new racquet. That's what you are implying from him saying that his old racquet helped him for forehand and slice, beside minus of shanking a lot of balls.

And all better players and coaches I talked to say that RF97 is a top notch racquet for slice among modern racquets. Are you now claiming that Federer lost good slice too? Is he shanking and floating slice? Are you seriously not satisfied how Federer is performing at advanced age?
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
He doesn't say that his forehand and slice are bad with a bigger head racquet. He actually says nothing about how his Fh and slice are with new racquet. That's what you are implying from him saying that his old racquet helped him for forehand and slice, beside minus of shanking a lot of balls.

And all better players and coaches I talked to say that RF97 is a top notch racquet for slice among modern racquets. Are you now claiming that Federer lost good slice too? Is he shanking and floating slice? Are you seriously not satisfied how Federer is performing at advanced age?
He is clearly juxtaposing the pros of his old racquet and the associated with them executions with those of the new racquet. It is quite simple to understand and pretty straightforward.

:cool:
 

BretH

Semi-Pro
SMH at threads with the title "Federer made a mistake" when they're about his choice of equipment.
 
He is clearly juxtaposing the pros of his old racquet and the associated with them executions with those of the new racquet. It is quite simple to understand and pretty straightforward.

:cool:
People are claiming that his fh is fundamentally worse and that it's all about the racquet (as if nothing else changed between 2006 and now). You can listen to what Federer himself says about RF97 and particularly about the slice with it:

Federer played with a 90 si racquet. He could've gone for 93 or 95 (like Djokovic) but he has gone for 97. Think about it for a minute.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
Hingis wouldn't have had a problem with the switch to a bigger racquet in 1998.....because she won the AO again in 1998 and 1999, and made the AO Final in 2000, 2001 and 2002.....and made the US Open Final in 1998 and 1999.....and French Open Final in 1999, and many other slam SFs too.
Would she have won more slams with the smaller racquet? I'm not sure, because she faced Capriati, Serena, Davenport, Graf whereas she didn't have to play them in her 1997 slams (except for Davenport in 1997 US Open SF, but Davenport wasn't a great player that year).
Hingis didn't just switch one time. She used multiple frames throughout her career and switched again in '99, etcetera. When she started in '97, she'd changed her racket for more reach and control- and she was just experimenting. I think in an interview, she didn't even know the specifics of the racket she used. She thought the '96 racket wasn't good enough. And then she thought in '98 the '97 racket wasn't good enough. Little did she know the '97 racket was perfect for her. That was the same racket that won her '98 Australian, and she changed midway through the year.

Handle-wise, Hingis always choked up on her return grip: when you're using a shorter widebody, you're taking away your power advantage if you cut down the size of the racket by moving your grip closer to the throat of the frame. It defeats the purpose of her prime returning with the longbody, and the longbody's narrower head gave her more control to take liberty at the lines with flat drives. It's part of why her returns got bloopier and bloopier, and why she couldn't hit return winners as time went on: forehand specifically.
 

Jason Swerve

Professional
^Being exact, "mid-way through the '98 year" is right after Hingis changed her '97 racket AND right when Hingis started her tournament losing streak, losing every major tourney she entered until basically the tail end of the year. It's all related.
 
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