Federer may not dominate like before, but can he improve?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by VictorS., Jan 12, 2009.

  1. VictorS.

    VictorS. Professional

    Jun 1, 2004
    From his most recent results, it appears that Federer is not dominating like he has in previous years. He actually had a losing record against top 10 players last year, which is really surprising to me. I think the mono illness really played a big role in his lack of preparation & confidence overall.

    I think this year he'll definitely have a more consistent year. I found a quote by Giles Simon quite interesting:

    "I don't think (Federer) can improve his game now, but I think he's a very, very good player - maybe the best player of history," Simon said. "It's going to be difficult for him to improve again, but I think he can maintain his level."

    So what you guys think? Federer's game was so close to perfection (at his best), it is probably difficult to imagine him improving much, if any. However, I do find it interesting. Especially when you see athletes in other sports peaking at much later ages. If I were to look at professional basketball, many & most of the best players are 27yrs plus: Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, etc. Often you see a guy like Kobe slim down a bit as he gets older, perhaps push himself in the gym more. I suppose with the constant travel, in tennis this is difficult. I know that Agassi later in his career focused heavily on off-court training often skipping tournaments in favor of hitting the gym. Perhaps Federer would be well-served to take a similar approach.
  2. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

    Oct 19, 2005

    Federer can always improve. It's called hitting 6th gear and blowing everyone into the dirt. Murray was a victim of such a thing, as has been Nadal (TMC 07), Roddick (too many to list), Agassi, etc.
  3. tata

    tata Professional

    Apr 3, 2008
    Fed doesnt need to improve.He knows what he can do and we've all seen it in the previous years.What he does have to do is try regain that form again and maintain it.Personally i see a lot of unforced errors from him now.
  4. yellowoctopus

    yellowoctopus Professional

    Jul 28, 2006
    the present
    The complexity of this question lies in the word 'improve'.

    If 'improve' refers to just Federer's game, then I believe it is very possible for him to improve--no one is perfect, that's what so great about sports.

    If we want to measure improvement by using just the tournament results, then I believe it will be difficult for Federer to improve, especially since the next generation of young players are constantly improving, including Nadal (yes, I put him with the next generation). Tournament results is a product of your currrent game, including any improvement you might have made, as it matches up to the rest of the tour--in the case of Federer, it's really the top 5 or 10 players. Despite this, there is still a chance for him to improve his results because Federer, like all great athletes, has always been streaky in showing his optimal brilliance, aka 'the zone'. If he can maintain that streak at important events, then he can 'improve'. However, I think Wimbledon might be an exception for Federer in this case--a long streak is probably not needed, just need to bring out everything when he runs into Nadal again this year...oh and against Murray (I am predicting that Murray will have an incredible year at Wimbledon)
  5. araghava

    araghava Rookie

    May 17, 2005
    It depends on what you mean by improve. In my opinion he need to adjust his mentality to become a more attacking player. Play shorter points, come to the net more, S&V more. This is an area he was much better at early in his career.

    Recent results suggest he can't dominate Nadal, Djokovic or Murray from the backcourt anymore.

    Unlike Nadal and Djokovic, he has the tools to play front court tennis if he chooses to. Question is whether he willing to take the short term losses while he recalibrates his game.
  6. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Dec 15, 2008
    Fed is more experienced now and he needs to use that to his advantage. He needs to catch the top off balance now, I like his increased volleying lately, something not many expect. I say he can still be a threat, not much of his physical game he can improve its more his mental aspect to the game.
  7. ESP#1

    ESP#1 Professional

    Jun 17, 2008
    Their are some things Federer could improve, he could become a better volleyer, his backhand could be better, even his strengths like his forehand and serve could improve, his backhand preperation could improve, nadal improved alot last year maybe this year we see the second coming of federer
  8. NickC

    NickC Professional

    Sep 5, 2007
    East Coast, USA. Formally Tucson, AZ
    How could he improve? I'm curious (not a nay-sayer) as to how he could improve in terms of his game, as he has as close to perfect technique as humanly possible.

    Maybe he could improve physically? Hit the gym a bit more, but what would that do? Would he be able to hang a bit more with the big boys from the backcourt? I don't see how that could improve his game, as his whole style of play is about attacking and hitting winners.

    What else could he do? I think he could improve tactically, if anything. If you watch the match from Hamburg from a few years ago, he S&V'd a ton, and used a deep, hard slice to Nadal's forehand as an approach shot, and he took the third set AT LOVE. Why he didn't even try that the next tourney (the French Open) even for a point is beyond me.

    If I had my way, he'd revert to his pure attacking game that he played years ago, and as a junior. Watch that match from Wimby 2001 to see what I mean. Attacking tennis at it's best. Sure, he didn't S&V on every point, but he was still attacking the net, and didn't just bash from the baseline, but he mixed it up really well in terms of his tactics, service placement, and all that. The only thing different from how he plays today is that he isn't looking to hit an offensive shot from the baseline and move in on it. He prefers to hit from the baseline more often than not. We saw at Kooyong last summer when Roddick straight-setted Fed just how effective a very attacking game can be - Roddick S&V'd about 80% of the time, and Federer couldn't come up with an answer (because nobody plays S&V, so it was hard to get used to), and lost. If Federer can add a few more MPH to his serve, while still retaining his placement abilities, and look to attack more, he'd regain his edge.
  9. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

    Jan 18, 2006
    Northern NJ, USA

    I think that Fed can and will improve his game both mentally and physically. Studies have shown that the ages of 25-30/32 are the strongest years for men in sports or in general. Fed just needs to regain confidence.

    I have often said that Fed should have hired Gil Reyes to whip him into phenomenal shape, as that would give him the confidence that he could stay with the grinders. I also believe that it would increase his focus in long points when he is going for the attacking shot. He has been making a lot of UEs lately due to that lack of focus at times. This would renew his mental confidence and release the free flowing variety of shots and magic that we all have seen before. It will definately be tougher, but he can do it if he wants it.

    Mono robbed him of both of those talents last year and it's been difficult for him to get it back. However, even without that confidence Fed made a Semi, 2 finals and Champ in the GS' last year. Think what could happen if he gets the confidence back in his prime.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
  10. Rten10

    Rten10 New User

    Dec 31, 2008
    Federer doesn't NEED to improve his mechanical game...however he has lost the mental edge that he had for so long against other players. He is shaky now, and definitely not as confident as he used to be. Also, the fact that he has been sick has not helped him either. I think that when he is at 100% again, and when he starts winning tournament after tournament the "old" Fed will be back...hopefully :)
  11. JeMar

    JeMar Legend

    Jul 29, 2008

    I hope that he will use his ability at the net more this year.
  12. TheMusicLover

    TheMusicLover G.O.A.T.

    Jan 13, 2009
    Cygnus X-1
    Have to agree with you on this. Besides this, a little more mental fortitude wouldn't be bad either, as it seems to be missing lately - the way he let his frustration get the best of him at Doha against Murray, leading to a complete implosion - hmmm.... :shock:
  13. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

    Sep 7, 2007
    Saudi Arabia
    No one is perfect so of course Federer can improve.

    Most importantly he needs to work on some solid consistency and I think a lot of it is lack of confidence and hes half a step slower these days.

    Fed could also improve(or more a matter of reintegrating) on an attacking approach game. Stop trying to rally with baseliners who are younger, just as powerful, and more consistent than himself. Take the baseliners out of their game. I watch Stepanek do it all the time and win against players who would blow him off the court if he stayed back.
  14. tennis-hero

    tennis-hero Banned

    Jun 8, 2008

    past his 08 level?- sure

    past his 06 level?- doubt it
  15. nadalfan!

    nadalfan! Professional

    Nov 14, 2007
    I think he will find out that he needs to improve a little bit more to get in top shape. I think he needs to focus a bit more on his fitness because I think that's what's holding him back a little bit. I watched some highlights and I saw that he gave up on some balls that he could have reached if he was just a little bit more alert and a little bit more agile. Again, this is just my opinion. I don't wanna get flamed for this! :D
  16. dr_punk

    dr_punk Professional

    Feb 25, 2007
    Miami, FL
    He's just tired.
  17. Lendl and Federer Fan

    Lendl and Federer Fan Hall of Fame

    Mar 6, 2008
    Beverly Hills, XX
    Federer doesn't need to improve, get rid of the polo, and just go back and play like the beast in 2003 &2004. :)
  18. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

    Sep 11, 2008
    Playing with less errors would be a good improvement. Federer can sure do that.... and play better than last year.
  19. Dilettante

    Dilettante Hall of Fame

    May 13, 2005
    Katy Perry's belly button
    He can improve certain aspects of the game to compensate aging and so, just like Agassi did.

    Agassi player smarter and smarter when he got older, Federer could do the same, he's the kind of player that could do it.

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