"Federer plays better on faster surfaces" myth busted

NoleFam

G.O.A.T.
Now it won't come up for me. It was there, I know I'm not crazy lol. Anyway, they were a tick faster than 2018. I guess they could be considered medium. Still not very quick.
Looked solid medium to me with a lower bounce than 2018. Gilbert and Cahill said it was faster even before the tournament started.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
At least letthe tournament play out before coming to any conclusions., and even then...

I thought it was a high-level match today, and Thiem's positioning and movement was quite good. He even looked pretty good at the net - he's definitely improved his approach and overall game on HC.

Fed should defeat Berr, and we'll see if Thiem can get by Novak. Fed hasn't been ousted yet.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
Federer is 38 and about 7-10 years from his prime tennis.

Faster courts would’ve helped back in 2011-2012.
Best slam result in 2011 was French Open. Dude's always been an aggressive counterpuncher at heart who ventured into aggressive baseliner territory as the occasion demands
 
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SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
“When I came here I was positively surprised that conditions are fast and not slow like they were in previous years. I feel like the court allows to keep the rallies short with a good and dominant serve and immediately searching for the point,”

He was beaten today in straights by clay court specialist.

Should we stick to....idk... beautiful backhand ? :unsure:
-Balls
-Father
-Racket
-Conditions
 

Chadalina

Legend
Wow folks and we thought we heard it all - apparently even BALLS affect Fed's game these days smh smh
I like dunlops, hit a few today. Have you ever played with them? How about those babolat balls they used to use at the french.

Not making excuses for Fed, he is a part timer lately (unless its an exo), he isnt in form. Look at how sluggish he is running around his bh now, just to hit it up the middle.
 

Druss

Hall of Fame
According to ABCD and Lew, Federer is in his peak, which they claim is also substantiated by Fed's own comments that he apparently claims to be playing better than ever.
Thiem vs Federer H2H 5-2....on grass H2H 1-0 in favour of the clay court specialist who has done squat (except for 1 title at IW) outside of clay.
So it's fair to say that 'baby' Thiem who is yet to reach his peak >>>>>>>> Federer.
I'm sure the above-mentioned will be swift to back me up on this one.
 

King No1e

Legend
“When I came here I was positively surprised that conditions are fast and not slow like they were in previous years. I feel like the court allows to keep the rallies short with a good and dominant serve and immediately searching for the point,”

He was beaten today in straights by clay court specialist.

Should we stick to....idk... beautiful backhand ? :unsure:
So Federer isn't as good on fast courts because Thiem beat him on a fast court. I'm sure it would be the other way around if they played on a slower court, right? For example, Indian Wells? Or Madrid?

And Federer's backhand is almost universally agreed to be an elegant stroke. I personally find Wawrinka's much more beautiful, but Fed's is up there.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
So Federer isn't as good on fast courts because Thiem beat him on a fast court. I'm sure it would be the other way around if they played on a slower court, right? For example, Indian Wells? Or Madrid?

And Federer's backhand is almost universally agreed to be an elegant stroke. I personally find Wawrinka's much more beautiful, but Fed's is up there.
Gasquet GOAT confirmed...LMAO!!!
 

Genious at Work

Hall of Fame
“When I came here I was positively surprised that conditions are fast and not slow like they were in previous years. I feel like the court allows to keep the rallies short with a good and dominant serve and immediately searching for the point,”

He was beaten today in straights by clay court specialist.

Should we stick to....idk... beautiful backhand ? :unsure:
Federer is an old man. Why troll like this?
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
ya, what would Fed know about his own level after all right???
Federer himself is contradictory on this very issue. He also said a year ago that a 36-year-old should never be the favorite to win a Slam. Make of that what you will. He also said in 2013 that he was better than in 2007, which is a bold admission considering he was losing left and right that year.

It's all PR to keep hopes up, but I admire Nadal's own honesty in admitting that he himself is nowhere near his best. At least that's consistent with the statistics.
 

King No1e

Legend
Federer himself is contradictory on this very issue. He also said a year ago that a 36-year-old should never be the favorite to win a Slam. Make of that what you will. He also said in 2013 that he was better than in 2007, which is a bold admission considering he was losing left and right that year.

It's all PR to keep hopes up, but I admire Nadal's own honesty in admitting that he himself is nowhere near his best. At least that's consistent with the statistics.
In Federer's mind, maybe he really does think he's better now than 10 years ago. He's more experienced, that's for sure, and experience counts for a lot in how a player views their ability.
I may have been faster and more athletic 3 years ago than I am now, but I feel like a better player now because I have 3 more years of experience under my belt.
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
In Federer's mind, maybe he really does think he's better now than 10 years ago. He's more experienced, that's for sure, and experience counts for a lot in how a player views their ability.
I may have been faster and more athletic 3 years ago than I am now, but I feel like a better player now because I have 3 more years of experience under my belt.
Occasionally, he is as good or even better than in his peak years. The problem is that with age comes inconsistency. Federer can replicate his peak level; it is just becoming much rarer nowadays for him to do so.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
In Federer's mind, maybe he really does think he's better now than 10 years ago. He's more experienced, that's for sure, and experience counts for a lot in how a player views their ability.
I may have been faster and more athletic 3 years ago than I am now, but I feel like a better player now because I have 3 more years of experience under my belt.
strangely this bias affects only commentators, professional players, and all-time greats while leaving observant weekend warriors unscathed
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
I'm sure you'd be singing the same tune if Sampras hung around until 2010? With Fedr beating him up routinely?
pick a year that makes Fed look good...he'd be lucky to get a set on PETE in 2010...gets crapped on by Soderling, demolished by Berd, and soulcrushed by unripe Novak??? like my god man
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
This. Remember his performance against Berdych at AO17?
That performance shocked the tennis world in 2017. In 2007 that display would've been routine.
It's my theory that his extended streak of excellent performances at the start of 2017 was significantly helped by the 6-month break he took the previous year. That's how he was able to not only deliver the goods for one tournament, but for three: AO, IW, and Miami. Then he had another break, came back to win Halle and Wimbledon, and then went off and on for the rest of the year. Basically just returned to normal.

I think people greatly underestimate the effect of that hiatus on Federer's 2017 season. Sure, there were other factors such as the Ljubicic coaching advice and the reinvention of the Federer backhand, but this break tends to get overlooked.
 

King No1e

Legend
pick a year that makes Fed look good...he'd be lucky to get a set on PETE in 2010...gets crapped on by Soderling, demolished by Berd, and soulcrushed by unripe Novak??? like my god man
I said until 2010. That includes 2004-2009. No way Pete would beat Fedr in that period.
And regardless, Pete still wouldn't beat 2010erer. His post-1998 version couldn't take Safin and Hewitt's baseline game on HC. You think it would survive Federer's?
 

King No1e

Legend
Very interesting. I'm surprised no one covers the differences between balls used; it's certainly a factor based on my personal experience. I always have more feel with Babolat balls than with Penn, for example. Penn balls tend to explode a little more, so I usually have to take pace off my shots when using them, while I can knock the cover off Babolat balls more easily.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
According to ABCD and Lew, Federer is in his peak, which they claim is also substantiated by Fed's own comments that he apparently claims to be playing better than ever.
You are dishonest. It is not according to ABCD and Lew, but according to Federer (see below). Federer results are now not as good as 15 years ago as he plays now much better players.

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)


Question:

In 2003 you won your first title in Dubai. How much chances would the Federer of 2003 have against the Federer of today?

Answer from Federer:

Not many chances I believe. The game has extremely changed. It is more dynamic, faster and has become somewhat ruthless. The players are more athletic and the material makes the game faster. I myself have become better. In fact, I had to become better because I had new opponents and new challenges. Tennis on this level doesn’t allow you stagnancy. (March, 2019)
 

Aprilone

Rookie
“When I came here I was positively surprised that conditions are fast and not slow like they were in previous years. I feel like the court allows to keep the rallies short with a good and dominant serve and immediately searching for the point,”

He was beaten today in straights by clay court specialist.

Should we stick to....idk... beautiful backhand ? :unsure:
The important thing to remember is that Federer was sooo damn dominant and talented in his prime that they had to slow the courts down while also suspending certain rules of the game itself in order to save tennis from being a one man show. The GOAT debate can be settled on those facts alone, and there is tons of evidence.
 

Druss

Hall of Fame
You are dishonest. It is not according to ABCD and Lew, but according to Federer (see below). Federer results are now not as good as 15 years ago as he plays now much better players.

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)


Question:

In 2003 you won your first title in Dubai. How much chances would the Federer of 2003 have against the Federer of today?

Answer from Federer:

Not many chances I believe. The game has extremely changed. It is more dynamic, faster and has become somewhat ruthless. The players are more athletic and the material makes the game faster. I myself have become better. In fact, I had to become better because I had new opponents and new challenges. Tennis on this level doesn’t allow you stagnancy. (March, 2019)
Well, what else can I say, except:
Thiem >>>> Federer
5 - 2
.
 

BVSlam

Professional
Oh my god who cares
All these lame fanbases going at each other for the millionth time, unfortunately. Whatever anybody can use to rile up the others. Fed and his Baghdatis finals, Nadal and his clay-only resume, Djokovic and his smash. It's like a neverending game. But for some extra excitement they've now added 40-15, Berrettini and l0ses aga1nst p34k wawrinkuh.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Every player says they're "a better player now than 10 years ago."
Doesn't mean 2019erer would stand a chance against 2009erer or 2004-07erer.
If you want the truth about the real level of the player, from the player, wait until he retires and gets real. A champion can't admit he is almost "over" until the very end. It's a psychological mistake.

But ALL of the big 3 peaked earlier in defense. Novak has been fading for a couple years now, but it's hard to see because "faded" for Novak is close to the best again this year, but compare him to himself, his peak, and he has declined.

Fed peaked no later than 2006, and perhaps earlier. Novak peaked in 2011. Rafa peaked in 2008. Old players don't improve defensively. They compensate. Fed's been doing it for years, Novak's doing it now, Rafa obviously is slower. Then end is a slow motion drop until the end, when it turns into a nosedive. Fed did not improve defensively in 2017. Novak just wasn't around to continue what he did in the years before, up to 2015.

Novak's fans think it won't happen to him too, but it will. It's already happening, but he's taking up the slack with really good serving and smarter tactics.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
“When I came here I was positively surprised that conditions are fast and not slow like they were in previous years. I feel like the court allows to keep the rallies short with a good and dominant serve and immediately searching for the point,”

He was beaten today in straights by clay court specialist.

Should we stick to....idk... beautiful backhand ? :unsure:
We should "stick to" not aging. The problem is not fast surfaces. The problem is Father Time. Not sure why you think Novak will be immune to this in the future. It happens to all players. You know it's close to the end when they can't win on their best surface, under the best conditions.

Check out Djokovic's career return stats. He's under them this year, and that's with far inferior stats averaged in from pre-2011. His ability to win games on HC, his best surface, is around 32% this year, down from a high of 41% in 2011. Keep watching this one stat, see where it settles over the next couple years. When it falls to 30% and under, he'll struggle to win like every aging player. His conditioning remains superb, so no one can predict how fast this can happen. If his serve stays good and he stays above 30% on that stat for two or three more years, he may then overtake the slam count. But it's not a given. It's not as likely as his fans think. Nadal, older, gave him a run for his money this year, and the younger players are nipping at his heels.
 

OhYes

Legend
We should "stick to" not aging. The problem is not fast surfaces. The problem is Father Time. Not sure why you think Novak will be immune to this in the future. It happens to all players. You know it's close to the end when they can't win on their best surface, under the best conditions.

Check out Djokovic's career return stats. He's under them this year, and that's with far inferior stats averaged in from pre-2011. His ability to win games on HC, his best surface, is around 32% this year, down from a high of 41% in 2011. Keep watching this one stat, see where it settles over the next couple years. When it falls to 30% and under, he'll struggle to win like every aging player. His conditioning remains superb, so no one can predict how fast this can happen. If his serve stays good and he stays above 30% on that stat for two or three more years, he may then overtake the slam count. But it's not a given. It's not as likely as his fans think. Nadal, older, gave him a run for his money this year, and the younger players are nipping at his heels.
Novak is not important here. Even if he would be, you can't cherrypick stat from his insane year (undefeated from start till FO sf) and compare it with year when he was ill, had shoulder injury and is ridiculously given worst schedules and opponents he can have. Not saying that years don't matter, I don't think Fed years have such big impact on his game like you speak. I mean, where is that red line for Fed ? It is already insane to think he can win 3 slams with 37, year later he has 38 :oops: and ? Is he going to die on us soon ?
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
Most likely 2006 Federer would have had a positive record against Thiem, but one thing is still strange for me:

Why has it Federer so much easier against Nadal these days than against Thiem while Nadal is still a significantly better tennis player than Thiem himself right now?
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Novak is not important here.
He is one of the big 3, so he is important because he is part of a definite pattern or trend that pretty much happens to all aging players.
Even if he would be, you can't cherrypick stat from his insane year (undefeated from start till FO sf) and compare it with year when he was ill, had shoulder injury and is ridiculously given worst schedules and opponents he can have.


I'm not cherrypicking. 2011 was his peak, as this shows dramatically. It's very clear that from 2011 through to 2016 his return game was amazing. That was his trademark. Before 2011, the best he did was almost 32% in 2010, and that was when he started making his move. It was not totally clear that year because his serve went straight to hell and in fact did not get fully back on track in 2011 but rather in 2012.

As I said, it will be very important to see what this does next year. If it goes up, it's going to be another Ultron year if the serve also holds up. If not you will see the start of a decline, and expect that in the future. It is inevitable.
Not saying that years don't matter, I don't think Fed years have such big impact on his game like you speak. I mean, where is that red line for Fed ?
Fed had a similar peak in 2005-2006. In 2006 his return stats on HC were about where Novak's are right now, just a bit below, but his service game was stronger. Fed hit another peak in 2015, I believe because of the new racket, and the only thing that kept him from having another stellar year was a certain guy named Novak Djokovic, who was also having a second peak and who was 6 years younger.

If you expect any aging player not to decline defensively you are simply not looking at reality. The speed at which it happens is unpredictable, but it always happens. You need to revisit this topic in 6 years.
 

clayqueen

G.O.A.T.
I've never believed in the subjective assessment of court speeds. It seems to be an individual thing. According to Rusedski, the speed is medium pace and if Rafa were to do well, the speed would automatically become slow. After their match in Paris, Mannarino said when facing Rafa, you have to really go for it or you'll be wiped out.
 
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clayqueen

G.O.A.T.
Most likely 2006 Federer would have had a positive record against Thiem, but one thing is still strange for me:

Why has it Federer so much easier against Nadal these days than against Thiem while Nadal is still a significantly better tennis player than Thiem himself right now?
Because Rafa is hardly ever playing at 100% these days and the adrenalin facing Rafa generates in ALL players is second to none. Federer was probably of the opinion that he would win the match in the end because it's only Thiem but ran out of time.
 

OhYes

Legend
He is one of the big 3, so he is important because he is part of a definite pattern or trend that pretty much happens to all aging players.



I'm not cherrypicking. 2011 was his peak, as this shows dramatically. It's very clear that from 2011 through to 2016 his return game was amazing. That was his trademark. Before 2011, the best he did was almost 32% in 2010, and that was when he started making his move. It was not totally clear that year because his serve went straight to hell and in fact did not get fully back on track in 2011 but rather in 2012.

As I said, it will be very important to see what this does next year. If it goes up, it's going to be another Ultron year if the serve also holds up. If not you will see the start of a decline, and expect that in the future. It is inevitable.

Fed had a similar peak in 2005-2006. In 2006 his return stats on HC were about where Novak's are right now, just a bit below, but his service game was stronger. Fed hit another peak in 2015, I believe because of the new racket, and the only thing that kept him from having another stellar year was a certain guy named Novak Djokovic, who was also having a second peak and who was 6 years younger.

If you expect any aging player not to decline defensively you are simply not looking at reality. The speed at which it happens is unpredictable, but it always happens. You need to revisit this topic in 6 years.
Novak is part of big 3, and he has good stats as Federer does, but it is not about Novak - it is about Fed. If you could do your analysis for Federer's percentages where slow, medium and fast courts are compared, then we could talk some science.
We can't compare aging of anyone from big3 since they do not age the same. Fed winning 3 slams being so old is something that is not seen yet in Open era (Ken Rosewall did it at AO but not counting him at all bcs of many things), closest player by age who won a slam up to that point was Agassi who was 32. That is huge difference in tennis, and it doesn't fit any agenda, any statistical rehearsal, anything known to this sport at all. As you said yourself, he had one of peak years in 2015 and I agree on that. But how is it possible that 34 year old is playing so so good at 34, that he became a threat even to 28 peak player ? Maybe because (for some reason) members of big 3 don't age the same. Ok, they will all die before they turn up for their 120th birthday which would "prove" that they can't beat aging process, but if they are in conditions that suits them best, they will prolong their life ofc. You could find out what are Fed's conditions that suit him best by separating his stats that have happened on different court speeds, and watch trends through years.
Novak's 2011 was so great partly bcs he took everybody by surprise. He was riding on that wave of many things combined together, something which will not happen with same scenario ever again. I believe that if Fabio Fognini played that QF match against him in FO, Novak would took out Fed and Rafa too in final, and who knows for how long he would keep winning. But as you can see in your numbers, 2011 is pretty much separated from other years for a good reason, and you can't compare it with anything Novak has done before or after.
 

Krish0608

Hall of Fame
Best slam result in 2011 was French Open. Dude's always been an aggressive counterpuncher at heart who ventured into aggressive baseliner territory as the occasion demands
90's Clay at it again. Was Federer counter punching when he took down Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001?
 
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