Hewitt and Henman on Federer

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Q. If you were trying to describe to someone what it's like to face his forehand when he's hitting it the way he was at times today, how would you describe it?

LLEYTON HEWITT: It's hard to predict, you know, where he's going on it. He moves into the forehand so well. He can -- there's not too many players who can actually hit the ball on the rise like he does. He takes it so early and hits it so clean. You know, he can hit with -- you know, there's a breakpoint in there where he came up with a short forehand crosscourt angle. It held up in the breeze and I couldn't get to it. Shots like that, you know, he makes them look a lot easier. They're not that easy to hit.

Q. He has so much going for him, the way he constructs points, his creativity is incredible, the confidence and mental toughness. What aspect do you think is his very strongest? What impresses you, what one quality impresses you the most?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably his shot-making I think. You know, his shot-making is second to none at the moment especially. He can, wherever he is on the court, he moves extremely well for a bigger guy as well. So, you know, he comes up with, you know -- it's hard to get him out of position.

Q. Can you think of any other player that you've ever played who even approaches that shot-making ability?

LLEYTON HEWITT: You know Andre is obviously a great shot-maker as well. They're a different kind of shot-maker. Roger plays with probably a little bit more flair than Andre. He can come to the net, has a little bit more of an all-court game and uses his serve, bigger serve, more than Andre. Apart from that, there's no one that's probably close to Roger, I don't think.


Q. There's already some talk about comparing Roger with Pete, even though Roger, of course, is still so young. But on a slow, slow court outdoors, if you had to absolutely totally choose between Pete and Roger...

TIM HENMAN: Yeah, I think, again, they're not totally different generations, but the game, again, has changed. You know, when Pete was -- when the conditions were a bit quicker and Pete was serving well, there was very little that you could do. But I just think with Roger's game, I played Pete on a number of occasions, you just felt like, you know, you could hang on to your own serve because Pete would perhaps, you know, miss a few returns and, you know, make a few unforced errors.

But now, I think the conditions being slower, you talk about Roger's game being so complete, you know, he probably feels that he can break every game as well as hold every game. I think that's what makes the combination so difficult. You know, only time will tell. I think it is early stages, but he's got a hell of a platform to build from.

Q. Roger, obviously, has a long way to go. But when he finally retires, hangs them up, what do you think his chances --

TIM HENMAN: Oh, absolutely. There's every opportunity, yeah. There's so many variables, you know, whether injuries and, you know, who knows what's going to happen in his game. But right now, you know, he's playing phenomenally well. I think he's got every chance to go down as one of the best ever.

Q. You wouldn't be surprised if he broke his record at the end?

TIM HENMAN: I don't know. It's a long way to go, isn't it. He's won three and he's got 14 to compete. I wouldn't bet against it.


Apart from being able to hit any shot from anywhere on the court, what distinguishes Federer from the rest of the players is his uncanny ability to win important points. He has an extra gear that kicks in when he's got, say, a break point - for or against him - or a set point, etc.

The last player I remember as possessing this trait was Sampras - and he did ok in his career...


question is can roger stay healthy and maintain this level for ten more years, or will the success or pressure spoil him. i'm sure the rest of the field will now declare war on him. people will be playing him knowing the pressure with be on roger to maintain this high standard he has set for himself.


Hall of Fame
I think that players who dominate NEED the pressure to stay on top in order to motivate themselves. Sampras needed that, pretty much enjoyed and invited the all the challenges and pressure to stay there. IMO if the players didn't gun for him he'd probably get bored.


I think another thing about Federer is you can see his game is completely natural and unforced, I think that's why he got rid of his coach, maybe who was trying to make him do things he didn't want to do.

I have never seen Federer sweat during or after a match. He has a preternatural efortlessness to his game and this must mean he can last longer during a tournament, by contrast someone like Agassi seems to sweat bullets constantly, that must be really tough to maintain physically throughout a tournament. I think Federer's naturally graceful game will mean he stays injury free, unless he gets a very unlucky break.


Sampras thrived on the pressure for sure.. but with every passing year it does get harder and the body gets older. To win 14 GS events in a career and to keep plugging away at it.. there are very few such champions who have that kind of desire/intensity. Federer will have his work cut out for him.. that there's no doubting.


Hall of Fame
IMO Federer is playing under less pressure now than the years before he won his first slam. Pre Wimbledon 2003 he was putting too much pressure on himself to meet the expectations of the tennis community (coaches, management team, media, etc) hence the brilliant wins interspersed with totally unexpected losses to middle ranking pros. Right now he has produced the wins people expected of his talent so he can sleep easy at night.

Pete was motivated by the challenge of beating the records and he achieved almost all of them.

James Brown

if federer can stay at the top until he hits 30 (which is reasonable) he has to win 1 a year and then 2 a year in 3 of those 7....thats asking a lot, i dont think he can do it but he can definetly come close.