A different perspective on Roger's fitness (Probably written by a *******)
Why is Roger Federer(s) Fitness Questionable? And Now?
Written by Sergio Cruz
Is the Tennis Domination of Roger Federer just in Slight Decline or is this the fall of the Empire?
To many this is a fact to me it is all up to Roger Federer.
Like any athlete Roger Federer is responsible for his own performance, not the 'coach', 'wife', 'mom', 'dad', 'agent', 'physio', 'psychologist', 'close friends', 'distant friends', 'movie stars', 'soccer stars', 'rock stars', 'golf stars' or whoever is in the extended and almost ridiculous entourage that surrounds tennis players of today. 'Quip' no wonder they have trouble keeping their eye on the ball!
What this means is that Roger Federer is the only person who has to take responsibility for his own destiny and make all of what is necessary to improve his physical condition and subsequently eliminate his mental melt downs.
Just by looking at Federer(s) mannerisms***, as an experienced coach and athlete, I can see that he has never paid such dues outside of the court or in the court, therefore he can not do it.
That is why Nadal has won Roland Garros several times and Federer none. Nadal paid and still pays the price in and outside the court today.
Had Federer done the same as Nadal and paid the high price, he would also have reached to where no other tennis player ever reached. Instead he has to join the likes of Pete Sampras and John McEnroe as the ones that could but who never won Roland Garros, for very identical reasons. (No Longer True)
Now that I gave you a very basic 101 on training physiology lets go back to Roger Federer and why for years on end I have been writing and saying to whoever wants to hear that, Federer has never won Roland Garros yet (and perhaps never will -) for one single, but fundamental reason - NO PHYSICAL FITNESS!
Yes dear readers, no physical fitness to sustain the type of effort a top clay court adversary and tournament will demand from Roger in a 5 set match!
In other words in tough matches where Federer has or must run - 'The King is Naked!'
To understand all of this we have to go back to the time between December 2003 in Huston where Federer capped his best season ever (until then) with a win in the masters plus the Nr3 in the world ATP rankings and January 2008 where Roger Federer was diagnosed with a strange case of "mononucleosis*".
In this period December 2003 January 2008 Roger Federer amassed a respectable record starting as an anemic player full of lapses of concentration to no combativity in certain matches to the dominator starting in
2003--Marseille, Dubai, Munich, Halle, Wimbledon, Vienna, Tennis Masters Cup; 2004--Australian Open, Dubai, ATP Masters Series Indian Wells, ATP Masters Series Hamburg, Halle, Wimbledon, Gstaad, ATP Masters Series Canada, US Open, Bangkok, Tennis Masters Cup;
2005--Doha, Rotterdam, Dubai, ATP Masters Series Indian Wells, ATP Masters Series Miami, ATP Masters Series Hamburg, Halle, Wimbledon, ATP Masters Series Cincinnati, US Open, Bangkok;
2006--Doha, Australian Open, ATP Masters Series Indian Wells, ATP Masters Series Miami, Halle, Wimbledon, ATP Masters Series Canada, US Open, Tokyo, ATP Masters Series Madrid, Basel, Tennis Masters Cup;
2007--Australian Open, Dubai, ATP Masters Series Hamburg, Wimbledon, ATP Masters Series Cincinnati, US Open, Basel, Tennis Masters Cup.
Despite this impressive record one thing always struck me as suspicious, questionable or vulnerable about Federer, his physical fitness. In Roland Garros I knew it was the key but, in many other matches, I always noticed the following:
- If things went Federer(s) way and they did 95 percent of the time on that period, Federer looked like a million dollars and beamed with pride, but every time his opponent put up a fight, forced him to run side to side, even if that was for a short period, Federer immediately showed signs of nerves and would start hitting frames, making routine mistakes and many times even double faulting.
Players like Nalbandian were able to expose it clearly in many occasions inclusive in Roland Garros 2006 were if injury had not struck David in the stomach muscles in the beginning of the second set, Roger was in for a major spanking!
This to me as an experienced observer of high level tennis was a tell tale that Federers Achilles was fitness (besides ego and the head sideways which caused frames when fatigued).
My suspicions where confirmed when Federer made this statement a few years ago:
'I do not serve and volley more because I get tired.'
Sure you get tired if you are not fit! That was my thought.
A poorly trained athlete will not serve and volley and is not going to be able to handle long rallies either.
As everyone saw in Miami, Roger Federer buckled once more under challenge and mind you the rallies were not even that hard. Problem is the previous match against Andy Roddick had already sapped out whatever there was in Federer(s) reservoir, which as always, was very, very little.
To whom did Federer lose in his career between 2003 and 2009?
David Nalbandian, Jiri Novak, Tim Henman, Richard Gasquet, Guillermo Canas, Novak Djokovic, Gilles Simon, Andy Murray and of course Rafael Nadal.
What did these players have in common?
- They were sticky
- They make him run (fitness)
- And they made him run side to side (which he does not like)
Federer's physical conditioning and movement has 'never' been up to par with the demands of the game. Yes, movement, whenever Federer is forced to run (which he does not like to) from side to side, the point generally ends in a mistake or a frame.
No one was aware of it because as usual people tends to act like lemmings press included and therefore hide great flaws in a players game that could have been easily exploited by others. And Coaches are so busy with so many other things that often forget to look at tapes or scout the opposition in real match play.
Now, going back to physiology of training 101. If a player does not pay the high price it takes to train physically in a certain way (and I am not going to tell you here because it is a 2 million dollar answer), the following happens during competition:
- The amount of red blood cells in the players blood stream is insufficient to take the work load
- The oxygen stops flowing in the necessary amounts to the areas needed
- The brain can not produce or give the orders to produce ATP, endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and other key hormones.
- The players legs get heavy and unresponsive (**lactic acid accumulates in muscles), co-ordinations start to fail (gross errors add up), stroke production (technique) becomes sloppy and the quality of the game deteriorates rapidly.
You saw all of this happening to Federer in a somewhat veiled fashion in Miami on the second set and blatantly in the 3rd set.
At the brain level since oxygenation is at the deficit level:
- The chemical production diminishes dramatically and with it goes aggression, motivation, fighting spirit, clear thinking too.
- The brain does not send the electrical impulses with the necessary speed to the muscles
- Reaction time slows down steeply
- Frustration mounts
- Irrational thinking prevails
- Negativism and temper tantrums flare! Federer braking his racket!
- And a final melt down follows with almost total surrender. Federer(s) final set against Djokovic in Miami.
Well trained and fit athletes have the following traits in competition:
- They can run any ball down for as long as it takes.
- If they are baseliners they will hound every ball you throw at them (Rafael Nadal)
- If their games is the attack they will attack you all day (Stefan Edberg, Patrick Rafter, Pat Cash)
- They will recover from any tough match in the previous day and will be fit the next day. Roger Federer had one set left in him when he got to Djokovic, the rest was left in the previous match against Roddick.
For the Federer fans what I am saying is almost an affront and disbelief will be their reaction, but I am not a Federer fan, I am a Coach, I love Federer (s) game and I do appreciate his great contribution to the game and I like Federer as a human being, but as a Coach I can not go out onto the street and say, 'what a beautiful outfit you have your highness', when in fact the king is naked!
Hope this will give you some idea of what the needs are and that you should develop your body and mind in sync.
Also, I hope that Roger Federer humbles down a little, takes a Coach he can believe in instead of 'we are exchanging some ideas', gets down to work on his physic 'the right way' and may be, next year he will win Roland Garros.
That would be a great satisfaction for me and attacking tennis!
*Mononucleosis - Nicole Vaidisova - Justine Henin - Mario Ancic - Roger Federer - (Murray suspected of it in Dubay, but then diagnosed as just a virus, lucky Murray!)
**Lactic acid is positive in training to a degree because it can later on be transformed in glycogen (energy) which is muscle food!
***mannerisms Obsession with his hair - Almost abhors getting dirty, wet or sweaty - The way he buttons up his shirt - How he wants everything to be just perfect almost in a feminine way - How he hates to be challenged by his opponents who he almost innerly considers inferior. All of these are signs of someone who was pampered all of his life and who did not have much rough and tumble with male friends or collegues. Just NOT ready to Ruuuuuummmmmble! ))))
haha too trueI agree...that is why I posted it...kind of a perverse sense of satisfaction when you see some of these blind haters bite the dust