Impressive Federer

#1
Just seen the highlights on you tube of Federer's 1st round match. Granted it's only highlights but I'm surprised at how well he looks to be playing given a lot of his performances last year. Serve, ground strokes, vollies, slice, drop shot, variety. Everything seems to be working and he looks to be moving like he is in his twenties! Really hope he can maintain this.
 
#5
I was there. First set was clinical with a lot of mixed play and his forehand was visibly and significantly more powerful than Istomin's groundstrokes. Second set continued like the first but once he had the break Federer clearly lowered his intensity. The same was true of the third set, intense and sharp until the break came and then he coasted on serve.
 
#6
i didnt get a chance to watch, was enjoying the murray/rba match but glad to read he was solid. Although I question what it really means given his opponent.
 
#8
... once he had the break Federer clearly lowered his intensity. The same was true of the third set, intense and sharp until the break came and then he coasted on serve.
Which is exactly what he needs to do to get himself into the semis and have a chance at Rafa and Djoker. Barring injury, I like his chances of getting there and I still like his chances against Rafa on a fast court. Djoker is a different story. He'll have to play his absolute best and Djoker will have to play sub-par... can happen, but not likely.
 
#14
I still think nadal in a bo5, they are evenly matched.
I'm not convinced Dal is good enough any more. Fed has turned that one around, he is clearly in a good mental place with Nad now and the opposite is true with Nadal. That's everything at that level, if Fed has the mental upper hand now then he'll execute the patterns of play which will send Nad home, which he's perfectly capable of doing on a good day.
That said, Fed's level may have dropped a fair bit since 2017, so even though Nadal's has as well that could be a factor. Either way I don't think Nadal is Fed's problem at the AO. The smart money is rarely on Nad losing early but it's not on him making another deep run in Melbourne either.
Likewise, Fed isn't Nadal's problem either. Neither are consistent enough to reliably book SFs and Fs together any more
 
#15
I'm not convinced Dal is good enough any more. Fed has turned that one around, he is clearly in a good mental place with Nad now and the opposite is true with Nadal. That's everything at that level, if Fed has the mental upper hand now then he'll execute the patterns of play which will send Nad home, which he's perfectly capable of doing on a good day.
That said, Fed's level may have dropped a fair bit since 2017, so even though Nadal's has as well that could be a factor. Either way I don't think Nadal is Fed's problem at the AO. The smart money is rarely on Nad losing early but it's not on him making another deep run in Melbourne either
maybe but apparently rafa was playing very well with his first match. not to mention he has, imo, a pretty kind draw.
 
#17
Everyone always says that. For Fed too. One day they're owning some scrub and the next they're on the ropes. Such is life in your mid thirties on the tour
Nadal looked fine. Not as sharp as in his first couple of matches last year. Part of that was down to Duckworth's approach to the match. A lot of his second serves were as hard as first serves and he was hitting his backhand extremely flat to try to rush Nadal. The serve volley plays were working more often than not as well.

Rafa was steady, with a few flashy shots, and the match largely turned on Duckworth's winners and unforced errors. He took it out of Nadal's hands.

A solid, if unremarkable performance, which didn't give me much to go on regarding his chances in the tournament.
 
#22
Nadal looked fine. Not as sharp as in his first couple of matches last year. Part of that was down to Duckworth's approach to the match. A lot of his second serves were as hard as first serves and he was hitting his backhand extremely flat to try to rush Nadal. The serve volley plays were working more often than not as well.

Rafa was steady, with a few flashy shots, and the match largely turned on Duckworth's winners and unforced errors. He took it out of Nadal's hands.

A solid, if unremarkable performance, which didn't give me much to go on regarding his chances in the tournament.
Thanks for the summary. I didn't actually get a chance to watch the match (busy packing and running errands today) but honestly even if he'd been stellar I wouldn't have thought much of it. I heard Fed played well too, same story really. At this stage in their careers, Fedal could be on a winning trajectory and then some Croatian tweaks their thigh or back for them in the fourth round and they're out in four in the QF. I just enjoy every match as it comes now, or when I have time to watch them, anyway.
 
#23
I'm not convinced Dal is good enough any more. Fed has turned that one around, he is clearly in a good mental place with Nad now and the opposite is true with Nadal. That's everything at that level, if Fed has the mental upper hand now then he'll execute the patterns of play which will send Nad home, which he's perfectly capable of doing on a good day.
That said, Fed's level may have dropped a fair bit since 2017, so even though Nadal's has as well that could be a factor. Either way I don't think Nadal is Fed's problem at the AO. The smart money is rarely on Nad losing early but it's not on him making another deep run in Melbourne either.
Likewise, Fed isn't Nadal's problem either. Neither are consistent enough to reliably book SFs and Fs together any more
I think the last time he played Nadal was too long ago now for him to have any mental upperhand, will just depend on who plays better and wants it more

Fed usually makes the semis here, but who knows. Feel overall there's a good chance of a Fed vs Nadal semi and have a feeling Nadal would win that in 4 in a pretty close match, but I've not seen any matches of Fed's this year, so I've not seen his supposedly improved level
 
#24
Thanks for the summary. I didn't actually get a chance to watch the match (busy packing and running errands today) but honestly even if he'd been stellar I wouldn't have thought much of it. I heard Fed played well too, same story really. At this stage in their careers, Fedal could be on a winning trajectory and then some Croatian tweaks their thigh or back for them in the fourth round and they're out in four in the QF. I just enjoy every match as it comes now, or when I have time to watch them, anyway.
Exactly right. It's why I've transitioned from attending the second week to the first week. If anyone out there is thinking of attending a grand slam for the first time and has their heart set on seeing one of the big three, day and night passes to the main court on day one will generally get you two of them. That way even if your man or woman goes down in the first round you're guaranteed to see them.
 
#25
I think the last time he played Nadal was too long ago now for him to have any mental upperhand, will just depend on who plays better and wants it more

Fed usually makes the semis here, but who knows. Feel overall there's a good chance of a Fed vs Nadal semi and have a feeling Nadal would win that in 4 in a pretty close match, but I've not seen any matches of Fed's this year, so I've not seen his supposedly improved level
How far Nadal makes it often depends on how well Fed is playing. If Fed is on fire and Nadal has niggles I wouldn't be surprised at a withdrawl from Mr. Nadal in the round before. ;)

More seriously, if they do play I'd have to go 50-50. Nad would be apprehensive playing Fed again at the AO now, that last loss hurt him, but he'd also be keen to seek revenge for it and he's the mentally toughest guy around so betting against him is admittedly foolish.
 
#26
Exactly right. It's why I've transitioned from attending the second week to the first week. If anyone out there is thinking of attending a grand slam for the first time and has their heart set on seeing one of the big three, day and night passes to the main court on day one will generally get you two of them. That way even if your man or woman goes down in the first round you're guaranteed to see them.
Same here. The packing is done and I'll be in Melbourne tomorrow evening :D
 
#28
A final would really surprise me. If he should win in straights all the way to the SF, I give him a fair chance.

Playing well against Istomin tells nothing, really. He's close to a perfect opponent for Federer; a medium big hitter with no movement.
who do you think will be his first real test?
 
#29
How far Nadal makes it often depends on how well Fed is playing. If Fed is on fire and Nadal has niggles I wouldn't be surprised at a withdrawl from Mr. Nadal in the round before. ;)

More seriously, if they do play I'd have to go 50-50. Nad would be apprehensive playing Fed again at the AO now, that last loss hurt him, but he'd also be keen to seek revenge for it and he's the mentally toughest guy around so betting against him is admittedly foolish.
If Fed is back to playing like he was in much of 2017 when he beat Nadal 4 times, then I'd go with Fed. But I'm not sure he is yet. And yeah Nadal will be out to win this time and try for that elusive 2nd AO. I'm just not keen to say Fed solved Nadal and he's no longer a problem
 
#32
If Fed is back to playing like he was in much of 2017 when he beat Nadal 4 times, then I'd go with Fed. But I'm not sure he is yet. And yeah Nadal will be out to win this time and try for that elusive 2nd AO. I'm just not keen to say Fed solved Nadal and he's no longer a problem
Totally fair and largely agreed.
 
#33
who do you think will be his first real test?
Tsitsi/ Basi have both been very decent lately.

Straight set wins are important at his age in early rounds. Let's see. One match at the time.

What do you think? Khachanov?

Fingers crossed for Stan tomorrow, despite playing Gulbis, another personal favourite!
 
#34
I was there. First set was clinical with a lot of mixed play and his forehand was visibly and significantly more powerful than Istomin's groundstrokes. Second set continued like the first but once he had the break Federer clearly lowered his intensity. The same was true of the third set, intense and sharp until the break came and then he coasted on serve.
So basically the norm.
 
#36
I was there. First set was clinical with a lot of mixed play and his forehand was visibly and significantly more powerful than Istomin's groundstrokes. Second set continued like the first but once he had the break Federer clearly lowered his intensity. The same was true of the third set, intense and sharp until the break came and then he coasted on serve.
Thanks for the recap!

I saw the highlights, but the play looked a bit slow. Or was it bc of video? How were the conditions live (i.e. court speed, new Dunlop balls)?
 
#37
Good match from Fed but Istomin is about as slow as they come. Hitting a dazzling array of shots is easy for Fed when his opponent moves at half the speed of Djokovic. Still, it’s encouraging to see Fed moving well and I feel better that he can beat the rest of the field other than Djokovic. Last year’s performances - losing to Coric twice, Millman, Anderson, Kokkinakis etc. was just awful to watch.
 

Devilito

Hall of Fame
#42
Fed's problem at 37 is not going to be playing well, it's going to be playing well after 5-6 best of 5 set matches. Fed would be better off playing Nadal / Novak in the 1st round than in the SF / Finals where they're still fit and Fed starts tiring out because of age. Fed almost always looks unbeatable the first few matches of a slam until he starts slowing down. Why did he look so good today? His footwork was amazing. That will NOT last as the tournament progresses.
 
#45
I was there. First set was clinical with a lot of mixed play and his forehand was visibly and significantly more powerful than Istomin's groundstrokes. Second set continued like the first but once he had the break Federer clearly lowered his intensity. The same was true of the third set, intense and sharp until the break came and then he coasted on serve.
@Shank Volley Are you planning on attending more matches? Please keep us updated! (y)
 
#46
And in a Federer-Djokovic final? Will there be neo-backhand?
@Sport There's a lot of Fed fans who think the neo BH is a poor strategy against Novak. They want him to slice him to death, as he (futilely) attempted to do in Paris last year. I disagree emphatically with them. For me, no neo-BH, no AO title. And he's not used the neo BH since Stuttgart.
 
#47
@Shank Volley Are you planning on attending more matches? Please keep us updated! (y)
I'll be around for all the Rod Laver matches today as well as the standard running around to outside courts to check out the lesser known players. I always take a checklist of the top 50 men and women and make a challenge of seeing how many I can take watch. Real die hard tennis fans can have an incredible time here for just the general admission pass. The players ranked 25 and under get almost no attention from the large crowds so you can get up close and personal with courtside views.

I spent about half an hour watching Cibulkova absolutely murder the ball against two guys who were having to scramble to get each shot back, her coach was working with her on flattening her approach shots and I've rarely seen the ball skim the net so consistently. Incredible ballstriker, very much the WTA version of Schwartzman.

Ducked over to the court across the path and chatted with Giles Simon for a minute after his practice. I asked him how he'd pulled up after Sydney and he laughed it off and said "Ice bath, I'm alright."

More advice for any first time attendees, try to watch for the coaching staff of your favourite players and know what the umpires look like. They're more likely to converse because they're spared from the more swarming fans by their relative anonymity. Noticed Patrick Mouratoglou walking past in what looked like a hurry and wished him luck for the tournament, he actually wandered over out of his way and shook my hand.

If you want some less hyperbolic thoughts than the commentators serve up about any RLA matches today just @ me in the match thread.
 
#48
Thanks for the recap!

I saw the highlights, but the play looked a bit slow. Or was it bc of video? How were the conditions live (i.e. court speed, new Dunlop balls)?
The ball speed didn't seem all that different to last year but it's difficult to tell with the men I saw. The ball Nadal and Federer hit doesn't react the way other players shots do. Seeing Zverev today will be a better indicator because of his playstyle. Duckworth was hitting through the court pretty easily off his backhand when he wasn't hitting into the net, so I'd say the court isn't all that much grittier than last year.
 
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