Is ball anticipation Federer's biggest strength?

Is ball anticipation Federer's biggest strength?

  • Yes

    Votes: 16 51.6%
  • No

    Votes: 15 48.4%

  • Total voters
    31
I've heard it been said that just before opponent serves, Federer can pick the serve's direction like 90% of times. This is probably the reason why he's always been top notch on first serve return pts won. Also on baseline rallies it often feels like he's one step ahead of opponents, particularly the ones who cannot rush him enough. I know the guy got one of greatest all time FHs and serve has awesome accuracy and disguise, but is it actually the great ball anticipation that allows him to use his FH so much? And TBH, almost any top player would dominate quite a bit if they hit as much FHs as Federer can. So is the anticipation actually the biggest reason for his success?
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
I've heard it been said that just before opponent serves, Federer can pick the serve's direction like 90% of times.
Fed knew where Nadal's serve was going nearly every single time since Nadal has always served 99% of his serves to Roger's BH (no exaggeration, it's literally 99% until IW 2017). He still struggled even with Nadal's 83 MPH second serve.

And no, his anticipation is not his greatest strength. He has the greatest FH in the history of the sport, so anything after that is secondary. His anticipation has also declined as his speed has steadily evaporated.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Federer's biggest talent is his physical coordination. All the limbs move in perfect harmony and balance allowing him to move fluidly, generate easy power and to be so accurate that he can consistently hit small targets. Federer's gift from the tennis gods is his supreme coordination and balance. All great players have outstanding coordination but Federer's coordination is on another level. His limbs, feet and hands move in perfect coordination to his core. Watch him hit a FH in slow motion, to see how everything works in perfect harmony.
 
Fed knew where Nadal's serve was going nearly every single time since Nadal has always served 99% of his serves to Roger's BH (no exaggeration, it's literally 99% until IW 2017). He still struggled even with Nadal's 83 MPH second serve.

And no, his anticipation is not his greatest strength. He has the greatest FH in the history of the sport, so anything after that is secondary. His anticipation has also declined as his speed has steadily evaporated.
But could he consistently hit as great FHs without the great anticipation? And as regards to his mb GOAT FH, just see stats on baseline pts won and he ain't shining. What I'm getting to here are the biggest strengths as REASONS why he wins. Since he doesn't dominate baseline pts how can you say his FH is the biggest reason for his success? TBH, I would pick either anticipation or serve disguise as biggest reason.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Having a good, well-disguised serve is one of the biggest reasons he wins. #6 all-time for % service games won, compared to #48 all-time for % return games won.
 
Federer's biggest talent is his physical coordination. All the limbs move in perfect harmony and balance allowing him to move fluidly, generate easy power and to be so accurate that he can consistently hit small targets. Federer's gift from the tennis gods is his supreme coordination and balance. All great players have outstanding coordination but Federer's coordination is on another level. His limbs, feet and hands move in perfect coordination to his core. Watch him hit a FH in slow motion, to see how everything works in perfect harmony.
Yea coordination sure makes it look awesome, probably the biggest reason why so many marvel the guy, myself included. In comparison, Djokovic does those ugly movements but results are in same caliber. So I'm not so sure if this superior coordination were the biggest reason for his success. You don't need that perfect harmony of movement for success on tennis courts.
 
Having a good, well-disguised serve is one of the biggest reasons he wins. #6 all-time for % service games won, compared to #48 all-time for % return games won.
Yep, IMO the reason for his success ain't his FH, although it's pretty accurate devastating and what else. All top players have good ENOUGH FHs to be #1. What makes him #1 is exactly that combo of #6 on service games won and #48 return games won. Any guy in top10 of service games won is probably a serve bot but he's not. And why he does that is serve disguise on service games and anticipation on return games IMO. As much as fans wanna compare strokes of players and state those as reasons of players' domination I don't see it that way. Stroke might be let's say 5% better than opposition but that alone doesn't win matches.
 
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Deleted member 742196

Guest
I've heard it been said that just before opponent serves, Federer can pick the serve's direction like 90% of times. This is probably the reason why he's always been top notch on first serve return pts won. Also on baseline rallies it often feels like he's one step ahead of opponents, particularly the ones who cannot rush him enough. I know the guy got one of greatest all time FHs and serve has awesome accuracy and disguise, but is it actually the great ball anticipation that allows him to use his FH so much? And TBH, almost any top player would dominate quite a bit if they hit as much FHs as Federer can. So is the anticipation actually the biggest reason for his success?

I can hop on board with this. I do think anticipation is one of his greatest assets, and while he hasn’t relied completely on it in past dominating and blasting from the backcourt, it’s become an essential part of his new approach.

There’s no way he could pick up those half-volleys at mid court without his spidey-sense. I do think that for it to work effectively he needs to be he needs to be the one in control of the rally, which is a big part of his new approach crashing to the net.

There’s just no way to take a ball that early and inside the court without incredible anticipation so I think you’re on the right track here.

Notice the degree of confidence you can hit with against a wall and contrast that when across someone.

The wall gives you back an extremely predictable bounce, after a few minutes you know exactly where it’s coming, at what angle/spin/pace etc - so you’re able to hit it with a level of confidence that’s hard to replicate across someone.

I think RF can determine very early what’s coming at him - like you or I might against the wall - so as long as he’s controlling the rally, he’s anticipating what’s coming.
 
It's definitely one of them.

I think Roger's ability to attack with surprise and avoid telegraphing his intentions is a big deal. It means that while his anticipation is very good, his opponent's is often compromised. This also applies to his great serve.

His ability to take the ball extremely early is another obvious one that springs to mind.
 
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Deleted member 742196

Guest
It's definitely one of them.

I think Roger's ability to attack with surprise and avoid telegraphing his intentions is a big deal. It means that while his anticipation is very good, his opponent's is often compromised. This also applies to his great serve.

His ability to take the ball extremely early is another obvious one that springs to mind.
Yeah, it’s quite what you just said.

People don’t know what’s coming from his end + more often than not he knows what’s coming from theirs.

Needs a lot of things for this to happen, no doubt excellent anticipation is one of them.
 
It's definitely one of them.

I think Roger's ability to attack with surprise and avoid telegraphing his intentions is a big deal. It means that while his anticipation is very good, his opponent's is often compromised. This also applies to his great serve.

His ability to take the ball extremely early is another obvious one that springs to mind.
I think he can take the ball early exactly because he anticipates so well. Sure, it also does take some hand-eye but I don't think that'd be where he marvels as much.

And as we've seen, he has had this recent success exactly because he takes the ball early, off both wings. It's funny that it took Ljubicic to finally get it to his head that he should do that. I always knew that he would fare much better vs. competition, especially Nadal, if he started to take the ball earlier especially on his BH. I always highlighted that back in like 2014 and I was so annoyed that he didn't try to do it. In his peak he consistently took the ball earlier like he finally does now again. I guess Ljubicic could explain to him why opposition struggled vs. him in his peak. And it wasn't his ball bashing with FH.
 
They all have good anticipation also.
Can they hit on the rise like Federer, which needs good anticipation? Cause that hitting on the rise is IMO where he shines right now, and also in his peak. Hitting on the rise also takes hand-eye but he ain't GOAT in it, e.g. Agassi was better IMO.

And also, vs. opponents who can't rush him he always seems to be one step ahead in "thinking". I don't see similar with other tops. That too IMO is due to his anticipation.
 

citybert

Hall of Fame
When Alex of Simon and Alex hit with Federer that is exactly what they said and that Fed probably even trains for this catching the raquet off the ball or the motion of the opponent
 
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Deleted member 733170

Guest
I voted yes out of solidarity for the idea more than absolute conviction that his anticipation is his greatest strength.

It’s a misunderstood part of his game and how vital it is to his winning ways. Both Novak and Fed appear to have more time on the ball than their opponents in the rally. I would give the edge to Fed however due to his extraordinary anticipation at the net.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I've heard it been said that just before opponent serves, Federer can pick the serve's direction like 90% of times. This is probably the reason why he's always been top notch on first serve return pts won. Also on baseline rallies it often feels like he's one step ahead of opponents, particularly the ones who cannot rush him enough. I know the guy got one of greatest all time FHs and serve has awesome accuracy and disguise, but is it actually the great ball anticipation that allows him to use his FH so much? And TBH, almost any top player would dominate quite a bit if they hit as much FHs as Federer can. So is the anticipation actually the biggest reason for his success?
If the ball anticipation is his greatest strength,, then it is a Learned trait. and it can also be learned by Amateurs. Would he ever write a Article or Book to teach us this learned trait or ability ?
 
Nope. Movement, Forehand, Serve, pick 1.
Nah. Serve yes, and even on that more it's disguise rather than the shot itself.

Movement? Forehand? Then why does he have clearly losing percentage vs. tops on baseline rallies?? And don't tell me his BH is a weakness. Sure it's slightly but fact is his movement or FH don't really buy him real advantage and a winning percentage on baseline points vs. tops.
 

FHtennisman

Professional
Nah. Serve yes, and even on that more it's disguise rather than the shot itself.

Movement? Forehand? Then why does he have clearly losing percentage vs. tops on baseline rallies?? And don't tell me his BH is a weakness. Sure it's slightly but fact is his movement or FH don't really buy him real advantage and a winning percentage on baseline points vs. tops.
Are you talking about 2018 or his entire career?

If you're talking about his entire career, then the years where he won the majority of his slams (2003-2010) 16 out of 20, other than Nadal, he consistenty best every other player from the baseline.
 
Are you talking about 2018 or his entire career?

If you're talking about his entire career, then the years where he won the majority of his slams (2003-2010) 16 out of 20, other than Nadal, he consistenty best every other player from the baseline.
Yea, mainly these later years. I do agree that at his peak nobody but Nadal could threaten him on baseline. But nowadays, doesn't any top10 win more points from baseline vs him? Maybe even more than top10?
 
Footwork and hand eye coordination are unbelievable
To watch yes. Do they separate him results wise? In the sense that he hits the ball on the rise yes. That's the end result why he's #1 now, hitting on the rise so often. Question just is that what is the biggest reason he can do that on majority of balls? Anticipation? Footwork? Hand-eye? On which is he better than the rest so that he can indeed hit on the rise unlike others?
 

FHtennisman

Professional
Yea, mainly these later years. I do agree that at his peak nobody but Nadal could threaten him on baseline. But nowadays, doesn't any top10 win more points from baseline vs him? Maybe even more than top10?
I'm inclined to agree then, but in 2017, like in some tournaments such as the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Shanghai - I don't have the data to back me up but it felt like Roger was dominating from the baseline. However other than that, the last few years he's had to rely on his other skills like being able to hit the ball earlier than any other player, his variety, point construction, net game and serve.
 
I'm inclined to agree then, but in 2017, like in some tournaments such as the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Shanghai - I don't have the data to back me up but it felt like Roger was dominating from the baseline. However other than that, the last few years he's had to rely on his other skills like being able to hit the ball earlier than any other player, his variety, point construction, net game and serve.
I created thread for facts about this: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...-baseline-points-vs-2004-2007-federer.611359/
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Almost all of the greats in the history of tennis have excellent speed and anticipation. Federer is a prime example of this. He's quick and his anticipates extremely well. His reaction time is also superhuman. He is aced very rarely.

The great player with speed and anticipation gets in position to hit a better shot with more control. Jimmy Connors had super footwork and great anticipation which only won him 150 plus tournaments. It's the same with recent number ones like Nadal, Murray, Djokovic, Sampras, Borg, Nastase, Edberg.
 
Can they hit on the rise like Federer, which needs good anticipation? Cause that hitting on the rise is IMO where he shines right now, and also in his peak. Hitting on the rise also takes hand-eye but he ain't GOAT in it, e.g. Agassi was better IMO.

And also, vs. opponents who can't rush him he always seems to be one step ahead in "thinking". I don't see similar with other tops. That too IMO is due to his anticipation.
I don't think they can hit on the rise like Fed, but I don't think that necessarily excludes others from having similarly great anticipation, which is useful for more than just this ability. It's a bit murky how much of these things is due to to anticipation per se, and not also other faculties we might label.
 

Rosstour

Legend
Yes, the anticipation is the real reason behind his success. It enables all the other miracles he performs on court, because it gives him more time...more time to get to that ball, more time to load up his groundstrokes, more time to make adjustments.

It's what enabled him to slack off in his early years and still dominate, and it's also what has allowed him to hang on and outlast younger players when his absolute athletic abilities started to decline.

I'm around Fed's age, and I can feel my reflexes actually improving. I think the same thing is happening to him.
 

mtommer

Hall of Fame
Simply put, yes, Federer's anticipation is by far the biggest factor in his continued success. If you're where the ball is going to be, it makes footwork, shot selection, reaction times, everything, that much easier. Ever try to return a 130 mph serve? I have. Ever try to return 130 mph practice serves where you know exactly where they're going and then casually returned them to the server so they could hit another practice serve? I have. It's reaaallllyyy easy on the practice serves and it's reaaalllllyyy easy to hit them back to the server. Same thing with overhead warmup shots. What Federer does better than any other player is that he aggressively returns shots to areas that limits the good return options for the opposing player, and that aggressiveness also stress' the other players enough that weak replies aren't uncommon. Because Federer positions himself so well, he gives himself more options on return shots. Nadal and Djokovic are the two players that have consistently been able to deal with this part of Federer's game the best, dealing back in kind what he deals to them, mostly because they're continuously (continuously being the key factor and we won't go into why that may be) fast enough to give themselves that extra fraction of time to produce solid enough return shots.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
i guess you can break down talent in all sorts of ways. he has exceptional body control of course. as an extension of that, his racket control is among the best--i'd list mcenroe and rios as two others who, along with federer, just seem to know exactly where the face of the racket is at all times. call it feel i suppose. that, coupled with balance, means he rarely looks awkward or out of place. edberg was another i'd put in that category--guys who, at any moment on the court, you could cast a statue of their body position, and it would stand upright without toppling over. short list of guys you could apply that metric to. borg also, and laver i'd toss in there.

also, i do think his grip has something to do with it. an eastern-ish grip makes it simpler to hit through the ball with little advance notice if necessary...contrast that with sock, for example, who has a devastating forehand, but only provided he has time. the mechanics of a more severe grip mean you have to pull the racket through a more complicated motion to stroke through the ball, which can cause problems when you have just a split second to react. as a 5.0 hacker at my best who's played around with a range of forehand grips, i know i've felt the difference.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Fed knew where Nadal's serve was going nearly every single time since Nadal has always served 99% of his serves to Roger's BH (no exaggeration, it's literally 99% until IW 2017). He still struggled even with Nadal's 83 MPH second serve.

And no, his anticipation is not his greatest strength. He has the greatest FH in the history of the sport, so anything after that is secondary. His anticipation has also declined as his speed has steadily evaporated.
Agree. I’d throw pressure serving in too - like Sampras.

And the fact that the top guys bring it from the practice courts. Week in, week out. Almost every match. They make the right shot selection in the pressure moments. And make them the majority of the time.

Just compare Fed and Dimitrov- how many times have we seen GD make a terrible unforced error or go for some flashy low percentage shot?
 
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Deleted member 3771

Guest
No that was Pete
It's Fed's biggest strength, and the all the freebies from the reliable serve bottling frees him up to hit the rest of his shots with less pressure so he can afford to try a few more things and get creative.
 

sportmac

Hall of Fame
It's definitely one of them.

I think Roger's ability to attack with surprise and avoid telegraphing his intentions is a big deal. It means that while his anticipation is very good, his opponent's is often compromised. This also applies to his great serve.

His ability to take the ball extremely early is another obvious one that springs to mind.
Agree with this. He transitions into aggression better and faster than anyone. You'd have to go back to the serve and volleyers to find someone who does it as well.
 

kramer woodie

Professional
Anticipation many times is only guess work. Federer's quality is a Super Level of Focus. He makes himself aware of his opponents tells,
(like in poker, what gives away the opponents holdings), he sees racquet face angles before ball is truly struck. Knowing your opponents
swing patterns and being able to recognize different swing patterns give a player a head start to move before the ball is actually struck.
The same thing on serves. See the racquet face approaching the ball, making contact, and you can tell where the ball will be going. See your opponents grip by racquet face angle when serving to them.

Players and coaches have used the term anticipation forever, but the true term and effort should be FOCUS! Then you will be able to
anticipate correctly verses guessing.

Aloha
 
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