Match Stats/Report - Federer vs Hewitt, Indian Wells final, 2005


Hall of Fame
Roger Federer beat Lleyton Hewitt 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in in the Indian Wells final, 2005 on hard court

Federer was the defending champion and would go onto complete the 'Sunshine Double' by winning Miami shortly afterwards. Hewitt had recently been runner-up at the Australian Open and was a former 2 time champion

Federer won 101 points, Hewitt 77

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (48/84) 57%
- 1st serve points won (39/48) 81%
- 2nd serve points won (21/36) 58%
- Aces 14
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (33/84) 39%

- 1st serve percentage (46/94) 49%
- 1st serve points won (30/46) 65%
- 2nd serve points won (23/48) 48%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (24/94) 26%

Serve Pattern
Federer served...
- to FH 43%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 1%

Hewitt served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 60%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Federer made...
- 63 (20 FH, 43 BH), including 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 FH)
- 18 Errors, comprising...
- 11 Unforced (5 FH, 6 BH)
- 7 Forced (6 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (63/87) 72%

Hewitt made...
- 48 (19 FH, 29 BH), including 1 runaround FH & 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 10 Unforced (7 FH, 3 BH)
- 9 Forced (3 FH, 6 BH)
- Return Rate (48/81) 59%

Break Points
Federer 5/15 (7 games)
Hewitt 1/7 (4 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Federer 27 (14 FH, 6 BH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV, 2 OH)
Hewitt 10 (4 FH, 3 BH, 2 FHV, 1 OH)

Federer's FHs - 4 cc (2 passes), 5 dtl (1 return, 1 pass), 4 inside-out (1 at net) and 1 inside-out/dtl
- BHs - 4 cc passes and 2 dtl

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a second volley BHV
- 1 from a return-approach point, an OH

Hewitt's FHs - 2 cc, 1 dtl and 1 inside-out
- BH - 1 cc and 2 inside-out (1 return)

- the FHV was a non-net, swinging shot

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Federer 40
- 25 Unforced (10 FH, 13 BH, 2 FHV)... with 1 FH at net
- 15 Forced (8 FH, 6 BH, 1 BHOH)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.2

Hewitt 34
- 27 Unforced (13 FH, 14 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 7 Forced (3 FH, 3 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 47.0

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Federer was...
- 15/20 (75%) at net, including...
- 3/4 (75%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 1/1 retreated

Hewitt was...
- 9/19 (47%) at net, with...
- 0/1 return-approaching

Match Report
Good match from Federer and not a good one from Hewitt = comfortably easy result on a normal hard court court

Federer had established thorough dominance over Hewitt the previous year. Standard features of their matches - and so, prospects for this one - include ...

- Fed being able to get good lot of cheap points with aces, strong unreturned serves or drawing weak returns that he can putaway with FH early
- on flip side, Fed returning Hewitt comfortably and neutralizingly. Not many freebies for Hewitt, not even commanding starting positions
- in play, Fed being able to dominate and devastate with FH in way Hewitt can't match (or resist)
- BH play is up in air. Might see either player be loose (particularly Federer). Outgunned on other fronts, its particularly important for Hewitt to be steady with the BH (and hope Fed isn't)

Just about all of the above plays out in this match, particularly in Fed's favour and match is one sided. Hewitt's showing is quite poor

Just 49% first serves in from Hewitt, with Fed returning comfortably even against first serves is poor from Hewitt. The low in count might be worth it if he's sending down unreturnables but he's got just 4 aces and 2 service winners and delivers mostly regulation, in swing zone to slightly wide serves. Fed returns without strain

On other side of the net, he's a bit off on the return too. Fed mostly holds back on his serve, which becomes apparent when he's in a spot of trouble, and then the better, wider serves come out. But Hewitt misses a host of routine and makeable returns also. He's got 10 UEs on the return, most against 2nd serves and Fed sits on high 39% unreturned rate. Its not a quick court - I'd estimate 25-30% to be reasonable number against Fed's showing, especially for Hewitt, one of the very best, consistent returners. Returns he makes aren't troubling either (though that's not as big a part of Hewitt's general strengths)

On the FH, Fed does all the things he's capable of, with 14 winners, 10 UEs. All other groundies on show yield -
- Fed BH 6 winners, 13 UEs (with 4 winning passes)
- Hewitt FH 4 winners, 13 UEs
- Hewitt BH 3 winners, 15 UEs

- on the BH side of things as the UE counts indicates, no advantage for Hewitt (in fact, he trails there also). He plays neutral third ball BHs after Fed's chip returns. He'd need to take charge with his first shot to have a chance of coming out ahead overall, given his other disadvantages

To be clear, Hewitt getting better of Fed BH-BH isn't a given, but would be a necessity for his chances in the match. His chances of coming out ahead on FH are very slim... only if Fed has a stinker of a day

As is, Fed comes out ahead off both sides - with a typically good showing off the FH and a good one off the BH. The odd shank and mishit. He also goes dtl attackingly reasonably often, missing some but also turning play his way with the shot. And the FH is devastating, both in putting the ball away or when needed, taking charge from neutral scenario and occasionally just slapping a winner from there. Hewitt's FH isn't bad either. There's a healthy chunk of attacking, wide FH cc's (Fed has match high 8 FH FEs), but Fed's also exceptional in defence on the running FH and usually thwarts such attacks

Fed serves within himself, while getting as many freebies as he could expect on a particularly vigorous serve showing. He doesn't draw weak returns when they come back, but nothing to bother him either

And finally, Hewitt with low first serve in count. Fed can return 1st serves, let alone seconds without strain. Some of the large 10 return UEs by Fed are product of semi-tanking when well up in sets

Beyond general match up norms, 3 things stand out - Federer's exceptional defence and passing and Hewitt being sloppy in attack

Hewitt does attack with moderate wide shots, but they don't end points. Fed runs down balls and puts them back in play. So thwarted, Hewitt flirts with coming to net. He's met with perfectly placed passes - especially the BH cc's, which strikes 4 winners Just 49% net points won by Hewitt - and Fed has 7 passing winners with Hewitt at net just 20 times total. He comes in off advantageous, if not commanding positions - excellent passing from Fed and it scares Hewitt from coming in. Seeing as he can't outlast, outmanuver or out hit Fed from the back, that doesn't leave him with much

There's some sloppiness from Hewitt in his missing attacking shots to short balls with half-open court to hit into. Fed's errors tend to be going for winners by contrast - shots he makes more often than not and that his advantage in serve-return complex gives him leeway to go for

Breakdown of UEs -
- Neutral - Fed 11, Hewitt 14
- Attacking - Fed 5, Hewitt 7
- Winner attempts - Fed 9, Hewitt 6

Fed in leading in basic consistency is doom for Hewitt. Hewitt with 6 winner attempt errors to just 10 winners is poor

Match Progression
Hewitt's broken to start the match, with 3 FH UEs. He's broken again in an even poorer game near end of set with 4 UEs

There's a celebrated point at start of second set, involving drop shots and running-down-drop-shots drop shots and lobs at net and forced back gets and defensive OHs and and over-shoulder retrievals and half-volleys that ends with Hewitt managing to volley a winner off Federer's powerful, at net FH. Point after, Hewitt misses a regulation third ball BH. They're both worth 1 point - that's tennis

Federer breaks aggressively in game 7, somewhat tanks his next return game before serving out for 2 sets lead

Third set is a couple steps down of quality, with both players fairly sloppy. Fed again breaks to start but is pushed to 14 points to consolidate. Hewitt survives 0-40 to hold after that with Federer letting him off the hook a bit, but is less fortunate the game after, when he's broken in 10 point game which he stared with 2 double faults in first 3 points. Sloppy game from Fed to get broken after that and he's pushed in next service game too, which he comes out of with aces

Summing up, controlled and very good showing from Fed - the FH firing, the BH steady enough while being superb on the pass - to go along with big advantage in serving and returning. Hewitt's outgunned on most fronts anyway, but is a bit below par on his usual strengths (the return and consistency off the ground, movement) and action is one sided


Hewitt against Nadal at AO at the start of the same year would have been better stuff. Hewitt was clearly more competitive, but he had linesmen saving his butt on some crucial points, and that version of Nadal nearly beat him. It was the very same Hewitt who went all the way to the final and the very same Nadal who was supposedly a no-threat on faster courts. Yet on here, you have experts who believe a peak Hewitt would be a match for a peak Nadal or peak Djokovic.

Ever after the DC 03, Hewitt only looked competitive against Federer when the latter had some nerves or was overly relaxed as he was pretty much in control of the match. When people went poly, Hewitt went mediocre. His strategy to stay in a rally long enough, puff and huff, to entice his opponent to come to the net so he can pass them was no longer productive. Players now pushed him from the BS, as the poly strings added more spin and highlighted power, which was something Hewitt lacked. He no longer appeared as fast, partly because faster balls coming at him would have been just too fast for him anyway, partly because in desperate attempt not to get pushed, he gained about 15 pounds of muscle, which resulted in lower endurance and slower starts.

Hewitt was a dead end of the tennis evolution. He was the answer to the question tennis stopped asking after 2002/2003.


Hewitt had some atrocious service performances in his career. Might have been a lot more competitive otherwise.

The big 3 all have very solid serves and service games, yielding great rewards even without looking particulary overwhelming.

Hard to challenge the best when you have to start every single point on the backfoot.

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, pretty straightforward match here.

Good ol' Roddick tired Hewitt out the day before. Even when he didn't face Federer, Andy still ensured Rogi's victories.