Observation: Change in Federer's Technique

chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
Compare these two videos from AO 2016 and 2017.



In 2016, Federer swung slightly bigger and the swing was more forceful. He took the ball early back then as well, but it looks like the centre of his body weight was slightly behind compared to 2017, for both FH and BH.

In 2017, it seems Federer shortened his back swing even more(by so slightly since his back swing wasn't that big anyway - he has always been prepared well early for his shots), put his body weight ever so slightly more to the forward and hence made the contact with the ball just that little bit earlier and point of contact so slightly further front. He also relies more on timing the ball. These subtle changes actually increased the pace of his shots and also took more time away from his opponents for preparation. As long as he stays healthy and maintains this form reasonably well, I think he will be near unbeatable on fast surfaces this year.
 

Alien

Hall of Fame
From one year to another? Noooo
You must compare 2004 to nowadays to get an evolution in a shot. The rest is just tactics which make him hit in a hurry, which doesn't count as a new technique.
Like that match with Sampras in Wimbledon, he clearly used to serve.
 
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SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
He's definitely been using less rotation on the BH wing all year, especially on the BH drive. Don't know if that's a result of injury recovery, adaptation to the new racquet, or a bona fide technical tweak, but it's real and consistent no matter the opponent.

I don't see much difference in the FH prep, though.
 

NastyWinners

Professional
Less take-back allows him to come through the ball quicker. Gives him more options to re-direct the ball cross-court. You'll notice in the Nadal match especially how he was able to be aggressive cross-court with his angles because of that.
 
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Fedfan34

Guest
Less take-back allows him to come through the ball quicker. Gives him more options to re-direct the ball cross-court. You'll notice in the Nadal match especially how he was able to be aggressive cross-court with his angles because of that.
Interesting. I can't say I exactly follow but tennis technique is an obscure branch of knowledge. Still fascinating though.
 

smoledman

G.O.A.T.
Amazing defensiveness from Nadal fans. Federer just beats Nadal in a slam final and they're trying to spin it as some kind of freak occurrence of form that can NEVER happen again.

Yeah right. One just happens to win 18 slams on 'freak form'.
 

smoledman

G.O.A.T.
What was so different than when there were passages of play when he hit the backhand similarly against Nadal(2010 YEC Final, 2011 YEC RR, 2012 AO semis, 2012 IW)? It's just that THIS time he was able to sustain it for 5 sets.
 
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Fedfan34

Guest
Do you play baseball at all or understand batting technique?
Haha I was a competitive junior tennis player and almost made my D1 college team. But nonetheless, it evades me. If I ever thought too much about technique my shots would tank, so I just stopped.
 

MasturB

Legend
He hasn't really changed his technique from last year. What he has changed is his positioning and mindset. The faster courts will change your swing a little since you don't have as much time to take back and prepare.

Source: I teach all my juniors one-handed backhands. The Federer and Henin versions.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
What was so different than when there were passages of play when he hit the backhand similarly against Nadal(2010 YEC Final, 2011 YEC RR, 2012 AO semis, 2012 IW)?
Only a slight decrease in the rotation of his upper body as he loaded for his BH drives. Mostly what made it noticeable is that you could see the racquet face go behind the body almost every backswing from the 1900's up through last year. This year, it stays in front of the body. And it's happening on pretty much every topspin drive. Was the case all through the Hopman and Aussie. Whether it had much effect? I doubt it.

The big difference against Nadal is that Nadal's FH ain't a weapon fit to punish the GOAT any more. The big difference against everyone else? Federer always beat everyone else, so no difference in result there at all.

Still, a change is a change. Make of it whatever you like.
 

NastyWinners

Professional
Haha I was a competitive junior tennis player and almost made my D1 college team. But nonetheless, it evades me. If I ever thought too much about technique my shots would tank, so I just stopped.
Ah okay -- but yeah, shorter back-swing leads to quicker rotation through the ball. Could also just be how he plays on quicker courts. He may have a longer back-swing on the clay courts as he'll have more time for it.
 
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Fedfan34

Guest
Ah okay -- but yeah, shorter back-swing leads to quicker rotation through the ball. Could also just be how he plays on quicker courts. He may have a longer back-swing on the clay courts as he'll have more time for it.
To this day I still don't understand (or try to understand) the infamous wrist snap on the forehand or pronation on the serve etc. There is one thing I understand which is taking the ball early, and how much easy power that gives you, which is why Agassi and Rogi are my favorites.
 

NastyWinners

Professional
To this day I still don't understand (or try to understand) the infamous wrist snap on the forehand or pronation on the serve etc. There is one thing I understand which is taking the ball early, and how much easy power that gives you, which is why Agassi and Rogi are my favorites.
Gotta love the physics/trigonometry of tennis right?
 

smoledman

G.O.A.T.
The wrist snap that Federer and all top pros do is in the category - 'don't try this at home' or you'll be seeing your orthopedic surgeon very quickly.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
To this day I still don't understand (or try to understand) the infamous wrist snap on the forehand or pronation on the serve etc. There is one thing I understand which is taking the ball early, and how much easy power that gives you, which is why Agassi and Rogi are my favorites.
Wrist snap: not a real thing.
Pronation: just something that happens naturally if you have a good motion. The muscles and tendons in the shoulder pull the racquet around quite on their own.

Understanding is yours. Do with it what you wish.
 
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Fedfan34

Guest
Wrist snap: not a real thing.
Pronation: just something that happens naturally if you have a good motion. The muscles and tendons in the shoulder pull the racquet around quite on their own.

Understanding is yours. Do with it what you wish.
Pretty much always been my understanding. And more than that I don't need to know since I'm a has been player at this point who still wants to keep his strokes clean, not a tennis scientist.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Pretty much always been my understanding. And more than that I don't need to know since I'm a has been player at this point who still wants to keep his strokes clean, not a tennis scientist.
Good policy. If you ever change your mind, there are plenty of people willing to mislead you in the tips/instruction forum.
 

Sartorius

Hall of Fame
He hasn't really changed his technique from last year. What he has changed is his positioning and mindset. The faster courts will change your swing a little since you don't have as much time to take back and prepare.

Source: I teach all my juniors one-handed backhands. The Federer and Henin versions.
That's what I thought also, didn't notice a significant change. Federer on a fast court usually tries to move up the court anyway. Add in a fresh mindset and just overall good form, and you have AO 17. It just all came together for him I think.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
I think you also have to factor in that vs Dimitrov Federer can play much more within himself and achieve the win, as opposed to needing to play a specific tactic against Nadal to deny Nadal his own favourite plays. Also, versus Dimitrov he's able to take different cuts at the ball with the knowledge that Dimitrov doesn't have the ability to make opponents pay for short/central balls like Nadal does.

In-all, the technique differences suggested are overstated. Federer has always been able to play like he did versus Nadal - it's just that other factors need to be in place. The combined court/ball speed and bounce for a start. And the situation matters too. When you're backed into a corner you play differently to when you're in cruise control like Federer was most of the match vs Dimitrov.
 

chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
Even in the match v Djokovic, Federer's shots coming off his racquet looked somewhat different from what they were in AO 17. His shots look more looping. I guess very subtle changes made significant differences.

 

Luckydog

Professional
The faster court changs everything,Fed is just the guy who adapts to this change perfectly.That's the story.
 
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chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
He's definitely been using less rotation on the BH wing all year, especially on the BH drive. Don't know if that's a result of injury recovery, adaptation to the new racquet, or a bona fide technical tweak, but it's real and consistent no matter the opponent.

I don't see much difference in the FH prep, though.
With FH, I think he changed the hitting point very slightly to the front and try to hit it even earlier than he used to, almost like a half volley. I think he now is not trying to hit with his own power as much but rather he seems to concentrate more on trying to use the pace of his opponents shots by hitting them even earlier than before. He has always had not much of unnecessary moves with his forms anyway, so there's not much to cut off from there. Even compared to last year, his FH has more snap and penetration. I think his FH and BH looked slightly more loopy lat year. At this level, I guess very slight adjustment makes significant differences.
 
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