Roger's NEO backhand and it's impact in the SF

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
I'm not a Maestronian, but I would be interested in everyone's thoughts on the NEO backhand and how it affected play patterns and the tactics of the match yesterday.

How do people think it held up?

There's no doubt it helped Roger on R.O.S.

The NEO backhand also seems to have helped Roger immensely in neutral rallies. He looked far more comfortable standing and banging with Nadal when the ball was hitting his backhand corner.

My only criticism would be that he should have tried to end points earlier with it. Easier said than done, though, given the conditions.

Did anyone notice an adjustment from Nadal? I felt he was less inclined to run the backhand up the line to Federer's backhand and opted to use the angled backhand crosscourt effectively.
 

Raining hopes

Hall of Fame
I'm not a Maestronian, but I would be interested in everyone's thoughts on the NEO backhand and how it affected play patterns and the tactics of the match yesterday.

How do people think it held up?

There's no doubt it helped Roger on R.O.S.

The NEO backhand also seems to have helped Roger immensely in neutral rallies. He looked far more comfortable standing and banging with Nadal when the ball was hitting his backhand corner.

My only criticism would be that he should have tried to end points earlier with it. Easier said than done, though, given the conditions.

Did anyone notice an adjustment from Nadal? I felt he was less inclined to run the backhand up the line to Federer's backhand and opted to use the angled backhand quite effectively.

I personally was very impressed with it, any other surface and he would have had a lot of winners or winner set up from that wing.


Personally think that the 2017 dynamics of the Fedal rivalry are intact but the surface and Nadal's much better defence(than what he was doing in 2017) neutralised them completely.


On a faster surface, the way Fed was pounding on the ball from both wings despite the bounce and weight, will really help.


But Rafa's defence has improved and he too has become more confident with his added aggression to the game. His BH was doing insane things last match.

So it will be 50-50 with a slight edge to Roger , if they are to play again.



I really hope Rafa returns the favour and meets Federer at the SF at WB.

Then let the best man win.
 

Azure

Legend
It's going to be on fire this Wimbledon. I don't know about terms like neo backhand because I don't see the mechanics that are different. I can see that there's more sting in it. It's going to be lethal on grass. His serve, his decent movement (incredible given his age) and this backhand of his is going to take him tantalisingly close to another Wimbledon.
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
My opinion is that it helped, Federer's backhand held up alright. But I feel like not enough people mention how much Nadal's game has changed too. He still is dominant on clay, that doesn't change, but his hitting is HUGE now. I think he is the better ball striker than Federer on clay. And I think he can hit that much better because he gives himself much bigger margins for error, with the later contact point and bigger tendency for topspin.

In the past, I was of the opinion that whoever wins between the two is who was faster, kept the ball in play, and hit more forehands. Now I feel like it's who takes control of the rally and dictates play first, because both players are not the movers they used to be.
 

The Green Mile

Bionic Poster
I'm on the other side of the spectrum it seems, thought his backhand was pretty atrocious today, though thanks mainly due to how difficult it is to execute in these windy conditions and with that sort of aggressive court positioning combined. Rafa was all over it. Same with the 1st serve return. Yeah, there were some nice winners as per usual, but for the majority it seemed Fed left himself in awkward positions in what was generally neutral points, Rafa very quick to counter today, quite clinical. Fed would have done better in all other conditions/surfaces for sure though...
 
I disagree. The wind took Federer's serve out of the match. Federer absolutely needs his serve at his age. Even though it’s clay he would be getting more free points from it.
Sure, but he doesn't win this match. What Rafa did to him would have been amplified without wind.
 

Ray Mercer

Professional
Sure, but he doesn't win this match. What Rafa did to him would have been amplified without wind.
I believe it’s a closer match without the wind but yes Nadal still wins. Wind is always going to hinder the precision aggressive player more vs. the retriever. Federer needs to be able to win free points from his serve and be able to one two punch, he couldn’t do that with this wind.
 

MeatTornado

Legend
Due to the slow surface, it played right into Rafa's hands every time he unleashed it cross-court. In previous hard court meetings they would either be winners or Rafa would be lunging for them and barely making contact. But the pop of the clay surface gave him all the time he needed to line up his lefty forehand and redirect them with ease up the line, putting Federer at the disadvantage who was initially all the way out wide and hit it as hard as he could, allowing no time for him to get back in position.

He needed to go dtl with it more often, but that's a shot he's mostly abandoned against everyone these days, so it's not surprising. He managed to get a couple winners and wrong foot Nadal the few times he went inside-out up the line with it.

Still way too many shanks. But it's Rafa's topspin on windy clay, so I can't really blame him.
 

oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
I personally was very impressed with it, any other surface and he would have had a lot of winners or winner set up from that wing.


Personally think that the 2017 dynamics of the Fedal rivalry are intact but the surface and Nadal's much better defence(than what he was doing in 2017) neutralised them completely.


On a faster surface, the way Fed was pounding on the ball from both wings despite the bounce and weight, will really help.


But Rafa's defence has improved and he too has become more confident with his added aggression to the game. His BH was doing insane things last match.

So it will be 50-50 with a slight edge to Roger , if they are to play again.



I really hope Rafa returns the favour and meets Federer at the SF at WB.

Then let the best man win.
Great analysis.

On a simpler note, it took Chatrier-clay (where Nadl lost only 2 matches to date) AND ridiculous winds/conditions for him to beat Fedr, yet Fedr still managed 2 breaks of Nadl's serve. And this is with Fedr's neutralized ground strokes from these conditions. For perspective, Nadl hasn't broken Fedr's serve in the previous 3 meetings, and this extends further to when he was 3-1 up in the 5th of AO17. Going forward, since Fedr can break Nadl on Chatrier with blunted strokes, then he'll likely be able to do so on hc/grass. But on hc/grass, Fedr's serve will be much harder to break, unlike with the conditions played here at RG19 that completely blunted Fedr's serve.
 

tata

Hall of Fame
You can so tell that Nadal got back those balls because it was clay. Elsewhere they're winners or force errors. A lot of times I thought fed was going to take control and win the point only to see Nadal smack it past him.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
Great analysis.

On a simpler note, it took Chatrier-clay (where Nadl lost only 2 matches to date) AND ridiculous winds/conditions for him to beat Fedr, yet Fedr still managed 2 breaks of Nadl's serve. And this is with Fedr's neutralized ground strokes from these conditions. For perspective, Nadl hasn't broken Fedr's serve in the previous 3 meetings, and this extends further to when he was 3-1 up in the 5th of AO17. Going forward, since Fedr can break Nadl on Chatrier with blunted strokes, then he'll likely be able to do so on hc/grass. But on hc/grass, Fedr's serve will be much harder to break, unlike with the conditions played here at RG19 that completely blunted Fedr's serve.
You can so tell that Nadal got back those balls because it was clay. Elsewhere they're winners or force errors. A lot of times I thought fed was going to take control and win the point only to see Nadal smack it past him.
 

Towny

Professional
Fed's backhand of AO 2017 disappeared after Miami 2017 and hasn't really made an appearance since. But his backhand of late had been solid. I guess you could call it 'neo-backhand'.

I thought it held up reasonably well, but as someone has already said, that court was not conducive for hitting copious backhand winners. The wind was terrible and the surface was clay, so slower than the hard courts Fed is used to. Add to that playing perhaps the finest 'winner-retriver' in history and you can see why Fed wasn't able to rip the backhand for winners all that much.

Nadal is simply better than Federer on clay courts and his own backhand held up better. Some great cross court backhand shots from Nadal yesterday.

Overall, it was solid and he's not been afraid to go down the line either. I expect it will be more effective at Wimbledon. Perhaps part of the game plan for Federer this season was to work on his baseline game over the clay season so that it would be a more effective weapon to use on the faster surfaces, backing up his serve and his net game.
 

oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
Fed's backhand of AO 2017 disappeared after Miami 2017 and hasn't really made an appearance since. But his backhand of late had been solid. I guess you could call it 'neo-backhand'.

I thought it held up reasonably well, but as someone has already said, that court was not conducive for hitting copious backhand winners. The wind was terrible and the surface was clay, so slower than the hard courts Fed is used to. Add to that playing perhaps the finest 'winner-retriver' in history and you can see why Fed wasn't able to rip the backhand for winners all that much.

Nadal is simply better than Federer on clay courts and his own backhand held up better. Some great cross court backhand shots from Nadal yesterday.

Overall, it was solid and he's not been afraid to go down the line either. I expect it will be more effective at Wimbledon. Perhaps part of the game plan for Federer this season was to work on his baseline game over the clay season so that it would be a more effective weapon to use on the faster surfaces, backing up his serve and his net game.
In an interview recently, Fedr straight up admitted that this was the main reason he decided to play clay. He wasn't happy with the way his ground game went last summer, especially the loss to Millman at the USO18. Well, I say it is mission well accomplished, bc his ground game is at a very high level now, comfortably slugging with Stanimal for 3hr+ without being bullied at all. The rest of the year should be a joy.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
You can so tell that Nadal got back those balls because it was clay. Elsewhere they're winners or force errors. A lot of times I thought fed was going to take control and win the point only to see Nadal smack it past him.
Absolutely right of course. But two other decisive factors were

1) Federer too often hit exactly to where Nadal was standing when he had a free ball from a very offensive position. Nadal would’ve had no chance in those situations if he just hit a normal shot into the other corner.

2) Federer wasn’t able to pass Nadal at the net from like 2-3 meters distance. I mean, this could happen once or twice in a match, but this time it was the regular outcome that Nadal still made the point. Federer is just too polite to go for Nadal’s body if there is no other solution. Sometimes it looked as if he rather wanted to lose the point than to hurt him there.

The most important games of the match (2nd set 4-3 and 4-4 with Federer refusing to break despite good opportunities and then immediately losing serve after 40-0) were mainly a combination of these 2 situations repeated over and over again.

Apart from that Nadal deserved the win of course. But Federer should have won the 2nd set and nobody knows if Nadal didn’t get nervous then.
 

Towny

Professional
In an interview recently, Fedr straight up admitted that this was the main reason he decided to play clay. He wasn't happy with the way his ground game went last summer, especially the loss to Millman at the USO18. Well, I say it is mission well accomplished, bc his ground game is at a very high level now, comfortably slugging with Stanimal for 3hr+ without being bullied at all. The rest of the year should be a joy.
Great! Didn't see the interview but I hoped it might be in the back of his mind. Thanks for confirming. His form has steadily improved throughout the year. Hopefully, his improvement in his baseline game will plug up some of the weaknesses from his summer 2018 game
 

oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
Great! Didn't see the interview but I hoped it might be in the back of his mind. Thanks for confirming. His form has steadily improved throughout the year. Hopefully, his improvement in his baseline game will plug up some of the weaknesses from his summer 2018 game
Found it! (video should start at 5:40) :

 

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
Fed's backhand of AO 2017 disappeared after Miami 2017 and hasn't really made an appearance since. But his backhand of late had been solid. I guess you could call it 'neo-backhand'.

I thought it held up reasonably well, but as someone has already said, that court was not conducive for hitting copious backhand winners. The wind was terrible and the surface was clay, so slower than the hard courts Fed is used to. Add to that playing perhaps the finest 'winner-retriver' in history and you can see why Fed wasn't able to rip the backhand for winners all that much.

Nadal is simply better than Federer on clay courts and his own backhand held up better. Some great cross court backhand shots from Nadal yesterday.

Overall, it was solid and he's not been afraid to go down the line either. I expect it will be more effective at Wimbledon. Perhaps part of the game plan for Federer this season was to work on his baseline game over the clay season so that it would be a more effective weapon to use on the faster surfaces, backing up his serve and his net game.
Yeah, this is a good point. I am wrong to be so general because there was quite a lag in 2018 after 2017. I guess what I am referring to is the backhand of Q1 of 2019. This is an Unpopular opinion because Federer didn't win the AO but I had him as the best player of the first 3 months of 2019.
 

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
Absolutely right of course. But two other decisive factors were

1) Federer too often hit exactly to where Nadal was standing when he had a free ball from a very offensive position. Nadal would’ve had no chance in those situations if he just hit a normal shot into the other corner.

2) Federer wasn’t able to pass Nadal at the net from like 2-3 meters distance. I mean, this could happen once or twice in a match, but this time it was the regular outcome that Nadal still made the point. Federer is just too polite to go for Nadal’s body if there is no other solution. Sometimes it looked as if he rather wanted to lose the point than to hurt him there.

The most important games of the match (2nd set 4-3 and 4-4 with Federer refusing to break despite good opportunities and then immediately losing serve after 40-0) were mainly a combination of these 2 situations repeated over and over again.

Apart from that Nadal deserved the win of course. But Federer should have won the 2nd set and nobody knows if Nadal didn’t get nervous then.
There were quite a few net exchanges that exemplified what you are talking about here.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
Too bad that Hydrocella is not around anymore to tell us about Federer and his chances vs Nadal at RG: aggression, S&V and all that jazz.

:cool:
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
There were quite a few net exchanges that exemplified what you are talking about here.
Yes, it was mostly the same pattern: Federer played a dropshot against the wind and followed it to the net. Nadal barely reached it and sometimes even framed it back just behind the net. Federer seemingly didn’t want to hurt Nadal and chipped a soft ball back. Nadal didn’t care for anything and hammered it into Federer’s side of the court.

Even my friend with whom I watched the match and who is normally extremely fair (just like myself) after the third or fourth of those same incidents all of a sudden shouted: "Damn, just hit him into the face." :D
 

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
Yes, it was mostly the same pattern: Federer played a dropshot against the wind and followed it to the net. Nadal barely reached it and sometimes even framed it back just behind the net. Federer seemingly didn’t want to hurt Nadal and chipped a soft ball back. Nadal didn’t care for anything and hammered it into Federer’s side of the court.

Even my friend with whom I watched the match and who is normally extremely fair (just like myself) after the third or fourth of those same incidents all of a sudden shouted: "Damn, just hit him into the face." :D
Federer needed to channel his inner Fognini :mad:
 

Sport

Legend
The wind played a role, but just as Fed said, it would not have been much different if it was not. Those backhand pulling Fed wide is what he does, wind or no wind.
What? Both players had wind. Nadal made a lot of impressive crossed-backhand winners while Federer made few if any backhand winners. Therefore my comment "Nadal's crossed backhand was the shot of the match, and Nadal's backhand was more offensive than Federer's one in this match" cannot be excused simply saying that the wind played a role, as both players faced windy conditions. Nadal's bachand was much better this match, no need to look for excuses.
 

Sport

Legend
I disagree. The wind took Federer's serve out of the match. Federer absolutely needs his serve at his age. Even though it’s clay he would be getting more free points from it.
Nadal* took Federer's serve out of the match. Keep in mind that, statistically, Nadal is by far the best returner ever on clay, no other player in the history of the ATP averages so many breaks per game as Nadal on clay. So no need to put excuses and blame only the blind. Following your reasoning, I can also say that "Federer only broke Nadal's serve because of the blind, since Nadal plays much worse with wind". Wind or not wind, wouldn't have made any difference, as Nadal leads Federer 6-0 at RG.
 

Sport

Legend
Seriously, some Fed fans look so childish with their excuses. Now I understand that "Fed only won because of the wind", "Federer only lost his serve because of the wind, Nadal's ability to return did not play a role", "Nadal made more backhand winners than Federer because of the wind". The wind affected both players, Nadal also plays better with no wind.
 
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What? Both players had wind. Nadal made a lot of impressive crossed-backhand winners while Federer made few if any backhand winners. Therefore my comment "Nadal's crossed backhand was the shot of the match, and Nadal's backhand was more offensive than Federer's one in this match" cannot be excused simply saying that the wind played a role, as both players faced windy conditions. Nadal's bachand was much better this match, no need to look for excuses.
Huh? What words are you reading? Pretty sure I said wind did NOT matter and that it was RAFA backhand that dominated. When I say wind played a role (which it did), I am talking about serve.
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
Seriously, some Fed fans look so childish with their excuses. Now I understand that "Fed only won because of the wind", "Federer only lost his serve because of the wind, Nadal's ability to return did not play a role", "Nadal made more backhand winners than Federer because of the wind". The wind affected both players, Nadal also plays better with no wind.
This is what I get from reading these posts.
Apparently only Feds game was affected by the conditions, he should've won set 2, he broke Nadal twice on clay so it's some great feat lol
Get your heads out the sand Fed fans. He was straight setted. It had close games at times, but losing in straights isn't really anything to brag about.
This isn't even 2018 Nadal. Hes probably playing his worst out with 2015 on clay and he still beat Fed in straights .
 

chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
This Federer is nothing like 2017 version and that was clear. Also, clay and hard courts play very differently, in case anyone didn't know.
 

MeatTornado

Legend
Seriously, some Fed fans look so childish with their excuses. Now I understand that "Fed only won because of the wind", "Federer only lost his serve because of the wind, Nadal's ability to return did not play a role", "Nadal made more backhand winners than Federer because of the wind". The wind affected both players, Nadal also plays better with no wind.
Literally no one said any of those things.

This was a serious thread about analyzing Federer's backhand and you chimed in with "Nadal crossed-backhand was the shot of the match." The one shot that has absolutely nothing to do with how Roger hit his. You want to talk about how Rafa's forehand or Rafa's serve affect Fed's backhand, then okay. But don't butt in just to randomly compliment your guy, complain about non-existent Fed fan complaints and then talk about others being childish.
 
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