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WTF 2015 - Postmortem

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WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by ... on Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:19 am

A little summary of WTF 2015:

Better than last year.

Higher quality of tennis from all players.
(even though I can't really say what Berdych has improved, esp as he lost all three matches)

Djokovic thinner than ever, but that's the price to pay for his current court coverage.
Federer exposed his lack of weapons in their first match and outplayed him with his variety.
The rest - he played just had nothing to trouble him with as nobody had the guts or talent to appreach the net.

Murray...seemed to be physically not as fast and sharp as usual.
Maybe even for him the court was too slow to be wanting to punish his body more than a set per match.
All in all a very poor display from the number two.
He looked number 7, in fact.

Federer was in great form and enjoyed all his matches too much. Especially the one against Nishikori - which cost him freshness for the final. Which is the only reason he lost.
By far, again the best player of the tournament.
His ball control was better than ever.
I hope he keeps healthy, we could be seeing some serious magic in 2016 from him. I worry for his heart only. May it never get tired.

Stan...woke up too late, but at least woke up. Played a brilliant match against Murray - and his BH was on fire.
It was nice to see him confident and blasting grinders away.
Then he ran into the other Swiss for whom we spell Gutsy with capital G.

Nadal...did what he could - his best, no?
Made it to the semi-final, UNDEFEATED!
He was even hoping to beat Djokovic...Toni did hint pre-match, oh yes, he did!
All I can say is Nadal must be hitting the ball much better in practice than matches.
Will he be able to do the unthinkable and change his FH grip in 2016?
Probably not...which means he is finished with slams.

Ferrer - some things never change, and Ferrer is one of them. Like a boiled egg - his game can't go wrong. Boring, but nutritious.

Nishi? Spanked by Nole, spanked by Federer, beat Berdych for the first time...but at least gave us some nice ball-striking to see, and earnt himself the nickname - Silky.

Finally, Berdych. The whipping boy. But what does he care. He's got plenty of cash and a pretty wife. Plus, he is a Davis Cup hero back home.  Not everyone is born to be a winner, after all!
Wait till he gets back to those smaller tournaments...




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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by Tenez on Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:53 am

Nice one.....But one player however has really taken all the fun of this 2015 year. It is frustrating. His tennis is bloody efficient but his shots are certainly not great.

Let's see what 2016 brings.

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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by ... on Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:14 am

Tenez wrote:Nice one.....But one player however has really taken all the fun of this 2015 year. It is frustrating. His tennis is bloody efficient but his shots are certainly not great.
Let's see what 2016 brings.
Thqnks.

Yes, and that really is a mystery. To have such consistency of depth and often precision yet to suck out all the flair and fun out for the viewer.

Even the inteligent shot-selection doesn't help.

Totally dry.

2016 should be more interesting...I think.

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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:57 am

nitb wrote:Federer was in great form and enjoyed all his matches too much. Especially the one against Nishikori - which cost him freshness for the final. Which is the only reason he lost.

Not my diagnosis. I don't give 'tired' excuse that easily. Fed lost because:

1. he is lost some foot speed and its a permanent loss due to age. He is often slow to reach the balls on time or get his footwork right to hit the best shot. He could do it all when younger, but its not something that can be worked upon.

2. Djokovic's own level is very high be it anything serve, fh, bh, attack defence  anything...and when he is playing at his best with confidence, the small margin are even smaller for the opponent. Fed doesn't posses the fire-power of a Wawrinka and those block-returns are useless against Djokovic. 

3. He has improved his net-play and volleying. He did some real jaw-dropping ones this WTF. He may have more shots now than younger, but just that some of those shots aren't as lethal as they once were.

4. Courts are slower these days, allowing the great movers like Djokovic and Murray to reach almost any ball. And they not only reach the ball, but play a good return on it too. Fed doesn't exactly blast off those shots and hence they are returned back.

5. Federer doesn't return as well as he was earlier. Maybe the opponents have figured him out. He particularly struggles against body-serves. This effective body serve is definitely a thing of new generation, maybe by Nadal and Toni who I think started to use it as a weapon. Not an ace or a service winner, but it can given a advantage of a weak return. Earlier I wouldn't see anyone trying to hit a body serve off the 1st serve. No way. But now many players are doing it. And older generation like Fed are struggling with it. 

5. Block retruns look good against Big and slow movers like Karlovic/Isner/Raonic but almost ineffective against Djokovic.

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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by ... on Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:19 pm

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:
I don't give 'tired' excuse that easily. Fed lost because:

1. he is lost some foot speed and its a permanent loss due to age. He is often slow to reach the balls on time or get his footwork right to hit the best shot. He could do it all when younger, but its not something that can be worked upon.
I think age and more the fact he plays clean affect him in later stages of tournaments.
You saw how differently he looked on Tuesday against Djokovic.
When his legs were fresh, he was all over him and outplayed him completely even on this slow court.

When he was younger, tennis was different.

I deliberately chose the clip in OP to show and sum up this WTF: just look how much more little and big steps Federer had to make just to win one point. Not to mention the quality and difficulty of shots.
Compare it to Djokovic's shots in the same point - does he look superior? No way. On the contrary - he looks bland, out of position bending and twisting the body scrapping the ball back in play.
That type of slow courts and fitness did not exist in 2005.
raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:
2. Djokovic's own level is very high be it anything serve, fh, bh, attack defence  anything...and when he is playing at his best with confidence, the small margin are even smaller for the opponent. Fed doesn't posses the fire-power of a Wawrinka and those block-returns are useless against Djokovic. 
I would say, Djokovic's timing has improved a lot. And with it confidence in going for deeper balls, closer to lines, hitting the ball harder.
But he uses all that to play retrieving tennis. He reacts to shots, he does not create.
That is B grade tennis and can't be compared with shot-making, creative, attacking game of Federer which is full of variety and guile. However successful it is.

The only quality both share is sharpness and clarity of mind in shot selection.

And even there - they deal with it differently - one constructs the other obstructs.
You tell me what's tougher to play?

As for Stan, well we saw how Fed dealt with him in the SF.
Yes, Stan has great power and great attacking game, but bottom line is he stays on the base-line and Federer dares take the game to his opponents at the net.

I am not sure people appreciate how difficult it is. Many would dearly love to be able to do it but simply can't control the ball there. Not to mention the lightning speed and footwork needed.
Stan has none of that which is why he stays at the baseline and blasts...because frankly - he has no other options.
Also a reason why he is not consistent with such play - it's tough and it takes its toll.
But, still, great to have him at the top.

Fed has plenty of fire-power but it not juiced like Stan.

So he has to move in forward. Trading from the baseline really takes the toll on him. That's how Nadal won all their matches...not by outplaying him -  but pure physical draining.

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:
3. He has improved his net-play and volleying. He did some real jaw-dropping ones this WTF. He may have more shots now than younger, but just that some of those shots aren't as lethal as they once were.
I think his game is more lethal than ever, but the conditions have changed.
Most top players have chosen the physical fitness route whether they attack or not.

Federer hasn't.

If he did - he'd be looking much younger - like Ferrer who can hit the ball harder than Federer for longer.
The difference between the two is that Ferrer hits it safer, with more spin so less penetration than a flatter hit shot of Federer.

I also think Fed lost some of the bite on his FH because of the larger frame. But that same frame gave him the much needed stability on the BH that the trade-off is marginal.

In the past - in the pre-retrieving era FH was enough...now balls are coming back with 10 years of experience and timing off same strings from super-fit players...that is a different planet and in the light of that fact we need to see Federer adequately.

Those hard hit shots - or muscled shots as I call them are a direct result of doping in my opinion.

We had booming groundstrokes in the past, too, but tennis was not a grindfest like now. Balls were not coming back like they do now.
Look how long Nadal is/was able to last hitting the ball so hard from far behind the base-line (thenfarther away the more energy needed to send it back deep esp with all that spin)
That's why so many of players retired when they did. Safin, Davydenko, Nalbandian...simply didn't have the will to go through it...like Hewitt or Ferrer.

Fed didn't need to - he has the talent. And the longer he is able to stay and play the brigther it shines.

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:
4. Courts are slower these days, allowing the great movers like Djokovic and Murray to reach almost any ball. And they not only reach the ball, but play a good return on it too. Fed doesn't exactly blast off those shots and hence they are returned back
He does blast them but they come back. And because he is clean he can't blast them for ever.
I know you think Stan can blast them away - and he can...but with which regularity?
Who beat Nole and Murray more times this year?
raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:
5. Federer doesn't return as well as he was earlier. Maybe the opponents have figured him out. He particularly struggles against body-serves. This effective body serve is definitely a thing of new generation, maybe by Nadal and Toni who I think started to use it as a weapon. Not an ace or a service winner, but it can given a advantage of a weak return. Earlier I wouldn't see anyone trying to hit a body serve off the 1st serve. No way. But now many players are doing it. And older generation like Fed are struggling with it. 

5. Block retruns look good against Big and slow movers like Karlovic/Isner/Raonic but almost ineffective against Djokovic.
I really think Federer returns well.
Look how he deals with Isner, Karlovic...with ONE arm on the ball.
Of course DBH-ers have the (unfair) advantage there as some can redirect the returns.
Murray can with his BH and so can Djokovic with a bit more variety in directions.
But they rarely play one strike tennis after that anyway.

Still, you do have a point with these spinny body serves.
Then again, what is Fed's answer - SABR! Take that! he saying to them all.

Also, Federer does not exclusively block BH returns. It's a bit of a wide generalisation there.
On Tuesday when I watched him live against Djokovic, he returned some fantastic chipped slices with the BH. Quite a few, in fact. Did you notice them?

If not - take another look at the clip in the OP. Winking
Those shots were biting the court and skidding so low - totally taking game out of Djokovic's hands.

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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:08 pm

I really think Federer returns well. 
Look how he deals with Isner, Karlovic...with ONE arm on the ball.

I already told returning against Slow movers like Isner/Karlovic/raonic is not same as returning against great movers like Djokovic/Nadal. Fed can get away with a lot of "just returned in" balls against those big-slow guys, but Djokovic will nail those returns.

Fed's returns stats on this year. Do they look good?  Especially on the 2nd serves? 86% points Djokovic won on his 2nd serve the WTF final.  Both ocassional Fed serving to stay in the set, het gets broken. Leave this one game, the 2 loses in slam final this year, they both had similar stats.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/djokovic-infosys-return-2015-london

Of Fed simply doesn't read Djokovic well enough.


nitb wrote:Then again, what is Fed's answer - SABR! Take that! he saying to them all. 
SABR is a good surprise weapon, can work on a few points especially when there is no pressure or one has 2-3 BP in succession. It can't be used throughout a match or even a set. How many SABRs Fed tried during the whole WTF. It can't be used often, else it loses its best element i.e. surprise.


 

nitb wrote:If not - take another look at the clip in the OP. 
Sorry, but I don't draw conclusions on a few points. Any one can play a few absolutely brilliant points, and they always do.

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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by Daniel on Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:07 pm

Federer is worse in nearly all aspects of his game now v 2007. And much worse mentally.

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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:34 am

FedererKing wrote:Federer is worse in nearly all aspects of his game now v 2007. And much worse mentally.

No, I wouldn't even say that. He has considerably improved his net play and volleying. I don't think current Fed would have missed that volley in the W2008 final 5th set on BP vs Nadal to go a break up. He was good volleyer even earlier, but now is a real great one. Volleying on these  slow courts and against these players with mighty racquets to scream a pass is no mean feat. 

Also his BH CC shots, earlier he mostly would prefer to slice on those. The bigger racquet helped in that regards.

He just misses a younger stronger and faster body. Game wise he definitely has improved some of those skills. But skill with a older body doesn't help him.


Mental?? 

Yes he now faces the same demons facing Djokovic in finals as he had with Nadal during 05-09. Djokovic is now the new Nadal. fed can beat him, but he needs a lot of things going his way along with Djokovic's own level being bit low.

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Re: WTF 2015 - Postmortem

Post by Daniel on Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:58 am

I said "nearly all" - and he is.  His net game is nothing but desperation because he cannot maintain a rally.  Against Djokovic that's the end of the matter, sadly.  Add to that that he no longer believes he can win and seems a bag of nerves in finals.

Also, his net game was not shabby in the early days either.


Last edited by FedererKing on Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:59 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : ves in fi)

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