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Federer's first serve in %

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Federer's first serve in %

Post by Daniel on Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:24 pm

I've noticed in recent Slam finals (especially the two he lost to Djok at Wimbledon) that Federer gets really nervous and his first serve in % drops significantly.  It definitely cost him one (I think both) of those two finals v Djok.  And you might think the Aussie Open was different this year.  But you'd be wrong.  While he did have a decent 1st serve in % in the first 4 sets... it fell away in the 5th - along with break point conversions. Meanwhile, Nadal's serve skyrocketed.  Federer was v close to blowing it.  Thank god he didn't.

http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20170129-M-Australian_Open-F-Rafael_Nadal-Roger_Federer.html

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by bogbrush on Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:48 pm

Could be chicken & egg - 1st goes when he's nervous or he gets nervous when his 1st serve drops.

As Pete Sampras said, "we all choke".

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:53 pm

When first percentage goes down, it's usually these two things: tiredness, injury.

In 2015, Federer had no chance against Djokovic in that Wimbledon final.
Nole was physically superior and destroyed Federer in two sets.

Federer did well to make the match look respectable with his fight, but he was playing on fumes.

Federer is anything but choker, so I don't think his serve ever goes away because of that.

He is no Berdych or Cilic.

I remember he lost an entire game to Murray a few years ago (I think it was Shanghai), 4 consecutive DFs.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by legendkillar on Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:55 pm

He doesn't get nervous Winking 

I always think to that Wimbledon final 2014 and that was a proper choke at the end on his serve. I know most like to ponder Slams Federer could've won, but imagine if all Slams followed the US Open and made 5th sets decided in TB's. If that 5th set had a TB at the end of it, pretty sure he wouldn't have choked that match.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Daniel on Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:59 pm

He def does get nervous...  we all saw it against Berdych too. It was also noted by a few commentators then (mcenroe) and in the Djok match by Wilander. The stats also bear it out. Although your wink may mean your comment is tongue in cheek.  Laugh

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:03 pm

legendkillar wrote:He doesn't get nervous Winking 

I always think to that Wimbledon final 2014 and that was a proper choke at the end on his serve. I know most like to ponder Slams Federer could've won, but imagine if all Slams followed the US Open and made 5th sets decided in TB's. If that 5th set had a TB at the end of it, pretty sure he wouldn't have choked that match.

He is a master of controlling emotions.

We all know how emotional he is, but you could never tell that during a match.
If he does get nervous it's because he knows he is spent.

Other than that, what reason on earth would he have to be nervous.

He's got the best arsenal and most game of all players.

I think he struggled/ didn't like playing  vs Nadal in the past for obvious reasons, but now that he'a fixed his backhand, the only player tough for him would be a fit and confident Nole.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Daniel on Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:06 pm

The good thing in the Aussie Open final was he returned Nadal's serves very well, and he kept his nerve (nerve, not serve) on some very tough forehand and backhands.  It's still a miracle he won.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by bogbrush on Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:16 pm

I imagine Nadal was shocked. It was following a well worn script in that 5th set even to the extend that Federer was failing to convert break points.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by legendkillar on Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:30 pm

... wrote:
legendkillar wrote:He doesn't get nervous Winking 

I always think to that Wimbledon final 2014 and that was a proper choke at the end on his serve. I know most like to ponder Slams Federer could've won, but imagine if all Slams followed the US Open and made 5th sets decided in TB's. If that 5th set had a TB at the end of it, pretty sure he wouldn't have choked that match.

He is a master of controlling emotions.

We all know how emotional he is, but you could never tell that during a match.
If he does get nervous it's because he knows he is spent.

Other than that, what reason on earth would he have to be nervous.

He's got the best arsenal and most game of all players.

I think he struggled/ didn't like playing  vs Nadal in the past for obvious reasons, but now that he'a fixed his backhand, the only player tough for him would be a fit and confident Nole.

It's not emotion that causes nervousness in the top athletes of any sport. As he stated in the interview that he professed no nerves, he stated he does and enjoys it. Top athletes do. It can be triggered by anything.

Take the 5th set of that Wimbledon Final 2014. Federer IIRC had a BP 3-3 on Djokovic's serve and didn't convert. In the service game that followed I believe he starved off BP's and even netted an OHFH which by all accounts is the safest shot in his arsenal. He went on and lost. I would imagine for Federer not converting the BP's in that match but also coupled with Djokovic's ultra lockdown mode on court made margins even smaller. There is no way he can outrally Djokovic and if Djokovic is returning his first serves, what more can he do? Given at that time his BH was the subject to relentless attack.

As I stated weeks ago, even if Federer believes or even knows he has the best arsenal, the weight of expectation of a formality of a tournament (even with matches to play) can still weigh on the mind of a player. He experienced that at the FO 2009 and again at Wimbledon this year. For him there is a lot of pressure taken off his shoulders when the likes of Djokovic, Nadal or Murray have their chances favoured in a Slam ahead of his. from 2004-2009 I'd say he carried the burden of being the favourite at most events in the calendar he entered (bar Clay in some instances). When you consider he hasn't had to play with that burden I'd say since 2010, it's comfortable to get used to not being burdened by extra pressure. However, factor in when his BH was the weakness in his game, trying to get a match on the FH against a brick wall dining out on the BH essentially gives you no room to miss on the FH.

Even now it seems he has ironed out and eliminated that weakness, it's not to say that he wouldn't feel nervous on occasions. He's human. If he had the best arsenal and wasn't nervous, then why the hell do his die hard fans always long for a set of favourable conditions? e.g a faster court or favourable draw? If he was that immense, nothing should trouble him by all accounts? Way before the 18th Slam, everyone wished for a draw to open up for him or for conditions to quicken. He got both this year in 2 of the Slams and won.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:26 pm

Everyone gets nervous, that's normal, but Daniel is claiming that Federer gets nervous a lot and then his first serve drops "significantly".

I was disagreeing with that angle.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Daniel on Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:18 pm

bogbrush wrote:I imagine Nadal was shocked. It was following a well worn script in that 5th set even to the extend that Federer was failing to convert break points.

I think you're right.  I think Nadal was as shocked as any anyone else.  He'd figured all he needed to do was play safe in the 5th, serve well, and it was all his.  But Federer pulled off some spectacular shots and totally rattled Nadal.  As Fed said not long after... playing Nadal in all those close clay matches really hurt him v Nadal with his confidence.  Nadal not only had the match up advantage, but a huge psychological advantage - that crossed over onto the other surfaces. There are signs that Federer has finally broken through part of that problem - albeit much too late.  Nadal's match up will always be a problem - but I think 2008 Wimbledon was Fed's quite easily if you remove those big clay losses.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by bogbrush on Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:15 pm

True, though I think he also got hurt by developing his game to stuff Roddick, Gonzales. all the big hitters. It meant he got too much with the chipped returns.

I honestly think now if he's fully fit he's going to beat Nadal 7/8 now, clay excepted. The match up thing has changed dramatically. Nadal saw it all right and suddenly doesn't serve to the backhand.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by HM Murdoch on Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:17 pm

Good stat on the AO final but I'm not sure it holds as a general rule.

Of the 13 sets he played against Djokovic at W14, W15 and USO15, Federer had the better first serve % in 10 of them.

The ones he was lower on were W14 2nd set (60%), W15 1st set (59%) and USO15 1st set (53%).

I'd say it was only that US Open final that he produced an outright bad set of serves.

But I think he was nervous in that match (very tentative on BPs against even 2nd serves from Djokovic), so I do see a link between nerves and serve %.

I just don't think he often lets nerves beat him.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by bogbrush on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:38 pm

He's pretty good when it comes to nerves but - whisper it - he's only human.

The one thing we've not seen yet since the 2nd coming of the Federer is a proper scrap with a fit Djokovic. I think he worked Murray out a long tme ago, seems to have got a hold on Nadal, but now there's Djokovic. Funny really, as he was Djokovic main thorn while he was killing Nadal but he's really hurt Federer in a lot of Slams since 2012.

Maybe AO18 is the place we'll find out.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Daniel on Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:18 pm

He didn't lose to nerves much, no.  But it def cost him v Djok at least once at Wimb, and Nadal 2008 among others. He is only human, yup.  As I said in the first post, this trend with his serve vanishing in big matches happens a lot nowadays. At least it held firm for 4 sets in Aus Open.  It didn't v Djok... at all. We'll see how it holds up if he makes another Slam final.  He was def v nervous v Cilic, but settled after first set.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by HM Murdoch on Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:21 pm

bogbrush wrote:The one thing we've not seen yet since the 2nd coming of the Federer is a proper scrap with a fit Djokovic. I think he worked Murray out a long tme ago, seems to have got a hold on Nadal, but now there's Djokovic. Funny really, as he was Djokovic main thorn while he was killing Nadal but he's really hurt Federer in a lot of Slams since 2012.
It would be interesting to see.

One the one hand, I don't think he will have anything to "work out" against Djokovic, whereas I think Novak may find some of the old patterns don't work.

On the other hand, I think a lot of Djokovic's recent success against Federer has been down to how well he returns the Federer serve. He seems to have developed a very good read on it over the last couple of years, and that key dynamic may not change.

Let's hope we get to find out.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Tenez on Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:33 pm

Daniel wrote:I've noticed in recent Slam finals (especially the two he lost to Djok at Wimbledon) that Federer gets really nervous and his first serve in % drops significantly.  It definitely cost him one (I think both) of those two finals v Djok.  And you might think the Aussie Open was different this year.  But you'd be wrong.  While he did have a decent 1st serve in % in the first 4 sets... it fell away in the 5th - along with break point conversions. Meanwhile, Nadal's serve skyrocketed.  Federer was v close to blowing it.  Thank god he didn't.

http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20170129-M-Australian_Open-F-Rafael_Nadal-Roger_Federer.html

So what's your conclusion?

First there can be millions of reasons why a first serve percentage drops. Nerves is just one of them. Secondly, his first serve %age dropped in the 5th (due to nerve according to you again?) yet he won it.

Needs a bit more explanation.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Tenez on Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:35 pm

Also nerves could also increase the 1st serve percentage....example Murray. Fearing to have to serve a weak second serve, one might serve a more consistent, less risky first serve.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Tenez on Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:43 pm

legendkillar wrote:
... wrote:
legendkillar wrote:He doesn't get nervous Winking 

I always think to that Wimbledon final 2014 and that was a proper choke at the end on his serve. I know most like to ponder Slams Federer could've won, but imagine if all Slams followed the US Open and made 5th sets decided in TB's. If that 5th set had a TB at the end of it, pretty sure he wouldn't have choked that match.

He is a master of controlling emotions.

We all know how emotional he is, but you could never tell that during a match.
If he does get nervous it's because he knows he is spent.

Other than that, what reason on earth would he have to be nervous.

He's got the best arsenal and most game of all players.

I think he struggled/ didn't like playing  vs Nadal in the past for obvious reasons, but now that he'a fixed his backhand, the only player tough for him would be a fit and confident Nole.

It's not emotion that causes nervousness in the top athletes of any sport. As he stated in the interview that he professed no nerves, he stated he does and enjoys it. Top athletes do. It can be triggered by anything.
Yes but what does that tell you? that he controls it! Like a cat playing with a mouse. he did not feel nervous v Berdych but yes in that second round cause he had never played this guy and had everything to lose.

His TB record is way too good....this is when nerves are most challenged....The effort of a whole set or match wasted on a few points. ...not when you are a break up. I am afraid there is no possible argument there.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Tenez on Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:52 pm

if you want to see fed's nerves at work just replay that USO 2011 semi v Djoko. He loses at the end.....but has clearly better nerves that Djoko on all crucial phases excepts from 2 MPs up when Djoko who showed nerves all along suddenly realises he has nothing else to lose and go for a very risky return on MP down.

Then Fed folds physically and therefore mentally. gutted...maybe as a similar situation exactly a year ago may have come to mind when losing that USO 10 semi from MP up

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Tenez on Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:57 pm

bogbrush wrote:...I honestly think now if he's fully fit he's going to beat Nadal 7/8 now, clay excepted. ...
I'd like to see that. They had enough close matches on clay to give fed a chance....

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by bogbrush on Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:22 am

Yeah, I think he'd have better chances though I'd be wary of him being dragged into a long match.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by legendkillar on Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:26 am

Tenez wrote:
legendkillar wrote:
... wrote:
legendkillar wrote:He doesn't get nervous Winking 

I always think to that Wimbledon final 2014 and that was a proper choke at the end on his serve. I know most like to ponder Slams Federer could've won, but imagine if all Slams followed the US Open and made 5th sets decided in TB's. If that 5th set had a TB at the end of it, pretty sure he wouldn't have choked that match.

He is a master of controlling emotions.

We all know how emotional he is, but you could never tell that during a match.
If he does get nervous it's because he knows he is spent.

Other than that, what reason on earth would he have to be nervous.

He's got the best arsenal and most game of all players.

I think he struggled/ didn't like playing  vs Nadal in the past for obvious reasons, but now that he'a fixed his backhand, the only player tough for him would be a fit and confident Nole.

It's not emotion that causes nervousness in the top athletes of any sport. As he stated in the interview that he professed no nerves, he stated he does and enjoys it. Top athletes do. It can be triggered by anything.
Yes but what does that tell you? that he controls it! Like a cat playing with a mouse. he did not feel nervous v Berdych but yes in that second round cause he had never played this guy and had everything to lose.

His TB record is way too good....this is when nerves are most challenged....The  effort of a whole set or match wasted on a few points. ...not when you are a break up. I am afraid there is no possible argument there.


That's not the conclusion I drew from it. When someone says they enjoy it, they enjoy what comes with nerves whether it be excitement or a degree of fear.

Look at the comments I've made on that chuffing match. 2 sets were tight and the 3rd wasn't.

I am sorry Ten, but I don't like to ride the guy's d!ck like he is some sporting immortal like others on here.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by HM Murdoch on Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:11 am

Tenez wrote:if you want to see fed's nerves at work just replay that USO 2011 semi v Djoko. He loses at the end.....but has clearly better nerves that Djoko on all crucial phases excepts from 2 MPs up when Djoko who showed nerves all along suddenly realises he has nothing else to lose and go for a very risky return on MP down.

Then Fed folds physically and therefore mentally. gutted...maybe as a similar situation exactly a year ago may have come to mind when losing that USO 10 semi from MP up
True.

It gets overlooked in the drama of the match points, but Djokovic had totally wilted in being broken to love in the previous game: a DF and a clutch of unforced errors.

I see Fed's response to that first MP differently to you though. I think it was the mind that folded and the body that followed, not the other way round. He looked physically fine until that moment.

I'm saw an interview with Federer in which he said he suddenly started feeling emotional when those MPs came up and I can see that in his play. He started snatching at shots and of course double faulted on the break back point.

I find the psychology of the Fed-Djoko rivalry interesting. I'm sure that Novak still carries scars from the pain Federer inflicted on him early in his (Djoko's) career. I can see him trying to deal with them when they play even now. 

But in recent years, a lot of Federer's most stinging defeats have come at Novak's hands. There seems to be times when these weigh heavy on him.

The armchair psychologist in me wonders if this is perhaps why their relationship seems to have thawed - the trouble each has given the other over the years has paved the way to mutual respect.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by bogbrush on Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:54 pm

And why rejoining the fight in 2018, with some old backhand patterns no longer valid, time having passed and Federer with renewed confidence, and hopefully both guys healthy, would be fascinating.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:25 pm

The USO 2011 SF was the best Nole-Federer match.

And that return was probably Nole's best ever moment on a tennis court.

I remember it so well, my heart sank (or more thumped the ground) as Federer moved to his service spot while the crowd roared and camera panned over the entranced fans and Nole that couldn't control his facial movements: it was a mixture of enormous sadness verging on tears and anger that the crowd could be so 100% against him.

I adore that return. The abandon, the risk. It was awesome. One in a lifetime chance to bet your house on and just go for it. He was a truly Nike boy in that moment: he just did it!

It was a slap to Federer who up to then had always despised/looked down on him (or as Tenwz here once saod: he doesn't deserve to be on the same court as Federer) a slap to draw riggers, a slap to crowd(s).

And above all a slap to that finger Federer wagged after ending Nole's Streak in Paris.

The slap, or more a knockout blow worked as it seemed to shock Federer...he was still recovering from it in the press conference when he famously called the shot/style od reckless play: slapping, elaborating how he himself played properly...basically arrogantly patronising Djokovic almost saying: how dared you!?

And that moment best shows the core difference between the two: the Swiss vs The Serb.

The proper vs the cowboy.

The rule vs the quantum.

Fed's never liked Nole, and at the same time appeared to be very fond of Nadal.

That's why I believe their rivalry is unsurpassed, esp in later years when Nole matured. Maybe not hand in glove in styles like Fedal, but certainly when it comes to raw emotions and battle. The dislike between the two is so genuine, there is no room for nerves. Neither can afford a milisecond of them.

So yes, it would be great to see one more match between both players fit and fresh on any surface.

Then, as we say in Serbia, "life can go!" Bubbly


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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:48 pm

Wow, I just saw the clip again..I could wrote a book about it! tongueout

Their faces....my word!

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:50 pm

Actually, that was Nole's: "To be or not to be" kind of moment...

Was he ever in his life as alive as in that moment?

Absolutely nuts!

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:58 pm

This whole scene reminds me of a verse from the Bible: 

"...unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain."


Federer served excellently. Nole was still in the match and tense, that's why he missed the first FH return.


He decides to change stg...let's get rid of the hat...


Wow, it does bring some luck - he gets a look at the second serve...which he nets!


At that point he dies...but the crowd actually brings him back into match, ignites his defiance and he pounces...super relaxed.


The rest is history! Cool

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:00 pm

Well, this all didn't have much to do with Fed's 1st serve percentage dropping with nerves but it did bring back one my best Nole fan memories! Big Grin

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by HM Murdoch on Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:11 pm

It was a great moment. Possibly my favourite sporting moment of recent years. Despair to hope to joy in such quick succession.

Clearly there was a dose of good fortune involved but it wasn't even the first time during that match that Novak had hit a return like that (see 10:54 on this video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0zfUTfE358

Federer let himself down in the press conference afterwards but, in fairness to him, I think it stands out because it is so rare for him. Everything other "shocking" press conference moment I can think of from him is actually just a moment of straight-talking truth which eventually became accepted wisdom.

My sense is the relationship thaw began after Federer's 2012 Wimbledon win. I seem to recall there being a lot of talk at the time of how Djokovic and Nadal had elevated the game and Federer was getting older and left behind. Winning Wimbledon at nearly 31 by going through Djokovic and Murray killed that. Maybe he felt he'd answered his critics with that win because I felt he seemed much less prickly toward Djoko after that.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:00 pm

HM Murdoch wrote: Federer let himself down in the press conference afterwards but, in fairness to him, I think it stands out because it is so rare for him.
Everything other "shocking" press conference moment I can think of from him is actually just a moment of straight-talking truth which eventually became accepted wisdom.
For me, he didn't let himself down, he was honest and briefly showed a side of him that most don't see.
He disliked Djokovic from day one, mainly because he saw him as a threat and because he didn't talk BS like Nadal ("I am soooo happy to be number two behind Federer forever" kind of thing).
Also he siggled at his retirements.
Plus he was from the Balkans, so even easier to dislike with passion. (The Swiss look down on all who live south from them).
Nole's parents did not help the matter, but in those days it was more like an all out war, as they felt 2nd rate citizens in that "sparkling white world" to which they stumbled into rough and ragged from the war-torn black hole Serbia was at the time.
Still, they have 't changed much since...

HM Murdoch wrote:
My sense is the relationship thaw began after Federer's 2012 Wimbledon win. I seem to recall there being a lot of talk at the time of how Djokovic and Nadal had elevated the game and Federer was getting older and left behind. Winning Wimbledon at nearly 31 by going through Djokovic and Murray killed that. Maybe he felt he'd answered his critics with that win because I felt he seemed much less prickly toward Djoko after that.

I don't think much changed.
They have both aged and mellowed and been through some deep waters, so kind of got smoother round the edges.

I genuinelly think the negative sentiment originally started from Federer.

When two players openly and strongly declare they are the best and there is only room for one at the top, then sparks fly.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Tenez on Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:50 pm

HM Murdoch wrote:
Tenez wrote:if you want to see fed's nerves at work just replay that USO 2011 semi v Djoko. He loses at the end.....but has clearly better nerves that Djoko on all crucial phases excepts from 2 MPs up when Djoko who showed nerves all along suddenly realises he has nothing else to lose and go for a very risky return on MP down.

Then Fed folds physically and therefore mentally. gutted...maybe as a similar situation exactly a year ago may have come to mind when losing that USO 10 semi from MP up
True.

It gets overlooked in the drama of the match points, but Djokovic had totally wilted in being broken to love in the previous game: a DF and a clutch of unforced errors.
Glad you noticed. Djoko folds in the first set TB and the 2nd set as well.

I see Fed's response to that first MP differently to you though. I think it was the mind that folded and the body that followed, not the other way round. He looked physically fine until that moment.
Fed was tired at the end of the second set. he lets set 3 and 4 go cause tired trying to save energy for the 5th...and again delivers there as you noted and Djoko folds first.
That's why I think Fed had nothing left after those MPs.....had he felt ok, he would have closed it....but tiredness impacted his mental strength. In tennis, like in most sports, fitness determines mental strength....not the other way around.

I'm saw an interview with Federer in which he said he suddenly started feeling emotional when those MPs came up and I can see that in his play. He started snatching at shots and of course double faulted on the break back point.
For a long time I thought Federer was average mentally, just helped by immense talent. I actually believe now his talent almost comes second to his mental strength. His style is the most demanding mentally....yet he achieved more than anybody else.

But in recent years, a lot of Federer's most stinging defeats have come at Novak's hands. There seems to be times when these weigh heavy on him.
Djoko was simply better equipped at the end..much faster on his legs and a DHBH ..deadly on slower courts....especially at the end of tournaments. I remember in that WTF (was it last year?) I felt that fed woudl beat Djoko in the first rounds cause fresh yet I knew it woudl be much harder after 2 more rounds and a semi ..in the final.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by HM Murdoch on Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:10 pm

... wrote:I don't think much changed.
They have both aged and mellowed and been through some deep waters, so kind of got smoother round the edges.

I genuinelly think the negative sentiment originally started from Federer.

When two players openly and strongly declare they are the best and there is only room for one at the top, then sparks fly.
Yes, that's true and I think becoming fathers mellowed them further still.

They'll never be close friends but I do think there is genuine respect there now. Federer particularly has moved from only ever giving backhanded compliments to being generous in his praise.

You're right about "only room for one at the top" but there's a difference between a mid-career dominant player facing a brash, up-and-coming youngster and being two guys who have achieved everything and whose status in the game is assured. The competitive spirit is still there but reputation and standing is not on the line anymore.

Tenez wrote:
For a long time I thought Federer was average mentally, just helped by immense talent. I actually believe now his talent almost comes second to his mental strength. His style is the most demanding mentally....yet he achieved more than anybody else. 

I think his mental strength is most manifest in his consistency: his ability to win tournament after tournament in his prime years, his ability to adapt his game as he has got older, his ability to bounce back from, and deal with, injury.

And that's not to mention the additional pressure of media commitments in multiple languages and basically being the guy everyone wants a piece of.

Being #1, being the hunted rather than the hunter, sat comfortably with him in a way that I never felt it did with Rafa. 

Novak was fairly comfortable as #1 too but there were times it seemed an unwelcome pressure.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Daniel on Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:08 pm

You don't win 19 slams without immense mental strength.  The point I've made is it's waned as he got older, which is understandable given some of the bigger losses he suffered and all players suffer along the road.  But against Nadal and Djok...  he definitely has jitters. He's been a lot better this year v NAdal, aside from that fifth set in Aussie Open. But it will be interesting to see how he is against Djok in a major match... if that happens. Let's put it this way... with the nerves he had v Berdych, Djok would likely have won.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by noleisthebest on Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:54 pm

HM Murdoch wrote:
... wrote:I don't think much changed.
They have both aged and mellowed and been through some deep waters, so kind of got smoother round the edges.
I genuinelly think the negative sentiment originally started from Federer.
When two players openly and strongly declare they are the best and there is only room for one at the top, then sparks fly.
Yes, that's true and I think becoming fathers mellowed them further still.
They'll never be close friends but I do think there is genuine respect there now. Federer particularly has moved from only ever giving backhanded compliments to being generous in his praise.
You're right about "only room for one at the top" but there's a difference between a mid-career dominant player facing a brash, up-and-coming youngster and being two guys who have achieved everything and whose status in the game is assured. The competitive spirit is still there but reputation and standing is not on the line anymore.
Again, I don't think there has been much change in how they are.

Have the years/fatherhood/"respect" as you say built a tiny bridge between the two?

They probably have. Even if it's imaginary. And I walk over it with the lightest feet.  Rose

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by summerblues on Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:52 am

I think Rafa is still the toughest nut to crack for Fed.  After Miami I thought Fed might have turned it around for good, but Rafa improved quite significantly after that.  Rafa played quite well at the AO, but not very well in IW or Miami.  With the new BH, Fed is in much better position than he used to be, but I think match-up still favors Rafa, just not as much as it used to.  Therefore, Fed still needs to be not only playing better than Rafa to win, but playing better by enough margin to overcome the match-up.

I do not think that is issue vs Nole.  Nole does not cause Fed any match-up issues.  As long as Fed is playing straight-up better tennis, he will win.  Nole was beating Fed while Nole was at his supreme best and while Fed was somewhat off-pace - and even then many of the matches were close.

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Re: Federer's first serve in %

Post by Tenez on Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:41 pm

summerblues wrote:I think Rafa is still the toughest nut to crack for Fed.  After Miami I thought Fed might have turned it around for good, but Rafa improved quite significantly after that.  Rafa played quite well at the AO, but not very well in IW or Miami.  With the new BH, Fed is in much better position than he used to be, but I think match-up still favors Rafa, just not as much as it used to.  Therefore, Fed still needs to be not only playing better than Rafa to win, but playing better by enough margin to overcome the match-up.

I do not think that is issue vs Nole.  Nole does not cause Fed any match-up issues.  As long as Fed is playing straight-up better tennis, he will win.  Nole was beating Fed while Nole was at his supreme best and while Fed was somewhat off-pace - and even then many of the matches were close.

It's arguable. I think Rafa without the possibility to hurt Federer on the BH is actually clueless, weaponless. Sure Nadal may not have been at his best earlier this year.....but likewise Fed was really tired each time they faced off....and besides Fed's very poor sets he played, probably due to niggle or tiredness, all the others were won comfortably.

Djoko on the other hand can return much better than Nadal, preventing Federer to systematically lead the rally and because he is so quick on his feet can turn defense into attack quite easily forcing Federer to do what he hates: run.

On the positive, even in 2015 Federer was dominating Djoko on fast HC. Anything slower and Fed was always in trouble.

I still think Fed is better when fresh...unfortunately he plays his toughest rivals at end of exhausting tournaments.

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