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Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

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Am I right about Roger Federer?

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Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:23 pm

My view on Roger Federer is this:
I think he has now declined as a tennis player since his prime, and even significantly since last year. I believe his movement is not as fast as before (injury or not), I believe his reflexes are not as sharp as they were before, I believe his mental intensity is not so constant as it was before, and even in terms of groundstrokes I believe he has lost his consistency.
I do accept as he gets older his back condition will get worse, and he may lose a few matches when that flares up, but even if his back injury his totally eradicated in my opinion he is not the same player as he was a few years ago.

However there is another point of view, and if I am right this is held by Tenez and NITB: that Federer is as good as he was a few years ago but is only being hindered by his back injury. Thus if it was possible to magically eradicate his back injury, the level of his tennis would be as good as it was half a decade or so ago.

So, who do you think is right? Which account do you think is more accurate?

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by Tenez on Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:52 pm

The fact is craftsmanship increases way beyond 30s...no different than an opera singer or a pianist. The difference is that in sport physique is key. As we realise nowadays is that fitness actually improves with age till early 30s so a player should in theory be at his peak at late 20s or early 30s. In that respect Federer should in theory be able to play still his best tennis. However a recurring back injury is preventing him to just do that. This injury has indeed ot worse with time...which can be linked with ageing. However as I said when Mecir, Rios or Leconte stopped playing we never said age was the issue...in that respect age is not the issue with Federer.

There is a prejudiced idea that a tennis athletes peaks at 26 or 27 but that was only due to the constant (since the 70s) changes in fitness regime and technology. Before that time tennis pros where reaching their peaks after their 30s. This is what we are seeing again as fitness becomes more of a key factor and technology becomes less of it (simiar for more than 10 years now!!!).

The time when McEnroe was overtaken by the generation who learnt with larger frames or Pete being overwhelmed by luxilon is gone. Players have been using the same technology for the last 10 years and fitness really makes the difference and as we can see there is little room for rookies in the top 100 atp. They all need to be physically fitter....and being 30 is not necessarily a disadvantage anymore....it could actually be an advantage.

[b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"] [/b]

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by legendkillar on Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:48 am

It is decline really. 15 years on tour and a shed load of titles. At 32 and in the current climate which is dominated by heavy and long punishing tennis was always going to catch up with him and given his recent struggles with his back make his standing the more remarkable.

I was always astounded how Agassi lasted as long as he did with his crippling back problems and attitude towards the game.

I think least with Federer making the racquet change may yield a difference in results, but also might take some of the strain off his game.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by ... on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:35 pm

I posted this on a different thread, but since it answers the thread's question fully (who is right etc...), I think it would be silly to argue with what the man himself, RF, said about his injury yesterday, not ageing and not  any decline:

"I've had serious problems with the back; I had to get some anti-inflammatories last week in Hamburg due to the pain. I will have to do a lot of exercises and see how it all feels. My main priority now is to fix my back. I would love to be able to train at 100 percent. I'll have to see if the rehab is enough to let me play in Montreal. If it is, I'll go; if not, then it gives me another week.

A change like this is very important but I honestly can't tell right now due to my low level. It's hard to analyze anything. I still don't have even enough information to try and explain. I have no clue where I am right now with the racquet change."



Federer clearly says his priority is to fix his back, i.e. get over the injury.
If you have aged, you can certainly not fix any aspect of it.

Because he is injured he is not able to train properly and be fit enough to play his game fully.

That fact seems to confuse so many people who read it that somehow Federer is not able to hit his FH or BH as he used to.
He still is as good as always, probably even more complete than ever before, just that his injured back is not allowing him to show what he is perfectly capable of doing.
How quickly did people forget his Wimbledon win last year and how superbly he played in the final.

I am very hopeful that the back can be sorted, as Federer himself thinks it can. He has always been very honest and truthful in his interviews, and I don't think he'd tell us he could fix his back if it was not possible.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:11 pm

noleisthebest wrote:I posted this on a different thread, but since it answers the thread's question fully (who is right etc...), I think it would be silly to argue with what the man himself, RF, said about his injury yesterday, not ageing and not  any decline:

"I've had serious problems with the back; I had to get some anti-inflammatories last week in Hamburg due to the pain. I will have to do a lot of exercises and see how it all feels. My main priority now is to fix my back. I would love to be able to train at 100 percent. I'll have to see if the rehab is enough to let me play in Montreal. If it is, I'll go; if not, then it gives me another week.

A change like this is very important but I honestly can't tell right now due to my low level. It's hard to analyze anything. I still don't have even enough information to try and explain. I have no clue where I am right now with the racquet change."



Federer clearly says his priority is to fix his back, i.e. get over the injury.
If you have aged, you can certainly not fix any aspect of it.

Because he is injured he is not able to train properly and be fit enough to play his game fully.

That fact seems to confuse so many people who read it that somehow Federer is not able to hit his FH or BH as he used to.
He still is as good as always, probably even more complete than ever before, just that his injured back is not allowing him to show what he is perfectly capable of doing.
How quickly did people forget his Wimbledon win last year and how superbly he played in the final.

I am very hopeful that the back can be sorted, as Federer himself thinks it can. He has always been very honest and truthful in his interviews, and I don't think he'd tell us he could fix his back if it was not possible.
This is a gross misrepresentation of what he said.
He said he could fix his back, which is indeed possible. He did not say that if he fixed his back he would be playing as well as he was during his prime.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by ... on Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:21 pm

legendkillar wrote:It is decline really. 15 years on tour and a shed load of titles. At 32 and in the current climate which is dominated by heavy and long punishing tennis was always going to catch up with him and given his recent struggles with his back make his standing the more remarkable.
Robredo won a title in Umag yesterday, playing as well as ever, after 16 years on tour.
Youzhny did the same in Gstaad. Both SBHers.

I don't think years on tour is strong argument when trying to explain decline. Maybe if they were 40+.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:51 pm

Are Youzhny, Robredo at their peak levels?

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by ... on Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:59 pm

Julia Santamaria wrote:Are Youzhny, Robredo at their peak levels?
Absolutely. Youzhny better than ever, in fact.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by ... on Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:10 pm

This is what Robredo said in his trophy speech yesterday; not on the topic, but still lovely. Appreciation for "this feeling" definitely deepens and gets better with age, no decline whatsoever there Winking

“I’m more than happy. I’ve been a professional for nearly 15 years and this is my 12th title, so there have not been many times with trophies. I love the emotion. Before the match, I was talking to my coach and I was saying, ‘It’s lovely to be waiting to play a final and you are nervous.’ Money can’t buy this feeling, and I’m lucky to be part of this sport and lucky to have the chance to feel these feelings.”

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:13 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
Julia Santamaria wrote:Are Youzhny, Robredo at their peak levels?
Absolutely. Youzhny better than ever, in fact.
Really?

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by Tenez on Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:19 pm

Is anyone playing tennis here? Can anyone seriously say that at 32 they are worse than at 26?

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:17 pm

Tenez wrote:Is anyone playing tennis here? Can anyone seriously say that at 32 they are worse than at 26?
Yes?

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by legendkillar on Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:53 pm

Tenez wrote:Is anyone playing tennis here? Can anyone seriously say that at 32 they are worse than at 26?

I can raise my hand Tenbo. I have progressive arthritis in my left knee from my days in football and took up tennis at 25. The condition became worse when I hit 29 and at 31 I took semi retirement from tennis. At 32 now I still haven't found a pain free way to play the game. When the condition became worse when I was 29 I found hitting CCSHBH just beyond painful as I was hitting it with lower balls and the weight transfer killed my knee. I then decided to instead of that shot hit a BH slice CC and as a result I just ended up getting the stuffing beat out of me in matches which wasn't a pleasant experience.

In the case of Federer it is the age old conundrum of talent v fitness. Now how much of Roger's form will come down to fitness? in terms of how much will his back restrict the shots he is able to play. The talent to hit a ball won't change, but the ability to will.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by Tenez on Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:10 pm

But that's the point. Arthritis is not aging, especially at 25! If I get ran over by a car, I can't call that ageing.

McEnroe's best year was 1984...he did nothing after that but again, nothing to do with ageing, he was only 25 then. His touch game simply became obsolete versus the physical players like Lendl, Becker and Pete. Lendl was just a year older but went on to be successful till the early 30s...despite having learnt tennis with a wooden racquet contrary to his younger opponents.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:51 pm

I'm not sure we're on the same wavelength here.

I'm trying to say that even if Federer's back injury was magically totally healed, he would still not be as good as he was during his prime. Reflexes, mental sharpness, intensity etc. are all not as strong as they were before.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by legendkillar on Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:57 pm

Tenez wrote:But that's the point. Arthritis is not aging, especially at 25! If I get ran over by a car, I can't call that ageing.

McEnroe's best year was 1984...he did nothing after that but again, nothing to do with ageing, he was only 25 then. His touch game simply became obsolete versus the physical players like Lendl, Becker and Pete. Lendl was just a year older but went on to be successful till the early 30s...despite having learnt tennis with a wooden racquet contrary to his younger opponents.

Arthritis is progressive Ten. Like Roger's back. Progressive. With age it will get worse.

Like I said Federer's issue will be one of physical limitations.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by ... on Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:37 pm

How do you know Federer's back is progressive?

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by Tenez on Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:44 pm

But even if progressive....cancer is also progressive...yet it's not related to ageing.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by legendkillar on Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:39 am

noleisthebest wrote:How do you know Federer's back is progressive?

 Has it improved?

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by ... on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:27 pm

legendkillar wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:How do you know Federer's back is progressive?

 Has it improved?
I believe Federer has had back problems for many years and played at the highest level, so it's the manageable type of backache, not something that keeps getting worse and worse (progressing).

Having said that, this year it seems to have caused more problems than before, but we are only guessing.

For me, the important thing is that he said the main goal is to get the back fixed, so it means it can be fixed.
We can't ask for more.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by legendkillar on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:54 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
legendkillar wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:How do you know Federer's back is progressive?

 Has it improved?
I believe Federer has had back problems for many years and played at the highest level, so it's the manageable type of backache, not something that keeps getting worse and worse (progressing).

Having said that, this year it seems to have caused more problems than before, but we are only guessing.

For me, the important thing is that he said the main goal is to get the back fixed, so it means it can be fixed.
We can't ask for more.

 Because he seems to have suffered more over the last year leads me to believe it is progressively getting worse, but if he can fix it why doesn't he? I can only assume he is playing on because of either a mad love for the game or he wants to maintain his ranking. If he can take time out and heal he should.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by Tenez on Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:27 pm

Let's be clear. I am not saying Federer will get better, or sort his back. I simply don;t know. What I know however is that his back is depriving us of his best years. I am pretty sure he woudl have been better now than in 2009 even. This is what I can see in the small patches where he can play. His striking of the ball is simply cleaner today than then....though many UEs are down to his mouvement and stiffness.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:28 pm

And that's exactly what I'm saying is not true.

I'm saying that even if his back was mended, he would not be better now than during his prime, his striking of the ball is not as clean as it was then.

To be fair Tenez has made his position pretty clear (consistent as well), so I can't criticise him on that front.
LK, what do you think? I think most recognise that the back injury is not good for him, and may not go away.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by ... on Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:59 pm

Julia Santamaria wrote:And that's exactly what I'm saying is not true.

I'm saying that even if his back was mended, he would not be better now than during his prime, his striking of the ball is not as clean as it was then.

To be fair Tenez has made his position pretty clear (consistent as well), so I can't criticise him on that front.
LK, what do you think? I think most recognise that the back injury is not good for him, and may not go away.

All of us including Federer recognise that, it's just that some of us are not rubbing our hands with joy because of it.
We are hoping his back gets better and allows him to play his tennis which has not diminished in the least.

I just can't understand how you are not able to see it. It's so obvious.

You seem to think that if you find 10 or however many people think the same as you that you are somehow right. It doesn't work like that.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by DECIMA on Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:16 pm

noleisthebest wrote:

All of us including Federer recognise that, it's just that some of us are not rubbing our hands with joy because of it.
We are hoping his back gets better and allows him to play his tennis which has not diminished in the least.

I just can't understand how you are not able to see it. It's so obvious.

You seem to think that if you find 10 or however many people  think the same as you that you are somehow right. It doesn't work like that.
1/ I am not rubbing my hands with glee. Federer is a great player, and I love to watch him play.

2/ As for the parts I've bolded- why is it so obvious. To me it's pretty clear that even if his back was fixed (which we all agree is a problem, and hopefully will get better), he is not going to be as good as he was in his prime.

3/ What 10 people agree with me? So far we've had a sample size of around 3 people- you and Tenez who I know disagree with me, and LK who has not specified an answer to this question exactly.

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Re: Roger Federer: Just an injury or declining?

Post by Tenez on Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:56 pm

Even watching him lose v Debonis his striking of the ball reminded me McEnroe 84. I even said it commenting live. But Timing the spinning ball on clay like McEnroe 84 required amazing skills. 

Lok at the Pete v Agassi 2002 USO final...Pete times also the ball superbly.

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