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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:29 pm

Which Wimbledon final was better and why?

I asked this question the other day on the Nole fan club thread, but it seems to have gone unnoticed.

I still haven't seen the 2008 match, and I doubt I ever will.
I remember starting watching it, all the pre-match hype, Kipling's "If" etc...but lost the interest very early on.

To this day I don't understand why that match has been constantly proclaimed best of all times...

It can't have been for the quality of tennis.

So, I'd just like to hear from others, us mortal fans, was it REALLY that great?


Last edited by noleisthebest on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:41 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by Daniel on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:30 pm

2014, because the winner actually played attacking tennis and didn't engage in mindless gamesmanship tactics.  It was good watching 2 players going for a win, and having respect for each other.

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:39 pm

Thanks, FK.

For some reason, I always had a feeling that this match was part of Nadal's aura building exercise, same way commentators are constantly trying to push him into a "fabulous" player, even GOAT!!!

As they say, if you repeat a lie often enough - it becomes truth...

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Post by Daniel on Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:55 am

It was also not about bad match ups.  Which is pretty much the story of Fed v Nadal on slowed down surfaces.

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Post by paulcz on Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:43 am

The 2008 Wimbledon final became my a milestone in my view at both players and unfortunately it does not sound positively to both of them.
I consider that match as the real break in their matchup. This match was a display of Fed’s stubborn game against a player, who knew, that he has to play with a strict plan and do everything how to disrupt his opponent and in the end he succeeded. Since then on Nadal got into Fed’s head and just has been keeping to his tactics, which from time to time he made it spicier by some new court antics.
I have watched this match a couple of times and still I have a bad aftertaste from that. Fed was much better player on the court the whole lot of the match, but he wanted to play his beauty regardless to a match development and his opponent. So, if some people say what a great match that was, I have still a sour taste from that and consider that match as one the worst from Fed.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:20 am

That's interesting. I'm glad Fed was "stubborn" in his "beauty".

Also, was 2008 final better than 2007 final? (I admit, I haven't watched the 2007 one, either. Blush )

Surely, it was a similar, if not a better match. Why does then noone ever mention the 2007 final?
Why was the 2008 such a big deal?

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Post by luvsports! on Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:39 pm

In terms of quality throughout 2007 was better imo. Some of the tennis was stunning!

2008 had it for drama. 2 sets down, the great champion comes back from the dead and takes it to a fifth only for Nadal to survive and eventually prevail.

Both were fantastic matches imo, just youtube them. I can do that for ya if ya want?

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:51 pm

I don't know if I could bear it, LS!

Fedal matches, the tiny bit I saw are so predictable.
I admit, I only enjoy watching Nadal being demolished, he,he...

I just wanted to know why 2008 final?
Was it because it was Wimbledon?
Because Nadal won?

To me it feels a bit like that AO 2012 final, remember how commentators started hyping it into "one of if not THE greatest match of all time" straight away...only to start back-paddling soon after Nadal disappeared with his 7 month injury and things started being reverted a bit, like the 25 sec rule.

Just trying to debunk the myth of that match, if it is a myth.

There have been a few really superb matches over the years both tennis and drama wise, yet for some reason I don't remember any other match acquiring this instant "greatest" tag.

That's the bit that bugs me!

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Post by luvsports! on Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:59 pm

Also I guess the end of the federer dominance and the rise of Nadal, winning wimby for the first time. From start to finish it wasn't brilliant but the last few sets were imo.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:31 pm

Interesting you mention the "end of Federer dominance".

I'm just thinking, could it be because Federer was so superior that tennis world got bored and wanted a bit of drama that Nadal was so welcomed to the scene by media?
And would it have still embraced him the same way had they known how the story was going to unfold...

Talk about being in the right place at the right time...

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Post by truffin1 on Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:08 pm

The last two sets of 2008 did produce some stunning tennis-- mostly from Federer of course.  Matches often get hyped for their "greatness" based on a period of fantastic play -especially if drama happens to coincide with the inspired play.  

If anyone thinks Fed's forehand hasn't declined, watch those last two sets, he absolutely unloaded bombs and angles for two sets straight.  Painted the lines with the inside out.    His serve prob was not quite as good as the best he served in the 2014 match, but it was similar in how he was just clutch time and again on big points.

Yet he lost...........   that damn light was gone and he was still trying to attack and paint lines while Nadal simply moonballed and played his safe shots.

From start to finish, it wasn't the highest quality we've seen, but there were points where the GOAT Federer was simply at his best, and it was probably the best tennis Nadal was capable of at that time.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:25 pm

Yes, Fed's FH in full-flight sounds like a great ad for that match, shame Nadal can't be airbrushed out of it...
I know that mainly due to both players' movement, they fitted each other's game well in a strange way, it's just that the unnatural physicality from Nadal's every shot simply kills that match-up for me.
Tbh, just thinking about it infuriates me...

I look forward to that FH coming back to Fed during American hard court season, though.
There is no reason why it shouldn't.

Seems like Fed lost that match very unluckily. Such a shame.

I am sorry if this match has been done to death to probably most of you, but I genuinely have a complete blank on the entire thing, and suddenly felt the need to question its "greatness" for some reason...I probably had enough of Nadal being mentioned in the same sentence with the word "greatest" , esp after that obnoxious comment from Connors the other day...

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Post by luvsports! on Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:45 pm

The 4th set tiebreak was fantastic.
That bh down the line winner from fed (to save championship point) was one of the most astonishing shots i've ever witnessed, truly stunning!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPjzYLEKBKw

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:43 pm

He, he, one of Fed's bread and butter BHs...thanks, LS.

He looks like he was in the flying tennis mode then, such precious times.... Magic

Even in that little clip you can see how tennis has changed since then!

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Post by truffin1 on Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:58 pm

luvsports! wrote:The 4th set tiebreak was fantastic.
That bh down the line winner from fed (to save championship point) was one of the most astonishing shots i've ever witnessed, truly stunning!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPjzYLEKBKw

It's the reflex shots where a player can't even think that are always the most impressive.  Esp from Fed as it shows the talent.

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Post by Tenez on Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:00 am

luvsports! wrote:In terms of quality throughout 2007 was better imo. Some of the tennis was stunning!

2008 had it for drama. 2 sets down, the great champion comes back from the dead and takes it to a fifth only for Nadal to survive and eventually prevail.

Both were fantastic matches imo, just youtube them. I can do that for ya if ya want?

Agree with that. Federer making 5 in a row in front of the old guard was amazing and he did it in style in teh 5th....not waiting for darkness to steal the show like in 2008.

I did not enjoy the quality of 2014 cause fed played poorly throughout and he is the key ingredient for a quality match.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:08 pm

I only saw up to 5:5 in the first set, and although Fed was not flying, I thought the quality was quite high.

Nole definitely brought and delivered his best tennis, but Fed didn't, and it's a shame he didn't because as a result they basically played hard-court tennis.

You never know....maybe next year!

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Post by summerblues on Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:17 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Fed didn't, and it's a shame he didn't because as a result they basically played hard-court tennis.
My take on the match is similar to yours (based on your above quote and other stuff you wrote).

Fed actually played reasonably well but one big problem was the FH. Whether it was tactics or simply because his FH was not there (he did have a number of easy errors especially early on), he used his FH as a rally shot.

If he had been able/willing to play FH more aggressively, that might have been enough to make the difference. Dimitrov in SF showed that it could work. Both Dimi and Fed were playing a lot of slices from the BH side but the difference was that when they did get to play a FH, Dimi was playing far more aggressive while Fed would hit the plainest of rally FHs back. Even though Dimi lost in 4 and Fed in 5, Dimi looked closer to beating Nole for most of the match. Plus, the most successful stretch for Fed was in the 4th set when he was unloading on some of FHs.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:47 pm

I don't think "tactics" were the problem tbh.
Tennis is too fast a sport for that.

Players all know what each one of them is capable of, and it's just a matter of execution. Fed failed his execution on the FH, why...it's a mystery and it has been for some time. Definitely something he will look at.
His A game never took off, that was the problem.

It could be several factors:

backache -which I don't think it was the case as he moved quite well
lack of confidence if he missed the few early ones, as well as
general lack of confidence due to not enough matches for the blind faith on his
FH with this new racquet confronted with an excellent defender
Nole's court coverage which puts pressure on even Federer to deliver risky shots over and over again.

I thought it was an interesting comment from Fed when he said he couldn't read and return Nole's serve until the 4th set.

Bottom line it was a 5 setter charged with extreme desire from both players to win.

Fed needed to fly his tennis but simply couldn't as the conditions and the quality of his opponent's baseline game combined with his court coverage gave Nole the upper hand from the start.

I'll really have to see the whole match to comment properly...hopefully this week.

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Post by summerblues on Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:23 am

noleisthebest wrote:I don't think "tactics" were the problem tbh.
Tennis is too fast a sport for that.
What do you mean by that?  Clearly players go into matches with "tactics" in mind - Fed was for example going to the net far more often than he normally would.  That was a "tactic".  Why would tennis be too "fast" for that?

Now obviously, not every decision is made with "tactics" in mind - some decisions just have to be made split second on a feel.  But a lot of the patterns do come down to chosen tactics.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:43 pm

Tennis is a one on one sport in which things happen extremely fast.
The only tactics you can bring to a match is hope you can execute your best tennis and keep focus.

It is also a game in which players usually improve continually by maturing their ball-timing, enlarging their shot selection, hitting the ball with more confidence, experience, having better stamina, getting fitter...
That is why Federer 2014 is a better player than Federer 2005, for example.
He can simply do much more now. That goes for just about everyone else.

I am assuming you are talking about Fed-Nole Wimbledon final re more net play.
That is not tactics.
All players know each other's game quite well.

If there is a perfect way to play Nole it is not to give him rhythm on his ground-strokes.
All players know that and that's not tactics.
There are many ways one can do it: by sending mixed balls:short/long, by sending aggressive sliced balls - low bounce, by coming to the net, etc....

What can Granollers do about applying any of those  "tactics"? - pretty much nothing.
His game is very limited and he can't do much with the ball.
He can try to come to the net, he can try to mix the balls but it will come to nothing and he'll be bagelled.
Why?
Because tennis is a game of simple execution not tactics.
So he does the only thing he can - plays B grade percentage tennis and loses every time. No tactics in the world can help him.
The ball comes at you and you try to put it past the opponent...it's as simple as that and as far as it goes when it comes to tactics.
And that is why Federer is the toughest to beat...with tennis!
He can simply do most with the ball because he can control it best.
He doesn't wait for it to slow down, he goes for it at the peak of its pace. And he can do it in almost any part of the court.
Imagine Nadal playing Fed's game impossible, isn't it?

The only way you can surprise an opponent is by having a new or improved shot they didn't have in their previous encounter: more serve variation etc...which is why coaches watch opponents' matches and games regularly like hawks!

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Post by summerblues on Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:56 am

noleisthebest wrote:The only tactics you can bring to a match is hope you can execute your best tennis and keep focus.
I am pretty certain that is not true.  Not surprisingly, Federer himself hinted at maybe using different tactics this year.

noleisthebest wrote:It is also a game in which players usually improve continually by maturing their ball-timing, enlarging their shot selection, hitting the ball with more confidence, experience, having better stamina, getting fitter...
That is why Federer 2014 is a better player than Federer 2005, for example.
This is really a separate - but again quite interesting - topic.  Again, this is very unlikely to be true.  Tennis performance is not directly measurable, so it is not easy for me to go out and prove it outright.  But my eyes as well as my brain are telling me otherwise.  What makes you think he is better now?

noleisthebest wrote:
I am assuming you are talking about Fed-Nole Wimbledon final re more net play.
That is not tactics.
Why not?  Maybe you are using a non-standard definition of the term "tactics" too? Winking

noleisthebest wrote:
What can Granollers do about applying any of those  "tactics"? - pretty much nothing.
His game is very limited and he can't do much with the ball.
He can try to come to the net, he can try to mix the balls but it will come to nothing and he'll be bagelled.
Why?
Because tennis is a game of simple execution not tactics.
Obviously if one does not have skills to perform a certain plan, tactics cannot help them.  Also, it is pretty clear that abilities are at the heart of tennis performance and tactics can only help at the margins.  If a player is clearly inferior, no tactics will help them beat their opponent.  But that is not the same as to say that tactics play zero role in tennis - tactics come into the equation too.  The word "tactics" seems to rub you the wrong way for some reason, but you cannot wish reality away.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:53 pm

In my previous post, I tried to explain as clearly as I could why I think "tactic" is not as relevant in tennis as it may be in other sports (mainly team ones).
You haven't given any arguments to support your disagreement.

You mention Federer (I haven't heard him say that), but again, "tactics" or how you plan to beat your opponent is 1% a thought and 99% execution, because tennis a is one on one game where things change and happen in split seconds and can turn the entire match around.
In today's playing conditions where it's become virtually impossible to hit through some players due to their excellent court coverage, and Wimbledon 2014 was a perfect example of it, you could see how futile any "tactics" is.
When tennis is almost exclusively won from the baseline, the match turns and is decided in just a few points and the player needs to be ready to use them, which is not as easy as it looks with the hindsight of armchair perspective.
That's why Federer has hired Edberg.
Net game is more than being able to hit great volleys which we know Federer always could.
That answers your question why Federer 2014 is better than Federer 2005, his game is more complex and developed than ever.
I think we all agree that Federer left his FH in the locker-room in Wimbledon final.
I am pretty sure that was not part of his "tactics".

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:39 pm

And to add to the "tactics" argument, isn't Toni's on-court coaching the ultimate proof of the futility of "tactics" in tennis.

Not to mention the stuff we are able to hear during allowed on-court coaching in women's matches (a rare self-inflicted punishment I endured twice.)

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Post by Daniel on Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:18 pm

Federer 2014 is nowhere close to 2005.  His ace percent is down, his return percent is down, his movement is worse, his speed is worse, and it's showing in what he has won in the last few years compared.  He is 33.  Very few players at his age even win slams, and NONE of the greats win more at that age compared to their younger years.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:33 pm

Federer is not just any player.

By you logic the one who wins most is the best, and many people think like that, but I don't, esp in today's conditions.

Tennis that is played today is very different from tennis played in 2005.

The fact Federer had to change the size of his racquet says everything.

He is still playing the best tennis of all players, and I don't think dissecting it into stats makes any difference, that's how percentage players think.

The fact is, he played in this year's Wimbledon final, not Raonic, not Nadal, not Murray and not Dimitrov.
And he nearly beat Nole who played the best tennis of his career.
Imagine if his FH got going...which I am sure he will as it takes time to gain confidence on it,  we have another year of glorious tennis from him, and that's something to look forward, indeed! Bubbly

Btw, I disagree about his speed and footwork, they are both immaculate.
Conditions are making him appear slower to you, that's all.

Did you see how he utterly dismantled Raonic?

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Post by summerblues on Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:39 am

noleisthebest wrote:In my previous post, I tried to explain as clearly as I could why I think "tactic" is not as relevant in tennis as it may be in other sports (mainly team ones).
Maybe we are not disagreeing all that much smiley.  I agree with all that - compared to some other sports (e.g., team ones, as you mention), tactics play smaller role in tennis.  It is just that previously you seemed to be taking a "harder line" of tactics playing no role in tennis (e.g., "The only tactics you can bring to a match is hope you can execute your best tennis and keep focus").

noleisthebest wrote:That answers your question why Federer 2014 is better than Federer 2005, his game is more complex and developed than ever.
Well, that does not necessarily make him better if there are offsetting elements that more than compensate for it.  His results are certainly very inferior to what they used to be - so something or other is presumably compensating for all those improvements you claim to see.

noleisthebest wrote:I think we all agree that Federer left his FH in the locker-room in Wimbledon final.
I am pretty sure that was not part of his "tactics".
Yes, his FH did not work all that great early on. You may also be right about him playing his FH conservatively not having anything to do with tactics - I do not claim it was tactics for certain.  Yet, it is still a bit odd that he played his FH very conservatively for most of the match - especially given that he was quite successful in the 4th set when he played more aggressively after he went a break down.

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Post by summerblues on Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:01 am

noleisthebest wrote:And to add to the "tactics" argument, isn't Toni's on-court coaching the ultimate proof of  the futility of "tactics" in tennis.
I don't understand - he gets coached and he is successful, if anything it suggests it may work.  Also, if players believed tactics made no difference, nobody would complain about on-court coaching.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:11 am

Tactics are usually prepared and analysed BEFORE the match.
The fact Toni coaches Nadal during matches only confirms that tennis is a game of execution, not tactics.
There simply is no room and time for traditional tactics in the game of tennis.
Everything happens so fast.
The ability to stay composed, focused and see what is going on at all times is the best tactics you can have.
I don't know what Toni says to Nadal during matches, it was alluded he tells him where to serve...
Another pair of eyes that watches the opponent only and not the ball is definitely useful for a player esp during a match as maybe the coach can spot if the opponent is injured and then advise to exploit that advantage...I don't know, I'm only guessing.

I really think "tactics" is just another phrase these useless, commentators have introduced...they've got to fill time with something, since they are gagged to talk about what's really going on.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:36 pm

I'd say about 90% of people here think Federer was better in 2008 than now.
Two questions that could help clear this one:

1) The matches to look at for easier/straightforward comparison:
Federer Nadal Wimbledon finals in 2007/8
Federer Djokovic matches in 2012/14.

2) if age is what's stopping Federer from winning like in 2008, why is it that Nadal has struggled in Wimbledon since 2011? He was only 25 then.
How come a 33 year old can play 5 sets against the fittest guy on tour in a Wimbledon final and Nadal, his 5 year junior can't even make it to week 2?



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Post by summerblues on Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:50 am

noleisthebest wrote:Tactics are usually prepared and analysed BEFORE the match.
The fact Toni coaches Nadal during matches only confirms that tennis is a game of execution, not tactics.
There simply is no room and time for traditional tactics in the game of tennis.
I don't think so, but we are starting to go in circles.  Also, I have a vague suspicion that similar to "quality", we indeed have something slightly different in mind when we say "tactics".

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Post by summerblues on Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:11 am

noleisthebest wrote:I'd say about 90% of people here think Federer was better in 2008 than now.
2008 is not the best year for comparison because 2008 was actually a pretty bad year for Roger.  I would say his absolute peak was 2005-2006, with the slide slowly starting to show as early as 2007 and more or less continuing from there.  It is not a plain smooth slide - 2009 was better than 2008, 2014 better than 2013, but the tendency has been downhill.

noleisthebest wrote:1) The matches to look at for easier/straightforward comparison:
Federer Nadal Wimbledon finals in 2007/8
Federer Djokovic matches in 2012/14.
I would need to rewatch them, I just do not remember enough.  My feel is certainly that 2007 Federer was better than 2014, but it has been a while since 2007 and my memory could be playing tricks on me.  Funnily enough, I have not seen much of 2008 final - we were visiting a relative in Canada at the time and I only saw bits and pieces - not enough to have a good opinion.

I occasionally watch some older Federer's matches and I would definitely say he was better in 2004-2007 than now but I am willing to consider the chance that I just end up "seeing" what I expect to see, especially since I usually watch them just for entertainment rather than to dissect his game compared to his current game.

noleisthebest wrote:2) if age is what's stopping Federer from winning like in 2008, why is it that Nadal has struggled in Wimbledon since 2011? He was only 25 then.
How come a 33 year old can play 5 sets against the fittest guy on tour in a Wimbledon final and Nadal, his 5 year junior can't even make it to week 2?
This is neither here nor there.  First, this was only one tournament - if you look across many tournaments, Federer is obviously doing worse relative to Rafa compared to how they did in the past.  Second, Federer is overall quite significantly superior to Rafa on grass, so even a declining Federer can still be on par or better than Rafa.

As I said, to my naked eye it does appear that Fed is not as good as he used to be.  But perhaps even more importantly, his results are so much worse.  If he is better now than in 2005-2007 and yet he is getting far inferior results, then the rest of the tour would have had to improve at a rate that is hardly ever seen in any other measurable sports.  It is just very very unlikely to be the case.

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Post by ryanr2 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:35 am

imo, 2014 is better.. maybe because it is still fresh in my mind. however, 2008 had more quality
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Post by paulcz on Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:45 am

ryanr2 wrote:imo, 2014 is better.. maybe because it is still fresh in my mind. however, 2008 had more quality

The question is how would Fed play at the moment if he had his body from 2008. But that is another "if", which is a bit foolish.
The points from 2014 final are Fed is still able to withstand 5 sets on grass with the best players, has superb serve and the best backhand he ever had.
When you compare Fed's serve, he made by 4 aces more in 2014, had better 1st serve % by 3%, had faster 2nd serve by 3km/hr. So, Fed's serve was sublime a month ago.

Wouldn't be bad to see a comparison for a ball speed from backhand and forehand between 2008 / 2014, a duration of average game when on serve/return.
Just want to tell that Nole gave Fed much less time to Fed than Nadal did.

My problem of 2008 final was a lack of tactical approach from Fed. It seemed to be that he just wanted to get Nadal into the game many times and played his beauty regardless to the match development.


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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:14 am

paulcz wrote:The question is how would Fed play at the moment if he had his body from 2008.  But that is  another "if", which is a bit foolish.
The points from 2014 final are Fed is still able to withstand 5 sets on grass with the best players,  has superb serve and the best backhand  he ever had.
When you compare Fed's serve, he made by 4 aces more in 2014, had better 1st serve % by 3%, had faster 2nd serve by 3km/hr. So, Fed's serve was sublime a month ago.
Wouldn't be bad to see a comparison for  a ball speed from backhand and forehand between 2008 / 2014, a duration of average game when on serve/return.
Just want to tell that Nole gave Fed much less time to Fed than Nadal did.
My problem of 2008 final was a lack of tactical approach from Fed. It seemed to be that he just wanted to get Nadal into the game many times and played his  beauty regardless to the match development.
Very good point.
That's why Nole-Fed matches are a lot more watchable for me. Nadal's tennis and "tactics" are so limited, dull and predictable I feel sorry for all who have to play him.
His only weapon is his illegal power-ball. Now that players have become fitter, there are more and more who don't fear it.
One good thing about slow conditions, even shotmakers have more time to take it on.
I think we have come to a really interesting stage of Nadal's career where has clearly hit a brick wall with any improvements on his game, and there is only so much he can push his body fitness-wise.

Can't wait for USO. I wouldn't be surprised if he withdraws from it.
It's not a coincidence the team have chosen a wrist injury...they can milk it for at least 6 months.


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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:44 am

summerblues wrote:As I said, to my naked eye it does appear that Fed is not as good as he used to be.  But perhaps even more importantly, his results are so much worse.  If he is better now than in 2005-2007 and yet he is getting far inferior results, then the rest of the tour would have had to improve at a rate that is hardly ever seen in any other measurable sports.  It is just very very unlikely to be the case.

I would not be so hard on Fed regarding results.
First of all, the entire 2013 should be written off. He was injured and full credit to him for playing through that injury.
2012 was one of his best years, he won Wimbledon and played some majestic tennis against Murray. The 4th set was one of his best performances - he was in full flight.
He regained number one, too and that is no small matter for a SBH-er in this era.

As he said in his last statement, he kept the purity of his tennis spanning all the different generations, and it was never so physically challenging as now, when players are loading their shots with spin. Those balls are a different story and challenge altogether.

(Here I'll mention Nole as the best recent example: I saw him from close up in Wimbledon both this (vs Tsonga) and last year (Berd and Haas).
This year, his FH was so much better than last. I don't know what he did, maybe changed his grip a little or technique (he did look looser esp on CC shots), but the pace he was generating was matching and outdoing Tsonga's, and we all know the power Tsonga is able to generate on his FH. I think there was only one FH Tsonga was able to hit faster in the entire match.
And that is quite staggering, as last year Nole's FH was more or less a mere rallying and grinding shot. So I think Becker must have helped him there, and he did a very good job.
So much so, that in Wimbledon final, I noticed immediately his FH was quicker than Fed's.
Basically, Nole's FH now is almost a flattened version of Nadal's when it comes to pace.)

The spinny power ball is the only reason why Federer switched to a larger frame.
Suddenly, his fastest flat strokes looked outdated against the rest.
That match in USO against Robredo was the last straw and the end of the 90" magic wand.
To me, that was really sad as it signified an end of the best era of his tennis.

The new frame is still work in progress, and I think we are yet to see the best of Federer with it, provided he remains fit and healthy.
So, I am quite optimistic about the rest of 2014 and 2015.

I think he needs lots of matches to build his confidence and winning momentum. I am sure he is ripping his FH perfectly during practice, but he is now in the process of translating it into matches.
That's why I think it was a shame he interrupted his momentum during clay season.

All in all, exciting times ahead!
Fed needs to be encouraged and praised fir his perseverance, not criticised.
Obviously, slightly less flying/bouncing and smaller balls would help nit only him but other shot-makers, too but I'm not holding my breath there.

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Post by Daniel on Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:01 pm

It's not just the eye.  All stats and available evidence suggests he is a worse player now.  And nature agrees that this is consistent with every other great who has ever played.  Age matters. I don't think you'll find one professional who would agree Fed is better now than 2006.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:40 pm

FedererKing wrote:It's not just the eye.  All stats and available evidence suggests he is a worse player now.  And nature agrees that this is consistent with every other great who has ever played.  Age matters. I don't think you'll find one professional who would agree Fed is better now than 2006 .

I think I can find one: Federer himself.

Age at 33 has nothing to do with tennis skill.
Federer may have been fresher when he was 25, and that's about it.

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Post by Daniel on Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:38 pm

I knew you were going to say that, but you should know exactly why he can't be used as a source.

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