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  • #31
    Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
    I think the discussion of being able to play in all three eras should be noted. I think Novak will forever be seen as the one with the most titles. But he won really in one era only. The interesting question is whether or how he would have adapted to much faster conditions.

    I was watching tennis yesterday and this popped up. Not sure if Fed was on, Djokovic was off, the conditions were fast, or all of the above. But on a fast court, Fed could dominate even the number 1 Novak at the time.

    Below are the excerpts from a thread that I wrote on called "Dubai Duty Free...ATP 500...Dubai, U. A. E.". GOAT discussion are in point. Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic? Lots of variables and not all of them relevant from one player comparison to another.

    February 28, 2015

    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic??.

    I'm betting on Roger Federer…but I always bet with my heart. Which often makes me a loser. Oh well...such is fate.

    But how can you bet against Novak Djokovic at this point in his career. His advantage over Federer maybe be in that he is a couple of years younger. The bigger racquet may bridge this gap a bit.

    Is the court playing just a tad quicker...advantage to Federer if this is the case. But only a tad. Two great players...albeit at different stages of their careers.

    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Court speed...

    I'm going to go out on a limb here. I think that the court is playing just a bit quicker. It's just a feeling that I have watching Djokovic reacting to Federer's serve and judging from the height of the ball bounce. Interesting.

    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Slice backhands and First Serves (tactics)...

    Roger Federer wins the first set 6-3. Using the slice very intelligently and the serve tactics are overwhelming.

    The court appears to be quicker. If this is the case then it will really surprise me if Djokovic can get back into this match. I think that a lot of people will be surprised if the courts quicken how much this will effect the game.
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic: The Conclusion

    Sunday I changed everything around to make certain I was in front of my computer for this match. It had all of the makings of something special and it certainly lived up to all of my expectations.

    Just to reemphasize...Roger Federer has mastered the art of preparation. The first step was changing his equipment which had the immediate effect of leveling the playing field. Especially with regard to Novak Djokovic because of the classic way that they match up. The second step was getting rid of Paul Annacone and getting someone else to fill that role. Because he also had to reprogram his tactical acumen.

    The racquet switch was a no-brainer. At least it was for me. It took Roger a couple of years to see the light and I wonder what Annacone's input with regard to equipment was. The coaching selection was a bit of a surprise but it was in keeping with the Federer paradigm. He needed to revive the tactics that he was brought up with in the first place and get back to the basics of playing all court tennis. Both decisions were fundamental decisions. It is no coincidence that I was recommending both a couple of years before they actually happened. You don't have to be a former Grand Slam winner to coach these guys...but it certainly helps to get your foot in the door.

    Federer's dissection of Mister Teenage Wasteland, Borna Coric, on Friday was certainly an indication of things to come. This tournament had a similar smell to it as the one down in Brisbane, Australia did. Roger is riding the wave of some incredibly well thought out and conceived preparation. You know the mantra of a tennis's all about preparation. In the Coric match I was so impressed by Roger's demeanour in the end. It reeked of confidence...I remember Coric dancing about and twirling his racquet a million miles an hour right in Federer's during the coin toss as Federer just stood there studying his opponent with his beady eyes. Obviously he saw a flaw. He saw cat food.

    Saturday was a little different and he was playing it no less cagey. He and Novak know each other quite well. I imagine that when they are faced off during the coin toss that they can smell each others breath and know what each ate for breakfast. They are in each other's face and then some.

    Right from the get go Roger was serving bombs. He was hitting it wide in the deuce court and hard up the middle in the advantage side. His flatter cannonball up the middle in the deuce was finding it's range more often than not and he was banging it outside in the ad court. He had a full range of options and he used them judiciously. Methodically. He never lost his composure and maintained that steely sense of confidence we used to see in him when he was younger. He could run the table at any given point in the match.

    The serving game of Federer is the key. If he serves well...then he is left with mop up points. He wins his serve quite handily which enables him to go to work on the other guys serve. If he can establish this pattern in a match then he is going to very tough to beat and that is precisely what he did yesterday. He threw in another wrinkle to this method of operation as he served to save something like seven break points. These were not only break points but on three occasions it may have been double break points. The ability to serve tough when you are behind in the count is doubly important.

    This comment from Gladys Heldman regarding the Richard Gonzales serve:

    "The strongest part of the Gonzales serve is his ability to put his first serve in when the chips are down. At 0-40, 15-30 and 30-40 his batting average on first serves must be .950. It is incredible to have such a high percentage while still hitting hard and flat. The number of aces on these important points is also astounding. No other player has been able to perform this feat so regularly."

    When Roger is not looking so sharp and sometimes perhaps not so motivated…it is his serve that gives him away. Yesterday he was not going away. When the chips were down and he was serving to one great returner in Djokovic he put the pedal to the metal and hammered away. He saved the crucial points when he had to. His face was grim and determined. He wasn't going to let the cat out of the bag.

    It was a textbook match in the sense of taking care of the serve aspect of the game...which is what it all used to be about. Once he got into his rhythm and was dominating his own service game...even when he was behind in the count…he went to work on Djokovic and played aggressive. Once he had the break in hand he served it out with a methodical efficiency that gave me pleasure just to watch. This is the way that it used to be done.

    This court had to be a little quicker than we are accustomed to seeing and if it was Roger knew it as did Djokovic. Many times that slice backhand of Roger's came in sliding and slithering into the Djokovic backhand and it seemed to fool him many times. It seemed to fool him o the forehand as well. Coming in on the approach the timing felt all wrong to Novak off of the bounce and a number of times he flinched.

    The best thing about this match was that it wasn't necessarily a bad match from Djokovic. Were there some murmurings that Novak was less than 100 percent? Well you certainly didn't hear any of that nonsense from Novak in the speech. He played it smart and he played it cool. He came across as you should when you lose. No excuses and nothing but praise for the champion. He kept his sense of humour and managed to smile his way through the ordeal.

    The rest of the Federer game was as sharp as a tack. I have said it before...if you are serving well it often has the effect of raising the level of the rest of the game. Particularly so in the Federer game. You might say that as he gets longer in the tooth his game is service dependent. He cannot afford to be wasting energy in holding his serve. The slice backhand was used to perfection and the one thing that I would add here is that he doesn't use it enough. Even the great Djokovic cannot consistently get a bead on it to hit like he would like to and this is especially true on a quicker surface. Roger was very sharp with his drive backhand too and at a very key point in the match he nailed a couple up the line. It didn't win the game for him on Novak's serve but the thought was gnawing at him the whole time...he had to respect the backhand up the line.

    Along with the serve the other key to the Federer game is his forehand. This is the foundation of his game. Yesterday you didn't see the mishits or the shanks on the forehand side. Does anybody doubt the advantage of using a bigger racquet still? He doubled down on anything hit to his forehand off of Novak's return of serve and he immediately went on the attack. He went to the net "enough" to make his presence felt but he dominated this match with his serve and forehand using all of the rest of his strokes to complement his attack.

    This doesn't make Novak Djokovic a one dimensional player. Novak plays the defence superbly and he is always a threat to attack from the back court. The point is that he isn't a threat in the forecourt and this is a major flaw in the design. He lacks true confidence in the forecourt and at one point he let a ball bounce well inside the baseline that he could have easily volleyed. An accomplished volleyer will almost never do such a thing.

    Federer knows this and he can always resort to a short slice backhand to the backhand of Djokovic without getting hurt. In fact he has options in neutralizing the Djokovic attack and it is the Djokovic defence that is the real strength of his game. But bombastic serving and laser precision off of the forehand took care of his impenetrable wall. It had many holes when it was all through.

    It was a really fine tennis match. Because it had some interesting and entertaining tempo…it had rhythm. Cadence. Roger was dictating all of it. Maintaining pressure on his opponent. Just as Bill Tilden wrote in his classic..."How to Play Better Tennis…a complete guide to technique and tactics". No apologies.

    The most amazing thing about this match was Federer's ability to overcome a six year age difference between him and Djokovic. He hasn't forgotten how to adapt. This is a strong suit for the classic tennis player. The ability to use different tactics against different opponents. Much as gzhpcu suggests.

    Performance Analyst


    • #32
      Originally posted by don_budge View Post

      Below are the excerpts from a thread that I wrote on called "Dubai Duty Free...ATP 500...Dubai, U. A. E.". GOAT discussion are in point. Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic? Lots of variables and not all of them relevant from one player comparison to another.

      February 28, 2015

      Lots of great gems in there. It was attacking tennis at its finest. In this match we can see how much slow surfaces has helped Djokovic and Nadal. The old conditions favor Federer but the old conditions disappeared as did every younger player who thought about attacking with full court tennis. We have someone like Shapo who attacks but had no slice, no volleys and could not finish the point well.

      NO way for the young guard to take the racket out of the old guards' hands.


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