The most anticipated of all grand slams has finally arrived. Expectations and hopes, for both the fortunate 128 and the rest of the tennis world, are geared up to their fullest, for perhaps the most adrenaline-rushing 14 days in the annual tennis calendar. A disproportionate amount of this fervor is however, directed at one man. He known to the world by many superlative appellations, although we prefer to stay in line with the spirit of the season, and call him the King of Grass.
The problem though, is that the King of Grass has lately not been performing at the standard which he took the 2017 season by storm with. His aggression has toned down - most particularly evident in the greater number of backhand slices that he is hitting. This toned-down aggressiveness, which was central to his incredible feats last year, no doubt translated into a less bright performance throughout the season so far. On top of a failure to defend the Double Sunshine (Indian Wells and Miami), he lost in the Halle Open final in a performance which can only be described as sloppy.
The good new though, is that Federer has been able to make drastic (or rather, immediate) changes to his game, with drastic results... so here are some things we recommend Federer do
Stop slicing that much!
A winning strategy should be stuck to. Violating this principle could land one in unfamiliar territory that is not that as clear-cut positive as the former. This is exactly what Federer has gotten himself into in his games this year. Most alarming of all is his seeming return to his old usual habit of slice-returning on the backhand. A critical reason for his making last year such an extraordinary success is his unprecedented effort to be attacking from the very start of the points. Slicing on the backhand side certainly would neutralize the game-play when it could be actively seized upon from the get-go
Hit nearer to the margins
Another critical factor in Federer's successful season last year was a consistent level of bravery maintained by him, with regards to his match-play shot-making. Looking back at how many of his winning points were so short, we see a make-or-break attitude which was carried through many of such shots - which either were hit out, hit on the line, or hit so close to the line that it would have been way inside a danger zone typically avoided during a normal rally for the sake of maintaining an acceptable degree of consistency. True, Federer was hitting more unforced errors than usual, but he was able to make for such with a far greater number of winners! The grass is country for old and (technically) classical men. Federer just so happens to be old and classical.
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