Since Stefan Edberg linked up with Federer as his coach we have seen more forward thinking tennis with the introduction of a lot more serve and volley and net play which has been successful but hasn’t won a Slam in over three years now. In recent months we have seen his style of tennis speed up and is sometimes getting through service games against some of the best in about 90 seconds however could this style win him the US Open again in a five set match?
Serve and volley works but it’s also a risk…
I like serve and volley I think it is effective and is good on big points. I especially think it works against lower ranked players as I suppose looking forward they see a Roger Federer at the net a bit like a wall to get past and maybe panic and go for power instead of craft and end up losing the point when other options are available. Against the better players I don’t you will get away with it a lot.
Options in this position against especially Novak and Andy are passing winners and the lob shot which is a Murray speciality. Watch Roger’s wins against Novak and Andy in Cincinnati there were a few times where he looked like he would approach the net but surprisingly didn’t and played a lot at the baseline but in a best of 5 set match could we see more quick net play to finish points?
In any rally I have always said that I believe the third shot is important as it is when the server has to react to the return of serve and you can see if they may be on the front or back foot but with the way Federer was returning in Cincinnati the first shot is very important as there were times we saw him 3-4 metres inside the baseline against Murray and Djokovic returning serve giving them little time to react.
Sadly I cannot find a video of one of the Federer volley returns against Novak but I have tried to explain it below.
The serve of Novak (red) was going out wide into the corner of the box and with half a second of it bouncing Federer volleyed return with a low volley to the back of court and Novak had to alter his position with Federer at the net and had to try and get height on the ball to beat Federer but could only hit the net as Federer had the net covered. If I were serving against Federer right now I wouldn’t be looking to be serving out wide too much with the way he has been returning that serve which is in the hitting zone, make him stretch and go for the serve down the T.
High pace over five sets?
I mentioned at the beginning of the piece about the high pace and quick tennis Federer has been playing and getting through his service games very quickly. I think this works better in a best of three set rather than a best of five set match. I think it will work in the early rounds but a five set match against Stan, Novak and Andy in a potential five set match which could last 4-5 hours.
In my opinion I just can’t see it happening for Federer. The likely hood is he will have to defeat two of Stan, Andy and Novak to win the tournament in five set matches. If he does pull it off it will be an incredible achievement but I can’t see it happening.