Whatever happened to Roger Federer's cows

The evolution of Roger Federer

Recognizing the signs of the times - that is what Roger Federer has achieved. And with tactical and technical changes the basis for his triumph at the Australian Open was laid.

Buckle up. A wild and exciting journey through all the tactical finesse of tennis is ahead of us. Roger Federer is beyond grasp. And it certainly cannot be pigeonholed. He's a ninja on the pitch. Nobody knows what is happening. Except for the maestro himself. Like a ninja, he knows exactly what he is doing. It is his opponents who grope in the dark after his maneuvers and no longer know what happens to them.

The length of the rally

Roger Federer's game ran over his powerful forehand ten years ago. Even in his youth, this punch stood out and became his trademark. Federer can do everything with his forehand. Above all, generate incredible speed. The loop during the backward movement of his forehand used to be much more complex and larger than it is now. Clear. The game has gotten faster. There is not much time left to prepare for a strike.

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The younger Roger Federer literally floated along the baseline. Fast as an arrow, quietly and always surrounded by great elegance. At that time, Federer also liked to go on the defensive. He wasn't so focused on the all-out offensive yet. It was Federer who kept coming back from the defensive and ended the point with incredible strokes. What Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray later conjured up on the pitch in absolute perfection, Federer already showed in rudiments.

But Roger Federer wouldn't be the best tennis player of all time if he couldn't change his game.

Slice, volley and the foot on the baseline

Time showed that players came who were able to master the "banter" from the baseline more confidently and with more perseverance. Rafael Nadal turned into a nightmare in three-quarter trousers with his tireless, high topspin balls on Federer's backhand. Every Federer fan will probably not get rid of the noise of the frame ball. It was time to reinvent yourself.

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Like a good meal, Roger Federer spiced up his game. He changed some ingredients. And served a new game to his opponents over the years. Now the question was no longer when Federer made the supposedly slight mistake with the backhand. Federer asked his opponent a different question through his new game: "How long can you withstand my pressure without doubting yourself?"

Standing almost on the baseline, Federer hardly gives his opponent any breathing space these days. Even for Rafael Nadal it was sometimes too fast in the final of the Australian Open 2017. The ball came back when "Rafa" had just finished his stroke. Over the past five years, Roger Federer has taken his net game to a whole new level. His attacks are clever and perfectly dosed. The paths to the net hardly give the opponent an angle to pass. The backhand slice destroys the most beautiful rhythm of the game and seems so toxic that it takes the pace of even the best hard hitter off the bat. During his function as a commentator, Boris Becker repeatedly referred to the variability of the serve. Roger Federer is a master of this discipline. Serves on man, with slice outwards and hard through the middle alternate with finesse like the serve on the opponent's body. It is impossible for the return player to adjust to the Swiss serve.

How a master accepts weaknesses

The "only" chipped backhand return was perhaps one of the weaknesses in Federer's game. Players like Nadal or Djokovic got into the rallies very easily with this slice return. They didn't have to do anything for it other than play the second serve on Federer's backhand. The final of the Australian Open showed how a master eradicated this weakness. The master changes his return position. Sometimes it is more centered, sometimes more outward. He dares to step into the field. And so he gets the self-confidence to pull his own backhand through on the opponent's second serve. A crucial piece of the puzzle on the way to the 18th Grand Slam title.

Where will the tactical journey go? Roger Federer can sit down, have a cup of tea and smile in this regard. His plan works. Even over five sentences. Self-confidence is replenished. The career can go on. Now the competition is asked to decipher this Roger again.

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