The forehand Roger Federer hit on the second match point in the US OPEN quarter finals was stunning. About like a golfer hitting a 3 iron 225 yards into an 8 ounce paper cup. For the Masters title! This man is a gift, in any number of ways. Tennis and life!
Number 25 of my articles, Hackalooski, defines a poor golfer telling a good golfer how to play. Article 9 (Tennis Tactics: The Circle Stinger) suggests that Nadal’s ripping, left-handed, topspin forehand, hit from within the “circle”, gave him a play that even the world’s greatest player couldn’t withstand. Both Rafa and Roger knew that this “laser”, relentlessly hammered at even a great backhand, is deadly.
Mickey Lolich was a great Detroit pitcher. When asked why his yearly win/loss records changed drastically for the better (from about 18/17 to like 24/6) he replied “…I learned how to win when I didn’t have my BEST STUFF”. There are days when singles tennis players are like “singular” pitchers. This appeared to be true with FED in both the quarters and semis. Admirably, when asked to explain his remarkable improved recent play, he did not excuse his earlier play as affected by a back injury. He could have.
With the greatest respect for this man, I do have a HACKALOOSKI. One hears all kinds of theories on “big points”, “break points”, etc. As a college coach one of the “points” I stressed were “ahead points” “The hardest time to play is when you are ahead”. College kids had the flaw of poor focus, particularly on 40-15 and 30-love points. The same is true of being up a break. Killer instinct sounds evil, but not in tennis. When college doubles changed to an 8-game pro set, we all watched in amazement at game leads of 7 to 4 and 6 to 3, that were frittered away.
HERE IS THE HARD PART. I think Fed plays these situations and points somewhat loosely. If there are statistics available on his playing of these points, I would bet his percentages would be less on these points.
Particularly in tight matches.
The game is evolving. In earlier articles I have noted some observations: The JOKER’S great groundstrokes can keep Rafa out of his “circle”, 2. Dropshots are more and more common and successful (but not against Monfils), and 3. There were all kinds of 2014 US OPEN matches that exhibited the evolving ability of men and women to hit quality groundstrokes with wide open pace, on or near the line. Kei Nishikori against Warinka and Djokivic. Nuff said!

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