By: A. Balaji
Roger Federer is one of the most accomplished tennis players in the history of the sport and he continues to improve, having achieved multiple trophies this year alone. At the age of 35 the Swiss maestro shows no signs of slowing down. Despite an injury affecting his performance in previous months, he continues to prove himself.
Roger Federer started 2017 with a bang. Winning a grand slam and two masters 1000 on hard court, the Swiss star increased his record breaking number of grand-slams to 18, making it even more unlikely that anyone should ever catch up with him. Furthermore, having started the year ranked 16th, he is now 4th. The improvement in his game is said to be due to the employment of Ivan Ljubičić.
Ivan Ljubičić, formerly ranked 3rd, was brought into Roger Federer's team at the start of the 2016 season and had little time to work with Federer since, about a month after they began to work together, Federer required surgeries due to knee injuries. Although this was a major setback, it did not stop the pair from continuing to work and improve. By the time Federer played the first major Grand Slam of the year, the close friends had already worked together for a span of one year and Federer’s game had improved exponentially.
When observing him play, we can notice a slight change in his game which has given him a competitive advantage over his opponents. If we were to analyse his most recent win against Rafael Nadal in the Miami Open we can notice that the game between Federer and Nadal lasted only 1 hour and 35 minutes. If we compare this to other games played by Federer, there is a massive difference revealing that, this year, Federer has resolved to finish all points quickly and efficiently.
When we consider his serve statistics, we can also see an improvement in his serving efficiency. During his game against Nadal, he won 87% of the points in which he served his first serve. By using a large variety of services, including on the body, angled and down the line, Federer has won only 48% of his second serve points, proving that his first serve was indeed essential towards his victories.
Finally, Federer won 72% of his return points which was also fundamental towards his success over his opponents. Federer won these points by increasing the number of winners he hit. However, this is also extremely risky, as it means that his unforced errors increase simultaneously.
This year, Federer has proven to all that age does not have to affect your playing and that, if you adjust your game to maximise your advantage over your opponents, nothing can hold you back from victory.
Image by: flickrworker, <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roger_Federer_Doha.jpg>