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Federer's incredible changes to win the 2010 London Masters

Federer has adapted once again to the threats of not only the young guns that could matter. In this category, I could lump together like a bag of stones: Djoko, Soderling, Berdych, Murray. The first three relying more on power and Murray relying on guile and court sense. But in the case of Nadal, he has forged a master strategy, one that I would've advocated from last year.
The increase in aggression after taking Annacone as a coach is dramatic. To win 96% first serve points against Nadal? Insane. As Drysdale and P.Mac noticed, he would not step away an inch from the baseline, especially on the backhand side. This made Nadal's forehand attack ineffectual. The balls rarely got high on Fed's backhand, and if it did, he made sure to turn his shoulders more and really whip through the ball, for a crosscourt winner. He did not settle on a neutral ball with safety topspin.
I noticed that even Fed has returned to the Edberg-styled "left leg drop over to the side" balance when hitting the backhand on the run. Fed is definitely going further to the left of the ball, and has satisified my call for greater extension to the left  on the backhand. He is no longer perched on a fixed squat right quad position which merely goes upwards for thrust.
His followthrough on the backhand, as a consequence, was less low to high and more across. He also did not endlessly slice the ball when such a threat came. If he were able to run around the backhand, he hit more down the line forehands instead of the vaunted inside outer.
As for hitting a high majority of returns for approach shots or straight out winners, Fed still needs to work on getting more forehand screamers into the baseline, not beyond it. If only he would increase the height of his takeback, and angle his wrist more with a firm grip would he find the target. Agassi still owns a better return game for these reasons. He makes those adjustments better with a shorter but higher takeback.
Federer finally looks natural at the net, than before the U.S. Open. His feet are bringing him to the ball much more fluidly so that he doesn't have to adjust his volley stroke. Before, he was popping the ball up for easy sitters. Now, he has control of the ball and is in a far more offensive position, almost on top of the net. His approach shots are also much more well placed and penetrating, with the added element of unpredictability. I would say Annacone has versed him in being deceptive.
Lastly, the slice serve out wide in the deuce court really can-opened Nadal's two hander. That is something McEnroe and a fellow slice server as myself would advocate. With Nadal's weak replies, Fed could even play the forehand down the line the same corner and hit behind Rafa. That must've made the Mallorcan extremely upset. Nadal had an awful time trying to pass and outsmart Fed, so he tried to increase the rally tempo, but Fed would have none of that. He just closed in even more with accurate serving. He didn't even hit many drop shots to pull Nadal into the net. He kept Nadal away from the center of the court baseline and that is what Annacone has achieved as a coach. Splendid!

 

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Tags: Federer, Masters, Nadal, championships, end, year

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