Author Topic: Big serves and fast points: Where will Federer vs Nadal be won tactically  (Read 462 times)

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Offline Yomi

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will do battle once more at Wimbledon.

It’s been 11 years since their last meeting at the All England Club. The most recent encounter – the 2008 final – was a rather memorable affair. Nadal ended Federer’s five-year winning streak in a match lasting four hours and 48 minutes.

This is the first time the duo will face off in SW19 outside the final, with the winner likely to face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, but a lot has changed about their games over the past decade.

One of tennis’ top tacticians Craig O’Shannessy – a strategy coach for Djokovic who also masterminded Alison Riske’s win against world No. 1 Ash Barty – gives the inside track on where the encounter will be won and lost.

Nadal keeping the points short
‘This is really interesting. Federer’s average rally length is 3.4, Nadal’s is 3.5. It’s basically the same. It shouldn’t be at 3.5 for Nadal, it should be higher. He’s adapting his game. Everyone is saying the courts are slow this year but 3.5 is low. That’s a low number.

‘From Nadal you’d expect 4.5-5. That’s right for Roger but it’s more aggressive for Nadal. That’s a good number for him.

‘I do think he’ll try and do the same thing tomorrow. He has to. You don’t want to get this deep like we saw with Strycova today, no serve and volley, no net – everything that got her here didn’t work.’

‘First serve for him, 61% for him is low. He’s normally higher than Federer.

‘I’ve never seen him hit more aces than Fed. That’s a joke. He almost has better serve numbers than Federer overall. 47 to 42 aces. Two more doubles, which doesn’t matter. He’s winning more first serve points and he’s lost four service games to three. He’s almost got better service numbers than Federer. Arguably he does.

‘Fastest serve is within one mile an hour. His average first serve speed is 117mh, Federer’s average is 116mph. There’s your story right there. Nadal is hitting his first serve on average faster than Federer. He’s playing bigger, for sure, at the start of the point. That’s an investment in winning the tournament, not just randomly hitting more. That’s what he needs to do to win.

‘They’re very similar numbers. Fed’s backhand is producing more errors than Nadal’s which is normal.

‘He’s playing short points on purpose. This looks really good for Rafa. It looks good because the serve numbers aren’t typically this good for Rafa. Rafa’s return is going to be the same no matter where he plays but he needs to serve well and his serve numbers are arguably better than Federer’s.

‘That’s the story: is Nadal actually serving better than Federer so far?’

‘To make it a grass court match. To serve and volley, go to the net.

‘To take time away and not get in extended rallies. Keep the rally length short and keep the rally low and to attack. Just take Rafa’s time away.

‘He’s winning 56% of baseline points. Roger won the Australian Open at 48% in 2017, that’s a really good number.’

What’s changed since they last played here in 2008?

‘Nothing. No, they’re exactly the same.

‘People think it changes dramatically. It doesn’t. We used – for Novak to beat Rafa in Australia – we used the semi-final here as our model.

‘So we used a grass-court match as a hard court match with half a year apart. It’s normal. We use matches from 2015 all the time.’

« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 11:52:35 AM by Yomi »