Updated: Dec 1, 2018
Roger Federer is considered to have one of the most complete games in men’s tennis. He has amazing movement, anticipation, and fluid strokes. Smooth, elegant, graceful – he plays tennis with such ease and confidence. He beats opponents, among other things, with his reliable serve, incredible footwork and ability to play the big points well.
What you can learn:
1. Serve. Federer's serve is not the fastest out there but its incredibly effective. His serve accuracy (including his second serve) is one of the best on the ATP tour. One of his key success factors of his serve has been attributed to his consistent ball toss. So aim to improve your toss, and practice hitting your key spots as consistently as possible. Perhaps slowing down your serve swing might help with the consistency initially and then gradually increase the speed as you get better.
2. Forehand. Federer’s forehand is a major weapon which he hits with good spin, accuracy and power, and he is exceptionally fast to hit those running forehand winners. His footwork and quick movement around the court are key to his positioning and ability to hit great shots with balance and accuracy. Improve on your fitness and your footwork for better on-court positioning.
3. Backhand. Federer’s one-handed backhand is one of the sport’s most graceful shots, and he hits if with exceptional timing and precision. Federer uses his slice backhand well to mix things up and slow the pace down. In the 2017 Australian Open where he beat Nadal in the final, he was more aggressive with his backhand topspin, hitting the ball early and on the rise with great effect, hitting many winners and surprising Nadal (and everyone watching). Practice your timing and hitting the ball early. Be courageous and aim to hit more attacking shots off the backhand side. Change things up to see what works for you (eg hitting a deeper more attacking slice shot instead of floating it over the net).
4. Volley. Federer’s volley has improved with him taking the opportunity to come to the net more often behind his serve and in a bid to cut shot more points. He has great touch and feel at the net, and his fast reflexes help as well. Practice attacking the net more often. Hit more volleys to gain more confidence and feel at the net. If you pick the right times to approach the net, it may pay off giving you more easy points instead of grinding it out all the time at the baseline.
5. Overhead. Federer hits his overhead with loads of confidence. His quick movement gets him into position and hits his overheads with great timing and accuracy. The overhead is likely the least practiced shot among regular tennis players as usually players are more likely to practice rallying, serving and volleying more. Agree with your playing partner to devote more time to practicing the overhead and you will gain more confidence.
6. Movement. Great movement is fundamental in helping you hit better shots around the court. First improve your fitness, it will give you more endurance on the court. Keep your feet active whenever you play, practice that little jump-step before your opponents hit their shot, skip around, move with balance etc. Your hard work will pay off great dividends in your overall game!