The solution to Federer’s troubles with Nadal is technical, not mental, as has been widely suggested.
Federer needs to adjust his timing by waiting longer for the ball, then counter Nadal’s spin. Nadal hits most of his shots with 3,000 RPM or more, and the ball is still rotating when it gets to Roger’s racquet.
The topspin that Federer usually hits with is closer to 2,000 RPM, but to generate that on a forward rotating ball he needs to brush up on the ball more than usual.
Hitting early further flattens a stroke.
Perhaps Paul Anacone is not aware of this data, as I saw similar unfortunate problems during his coaching of Pete Sampras, which precipitated Pete’s retirement.
I just hope that Roger will still give us many superb performances for years to come, regardless of some disappointing losses as in Rome last weekend.
There is open stance, closed stance, and natural stance.
Natural stance on the forehand is practically open stance, unless you are in a hurry and hitting on a mad run.
Natural stance for the two-handed backhand is practically open stance.
Natural stance for the one-handed backhand is practically very closed stance.
Why are all these so? Because they better align the body to produce a more natural, more efficient, more controlled, and at the same time more powerful shot with less effort (unless you play tennis like baseball, where power, not control, is emphasized, or perhaps bunting the ball at slow speeds).
Tennis is not baseball, golf or cricket. It has it’s own movement, as natural as going shopping or running to catch your cat or your dog.
Which also applies to your thought level. No thought, just looking and feeling.
In simpler words, Find the Ball, Feel the Ball (brushing it up and across), Finish the stroke. That’s all. The rest, like a walk in the park!
What makes modern forehands so different from the strokes of the past?
Simply, the power is from the ball to the shoulder (or nearby), where in the past the power was applied from the backswing to the ball.
Further, today’s power is across rather than the linear idea of old.
The ball may be gone already, but the acceleration applied right at the impact makes the racquet-head’s windshield-wiper faster well beyond.
In the conventional forehand finish, the racquet pointed towards the placement. The modern forehand’s racquet ends up pointing back, behind the player. The butt of the racquet, rather, points to where the ball just went.
The two-handed backhand follows that model as well.
The new DVD, the Best of Oscar Modern Tennis Methodology, emphasizes this aspect. Make sure you avail yourself of it. It’s a superb guide to improve every stroke in your game.
Many people run towards the sideline for a ball, hit it back, and stay there looking. Your opponent has thereafter a lot of space to make you run.
There is a better way to strike and cover the court efficiently, so you don’t leave too much of an open court for your opponent.
You do so by hitting open stance and pulling across, not only with your hand (or hands for the two-handed backhand), but also by loading on the outside foot and pushing off on this foot towards the center, as the inside foot lifts or slides towards the center (and perhaps somewhat backwards) as you turn while you hit.
You may need to get closer to the ball initially to be comfortable with this technique. You may need to emphasize your finish as well.
This will increase your power and spin, aiding in the acceleration of your windshield-wiper stroke, and help your control of your balance too.
You shouldn’t run too hard towards the center, otherwise you open the side of the court from where you just stroked for a wrong-footing shot.
Be always ready to pivot and run straight. Side-stepping is good to wait around, but not to reach a distant ball.
Watch the new DVD, the Best of Oscar Modern Tennis Methodology to see how can this be emphasized for every stroke.
Tracking the ball with your hands, rather than worrying about your footwork, will align you with the ball. Your body, prompted instinctively, will help the hand or hands in the execution of the stroke.
Computing the other way around, thus making the hand dependent on your footwork and body position to hit the ball, complicates the process and inhibits your natural and instinctive play.
That is the failure of conventional tennis. It is based on the premise that footwork is the most important thing.
Modern Tennis Methodology is the other way around. It makes you trust the habits and instinctive moves you learned at a very young age. It focusses you on feel rather than on thought.
Further, with the hand tracking the line of the ball as long as possible, it is easier to hit across, which is the basis of longer feel, more spin, and more control.
The new DVD, the Best of Oscar Modern Tennis Methodology has been arranged, separately for each stroke, to emphasize this aspect. Make sure you avail yourself of it. It’s a superb guide to improve every stroke in your game.