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For All Those Backhands, Roger Says Thanks A Million

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Federer© Henk KosterFederer credits his improved backhand to his opponents.

For all those players who directed a million balls to Roger Federer's backhand, the Swiss superstar says thank you.

Federer is known for possessing a deadly forehand, but over the years, his backhand has continued to get better. The 17-time major champion credits his opponents for improving the shot, something he could not have done with practice alone.

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“My coaches taught me a one-hander. A two-hander was never an option really. So I stuck with it,” said Federer. “Thankfully to all my opponents over the years who have played a million balls to my backhand, it's actually gotten pretty good. I can really thank them in a big way for improving my backhand. Practice can only get you so far. I improved by playing. And as I was getting stronger, I was able to put more topspin on the ball. The slice is easy on the body and it's always been my favourite shot to hit as a little kid.”

When asked what he would recommend to kids playing today, Federer joked, “Probably a double-hander (laughter). But I would love to see more one-handers for sure. We don't have many around anymore.”

World No. 2 Federer is playing his second tournament of the season this week in Rotterdam. He cruised in his title defence opener at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Wednesday, dropping just four games to defeat Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja.

“I want to try to win. That’s why I’m here,” Federer said. “I’m focusing at the task at hand. Right here, right now, the focus is trying to win this tournament, no matter how physical it’s going to get.”

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