SONY OPEN TENNIS 2014
Racquet The Key To Federer's Serving Renaissance
by Josh Meiseles|
Federer’s serve has long been considered one of the most effective shots in today's game, and it was on full display once again in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thiemo de Bakker on Sunday.
A seemingly effortless and fluid stroke with deceptive power and pinpoint accuracy, the 32 year old’s serve is an integral part of his arsenal.
Less than a week after reaching his 35th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells, Federer won 49 of 52 points on serve in his Miami opener against Ivo Karlovic on Friday. It marked the first time he dropped just three points on serve in a single match. The No. 5 seed would follow that with an equally remarkable display against de Bakker, firing six aces and relinquishing a mere seven points on serve (84 per cent won).
When asked what he attributes his recent serving success to, Federer did not dismiss the notion that his larger racquet frame has played a key role.
“I think it just gives me easier power, especially on the first serve,” Federer said. “And I think as time now goes by, I'm getting a better feel for how is the ball going to react and how much spin I need to put on it to stay really accurate and put it really close to the line.
“Because that's something I also struggled with last year and sometimes before. It's just to keep the pace up and keep accuracy up. Right now I'm doing a good job.”
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Federer believes his overall match rhythm, improved movement and confidence in his game derives from a strong serve. “There are rallies after that,” added Federer. “It doesn't just stop right after you've hit a serve. It’s important how you back up your serve. I think that's also why I'm doing well now.
“The racquet change was an interesting one. I'm happy it's working so well, because I'm very pleased with what I'm feeling now with the hand, with my stick.”
While Federer has attributed his resurgent 2014 campaign to a transition to a new, larger racquet head, he maintains that it is a delicate process.
“It could be a finished product, but I'm still going to just test a couple of things in the next few weeks,” said Federer. “So I should know probably in a month. I definitely will know if this is going to be it or not.”
“I can play very good tennis. I know that. I have proven it in the past. Just because I had a little bit of letdown last year because of injury doesn't mean I forgot how to play. It's important to remind yourself of that. If you don't live in the past you have to create your own future, and for that I need to make sure I keep believing. Now the confidence is back and now everything is pretty simple like it used to be.”
The two-time Miami champion (2005-06) will battle No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet for the 14th time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, when Round of 16 play commences on Tuesday.