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Federer Brings Back Serve And Volley

Wimbledon, Great Britain

Federer © Getty ImagesRoger Federer serve and volleyed 18 times in his first-round match.

Roger Federer’s daughters were a couple weeks shy of their third birthday when he last hoisted the Wimbledon trophy. Now, they have a pretty good idea of what their father does for a living.

“They understand the difference between a match and a practice now because they've been to both,” he said following his first-round win Tuesday at Wimbledon. “They know I kind of play for like a trophy.”

Federer is chasing his eighth trophy this year at the All England Club, where he is also juggling duties as a father of four, with his twin sons born in May.

“I think by now we have a lot of experience over the years and know how to handle it, but clearly there's a lot happening,” he said. “Nevertheless we're enjoying it very much, our first Wimbledon all together like that.”

A lot has changed for the Swiss over the years, not only off the court, but also in the style of play since his Wimbledon debut 15 years ago.

“I remember still how I played in 2001 when I made it to the quarters here,” he said. “I serve and volleyed 80 per cent on the first serve, 30 to 50 per cent on the second serve. It was just normal. I even did some in 2003 when I won first here. Then every year I started doing less because the game started changing on the tour really.”

Federer has turned back the page in recent weeks. He returned to the serve and volley during his run to the Gerry Weber Open title two weeks ago in Halle. In his opening match Tuesday, he ventured forward with 18 serve and volley points.

He stressed, however, that he planned to use it as another weapon, as opposed to his main game plan.

“I didn't serve and volley all the time,” he said. “That's not how I intend to be playing. But mixing it up a little bit could be the way to go. I'll still have to see how it's going to go from here on, because at the end I'd rather not serve and volley and win my matches than go out in style serving and volleying.”

Working with two-time Wimbledon champion Stefan Edberg, noted as one of the best serve-and-volleyers of the game, has contributed to his new plan of attack. “[Edberg] maybe just reinforced the concept that it is possible, that I can actually do it,” shared Federer.

“I think it could be that little extra piece to the puzzle that could bring me through, to have that extra option. I think also the racquet is helping me to serve overall more powerful, higher per centage. I think it is helpful. I'm going to still see against who I can do it and who I can't.  If I can't, we'll have to rely more on my baseline game, on the first shots, serve, returns, first strike, which almost everybody plays nowadays.

“It's important to have the confidence to half volley, which I love to do on the grass, to take time away from your opponent. It's many little things that's going to make it work for me.”

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