With his dominance fading, Federer should return to his roots at the net
Perhaps there's no resurrecting
It certainly makes for lively debate, especially after Federer was run off the court in the first two sets Monday against clay-court specialist
I just think back to the first time I saw Federer, playing
"Who the hell is
Federer changed with the times -- ahead of them, really. Just two years later, as he won his first Wimbledon, Federer used his net game as an option, not a staple. As longtime British threat
Add the inevitable spikes in technology, allowing players to sting the ball harder and more accurately on returns and passing shots, and the old Wimbledon formula didn't always work so well. I just wonder, though, if Federer might consider a trip back in time. He's one of the few players even capable of changing his style. He still has every shot in the book, including superb volleys, and it would take little more than an overnight decision for him to spring a few surprises.
It seems clear that he needs a new look. Players no longer fear the great man, not after watching him appear so vulnerable throughout the year, on every surface, even in crucial late-match predicaments. Valla had seen just enough of Federer (twice in the last month) to produce an excellent game plan. He was the one taking control, charging in behind certain groundstrokes, even serve-and-volleying on occasion.
Make no mistake, this tactic still works at the All England Club. Even the tedious
I think Federer could pull this off -- not turning into
For years, Federer owned Hewitt, winning 15 straight matches in one stretch. They met three times at Wimbledon, Federer winning twice in straight sets (2005 and '08), and although Hewitt stretched him to four sets in '04, Federer won two of them by 6-1 and 6-0. If Hewitt were to repeat his stunning performance last week at Halle, where he beat Federer in the final, it would officially signal a new day in the men's game. If I know Federer (and I don't, but I've spoken to his jackets), that won't happen. He'll be a step ahead. And that only happens if he drifts backward in time.
Since we're on the subject of Federer, let's give some long-overdue credit to
At the age of 16, Evert signaled her arrival with a stunning semifinal appearance at the 1971 U.S. Open. From that point through the 1983 French Open, Evert never failed to reach that stage in a major: She was 34-for-34, lifetime. She skipped a number of Australian Opens, a common decision by many top pros in those days, and even went absent three straight years from the French, which she generally dominated. (Federer's record is singular in that he never missed any Slam along the way.) But Evert was 28 years old before she ever lost at a major before the semis (to
Why doesn't anyone ever mention this?
No one had more fun these last two weeks than
It hasn't all been fun, in truth. "People coming up to me, thanking me, kissing me -- people I don't know," she said this week. "I play tennis for that. But I am human. Sometimes, the attention is nice. Sometimes, you want to be alone."
In vintage Italian style, Schiavone seized the emotion with a hardy grip. "I think she partied a little too much after the French," a smiling
I thought Schiavone got a raw deal on Wimbledon's opening-day schedule.
So how to watch Wimbledon on television, before NBC takes over this weekend? For anyone willing to watch (or tape) ESPN2's live coverage each day, beginning at 7 a.m. ET, there's quite an array of broadcasters:
Tennis Channel isn't such a bad way to go, however, even with its limited resources. Judging from Monday's opening telecast, "Wimbledon Prime Time" (7 p.m. ET each night through June 30) has only three announcers that are unmistakably on site: studio host
Fortunately, TC has access to the BBC Wimbledon coverage, and it gets no better than that. For Federer-Falla, presented in lengthy highlight segments, the viewing audience was treated to the combination of classy
As points pass by in silence on a Wimbledon telecast, a distinct sensation comes forth. It's almost like being at courtside. There is no better way to go.