Roger Federer: Breaking Down Ways Fed Must Improve His Game in 2013
How do you critique the greatest men's tennis player of all time?
Roger Federer is a 17-time Grand Slam champion, an Olympic medalist and one of the most accomplished players in the sport's history.
I'm not sure that anyone is qualified to critique Fed's game, but we'll do so anyway.
As Federer heads into the twilight of his professional career, his game must adapt to his physical limitations. That's not to say Fed has become a statue on the court since reaching his 30s, but let's face it, tennis is a young man's game.
Here, we'll break down a few ways Fed must look to improve his game in 2013 in order to become a more efficient player this season and beyond.
Polish Serving Skills
No one is going to argue that Federer isn't one of the greatest servers tennis has ever seen, but at age 31, he has certainly lost some of the pop that made him such a force a few years back.
Fed must continue to work on his serve in practice and in training, becoming a more precise server by taking advantage of the angles more often to pile up some more aces and earn cheap, short points. There's very little else for Fed to learn when it comes to serving, it's a matter of continuing to improve to avoid becoming stagnant and predictable.
In his men's semifinal loss to Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open, Federer was out aced 21-5 over the course of the match by Murray.
Utilizing the angles and being even more effective on his first serve will not only trouble his opponents in 2013 but save him a great deal of wear and tear that frankly, he needs to avoid at this point in his career.
Serve and Volley
Federer's ability to hit almost any shot imaginable on the tennis court has made him a stranger to the serve and volley game somewhat in recent years, but with increased age comes change.
Fed must look to finish off points quicker and demoralize his lesser opponents in the early stages of a match. One way to do this is to employ the serve and volley more often, a tactic he used quite a bit early on in his career, capitalizing on his tricky serve and shutting down his opponent on the return.
Of course, this style of play will make Fed vulnerable to a passing shot, but again, it's a tactic that can be put to use in the earlier rounds of tournaments, where the competition is less of a threat.
Take More Risks
As Fed's power on the one-handed forehand and backhand begins to fade a little bit, he's going to have to take a few more risks when up against top-notch talents like Novak Djokovic and Murray.
His forehand used to be devastating six years ago, but opponents have since figured it out somewhat, and aren't nearly as intimidated by it as they once were. Therefore, Fed must begin to take more risks in rally situations against the world's best.
Whether he's putting more spin on the ball or aiming for the line, there are a variety of ways in which Fed can take more risks while at the same time playing smart and efficient tennis.
Though it's much easier said than done, becoming a more fearless player should be easier for Fed than it is for anyone else given his long list of achievements. His legacy as the greatest of all time was established a long time ago, and any success gained in 2013 and beyond is just sprinkles on the icing of the cake.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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