Introduction: This is a first time venture that Long came up with and since the topic at hand gave me a scope to understand and learn the intricate nuances about the players and their style, I decided to give it my best shot.
From the perspective of mechanics, while Long’s article takes an in depth analyses into Federer’s game, this article deals with the same from Nole’s side of the court and how they stack against each other in terms of their technical strengths.
Please do not hesitate to provide your feedback, for it’s the only way the idea can grow [and from a micro level so can I] and improve in the future.
Forehand: Even though Nole uses a Western grip that aids to generate a lot of top spin in his shots, there is no denying that his forehand is essentially weaker as compared to the other shots in his arsenal.
And since both the rivals in this occasion are right handers, in addition to the fact that Federer’s forehand is almost lethal, Nole will have a few problems while tackling the forehand shots [especially the down the line ones which as it is, is a difficult shot to perfect].
Backhand: This is Nole’s best bet. A two fisted backhand is generally considered to be better balanced than a single handed backhand which invariably ends up causing more cons than pros right from return of serve to giving a versatility of shot placements, plus camouflaging the intended shot from the opponent.
Federer’s backhand is the weakest chink in his armoury which comes more to light when opponents [Rafa, and Murray especially] pick on his backhand to prolong rallies from the baseline.
And against Nole, while there is no denying the fact that Federer will employ suitable tactical expertise to avoid Nole’s backhand [especially cross court rallies], he won’t be able to outshine Nole, at least in this department.
Net Game: Nole’s game at the net, while is not bad by any means, is just equivalent to a novice’s when compared to an expert like Federer.
Additionally, Federer is more active when compared to Nole with his net approach shots and given his precise placements of the same, he holds the advantage over Nole in this regard.
Serve and Return: Nole’s serve is relatively weaker as compared to Federer’s if we could put it simply.
His first serve is generally a flat serve while he prefers to serve out a wide second serve, but what happens most of the time is that the complex motions of his serving technique and the result [it involves the element of topspin once again] falters thereby conceding more points which has been the cause of his downfall more often than not.
The return of serve, however isn’t a major factor which could determine, explore and exploit the positives and the negatives of their serve artillery. Each is well placed to his own.
Movement: Court movements of both the players are balanced, though Nole’s court movements will be a tad under pressure as the match gets extended to being a best of five sets. His stamina will definitely be a restrictive factor for Nole in such a scenario.
General Match-up: Nole’s game is as equipped with strengths and weaknesses as is Federer’s. He has the potential to trouble Federer as has the vulnerability to cower down under Federer’s onslaught of expertise and calculative manoeuvres.
If he plays like he did towards the end of the 2008 season and Federer plays anything like he did at the start of 2009, then the prognosis of this match looks very very interesting.
To Sum-Up: It will be a close contest though the odds are in Federer’s favour, but at the same time, if Nole persists [and Federer loses his momentum] then Nole definitely can get the better of Federer to stop the Swiss from getting into the final for the sixth year running.