Since Roger Federer successfully capitalized on a between-the-legs shot or the "tweener," for his second-consecutive U.S. Open, everyone in the ATP seems to be jumping on the bandwagon.
The crowd-pleasing shot is often categorized as more style than substance. It's a shot that is viewed more as showboating, and less of a necessary shot. But it gets the fans cheering. And it's good for the sport. But how many tweener's can one see? New Yorker's don't seem to mind. It is for three things: fan reaction, egotism, and a spot on Sports Center.
Not much later after Federer made his circus shot, Francesca Schiavone attempted one in her match against Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko, and was also successful. The 5'5 Italian, ran down the lob, lifted her left leg and hit the ball cross court. Standing there at the net was Bondarenko, who volleyed it back, but then Schiavone delivered a crushing-passing shot. The 30-year-old then celebrated with a flurry of vicious fist pumps.
No. 1 seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who is often copying Federer in style and most-everything else, failed miserably in his tweener attempt in a match against fellow countryman, Feliciano Lopez. He nailed it, but it was poorly placed, and rocked back by Lopez, who was standing at the net. The difference with Fed's shot was it was a strong-passing shot, nailing the back corner of the court.
Then Russian Mikhail Youzhny in a quarterfinal match against Stan Wawrinka was successful at the tweener. The between-the-legs shot landed him in the No. 2 best play on Sports Center.
The No. 12 seed hit the shot toward Wawrinka, who missed the volley wide.
Federer hit a tweener against Novak Djokovic last year, and this year repeated it once again in the first round against Brian Dabul, stunning the New York crowd and his unseeded opponent. ESPN Analyst John McEnroe remarked, "He did it again!" Federer's acrobatic shot has been one of the most viewed sports highlights on Youtube, and made the top list on Sports Center. When he hit this year's tweener he was further back, closer to the wall-possibly a more difficult shot.
"I thought I could do this one again," said the No. 2 seeded Swiss.
No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic had a chance to hit a tweener, but opted to play it safe. Analyst Brad Gilbert got in the on the hype and asked him why he didn't attempt the crowd-dazzling shot.
"Everyone's yelling at me, 'hit the Fed shot! Hit the tweener, and you hit an unbelievable backhand," said Gilbert. "Do you have that tweener shot between your legs?"
"No I have something else between my legs," quipped the Serbian-often called "joker," to which the crowd laughed in a frenzy.
Djokovic, who was on the receiving end of Federer's trick shot, gave the No. 2 seed props.
"It's not one of my better shots," admitted Djokovic. "I think Roger is quite good at doing that."
Of course he is. He's done it twice. Maybe he will do it again? Just watch and see.