Hey guys, this is a short piece from Sid on Roger's performance today in Basel, I was going to add it onto my post but I thought it probably deserved it's very own so here it is.
PS I'm always willing to post fan pieces on here if you have an opinion on Roger or just tennis in general and want to share it then feel free to email me.
Anyway, take it away Sid….
How Basel Was Lost
In the sport of tennis, “You are only as good as your second serve”. The match Roger lost truly epitomizes that truth.
Roger Federer won 60% of his second serves points in 2012. A lot of good things happened. Roger's GOAT status was truly cemented, at least until someone else bests that legacy. In 2013, so far, Roger has won 56% of them. Now, the difference may not seem much, a mere four additional points every hundred times Roger steps to the line, and brushes that ball to deliver a nasty kick serve. Or, one in every twenty five points. In the loss to Juan Martin, Roger was winning only 47% of his 40 second serves. Extrapolating, we can assume that Roger lost two more second serve points compared to last year.
Where were those two points lost?
It was an enjoyable match. Most of you will say, “Sid, chillax, it's done and dusted now. It was a great fight by Roger against a top 10 opponent. This is a sign of good things to come. He nearly won it!”.
But nearly doesn't get it done. Whether it's recreational tennis, or professional, in the end, it comes down to a few points. It comes down to percentages. Roger Federer is struggling, for a myriad of reasons. He is getting older. He is not as fast as he used to be. He is a father for crying out loud! His serve has lost oomph. His opponents are fitter and have resorted to help from technology. Yes, all those things are true. But there are number to things that Roger can control. Things that are in his own hands. And one of them is taking care of his own serve.
Each player won 96 points today. There really shouldn't have been a winner. As Roger once put it, “It's a pity we don't have a draw in tennis”. So, what were those two points that made a huge difference today? The two points that could've given Roger a straight sets win, or a tough three set win.
Doesn't matter, you would say. Move on! Get over it! What a whiner! Sore loser, much? But the truth is, there is no getting over. You cannot prevent your opponent from serving aces, or inducing forced errors on them. You cannot be mad at them for stepping in and killing those sliced returns. You cannot be too hard on yourself for shanking a ball into the crowd after a long rally, or under duress. But there is no bigger evil in tennis than not getting the ball into your opponents box on your second serve. You cannot win a point if you cannot start it.
Why am I so passionate about those second serves? Because for four of my five years playing tennis, I was averaging two double faults per service game. It was so pathetic, that Spielberg once talked to me about making a movie, “Sid and the Double Fault factory”.
Twice, once in the first set, and once in the second, Roger was at 40-30 on his serves. On these two occasions, he double faulted and went on to get broken. Considering that the first set went to a tie break, Roger could possibly have done it in straights. All he had to do was win one of those two points, that is just 50% of those second serve points, and I am not even talking 56%. But he failed to make those serves. So many times this year we've seen Roger lose extremely close matches where he threw away seemingly easy service games.
In this loss, there's a huge lesson to be learned. He can do himself and his fans a huge favor by winning two more points on his second serve every match. That is all I am asking a devoted fan.