Federer Opens Play at Stuttgart
Federer did look a little rough despite some really nice play as well from both him and Zverev the elder. I was ready to refute a lot of the claims I heard today that sounded pretty cliché, with Federer back from his 2 1/2 month hiatus, getting his feet used to competitive grass, as well as crack the two match losing streak.
Both S&V artisans put-on on nice little display today. Mischa can spin or flatten the stroke and has nice coverage and touch at the net. Federer finally got around to profess his grass deftness, which was a fine watch for a Wednesday here in the States.
The tension actually got a little thick there at the end of the first, beginning of the second set. He drops serve easily, Mischa serves it out and then Federer has a BP on his serve to open the second. Last year it was German Tommy Haas; this year another hometown boy takes down Roger?
The synopsis is simple: Federer actually did have a little rust to his flow, but he found the wheel in plenty of time and there were even images of a grass clinic to be had — against a very capable grass player. Well done, Mischa. Fun to watch.
We could see the German trying to keep Federer on his back foot with some deeper balls, giving the German more time, too, to advance and shorten the point. This is a tough strategy, peak-Djokovic-like in a way, painting your opponent’s BL like that. This is as difficult a strategy as it is good against Federer: any short ball gets absolutely ripped from both sides. Fed came to net as much as Zverev, so there was all kinds of offense on display, a stark contrast to the last couple of months of clay.
Federer’s serve looked pretty sharp (FS ~70%), but that should round into form, as well. The footwork was marvelous as the match wore-on.
If you want a quick answer as to why Federer and Nadal are still at the top of the sport, see footwork. They’re both running circles around their competition, which happens to be more prominent on the grass and clay, respectively.
We’ll see how this tournament and s-Hertogenbosch pan-out. Shapovalov is out, which is a bit disappointing. Kyrgios goes tomorrow as does Simon v Feli Lopez in the Stuttgart top-half. There are some boys fighting-it-out in the bottom, as well. Not bad for a plucky little 250 to get this picnic underway.
We will certainly be following along. And yes I’m working on those summer goals: podcast, ebook, BH/FH/S&V, mountain running, impressive assortment of quality beers, kindness and bring down the corporate state, among other things. A lot of work. Regular job, watching tennis and writing come first, however. 🙂
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