There is a thought-provoking article in Tennis Magazine about Roger Federer’s rise to his current dominant position in professional tennis. While it’s a good piece on its tennis merits, many of the points made have much broader applicability, including Federer’s remarkable combination of athleticism and efficiency, his vision of the ball and his ability to plan five strokes ahead, and his ability to feed off both positive and negative energy:
Federer is certainly a powerful player, but he rarely overwhelms his opponents by overpowering them. He simply out plays them. He will serve and volley if it suits him, but he’s also content to rally at the baseline and wait for the right opportunity to present itself. Fact is, it’s difficult to pin down Federer’s game because Federer doesn’t really have a game. He has games… When Federer puts away a half-court half volley that cuts across the north-south of the court at a 120- degree angle, a spectator has a complex, evolving response. One first thinks, How’d he do that? Then one replays the shot or two that preceded the putaway, the slow, sure advance Federer made to midcourt, and realizes, He was planning that putaway four or five strokes before he actually hit it.