Porcupyn's Blog

September 4, 2007

Doctor Federer’s Tennis Clinics

Filed under: Tennis — Porcupyn @ 3:58 am

When a medical student visits a Doctor’s clinic to learn the ropes, so to say, he sees the Doctor play twenty questions (or less) with the patient to diagnose the malady and prescribe appropriate medications. Under the assumption that diagnosis and prescribing medication is very easy, were the medical student to take over the Doctor’s clinic however, he would be in big trouble, to say the least.

Over the long weekend, I had the chance of watching Witch Doctor Roger Federer conduct two tennis clinics. Clinic # 1 was against John Isner, the NCAA runner-up (guess who won the title?). After he lost the first set, Federer toyed with Isner, committing zero unforced errors for two entire sets. Maybe I could get away with no unforced errors for a few games (among my peers), ONLY if I were to aim for the center of the court. In his match, Federer was getting the ball to skim over the net or catching the sidelines, or doing both on the same shot! Clinic #2 concluded a few minutes ago (here is a nice preview post); were it not for the fact that the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez is left-handed, I might have been tricked into thinking that Isner had returned for a second shot at Federer. Lopez took the first set off Federer like Isner did, and the match appeared to be headed for a slugfest. In hindsight, Federer was probably getting some much needed match practice against a big-serving left-handed Spaniard in preparation for Nadal. After losing the first set and midway through an (until then) even second, Federer went into overdrive and Lopez was left lunging left and right at the net as balls went all around him (OK, none went under him). It was as though Federer had magnetized the ball to make it land inside the court, however he hit the ball and wherever from. In winning the match in four sets, Federer nailed 35 straight points on his serve and committed only 12 unforced errors in 199 points. Unbelievable!!!

Any casual observer should be forgiven for reaching the same conclusion as the medical student – that everything is so easy. It is only when one tries to execute the same shots that one would realize that those shots are really rather difficult to replicate, if not impossible.

Would Laver have won either of his Grand Slams with Federer around? I doubt it!



  1. Clinical precision.
    One can smile,smile and still be a destroyer ??
    hats off to Federer

    Comment by neela — September 5, 2007 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  2. Neela:

    In our (Vayusenanagar) days, we had Edberg vs. Becker vs. Lendl. But now, Federer is so far above the rest that it is really funny (if you are a Federer fan!). I think the ATP points comparison that I recently saw somewhere online had him at 7000+, Nadal at 5000+, and the rest were 3000 or less. πŸ™‚ Even Steffi (before and after Monica Seles) was not as dominant – there was always that vulnerability, not least of all because she refused to work on her topspin backhand (after all, you can slice only so much).

    BTW, hope you enjoyed Teachers’ Day. πŸ™‚

    P.S.: Here is the latest ATP Points comparison.

    Comment by porcupyn — September 5, 2007 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  3. Ahh, I am all set to watch Roddick get some Tennis lessons.

    Seriosuly, not fair comparing Laver and Federer……

    Lendl was way above the rest (Sans Wimbledon) for quite a long time…and I think it is fair to say Graf was at the top for as good as Federer has been (not jut by the number of weeks, but by the quality of opponents).

    Comment by December Stud — September 6, 2007 @ 2:34 am | Reply

  4. D.S.:

    ” it is fair to say Graf was at the top for as good as Federer has been (not jut by the number of weeks, but by the quality of opponents).”

    If you know how I am w.r.t. Steffi, you would not say what you did. πŸ™‚ Federer lacks no shots, and he has been working to get better at each of them. I doubt if anyone other than Nadal can get him at the French. My grouse against Steffi was that she refused to work on her one big weakness – the lack of a topspin backhand. And big Steffi fan though I am, I have to concede that a) she caught both Chrissy and Martina at the end of their careers, and b) Seles was injured.

    Another point as far as quality of opponents – if you go back and read the rec.sport.tennis newsgroup from the 1990s (I tried to just now, but could not find archives that went back that far …), you will see all those posts about low standards in women’s tennis (compared to the men’s) and how the same players invariably make it to the semis (though you might say something similar about the men now, maybe?).

    I understand it is never fair to compare across eras, but I doubt if Laver ever faced talent such as Federer’s (or for that matter Nadal’s).

    Comment by porcupyn — September 6, 2007 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  5. DS tyoes all this (but it’s really Mr. DS’ comments) :

    Graf had exactly same kind of opponents that federer has now. Both had weak opponents. Graf was as great as Federer is.

    How do you know she didn’t work on her topspin backhand? She probably did, btu didn’t succeed.

    Graf did great after Seles was “injured”…She was quite good even after that (Attack on seles was unfortunate, but that is the reality)

    It is never fair to compare across eras? Come on it is never fair to compare even across a decade. You can keep doubting about Laver not facing an opponent such as federer. But, you haven’t seen Laver have you? You have just read reports how how he was.

    Bottomline, it is not prudent to say Federer “could” be better than laver. It is impossible to compare them.

    They are both great and both great in their own times. Shall we leave it at that?

    Infact, I wouldn’t even compare Sampras and Federer, why go until Laver.

    For that matter, Federer didn’t win all that much when Sampras was around (this is in reswponse to your Graf meeting Navratilova and Evert at the fag end pof their careers).

    People still consider Martina Navratilova to be “perhaps” the greatest ever female Tennis player to date. But, look at her stats against Graf, she has lost tons of matches. So, we really can;t go by just stats either…

    They are all great at their times. Please, let’s not compare. it’s certainly not appropriate.

    Comment by December Stud — September 7, 2007 @ 1:23 am | Reply

  6. Alright SB…I just typed the gist of her comment…so the intonations maybe a lil different. I am scared about interpretations when a second person types what the first person said.

    But anyway since she refuses to go and comment on any blog….She wants to start her own blog…oh well, i will make sure you pounce on every word she writes πŸ™‚

    Comment by December Stud — September 7, 2007 @ 1:26 am | Reply

  7. You are 100% right about my pets during my days at vs nagar and a few years after.
    I started out by watching Becker,Stefan Edberg,Martina ,Gabriela..and Steffi.
    I ‘learnt’ all my tennis lingo by watching matches on DD and reading about them the next day in The Hindu.
    I did have some favourites like :becker,graf and agassi.
    I supported Lendl,Goran ,bagdatis,Martina (N and H ) at my if they werent playing against My favourites. πŸ˜‰

    Comment by neel3 — September 7, 2007 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  8. Mrs. and Mr. D.S.:

    Let me throw back a Kannada gaade at you all πŸ˜‰

    andige ade sukhaa indige ide sukhaa

    Case rested, and closed. πŸ˜‰


    I learned my tennis lingo by reading ‘The Hindu’ followed by other newspapers. The first time I saw a real Tennis court was when I started my undergrad.

    Comment by porcupyn — September 7, 2007 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

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