Thousands turned up and millions tuned in as Roger Federer put a display only he could be capable of as the 18 time Grand Slam champion crushed the 14 time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells but how did he do it?
Sometimes against any player on the tour it can take a few minutes to get up the gears and find rhythm but it was top gear from the first point to the last and Nadal recognised this and he played his game as he would but the shake of the head in appreciation at the end of the match basically said ‘that was bloody good’
This a big factor. Nadal’s serve is very good and effective but it was neutralised quickly and efficiently and credit to Roger for having the balls to play this way. Nadal had been so effective all week off serve and once rallies gained momentum and length the majority went the way of the Spaniard so Federer had to make a mark quickly and he did that.
This still from a first serve into the body shows the belief of Roger in his returning ability. He’s had to shift his body quickly and is jumping off the ground but the control on the right arm is epic! The arm is straight and the bend on the elbow with the grip on the racket gives him that strong defensive volley return which he executed perfectly something only he could do.
Fast-forward the point on a little bit more and Nadal is on the defensive from that sensational return. The ball bounced where the red mark is and Nadal has to now swing for that defensive forehand in the third shot of the rally.
Seconds later, we are in this position and we all know right now what is coming that backhand down the line. #winner
Issue with the kick
The kick serve just didn’t kick, Federer ended any effective serve throughout the match on this side.
The backhand flattened out the serve and because Federer took it early it made the serve ineffective where a flat or top spin serve would have been more beneficial but he continued with this throughout the match. When Federer makes contact with this backhand Rafa isn’t even set, there is no defensive position it’s a bit like playing a game of stuck in the mud.