Ever since I heard the news that Roger Federer is retiring after the Laver Cup, I have been trying to come up with a way to use his approach to the game as a tool to help tennis players who are striving for improvement. Obviously, we are not going to be able to play like Roger Federer. However, focusing on a few things that he does will help us all play better.
First, he is a master at watching the ball. His focus from the opponent's racquet, across the net, until his racquet makes contact with the ball, is second to none. By hitting shots solid and in the center of his racquet more often than almost anyone else, he is able to swing smoothly over and over again. There is no hesitation with his racquet movement because he is so confident that his contact will be solid.
In addition, he is able to move smoothly to the ball because he sees the shot so early, making his footwork more efficient than 99% of the players on tour. The smoothness that we see in his game is the key to how well he performs and results in a lot of automatic responses in tight situations.
Try to keep your focus on the ball throughout the point, game, set and match and you will feel some of the smoothness that Roger has displayed over his brilliant career. Hopefully the game will become just a little easier for you as well.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.