Five Keys To A Roger Federer Three-Peat At The Australian Open | ATP Tour

The blueprint for Roger Federer to three-peat in Melbourne this year has already been written. It’s simply a rinse and repeat of the successful strategies that delivered Grand Slam glory Down Under the past two years.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Federer’s successful 2017 and 2018 campaigns in Melbourne can be broken down into five takeaways that make it easier to understand where the Swiss maestro crafts his statistical advantage.

1. First Serves – Make Six & Win Eight
Federer has averaged making 62 per cent of his first serves throughout his career, and made 61 per cent winning the Australian Open in 2018, and 63 per cent in 2017. If he makes more than that, then power will likely be sacrificed and first-serve points won will surely drop. If he makes less, then he allows too much exposure to his second serve.

Federer has averaged winning 77 per cent of his first serves in his career, and won 82 per cent in Melbourne in 2018, and 78 per cent in 2017. It must be nice for the Swiss to keep his first serve averages right in his wheelhouse so he does not feel the pressure of having to elevate to capture Grand Slams.

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2. Baseline – Hopefully Break Even
It’s hard to imagine that Federer has won 14 straight matches in Melbourne the past two years but has a losing percentage in baseline points won. Federer has amazingly lost 12 more points than he has won (718 lost, 706 won) the past two years in Melbourne even though he won every match.

Baseline Points Won
2017: = 384/792 = 48.5%
2018: = 322/632 = 50.9%
Combined: 706/1424 = 49.6%

3. Approach – Pressure Coming Forward
Federer’s win percentages move from slightly negative to extremely positive once he moves from the back of the court to the front. He has averaged winning almost three out of four points (72.5%) coming forward the past two years in Melbourne. Federer’s preferred strategy is to come in with a forehand approach against a backhand passing shot.

Net Points Won
2017: 175/242 = 72.3%
2018: 139/191 = 72.8%
Combined: 314/433 = 72.5%

4. Rally Length – First Strike Rules
Federer crafts his advantage much more in short rallies, where the serve and return reign supreme, than in longer rallies.

Federer: Rally Length/Points Played

Rally Length

2018

2017

0-4 Shots

72.8%

71.5%

5-8 Shots

19.1%

20.9%

9+ Shots

8.1%

7.6%

When you examine points won and lost at each rally length, it’s clear to see that Federer prefers to play shorter points much more, because that’s exactly where he wins the most. He has won 220 more points than he has lost in the 0-4 rally length the past two years in Melbourne, which is more than 300 per cent greater than the other two rally lengths combined.

2017 & 2018 Combined: Aggregate of Points Won & Lost
0-4 Shots = + 220 points won
5-8 Shots = + 41 points won
9+ Shots = + 26 points won

5. Forehands = Hit As Many As Possible
Everything about Federer’s forehand screams dominance Down Under. His signature groundstroke has totaled almost twice as many winners as his backhand (206 forehand/114 backhand) during the past two years while also yielding less forced and unforced errors.

Forehand v Backhand Comparison
Winners
Forehand = 206
Backhand = 114

Forced Errors
Forehand = 214
Backhand = 230

Unforced Errors
Forehand = 196
Backhand = 200

If Federer is to three-peat, he does not need to reinvent his game or try to elevate his performance to an unrealistically high level. It’s all about knowing exactly what works and making the opponent bend to Federer’s intentions.

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