Roger Federer’s hotdog ‘tween the legs was nothing special. It appeared to be an amazing shot only because it was a winner that set up match point in the semi-final of the 2009 US Open. However, the real reason why it appears amazing is due to the laziness or casualness of his opponent, Novak Djokovic rather than to Federer’s lucky exhibition-style trick shot which, for the record, should in no way define his tennis brilliance. I am a fan of Federer’s skill, grace and athleticism on the tennis court.
Anyone who knows anything about tennis understands where Djokovic’s prime position should have been. Djokovic was in an advantageous attacking position that had his opponent under pressure and scurrying back to the baseline. He should have been right up by the net waiting to clean up the point with a volley. Instead, Djokovic was casually waiting near the “T” zone, which is basically “no man’s land”.
Even the British tennis public, generally not known for their following of tennis around the world, can use their specific knowledge of Wimbledon to confirm that Djokovic should have been standing by the net ready to intercept the ball.
“I do practice them a lot actually but they never work. That’s why I guess it was the greatest shot I ever hit in my life.”
Doesn’t sound rational. What about all the classic shots (i.e. backhand, forehand, volleys, overheads, etc) that he practices daily and which have been proven to work extremely well? Why attribute a high-risk low-percentage shot as the greatest shot in his life? What about the numerous amazing points he has shared against Rafa Nadal and other top players, which has seen some truly incredible rallies and wonderful winners? (Some examples here)
Therefore, it was Federer’s greatest ever luckiest shot, but not his greatest ever shot.
Roger Federer’s place in tennis history does not deserve to be cheapened by a lucky shot.
Note: Apologies for my slow turnaround times. I know the US Open finished over a week ago.