One common piece of reasoning you hear from the Federer Fanatics, and the mainstream media who has nothing better to do than to try and make Federer into the Tennis Tiger Woods, is that Roger Federer has no weakness in his game. For example, one commentator in a previous post represents this kind of foolishness quite well:
Federer only uses his big serve when things get a little shaky, otherwise he PLAYS REAL TENNIS and fights it out with his opponents, point by point, that’s why we get to see his awesome shots.
I’m sorry, but the reason Federer has to play “real tennis” isn’t because he “only” uses his “big” serve when things get shaky, but because Federer doesn’t have a big serve. That is weakness number one, and we all know it. Yes, Federer can place his serves decently well. However, the fact is, there are no power returners in the men’s game. There is no one who attacks his second serve and that is what allows Federer to get away with it. Fact of the matter is, you will not, and in having watched every Federer match to date, I have not yet seen Federer hit a second serve ace. Ever. In a seven year long career, he has maybe a couple of second serve aces? This shows that his serve is a serviceable serve, and is not a weapon. His first serve is marginal and his second serve is a liability. However, the men are afraid to attack it. What you need is someone of Agassi’s skill returning Federer’s second serve, and Federer will fold.
Federer’s other weakness are his running shots. Aside from a running overhand he once hit from the baseline against Roddick I have not ever seen him a real running forehand like how Sampras used to, or a real running backhand like how the top ladies player hit. A lot of people like to say that the reason Federer doesn’t hit running shots is because he is sooooo fast that he gets to the ball before he really needs to run after it. That, of course, is a bunch of baloney, and a clear case of the same foolishness which makes people buy into the myth that Federer has no weaknesses. In fact, if you watch most of Federer’s awesome defensive points, in none of them will you find him hitting a running winner. Instead he will chip the shot back and try to get back into position. The reason that works is because, again, today’s men are all baseliners and just sit back in no man’s land, instead of coming forward and putting these shots away.
I know for a fact that Rafter, Edberg, Sampras, and Becker, are sitting around cringing at today’s baseliners without volleying skills, every time Federer chips another lunging shot back and doesn’t get punished.