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Federer’s secret weapon?

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Originally published on: 20/08/12 00:00

The 31-year-old Swiss, who strengthened his position at the top of the world rankings with his victory over Novak Djokovic in the final of the Masters 1000 tournament at Cincinnati on Sunday, admits that it took him time to find the confidence to play the drop shot on important points.
 
“I guess why I was against it in the beginning was because I was playing a lot of guys who were on the baseline and conditions maybe were a bit faster so I didn't have really that many opportunities to hit drop shots,” Federer said. “There was a time, let's say eight years ago, where guys were staying way back in the court in particular on the return.
 
“I just realised it was very hard to hit through the guys time and time again, because they track down everything. Maybe by using the drop shot a bit more they have to play closer to the line. Then it's easier to hit through them again. But it took me some practice and then just some confidence to pull off the drop shot when it was important, not just doing it at 40_ѥ0. That's easy to do. It's hard to do when you're trying to play the right way.” 
 
He added: “Actually the drop shot is not the first thing on your mind because it can't be. It's not an easy way out. I used to think it was sort of a panic shot. Today when I tell myself that the drop shot is an option before this next point, I very often use it – and to good effect. Obviously sometimes against certain players you barely can use it because they do play on the baseline.
 
“And then maybe on some courts it doesn't work out so well. Grass is obviously a bit harder maybe, or maybe here [in Cincinnati] I feel it's difficult too because the ball bounces so high. It depends on how the points are set up against certain players.”

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