First Serve: Taking Charge Early
Federer has a terrific serve, regularly clocking in at 115-125 m.p.h., but unlike, say, Andy Roddick, he’s not looking for the ace.
Instead, he uses it to set up a killing follow-up shot or to take command of a rally. His most basic service play is designed to set himself up for a forehand winner.
As Federer serves, his momentum will carry him a couple of steps into the court, where he’ll be looking to hit a forehand.
If he’s hitting a first serve from the deuce (right) court to a right-hander, like Roddick, look for him to go for a flat, hard one (1) intended to prevent the righty from taking his requisite full swing. Roddick can bet the house and try a forehand screamer to Federer’s backhand corner.
Mostly, though, he’ll go cross-court (2) in order to buy time to get back into the court and protect his exposed backhand.
This is a race against time, and if his return is not sufficiently hard and deep, Federer will win the race — stepping in to hit the down-the-line forehand winner (3).