It is no secret that Roger Federer is the best male player of all times, even though he couldn’t defeat Djokovic this past weekend at The US Open final. For those of you who have been watching Federer’s games lately have surely seen the birth of a new move in Tennis. The SABR (Sneak Attack By Roger). First used at the Cincinnati Masters final against Djokovic and again all along the US Open, despite the allegations of other players of the move being disrespectful. Voices arrised against the shot considering it against the spirit of the game but as he defends himself “if it makes sense to me , which I think it does, I’ll use it”
“So when I arrived in Cincinnati, I arrived, I don’t know what time it was, maybe after lunchtime, and then I went for a hit. It was Benoit Paire. He had like an ear problem. I was tired from jet lag. We were tired and practicing on center court, which was great.
It was on a Saturday or on a Friday I don’t remember. I had a chance to hit the court for at least one hour.
But that time I was very tired and he was tired, and at the end we said, Well, let’s still play some games just because it feels like it’s the right thing to do.
I was going to stop already, but Severin told me to play a few games to get used to the conditions. I said, Whatever. Let’s play some games.
And, yeah, at the end we were just kidding around almost, and that’s when I said, Okay, I’m going to chip and charge and just keep the points short. I’m tired. I want to get off the court soon anyway. That’s when I started to run in and hit returns. I hit a couple for a winner. They were like ridiculous. He laughed, I laughed, Severin laughed.
Then I did it again in the next practice just to see if it actually would still work again. Then I tried it the next practice and it still worked. That’s what Severin said, Well, what about using it in a match? I was like, Really? (Laughter.)
So he pushed me to keep using it and not shy away from using it on big moments, and not just because you don’t know how you look with a full stadium. He was actually the one who pushed, you know, pushed me to it.
And because we were always talking about that tactic, as well, we sort of came up with that name, you, know, sneak attack by Roger, ^ saber. I don’t know. Call it Fed attack, call it whatever you want, but I thought it was kind of funny.
And, yeah, today again it worked a couple of times. I didn’t get that many second serves when I thought I could use it, but moving forward it’s an option. Clearly I’m very happy it worked so well in Cincy.”
The infamous SABR
So, is this really the first time the move’s been used? Yes and no. This attack is most commonly known as chip and charge and it’s normally used by players returning short balls with a slice shot therefore, forcing the opponent to play high balls giving you the chance to win the point with a volley. Remember it was one of Sampras’ flawless attack moves. So far, so good. But, there is a difference on Federer’s new trick and this little variant is what makes players and coaches uncomfortable. The whole strategy is just a chip and charge shot with an unusual element. Normally second serves are weaker and easier to fire back and as the opponent tosses up the ball (they are looking up), Federer crawls into the court towards the net (out of sight), surprising them with a quicker return to the opponent’s side. Usually a slice.
We Serve Your Game!