Sunday, August 30, 2015

Federer vs Sampras Exhibitions

        I don't believe these matches were "fixed" in any way. Both Sampras and Federer have too much pride and integrity to fake a match. You can't hit exceptional drop volleys or compete as hard when you are "acting". You can't control the score and whoever tried this would get their ass handed to them by the other player. That said I don't think either felt the most pressure in the world. They simply went out and displayed the quality of tennis only two of the all time greats could.

       The first in the Federer vs Sampras Exhibitions of 2007 was in Seoul, Korea. Federer won 6-4, 6-3. The second was in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. Again, Federer won. This time a more tightly contested match; 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5). The last match was in Macau, China. Sampras won 7-6 (10-8), 6-4.

       
      In March of 2008 they met at Madison Square Garden for the Net Jets Showdown. Federer won 6-3, 6-7, 7-6.


      Sampras Federer Asian Showdown  was a reintroduction to the world of the Sampras vs Federer rivalry.

In Seoul, Korea they picked up where they left off in 2001 Wimbledon.
Federer vs Sampras Exhibition 2007 Seoul, Korea

      To the appreciator of tennis one sees complete games competing against one another. The Sampras drop volleys. Those opportunities given to Sampras by the relentless power of his first and second serves. The very straightforward power groundstrokes of Sampras. On the same hand, one sees a game complete with all the weapons of a defensive specialist. Federer's balletic foot work allows him to jet in position. He is able to dip passing shots at Sampras' feet. He is able to hold the ball on his racquet and hit the forehand into the open court. And he is able to get virtually every ball tailing off the court Sampras hits.

In Kuala, Lumpur they seem to be STAYING BACK ? ? ? ?
I have a link to a youtube series where you can watch Federer vs Sampras Exhibition Kuala Lumpur 2007 in its entirety by watching all 9 videos. I randomly posted part 4 above. And just by watching the first point you can tell it is a completely different match than Seoul, Korea. Powerful forehands exchanged by Federer and Sampras. Each trying to one up each other. But their defense is underrated and you have the feeling of watching the flow and continuity of a clay court match. Because no matter how powerful the shots hit the other gets there and hits an even faster scorching shot. Great stuff!

And 2007 wraps up with Macau, China.
Federer vs Sampras Exhibition Macau, China 2007
Sampras' volley game was strengthened by the power and variety of his serve in this match. He never faced a break point. His serve was stronger than Federer and he won 7-6, 6-4.

March 2008 the Net Jets Showdown occurred in Madison Square Garden. This was hyped by John McEnroe and many others. Federer Sampras Exhibition Net Jets Showdown Madison Square Garden 2008
This goes back to the complete games facing each other. Like Seoul and Wimbledon both players come in a good deal. Mostly Sampras displaying his vintage move his body away from the shot to hit pristine angled volleys. And Federer hitting tremendous passing shots on the run to counter attack the Sampras serve and volley.

For a complete quality viewing of this match that is basically a tennis seminar; Please check out this dvd below.
The Netjets Showdown: Pete Sampras vs. Roger Federer


Summary: The fact that Sampras won a match puts some doubt into who is the true GOAT (Greatest of All Time). And the argument will always wage on. Fueled by facts like Sampras had a better record against the people in his era. But Federer won more Slams. Federer has a stronger backcourt game. But Sampras' serve was more powerful. They are certainly two players we can and should model our games after.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras Wimbledon 2001


Federer Vs Sampras Part 1

      This is amazing serve volley tennis from both Federer and Sampras. They are not just charging the net, but moving quick enough to get in position. From there they both are demonstrating amazing creativity with shots and angles and put-aways. By watching this match you will learn how to creatively return serve. Federer and Sampras can hit sliced and low returns. John McEnroe is more suffer-able as a commentator because of his experience as a slam champion, analysis and humor. He provides you, the viewer with lessons on the serve and volley mentality. Such insights as you can get passed 30 or 40 times while serving and volleying and still win the match. Not a popular concept for most players, but if you persistently approach the net; hitting any shot you feel like hitting, Trusting your instinct, and not panicking even when your opponent also charges the net you will succeed. You got to be the more explosive one in a net dual. But even if you are on the baseline and your opponent has taken over the net. You can still dictate play with passing shots. Narrow down your shot selection, try to cut out the floating slice. There is more hope in  a topspin passing shot that dips below the net and forces your opponent to add pace to the volley. I will for the most part do play by play with some analysis for the last 3 sets. We start in the third set. They have split sets. If you watch this whole match (both videos) and follow along here, agreeing or disagreeing with my strategy and analysis you will have added great knowledge to your tennis game. For a spoiler alert check to the bottom of the article for the score.

       3rd Set
       On his eleventh break point Federer finally breaks to go up 2 -1 in the third set. Its a set all, so in most matches the winner of the third set will win the match.

       Sampras' heavy racquet doesn't require a big swing to generate his sensational power. He has little backs-wing and a simple swing to guide returns back and hit pinpoint passing shots. He never tries to kill the ball with a huge swing. His technique is beautifully simple. Only when it sits there does Sampras go for great pace. Even then he still keeps within his swing. He doesn't break down his stroke, elbow or shoulder to get this great pace.

       AMAZING POINT AT 1:33:23 Federer hits a 170 degree angle after running down a drop shot going over the high part of the net. He volleys the ball at a 10 degree angle or 170 degree angle. You pick. Whatever sounds more impressive to you. Sampras hits a serve to nullify all Federer's glory and holds serve.

       On this Wimbledon Monday where all the greats play, Agassi, Hewitt, Henman, Martin, etc.  play continues . . .  1:39:23 is just brilliant from Federer. Sliced return and ridiculous backhand winner on the run. With the head level cam that only Wimbledon shows you can try to return Sampras' quick service. Very quickly Federer fends off a hand cuffed serve. Sampras misses the overhead. Time for Federer to serve for the third set. Federer rapidly hits an ace to win the third set 6-4. Does this mean Federer will win the match?

         4th set
        Sampras has his habits. He likes to hold his racquet in a choke-hold by the throat; This is a mental thing that allows him to generate his incredible racquet head speed. In the same way, baseball player David Ortiz waves his bat before generating enough juice to clear the fences. You can get so much power on the return of serve with a short backs wing. Federer and Sampras continually display true racquet skills in many of these great points. They compete for the better backhand overheads and Sampras wins this time. I don't recommend the backhand overhead. Step to the side and hit an overhead. However, sometimes you have no choice.

       Federer runs down a ridiculous Sampras volley about 6 minutes into second video, but Sampras is there to cover the passing shot. Beautiful Sampras forehand at 9 minutes. Sampras lets his weight stop, he clears the path for his swing by getting his feet and body out of the way and crushes the angled inside-in forehand. Sampras's  service toss stays perfectly still. And when either player comes to net they know when to let the ball go because it is going out. A court awareness and anticipation you can only learn by serving and volleying millions of times.

        If you turn your body you can take the volley so early! Now to be able to serve like these two. Sampras can ace on demand. I love watching Wimbledon on NBC. They have the best graphics and camera angles. And watching these two play is a joy to watch!

      Sampras owns the running backhand passing shot. The backhand that dips down at Federer's feet. Federer and Sampras make these shots look routine. Neither one fears hitting the ball out because they practice so much. They can hit with great pace or simply angle the pitch of their racquet face to hit clean winners. In this way they hit with great power or hit insanely sharp angles with the same swing and little effort. This is similar to the play of great past Australians like Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, and Lew Hoad. Watch them and practice these shots on a table tennis table. Just like college team mate Andrew Smith and I used to play table tennis before or after practice. And instead of studying haha.

        All of Sampras's varied serves seem to be going in. So much power from a small swing. Sampras also has variety with his underrated ground game. He has hit a winning topspin lob.


Federer vs Sampras Part 2


       Love 30 down, Four big serves and Federer gives Sampras a taste of his own medicine. 5-5 all 4th set. Sampras is so dialed in. Ace, ace, ace . . . Then Sampras hits lazer returns. I miss the days when Wimbledon was about the big servers not about  dull 50 stroke rallies. Sampras can handle a fast paced passing shot drilled at him. But Federer perseveres with a drop volley of his own. Sampras hits his hardest serve of the tournament,  a mere 136mph out wide (radar measures less speed out wide). Sampras expertly hits a  shoelace volley at a winning gracious angle. Brigette Wilson can take a breath of relaxation because Sampras has forced a Fifth set.

       5th set
       Federer is returning every serve now. And finally his passing shots are taking hold. Federer hits an absurd angled forehand at 43:45. Agassi and Sampras  are playing at the same time on this historic wimbledon day. Sampras makes it 2-2 with his own obscene angled volley. The mental struggle of the fifth set begins. Advantage Federer?  Martin and Henman  are still waiting to get their match started haha.

       The WESH 2 symbol came on screen meaning that this is taped from a home in the crime-filled Central Florida. This person may have had their home broken into or heard violence down the street as they were taping this.

      Federer hits a ridiculous passing shot off a deep Sampras approach shot. These guys are two greats. They have found the same mode as Bill Tilden and Rene Lacoste. and the same championship caliber play as Australians like Tony Roche and the Rocket Rod Laver. Federer and Sampras have so much slice and power on their serves. so much power. And return wise they have mastered the chip return as an offensive weapon.

       They are both so good with half-volleys. The half-volley is really a ground stroke off the bounce. They uniquely hit their half-volleys in the style of their ground strokes. Sampras seems impressive using this shot as an approach shot and then hits a winner on the next volley. Then  Federer saves a step by decreasing pace and adding some spin and hits the half volley for a winner. Great stuff, it is now 4 all now in the fifth set.  Down break point, a virtual set and match point Federer hits the half-volley and closes the net. Sampras nails a backhand. But Federer leans back and forward and sticks the volley taking time away to take time away from Sampras. Well done Federer! After another Sampras return winner Federer is down another virtual set point; this time he has a second serve. But he doesn't go for too much and forces the error by hitting a strong inside-in down the line forehand. No winners for Federer but he keeps the ball deep enough, even off his backhand. Federer goes up 5-4 final set.

       These guys are so consistent with such great serves. It's more than just intense practice with a tennis professional. It goes more than just talent. They have discovered for themselves the way to hit the perfects slice, topspin or kick-serve. And never ceasing practice allows for them to hit clutch serves in the fifth set.

The point at 1:04:00!

       Sampras says he will continue to play Wimbledon as long as he can serve. John McEnroe says that means he will be here playing at Wimbledon another 10 to 15 years. Love McEnroe's commentary humor. Amazingly Sampras stops making clutch first serves and misses a volley or two. Double match point Federer.

       Sampras gets a first serve in out wide and Federer hits an incredible forehand winner. Yeah Federer! The king is dead at Wimbledon. Having seen this match, the debate of Federer vs Sampras should end. Both players are at their relative primes. Sampras coming down, Federer going up. But the Sampras interview following the match is so true. Sampras thought he won, because he played like the King of Swing. There you have a classic match encounter between two champions. Federer wins in 5 sets.

       We are reminded that NBC stands for National Broadcasting Company. Sampras gives Federer credit. It was Federer's first time on center court and he was relaxed and played the big points well. Federer played some great stuff. Sampras played well and fought hard. Sampras continues . . .Sampras has played well enough to win, but eventually you can't win every tiebreak. By the law of averages domination ends. This match makes Sampras appreciate every tough win he escaped with victory. One or two mistakes changes everything. Sampras laments on his break points: Sampras hits a great return on his first break point that was a virtual match point. Sampras chipped his return on his second break point.  This Video ends with tennis on TNT with a young Ernie Johnson lmao.

Spoiler:
By now you should know that Federer won 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 7-5
The first video shows through the first three sets. The second video picks up from the start of the 4th set through the Finish line. Plus some bonus TV. Sampras would end up reaching the 100 grass match wins milestone before losing  at the 2002 Wimbledon second round to George Bastl. His last grass court match!