During the recent ATP world tour semifinal, I listened with interest to the radio commentary between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Andy Murray came out of the blocks all guns blazing playing aggressively and going after Federer, taking an early break and controlling the match. Federer sounded a bit rattled, not too dissimilar to the start of the Wimbledon final in July. The commentators then got into an interesting discussion where they claimed that Murray was targeting the Federer backhand and Murray thought he could get to it and be almost “dismissive” of it. Federer’s one hander somehow wouldn’t cut it at the very top level they mused.

Roger Federer

My ears pricked up instantly for two reasons, the first was I thought the commentators were taking liberties; and the second was that I have heard it all before. There is no doubt the two hander has major advantages in the modern game, and has done since the 1970s when Jimmy Connnors, Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert changed the game with that stroke. However, the way Federer turned the match around confirmed to me what I thought from the moment the discussion was made by the commentators.

For sure, the pundits will look to Federer’s forehand as to why he came out on top in that particular encounter. After all, the Federer forehand is deadly especially when his feet are moving well. However, what changed the match was Federer’s versatility, and his one hander was a big part of that. Federer changed the tempo of the rallies often, using the one hander when stretched to slice the ball and float it, allowing him to get back into position.
Federer also chipped the backhand return on Murray’s 2nd serve, and on breakpoint in the 1st set, used the old chip and charge tactic to great effect, breaking Murray’s serve in the process. Federer also used the backhand down the line whenever possible to stretch Murray.

These were exactly the same tactics Federer used to turn around the Wimbledon final, on that occasion Federer also drove the backhand return often and took to the net more than he usually does. When those tactics work, the forehand is the icing on the cake. The fact that Murray thought he could win the match by attacking the backhand was a mistake, a mistake many players have made over the last five or six years. Nadal’s lefty topspin has always been a big problem but other opponents hit flatter and into his hitting zone.

Roger Federer
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Every year a dedicated area of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum changes, out with the old in with the new.

The 2012 exhibition has been dedicated to the Olympic Games, each graphic panel tells the story of tennis at the games. The exhibition uses gold, silver and bronze as lead colours throughout the exhibition, referencing the Olympics. Each panel features portraits of Olympic competitors through the history of the games, giving an insight of what it was like to be part of the greatest game in history.

The exhibition tells the stories of John Boland, the first Olympic tennis champion, Titanic survivor Richard Williams and his mixed doubles partner Hazel Wightman who triumphed in 1924, and the completion of Steffi Graf‘s Golden Slam in 1988 at Seoul.

The gold medals of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer from the 2008 Beijing Olympics are on display, as is Tim Henman‘s silver medal from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the gold medal won by Peter Norfolk in the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

Find out how to visit the Wimbledon Museum

Pics: 1977 design

Steffi Graf, winner of 22 Grand Slams titles and the Golden Slam in 1988 (all four Grand Slam titles and the Olympic gold medal in one year), and Fernando Gonzalez, the winner of the 2004 Olympic gold medal, visited the adidas London 2012 Media Lounge for Q&A with media.

The athletes answered questions about their life after tennis, the difference in sports technology over the years and their opinions about the new generation of young tennis players. They also predicted the outcome for the women’s and men’s Olympic tennis finals with both of them expecting Serena Williams and Roger Federer to win their respective matches.

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Enjoy this 4-part Rolex documentary retracing Wimbledon’s history from Suzanne Lenglen to Rod Laver to Roger Federer. A must-see for every tennis fan.

Part 1 (1877-1939): the foundations of Wimbledon

Suzanne Lenglen, designer Ted Tinling, Gussie Moran, Bill Tilden, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste, Don Budge, Helen Wills, Fred Perry

Part 2 (1945-1977): a brand new era

Virginia Wade, Jack Kramer, Maureen Connolly, Althea Gibson, Ann Jones, Louise Brough, Harry Hopman, Ken McGregor, Rod Laver, Frank Sedgman, Cliff Drysdale, WCT, Handsome Eight, Ken Rosewall, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Billie Jean King

Part 3 (1978-1999): the Golden Era

Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Martina Navatilova, Steffi Graf, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi

Part 4 (2000-2011): Sampras, Federer, Venus and Serena

Pete Sampras, Pat Rafter, Roger Federer, Goran Ivanisevic, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, John Isner, Nicolas Mahut

Lukas Rosol caused the biggest upset in tennis history today. Ranked number 100, he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-7 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4.

Here is a quick look back at Wimbledon’s recent upsets:

2002: George Bastl defeats Pete Sampras
Swiss player Bastl was ranked 145 in the world when he tooked on the seven time champion of Wimbledon, Pete Sampras. Bastl, who only got into the tournament as a lucky loser after failing to qualify, beat the American in five sets.
2 months later, Pistol Pete played his last match at the US Open, defeating long time rival Andre Agassi in final, to win a 14th Grand Slam title.

2003: Ivo Karlovic defeats Lleyton Hewitt
Lleyton Hewitt joined 1966 champion Manuel Santana in becoming only the second defending men’s title holder in Wimbledon’s history to be knocked out in the first round. Unknown qualifier Ivo Karlovic went in to the 2003 tournament ranked 203 in the world, coming back from one set down, to beat Hewitt in 4 sets.

1987: Peter Doohan defeats Boris Becker
Becker, an unseeded champion at 17 in 1985, went on to successfully defend his title the following year. But in 1987, the Australian Doohan denied him a hat-trick of titles, beating Boom Boom in the second round.

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