CULT TENNIS on Roger Federer's SABR

Last month, CULT TENNIS looked back at the SABR, the technique that “saved Roger Federer’s career”. He looked at the shot’s origins, how it offered Roger a new way of playing to shake off the stink of 2013–2014, and how effective it actually was. He also examined whether it was possibly stolen.

My thoughts: I don’t think it “saved” his career because his career wasn’t over. A year later, he played through a niggling injury and took half the year off. Then he came back in 2017 with one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time. But I do agree that the SABR gave him a new edge and allowed him to frustrate Djokovic to win a title against him (even if he cottoned on to the SABR in the US Open final). I also don’t think he “stole” it, despite Kyrgios’s claims. It’s a throwback to serve and volley days, the ones Federer was originally part of. And I don’t think he ever claimed he invented it (a bit like how Michael Jackson never claimed he invented the Moonwalk).

Whatever, it was cool in the moment and then it stopped for the most part (it did make a few appearances in 2017 to great effect). The fact he could reinvent himself after all those years shows why he’s the GOAT to so many.

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