The Semi Final at the Tour ending Championships in London this week proved that when a top player is in trouble he can think his way through it . The match between Wawrinka and his mate Federer was a nail biter and Stan had 4 chances to close out the match. On all of the match points that he had he was forced to play a shot.
Now that may seem like common sense but many players at match point down do not make their opponents win it, they instead lose it. It's better to get a ball back into play with a chip return rather than go for the almighty strike as some players do , Federer the best example. On one of the match points he saved he used his brilliant chip technique on the back hand return which forced Stan to volley up which ultimately gave Roger a swing at a pass.
After Roger had saved the 4 match points he only needed one of his own to close it out, he had weathered the storm. I believe that Stan played the match points well though as he asked the question of Federer each time, he made his buddy win the point by coming into the net. This type of play is gutsy but it can be a smarter way to finish a match rather than playing 20 shots from the back. Obviously however Federer answers most questions from his opponents with relative calmness no matter what the situation in the match is.
In the US Open in September Federer fought of two match points in his quarter final with Monfils and in Shanghai in October he saved five match points against Mayer. The Swiss genius believes he is never out of a match until the umpire says so. In 2008 at the Masters Cup Federer saved seven match points in one game against Murray, how is that technically and mentally possible to do ? Roger did eventually lose that particular match to Murray but his efforts to save that many match points is nothing short of remarkable.
Murray , as I mentioned in an earlier chapter also showed amazing mental strength in two Championship deciders against Tommy Robredo as he saved a total of 10 match points to win both.
What ever these players at the top of World Tennis own between the ears is something that perhaps cannot be taught by any Coach on the planet. It may just be something that these players are born with but maybe a surgeon could study Roger's one day if the great man would give his blessing to do so.
It's one thing to hit a ball well, it's a totally different thing to be able to play the game of tennis........