The First 4 Shots Video – Learn More HERE
The last major Roger Federer won was the 2018 Australian Open.
When Roger finally returns to the tour in 2022 he needs to look no further than how he won the 2018 Aussie Open final against Marin Cilic for the blueprint to once again be successful at the pinnacle of our sport. Roger defeated Marin 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the final, dominating short rallies to reach the coveted 20 Grand Slam mark.
Rally length is divided up into three categories:
- 0-4 Shots
- 5-8 Shots
- 9+ Shots
Keeping points short and not putting irrelevant miles on his legs will be a key to a successful comeback in 2022. In the 2018 final against Marin, more than three out of every four points were decided in the first four shots – meaning that each player only hit a maximum of two shots in the court. The pie chart below is a great visual of how Roger performs at his peak.
Rally Length Played: 2018 Australian Open Final – Federer v Cilic
What you will immediately notice from the pie chart is how substantial the 0-4 shot rally length was in the final. It’s a huge chunk!
Now, I know what you are thinking…
- If a player dominates in the 0-4 shot rally length, is it enough to secure victory in the match?
- Or put another way, can you win the large portion (0-4 shots) and lose the rest and that be enough to win?
The answer is a resounding YES!
If you like this analysis, also read The Roger Federer Library
Here’s the breakdown of points won & lost in all three rally lengths in the 2018 Australian Open final.
Rally Length – Points Won
- 0-4 Shots = Federer 120 / Cilic 92 (28 point advantage for Federer)
- 5-8 Shots = Federer 25 / Cilic 27 (2 point advantage for Cilic)
- 9+ Shots = Federer 7 / Cilic 9 (2 point advantage for Cilic)
The match data above clearly displays a line in the sand right at the fourth shot in the rally. If either player hit just two shots in the court (a four-shot rally), then Roger held an overwhelming 28 point advantage. If a fifth shot landed in the court, Marin took the honors 36-32.
As Roger prepares to have one last crack at winning titles on the ATP Tour, he definitely needs to focus his practice on the four specific shots that occur at the start of the point, which are:
- Serve +1
- Return +1
If Roger can find his “A Game” with these particular shots, then one last season in the sun is definitely possible.
Oh, and by the way, Roger served-and-volleyed seven times in the final and won every point. He won a resounding 80% (41/51) of serve and volley points for the tournament. Serve and volley is an aggressive tactic ideally suited to Roger’s game that definitely finds its home in the critical 0-4 shot rally length.
For more analysis of the 2018 Australian Open final, read my ATP breakdown here.
If you like this analysis, also read
Roger Federer From Three Rows Back
Roger Federer’s Forehand Return vs. Forehand Groundie
Roger Federer: #RG19 Break Point Conversion King