Roger Federer has rediscovered his “sneak attack”, hitting the half-volley return during a straight-set win against Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round at Wimbledon.
Federer first pulled off the crowd-pleasing shot at Cincinnati in 2015 and went for it regularly for a little while, but the world No. 2 has not been using it recently.
"I can never practice it," said the defending champion. "I just feel like totally it's not really what you do in a practice with other guys. They would be like, 'Really?' I can only really practice it with my coach. That's why it disappeared a little bit.
"When I do it again, it's quite exciting for me, 'Oh, I can do that maybe again.' I always have to check the score first."
But having successfully done it against Struff, Federer suggested he might do it a little more often again.
I'm happy I did it. I'm happy it worked," he said. "After that I feel like...there is a buzz for me. Okay, shall I do it again, no? What shall I do now this next time? I think it just helps me with keeping it exciting for me, as well, with options.
"I already always have the option of slicing or coming over. Then with the SABR, I think it makes it more fun for me. That's always the idea for me in practice or matches, keep it entertaining, keep things going. I don't know, I always look for new ways to win the point."
Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship – an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself.