Roger Federer says his backhand improved from the practice he did during his injury layoff in 2016, and it helped him win three huge events in his return.
"I think I've gotten really confident, a lot of practice at the end of the season,” Federer told the ATP tour. “Then, at the beginning of the year when I started to play again, I was able to step into the court and drive the backhand more frequently than I ever have before. I used to use different tactics by slicing more [and] then going big on the second shot, but I've turned it around to some extent.”
The change has also helped him pick up three consecutive wins over rival Rafael Nadal this season.
"To be able to play against Rafa with his wicked forehand," Federer said, “to be able to control it is really the key.”
Federer, who is not scheduled to play again until the French Open, has won the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami in 2017. Before that, the 18-time Grand Slam champion had not won a major since 2012.
Following his extended break from the tour in 2016, the Swiss is especially happy to be back on tour.
"I also enjoy the practices more than I ever have, which is also helpful for the matches,” he said. “Maybe more relaxed than I've been in a long time, mostly rejuvenated and refreshed. I'm much more willing and open to do other things."
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