MELBOURNE - It may bemuse those who have drooled over Roger Federer's artistic tennis, but the Grand Slam champion says he once had a horrible backhand. The Swiss maestro owns perhaps the supreme backhand in the business as he aims for his record 17th Grand Slam at the current Australian Open in Melbourne.
The defending champion, 29, advanced to a record-equalling 27th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final on Sunday with a four-set victory over Spain's Tommy Robredo. "I used to have a horrible backhand before so I had to find ways to get around that and use my forehand so they couldn't find my backhand or the rally would end," Federer reflected during his post-match news conference.
"I couldn't come over the backhand. I didn't have the power, so I would just chip it in. "That's how I grew up playing. Then I grew stronger and my serve got better. "My forehand had more topspin, and my backhand started to improve a bit. That's how I always enjoyed playing. "I can do it all today. But deep down I guess I'm an attacker more than a defender." Federer said it was between age 13 and 15 that he significantly improved his tennis to his eventual all-time great status.
"This is when all the results came in the juniors really."