Roger Federer has faced numerous opponents throughout his career, and has left a lasting impression on them all with his phenomenal tennis. One such opponent is American Scoville Jenkins, who faced Roger Federer in the first round of the 2007 US Open.
It was a rather one-sided match, which is not surprising given that Roger Federer was at his peak back then (he would go on to win the title) and Jenkins was largely unheralded. As it turned out, that would end up being Jenkins’ most high-profile match ever on the ATP tour.
The American retired in 2010, a year after having got to his highest ranking of No. 187 in the world. But 13 years after facing Roger Federer, Jenkins still vividly remembers the immense challenge posed by the legendary Swiss.
While speaking on a podcast hosted by David Beilinson, Jenkins discussed the weapons that Federer uses to put his opponent on the backfoot. The American made particular mention of the World No.4's magnificent forehand and sliced return, explaining that these shots often draw the other player out of position.
Jenkins believes that when pitted against Roger Federer you have to take the initiative, or else the Swiss can 'embarrass' you.
“You’re always feeling under pressure like if I don’t do something he’s just gonna go back into maybe hitting a great forehand across or up the line and a sliced short to then pull me up the line,” Jenkins said. “I have to be on the offence, you feel so much pressure to be able to do something or he will embarrass you.”
Roger Federer is always a step ahead of you: Scoville Jenkins
While Roger Federer’s game appears largely effortless to the naked eye, it is made up of several intricate aspects that can flummox even the best of opponents. The Swiss has a relentlessly attacking style of play where he is always on the lookout to take control of points and close them out early, and that requires tremendous precision and intelligence.
Scoville Jenkins believes the Swiss star strategizes his points like a chess player. According to the American, Roger Federer is always a step ahead of his opponent when he is selecting his shots to tighten the screw on them.
"I would say the biggest thing with him is you’re playing chess out there with him and he’s just constantly a step ahead of you and you know it,” Jenkins said. “You know every shot he hits is to set up the next shot and when you are playing him I’m thinking if I don’t hit this good enough then I already know what he’s gonna do to me.”
Scoville Jenkins' match against Roger Federer back in 2007 ended in a straight sets loss for the American, with the scoreline 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Jenkins mentioned how he had watched Federer on TV multiple times and analyzed how the Swiss was always 'outplaying' his opponent.
“I watched him do it on TV millions of times you know and so you’re always feeling like he’s out-thinking you, outplaying you, he’s a step ahead of you,” Jenkins continued.Published 20 Oct 2020, 18:26 IST