Redskins

Federer wants faster courts to encourage attack

201211121756645790861-p2.jpeg

Federer wants faster courts to encourage attack

LONDON (AP) With the top defensive players increasingly getting the better of him often in recent years, Roger Federer would like to speed up the game of tennis.

Or at least the courts the matches are played on.

Federer lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of the season-ending ATP finals on Monday, and then praised the top-ranked Serb's ability to retrieve so many shots and keep the ball in play. That's a trait Djokovic shares with Federer's other two biggest rivals - Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray - and the Swiss star said attacking play doesn't always reap the benefits it deserves even on hard courts because they're often slower than they used to be.

``It's an easy fix. Just make quicker courts, then it's hard to defend,'' Federer said. ``Attacking style is more important. It's only on this type of slow courts that you can defend the way we are all doing right now.''

Monday's final at the O2 Arena had a familiar feel to it. Federer did most of the attacking, trying to dictate play with his forehand and aggressive shot making. But Djokovic, as he often does, kept finding ways to get the ball back over the net and was sharper on the key points.

Federer won the first nine points of the match and was up an early break in both sets, but Djokovic recovered to win 7-6 (6), 7-5.

Federer was the two-time defending champion in London and emphasized that he was happy with this court, calling it one of the faster indoor surfaces on the circuit. He said slower courts are also good for long rallies - which are a big crowd pleaser - but that having more variety in the surfaces would force players to learn to be more aggressive.

``What you don't want is that you hit 15 great shots and at the end, it ends up in an error,'' he said. ``So I think sometimes quicker courts do help the cause. I think it would help from time to time to move to something a bit faster. That would help to learn, as well, for many different players, different playing styles, to realize that coming to the net is a good thing, it's not a bad thing.''

Federer has won a record-equaling seven Wimbledon titles on grass, the quickest surface, but has only one French Open title on the slower clay, where Nadal has repeatedly thwarted him.

Djokovic and Murray also rely heavily on their great defensive abilities, which have helped set them apart from the rest of the pack.

Having more tournaments played on faster surfaces could make it easier for other players to challenge the sport's ``Big Four,'' Federer said, adding that he wasn't sure tournament directors would necessarily buy into that.

``I think some variety would be nice, some really slow stuff and then some really fast stuff, instead of trying to make everything sort of the same,'' he said. ``You sort of protect the top guys really by doing that because you have the best possible chance to have them in the semis at this point, I think. But should that be the goal? I'm not sure.''

Djokovic said his strategy against Federer is usually to try and extend the rallies and hope for an opportunity.

``He's somebody that is very aggressive, that likes to finish points very quickly,'' Djokovic said. ``But I managed to get a lot of shots back into the court, being passive, a couple meters behind the baseline. ... That was one of the goals tonight, to always try to get him into the longer rallies where I think I had the better chance.''

Quick Links

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

martez_carter_vs_jets.png
Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

 

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

ovi_red_carpet_062118.png
NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: