WATCH: Roger Federer’s outrageous tweener at Italian Open, but Richard Gasquet had the final laugh
Roger Federer was well-known for his blistering forehand, elegant one-handed backhand and his serve – to name just a few of his big weapons – during his heyday and it is easy to forget that he often also produced some glorious trick shots, including tweeners.
The tennis great delivered one such shot during the third round of the 2011 Italian Open against Richard Gasquet.
Federer, seeded third behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the ATP Masters 1000 event at Foro Italico, was involved in a real slugfest with the Frenchman – a player he had beaten eight times in a row.
The Swiss – a 16-time Grand Slam winner at the time – took the opening set 6-4 before Gasquet hit back with a tie-breaker to take the match to a decider.
At 4-4 in the third set, Federer was 15-0 up and serving and he initially had the upper hand in the rally as Gasquet was running from corner to corner. After a couple of shots, Federer looked to have overrun a return straight down the middle, but he didn’t lose his bearings as he came to a near standstill and played a lovely tweener.
Naturally there were “oohs and aahs” from the crowd and after a couple more shots, Gasquet smashed a ball into the net to hand Federer the point.
But while Federer won the point, Gasquet won the match as the Frenchman ended up winning 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4).
“I should never have lost,” Federer lamented after the match. “He knows how close he came to losing. I had multiple chances.”
He added: “It was tough to play out there, it was a slippery court. Richard started to play better as the match went on. In particular he was serving better, my level went down and Richard made it worse.
“It was tough, I never felt I was probably going to win the [third set] breaker. It’s not fun to play that way.”
That proved to be the second and final time that Gasquet beat Federer as the Swiss went on to win their next 11 encounters and he ultimately finished with a 19-2 head-to-head record against the Frenchman.
Of course the Rome winner was far from the Swiss Maestro’s best shot through his legs as his most-famous “exhibition shot” came at the 2009 US Open when he scampered to the baseline following a volley to hit a winning tweener en route to beating Novak Djokovic in the semi-final.
“It’s the greatest shot I ever hit in my life,” Federer said at the time.
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