When the celluloid-made ping pong ball is drifted properly against the paddle’s rubber, it can be spun in unrealistic ways on the surface of a table tennis table. But, perfecting that with a graphite net against an air pressured ball is a whole different thing, unless you’re Roger Federer.
“Defying physics” is a phrase something we only get to hear in sports today and the athletes who are credited with such feats are extraordinary. The latest such instance came in the Paris Masters during Roger Federer’s quarter-final match against Key Nishikori. As if beating the World No. 11 in straight sets wasn’t enough, the 20-time grand slam champions humiliated him with his deft touch.
The 37-year-old was leading the first set 5-4 when the incident happened during his serve. Federer started with a serve down the T-line that the Japanese returned weakly. The Swiss ace had to come up for a volley and played it to Nishikori’s backhand. The Japanese star managed to return the ball again and this time he was able to get some dip on the ball as well. But Federer was waiting at the net. Instead of going for
A delightful Nishikori, who thought that the point was his to be won, tried to run up front looking to whip in across the net for a winner. But, what he saw next was incredible. The ball dropped at the front court and took the subtlest of backspins with as little bounce as possible. That shot from that position couldn’t have been executed any better and Federer walked back as if he plays those for breakfast, lunch,
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