from India Times.com
by David Waldstein
Federer has stirred curiosity on the tour since he unveiled an unusual return of service last month in a tournament in Cincinnati.
Before returning an opponent's second serve, Federer, on a few occasions, darted forward to the edge of the service line and took the ball quickly with a little halfvolley. [...]
He began using it in practice. His coach, Stefan Edberg, encouraged him to keep trying, even if it felt awkward, even if he felt a bit like a prisoner stepping forward to face a firing squad. [...]
"When you lose a point with it, you feel a bit ridiculous," Federer said Tuesday after employing it a handful of times in his 61, 62, 62 victory over Leonardo Mayer in the first round of the United States Open. "But when you win the point, it's a great feeling." [...] "Sometimes I stand there and I'm like, 'Should I or shouldn't I?' " Federer said. "And then it's like, 'OK, whatever, I'm going.' [...]
The first time the fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium saw it Tuesday, in the first game of the second set, many of them let out an "Oooohhhh." Mayer, under pressure, tried to hit a passing shot, but it went long. On another occasion, Federer's block backhand went into the net. On another, Mayer doublefaulted, perhaps rattled to see Federer attacking again.
"It is very difficult to get the ball past him when he is already standing right there," Mayer said. Djokovic, after his loss to Federer in Cincinnati, was not so keen to discuss it. "When he's returning second serves, he was trying this week something new," Djokovic said after the final. "I have no comment about it." Djokovic may have just been cranky from the loss. Few seem to think Federer is breaking any rules of etiquette. If he is daring enough to do it, then he deserves what he gets from it.
"I would laugh at somebody who brings up the etiquette of it," Anderson said. "You're playing to win. Yeah, it's a little different and I'm sure some people might get upset by it. But it's no different from any other shot." Darren Cahill, a coach who has worked with numerous top players, said he thought players might panic when they saw Federer charging at them, and it could affect their serve, too. […]
As Federer enters his first major tournament with the shot, he seems to still be figuring it out as he grows more comfortable with it, and seeks a tactical advantage. But he also has another reason for doing it, too. It is fun. "So far, I have really been enjoying it," he said, "and I hope I can keep it up against all these players."
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