NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer, like a father asked to rate his children, does not like playing favorites when it comes to dissecting his most spectacular shots on the tennis court.
The Swiss added another gem to his extraordinary collection with a between-the-legs, back-to-the-net winner that left opponent Brian Dabul dumbfounded and delighted the center court crowd in his first round victory at the U.S. Open on Monday.
Last year, the five-time U.S. Open winner uncorked a similar shot that whizzed by Serbian Novak Djokovic standing at the net and gave Federer match point in their semi-final.
“What do you think?” Federer told reporters when asked whether Monday’s shot was better than the 2009 missile that was dubbed “shot of the century” by scribes around the world.
ESPN TV, which was broadcasting the match in the United States, promoted a snap poll of viewers. Fifty-nine percent voted in favor of the new shot.
Federer was not so sure.
”You think this one was better? I don’t know,“ he said. ”Obviously the importance of last year’s was probably a little bit more important. So obviously that has a little bit of an impact, too.
”In terms of difficulty maybe this one was harder, because I had the feeling I had to run a longer distance and I was further back somehow.
“I had to really give the last big push at the end.”
Federer said when he turned, he could not tell that his shot found the mark.
“Obviously the crowd gave me the answer, which was kind of good. The ovation was fantastic. Crowds went wild. Yeah, you could see on my reaction I couldn’t believe it.”
Federer, winner of a record 16 grand slam events, said that after 10 years on the professional circuit there were plenty of shots on his highlight reel.
“I know on YouTube, there are guys that are putting together best shots of me,” he said.
On the question of trick shots, Federer was asked about the stir created by footage taken for a TV commercial that shows him knocking a can off someone’s head that won a huge number of hits but has raised questions about its authenticity.
“One thing I tell you, that the shots on center court in front of 22,000 people is a bit more difficult than what I did at the... commercial,” Federer added. “That was just having a bit more fun.”
Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by John O'Brien