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Hewitt, Federer call for faster courts
06:26 AEST Thu Nov 15 2012

Lleyton Hewitt would love Roger Federer to succeed with a call for more use of faster courts in world tennis.

Australia's former world No.1 is adamant Federer is right in saying courts have been slowed down, making it harder for players to hit winners.

"All surfaces have got slower over the years that I've been playing," said Hewitt.

"I was amazed at a couple of the indoor courts, how slow they were at the end of this year. I hadn't played the European indoor tournaments for a long time."

Federer urged a shift back toward attacking tennis after losing the ATP Tour Finals title to Novak Djokovic in a thrilling final in London on Tuesday (AEDT).

The Swiss former world No.1's plea could be interpreted by some as self-serving, given his major rivals Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are all champion defenders - masters of baseline retrieving and keeping the ball in play.

But Federer praised Djokovic's performance in his 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 win and emphasised he was happy with the court used in London.

He also spelt out the pros and cons of both sides as he argued that 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."

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 realise that coming to the net is a good thing, it's not a bad thing."

Having more tournaments played on faster surfaces could make it easier for other players to challenge the sport's "Big Four" - Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal - 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."

Hewitt would be happy to see more faster courts on tour.

"The quicker the courts, the better for me too," he said.

"I saw a little bit of the Masters Cup (ATP Finals) in London and that looked to be an awfully slow court as well.

"It's hard for guys to hit winners and hit through the court.

"It's a mixture of the balls as well. If it's rough at all then the balls fluff and get a lot heavier and after two games you feel like you need a ball change.

"Roger's game style suits a quicker court as well. He's got such good hands and reflexes that it would make life tough playing against him on those courts.

"That was the fun thing about playing the Olympics at Wimbledon. I felt it was a lot quicker court than four weeks before when we played the Wimbledon Championships this year."


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