Roger Federer’s SABR is one of the most thrilling strokes and movements in tennis. He is well-known throughout the world for his disruptive style of attacking the net on the opponent’s second serve.

The unique and audacious tennis tactic known as “Sneak Attack by Roger,” or SABR for short, was invented by the renowned Swiss player Roger Federer.

The Sabr in Tennis, which was first introduced in 2015, is a manoeuvre by Roger Federer where he charges the net right after his opponent serves in an attempt to take control of the point and throw off the server’s rhythm. 

This unconventional strategy challenges preconceived notions about the game while showcasing Federer’s adaptability and strategic intelligence on the court.

Tennis fans have been divided on the Sabr in Tennis some have praised its inventiveness and others have questioned its high level of risk.

We examine the subtleties of the SABR in this investigation, analyzing its influence on the sport and its part in Federer’s lasting legacy.

If you’ve watched any of his games in the past ten years, you’ll be familiar with the technique; we’ll break down each move step-by-step below.

Roger Federer’s Sabr In Tennis

Roger Federer surprised the tennis world by introducing a new strategy in the Cincinnati draw in 2015. When Federer received a serve, he raced over to the net to catch the ball as it rose.

His opponents would rush to put the ball back in play after Roger concluded the point with a smart volley, looking bewildered and uneasy. 

What fresh strategy was this? Nobody else had ever tried anything like that before. The game was most close to what it was like a millennium ago when courts moved much more quickly and players received more points for catching the ball first.

But Federer had shown something very different throughout the hard court season in the United States.

Federer’s longtime coach, Severin Lüthi, encouraged him to move forward and take the serve further up the court, which is how the Sabr in Tennis, or Sneak Attack by Roger, got its start.

During a practice session, Federer sarcastically carried the advice to its logical conclusion and approached the net while his opponent’s ball was still in the air.

The shot’s success gave rise to a new strategy. Throughout the Cincinnati tournament, Federer used the Sabr in tennis, most notably against Kevin Anderson in the round of 16 and Novak Djokovic in the championship match.


In 2015, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer invented the SABR stroke, or sneak attack by Roger. On his second serve, Roger Federer moved up the court to agitate his opponent and pressure him into an error.

The opponent is uneasy after making this shot and will still have difficulties on the comeback. This occurs because of the quick half volley, which compels the opponent to approach the net immediately following service.

Severin Lüthi, Federer’s coach, encouraged him to advance on the court and he began to hit winning volleys.

Federer, in interviews, always explains how the manoeuvre began towards the end of the training, he was fatigued and wanted to keep the rally short.

When he returned to training the following day, he repeated the identical actions, and because it was successful each time, Lüthi suggested that he do it in a match. Even at the US Open, Federer began to use it with a smile.

How SABR In Tennis Return?

It’s straightforward and only applies to the player giving the service back, not the other way around. The following are the procedures to do to win a point:

  1. Hold your gaze up towards the sky until your opponent throws the ball.
  1. Proceed with as much speed and silence as you can.
  1. To return the ball to the other court, wherever it may be, try using the volley post-bouncing technique.
  1. You will assault the net in an attempt to shorten the rally when your opponent hits the ball.

What Are The Technicalities of the SABR In Tennis?

Only the player who returns the serve may attempt the Sabr in Tennis. The returner advances as silently as they can as the server starts tossing and both eyes are focused on the ball.

Depending on how much danger they are willing to take, the returner should split-step one to two feet behind the service line when the server makes contact with the ball.

To catch the server off guard and put them on the defensive from the start of the point, it is the goal to steal the ball as it rises.

If necessary, the returner should keep moving forward to finish the point with a volley. The racquet is usually gripped with an eastern backhand grip, which results in a deep, flat ball that is challenging to return to play.

Because the forehand grip’s limited wrist rotation makes it unable to dependably cover balls heading near the returner’s body or feet, half-volleying with the backhand grip gives the returner wider lateral coverage.

Kyrgios’s try at the Sabr in Tennis was motivated by his love and admiration for Federer. Although Federer typically goes for the second serve, the Australian has employed the SABR off a first serve in a bold and audacious manner.

After Kyrgios’s efforts, double-handed backhand players can feel comfortable trying the stroke, especially as the non-dominant hand on the racquet helps transfer energy for a punchier shot.

Trying The SABR Out In Real Life

For club players, practising and attempting the SABR in tennis while playing can significantly improve their performance.

Your timing and coordination on the half-volley will be put to the test when you return higher up the court. Generally speaking, it’s important to learn how to take the ball earlier, especially from the baseline.

This will allow players to be more aggressive and limit the length of their plays. You will also have an opportunity to improve your volleying technique by going up the court. 

Among the younger club players in my generation, this specific aspect of tennis is kind of becoming extinct, but hopefully, the SABR in Tennis can inspire more net play.

The opportunity to try new things also adds to the game’s appeal. This strategy is an effective means of disrupting conventional play patterns and offers a novel variation to long baseline rallies. 

FEDERER’S SABR In Tennis Return Analysis

Federer’s shot is to upset the opposition while they are still in a defensive stance by hitting the ball on the rise as soon as it touches the ground.

In most cases, the opponent only manages to hit the point to the net as a result of not having enough time to prepare for a winning shot.

During the opponent’s throw, Federer would, on his first try, move stealthily forward, making it difficult for them to cover the court because they had to move forward to finish the point while remaining in the baseline and having just finished serving.

While Federer only does it when the opposition serves on their second serve, one of his fans, Australian sensation Nick Kyrgios, does it when the opponent serves on their first serve and attempted to do it against Zverev in 2016.


Before taking a chance on the play, you need to think about a lot of various factors when deciding to deploy the SABR In Tennis.

Benefits of SABR First, the benefits are:

  1. Catching the opposition off guard
  2. Attack and make the other player return a surprise shot.
  3. Gaining court will help you proceed.
  4. If you hit a winner in this manner, the opponent is mentally crushed.

The drawbacks of SABR Rather, the drawbacks are:

  1. You might not even be able to catch the ball if your opponent serves well on the second try.
  2. Using a half volley to get the ball to the other side of the court is difficult.
  3. It will be simple for the opponent to place a winning shot down the line if he has a strong shot.
  4. It will be simple for the opposition to score an easy point in the game if you are uncomfortable using the internet.
  5. It might not work if your opponent is powerful and can lob you.


In summary, “Sneak Attack by Roger” is proof of Roger Federer’s ongoing innovation and development in the tennis world.

In addition to demonstrating his grasp of the game, this bold tactic demonstrates his capacity to keep opponents guessing and adjust to the constantly shifting dynamics of professional tennis.

Although the SABR in tennis has generated both praise and criticism, it unquestionably gives Federer’s tennis a degree of unpredictable quality that has contributed to his long-term success on the court.

One thing is certain as tennis fans consider the long-term effects of this audacious move: Federer’s SABR will go down in tennis history as a testament to the player’s unwavering devotion to pushing the envelope of what is possible on the biggest stage of the game.

Also, check out Top 10 Spanish Tennis Players of All Time

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