Roger Federer lit up Arthur Ashe Stadium with an around-the-net-post winner against Nick Kyrgios on Saturday, sending the crowd into a frenzy and leaving his opponent stranded with a look of sheer disbelief. A 20-year veteran on the ATP Tour, the Swiss has seen and done it all. But even he was impressed with his work on this occassion.
"It was definitely one of the more unique [shots of my career]," he said of the forehand flick. “You don't get an opportunity to hit around the net post very often, because in practice, you -- I mean, you can't really train them. The net is out further and the court is more narrow, so for a shot like this to happen in a practice, you will be running into a fence and you will hit it into the net.”
On Saturday, Arthur Ashe Stadium provided the perfect stage for Federer’s latest magic act.
“These shots can only really happen on a big court where you play with the single posts in the doubles alley. I have hit a few throughout my career, and, sure, they are always fun, just because sometimes you can sort of aim for them, because you realize you have an option more, which you just never have. As you're hitting it, you're, like, ‘Oh, I can just shove it down the line and just flat.’ That's what happened today. I definitely think it was a special one, no doubt about it."
The highlight prompted a trip down memory lane, as USOpen.org dug deep into the video archives to pick out five of the five-time US Open champion's best shots over the years in New York.
Here's a breakdown of our Top 5.
2006: Tweener vs. Tim Henman, Round 2
Result: Federer wins, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5, and goes on to win his third of five consecutive US Open crowns
2009: Tweener vs. Novak Djokovic, Semifinals
Result: Federer wins, 7-6, 7-5, 7-5, and loses in the final to Juan Martin del Potro.
Federer's Take: "The one through the legs here [at the US Open] against Novak, just because of the magnitude of the shot, as well," he said at his post-match press conference, recounting some of his favorite shots. "I think it was 6-5, Love-30; it was just also a big-time moment in the game, which obviously always matters, as well.”
2010: Tweener vs. Brian Dabul, Round 1
Result: Federer wins, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, and loses in the semifinals to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
2014: Lob winner vs. Sam Groth, Round 2
Result: Federer wins, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, and loses in the semifinals to eventual champion Djokovic.
2018: Today's shot vs. Kyrgios, Round 3
Result: Federer wins, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5, and moves on to the Round of 16.