Nick Bollettieri: Unfortunate Lu the sacrificial lamb for greatest of all time

Wimbledon Dossier: Roger Federer vs Yen-Hsun Lu, Men's singles, first round
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Cutting to the chase, I expect Federer to win this match, and he's my favourite to win the tournament too, and I'll stick my neck out further and predict that he can win three, four or even five more Grand Slam titles before he hangs up his rackets. So barring the biggest shock in Wimbledon history, this won't be the match of the day in pure competition terms but it is the big deal of the day as Federer sets off in search of his next piece of history.

He's already guaranteed greatness, of course. I believed him to be the best of all time before he matched Pete Sampras's 14 Slam wins by winning in Paris this year, and I've written as much for this newspaper over the past couple of years.

His next challenge is not to cement his place in the pantheon but to define by what margin he is the greatest. When Roger said in recent days that he regrets the fact that Rafael Nadal is not at Wimbledon to defend his title, he meant it.

He wants to not just win more Slams but do so against the best.

Last year's final was the best tennis match in history and there's no denying that Nadal's absence deprives us all. But the cards fell that way and that's life. Federer, too, is a no-nonsense competitor who will beat whoever is put in front of him anyway.

He seldom goes out of an event early and I expect a straightforward victory today, quite probably in straight sets, in a manner that shows us he's in control: excellent, varied serving, great movement, killer forehand, and moments of unpredictable genius sprinkled in.

Roger will also probably play from the baseline a lot, which seems to have become more of a tactic in recent years and isn't necessarily a good thing. On the one hand, it does show confidence, that he can win from back there with his ground strokes. On the other, it might suggest that he's become the tiniest bit less aggressive in his attacking play.

It's that ruthlessly beautiful wrecking power, allied with the grace of a ballerina to make the deadly finishing touches look so sweet, that made him such a long-standing world No 1 and feared opponent.

And it's those things that will be needed again if he is to reap the rewards of more Slams which his talents demand. The loss of Nadal in SW19 this year quite dramatically illustrates how good Federer remains: the Spaniard pulls out and suddenly one man is odds-on favourite. Roger's back where he belongs in more senses than one.

Tale of the tape: How favourite and foe stack up

Roger Federer vs Yen-Hsun Lu

Swiss Nationality Taiwanese

27 Age 25

Basel Place of birth Taipei

Bottmingen Residence Taipei

1998 Turned pro 2001

Right-handed Plays Right-handed

6ft 1in Height 5ft 11in

88kg Weight 74kg

No2 World ranking No64

No2 Wimbledon seeding Unseeded

59 Career titles 0

£25m Career prize money £500,000

W44 L5 Wimbledon record W2L5

Winner 2003,4,5,6,7 Wimbledon best 2R (2004, 05)

Head-to-head: No previous meetings.

Odds: Federer: 1-100. Lu: 75-1.

Bollettieri's prediction: Federer.

The Ato Z of Bollettieri: Snapshots from 53 years as a tennis coach



*A is for ASS, as in I didn't know my ass from my elbow when it came to teaching tennis when I got my first coach's job, age 25, at a municipal club in North Miami Beach, Florida, in 1956. I'd played a bit as a teenager in college but after that I was a paratrooper for a few years, then studied at law school in Miami before dropping out. I made it my business to learn quickly. Among my very first students was a girl called Sheryl Smith; she was soon the US under-12s champion.



*B is for BALL, or the most important thing in the whole shooting match. It's all about the ball; keeping your eye on it, controlling it, getting it over the net just one more time than your opponent. You do that and you win points, games and matches. When I started coaching Sheryl Smith I could tell she hit the ball well but my coaching phrases were limited. I'd advise her to hold her racket properly. Beyond that it was about the ball. It was just: "Move to the ball!" or "Move your feet, hit the ball." That was it, how a life in coaching started.

Win a week in Florida at my tennis academy

*Want a week's tennis holiday at my academy in Florida? Included in the prize is five days' top-class tuition, accommodation in our poolside clubhouse, and all meals. The winner arranges the travel. All you have to do is email to tell me who will win today's big match. I want a specific scoreline, and as a tie-breaker, a one-sentence summary of the manner in which your pick will win. At the end of the tournament, all the daily winners will go into a hat, and one overall winner will be picked from there. Email me at n.bollettieri@independent.co.uk

I look forward to meeting the winner. For the rest of you players out there, today's tip to improve your game is try a serve-volley drill. Player A serves and moves to the net. Player B starts with their feet on the baseline, must return the first serve crosscourt, and then move to the net. The point is played out at the net, close quarters volleying. One point per rally. After 11 points, switch servers. First to 21 wins. It's irrelevant whether you intend serve-volleying in a match. The drill sharpens your service, volleys and movement.

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