Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Dossier: Champion eradicates the final weakness from his game

Swiss demonstrates he has the all-court strengths to dominate while the Williams sisters prove that power is decisive
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The Independent Online

Roger Federer played unbelievably well this past fortnight to win his first Grand Slam and discard the solitary doubt that has been hanging over his game: his mental strength. The doubt has gone. The guy has the total game to be the best player in world.

As a coach you look for weaknesses, that's where you make a difference. Federer has now apparently got right the only weakness he had and I believe we are going to see something truly special.

He has an all-court game, so solid from all areas. He can play behind the baseline, he can play on the baseline, he's comfortable coming forward. He has a great serve, powerful backhand and forehand, brilliant footwork. I would mark him nine or 10 out of 10 on every aspect. The guy has it all. If I had to chose a player who can go on and dominate, right at this moment I would look at him and Andy Roddick and say Federer. He has no weaknesses.

Federer's success captures the beauty of Wimbledon. As a tournament it is one of a kind. The essence of sport, the thing that keeps you interested, is that it is unpredictable. Wimbledon is more unpredictable than any other because of the surface, the tradition (it gets to people in new ways) and of course, the rain.

For the record, I think building a roof on Centre Court to overcome the rain delays would break the whole darn tradition of the tournament. I am not in favour. Rain at Wimbledon is as established as strawberries. Coping with it over the two weeks and coming through the other side is part of the event.

Overcoming the doubts about his mental strength - his own rain delays - has been key to Federer's win. It wasn't any more predictable this time than at any of the other major events of the past two years when he was expected to do well but did not live up to that expectation.

It was impossible to pick a winner at the start because there was a group of guys - including Roddick and Mark Philippoussis, as I said then - who were capable of going the distance. The only question regarding Federer was his mind. He answered that question. Maybe he needed the expectation to fall a little before he could make the breakthrough.

The next question is where he goes from here. He can go where he chooses. When you do well at Wimbledon, the whole world knows it. The time difference is perfect for the United States so people can watch it. In Australia, they stay up late and watch it. The coverage is magnificent. It is the one to win. I'm so fortunate to have coached a Wimbledon champion - Andre Agassi in 1992 - and it's the only time I have ever sent out a picture to friends around the world afterwards.

On Saturday, the Williams sisters were taking pictures after Serena won Wimbledon for the second time. They have some collection. Two weeks ago, I said I believed we would have an all-Williams final and then that the final could be decided by who was healthy. It certainly was.

One obvious thing for me from this year is that strength and physical ability are the now the decisive factors in the women's game at the very top. Venus and Serena are ahead of the rest because of that. They are the best in the world. In the men's game, as we've seen with Federer, it's possible to offset a pure power disadvantage with strength. Federer played his game to do it. It is some game.

MY HIGHLIGHTS FROM WIMBLEDON 2003

Match of the tournament

Andre Agassi against Mark Philippoussis, fourth round. David against Goliath, five sets, twists and turns. Andre 1-0 down, 2-1 up and loses in five. Mark served 46 aces. Andre wasn't able to do it, but showed how well he's still playing to stay in contention so long.

Shots of the tournament

Venus Williams, backhand cross-court winner at 3-3, first set, second round against Katarina Srebotnik. It said: This is how I can play, and I'm having fun. Mark Philippoussis, full-stretch volley to save break point, semi-final against Grosjean. It said: I'm powerful but a battling athlete, too.

Performance of the tournament

Roger Federer beating Andy Roddick in three sets in the semi-final was a sign of a guy shaking off the questions about his mental weakness. No one has ever doubted his ability. That win over Roddick, based on confidence, showed he'd found the extra ingredient. He can do it all.

Breakthrough of the tournament

Maria Sharapova arrived at Wimbledon as a girl who's just turned 16 years of age with a wild card and left it as a young woman who showed she can be the future of women's tennis. I know her well from her years at my academy. Excellent game, no nerves, total self-belief.

Renaissance of the tournament

After Mark Philippoussis lost yesterday, he said: "It's been a long trip back but this is only the beginning." Amen to that. Look at this guy: injuries that have threatened his career, there's been girls, cars, houses, boats. He's come back, he's settled. No one is more deserving. He'll stay a force.

Last hurrah of the tournament?

Andre Agassi, at 33, is still a great competitor, but I think that the last chance of him winning Wimbledon again has just passed. Age takes a toll. He has so many qualities but in a physical contest, he understandably can't beat people like he used to. It's over to the young generation.

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