predictable strengths—technique dictates tactics
Hi Hugh, great analysis as always.
That final set tie-break was such a great encapsulation of what this substack taught me over the last months.
Even though he lost to a firing Hurkacz (who is looking more and more like an ATG server, feels like just like Isner in his time he can fire an ace whenever he wants to), Rublev is undeniably having his best year results-wise.
However, I can't seem to find any noticeable change in his game, technique or physical-wise. So I personnally give it to a bit of draw luck and tactical/mental improvements/being braver in his shot selection (that BH DTL he pulls off to make it 3-0 in the tie I don't think he tries it last year, for example).
However, one reddit user I follow because he has great technical knowledge and has a similar approach to you (JimKirk1) said he actually tweaked his backhand and it's now a fuller takeback (still noisy, but fuller) that allows him to try those riskier shots. But I can't seem to see it. If we focus on those 2 easy misses, yes he isn't quite 90° facing the net but he is far from a 180°/back fence also (additionnaly to serving down to up). Have you noticed any change?
Another great read! But Sinner does the same rotation thing with his BH. Doesn’t he?
Also, what about Rublevs 2nd serve. Seems like a weakness too.
Speaking of the serve what do you think of Wawrinka's serve?. Very unorthodox motion with more minimalist knee bend and both arms flared up in the air yet he can get insane mph on it (130-ish mph) even though he doesn't have a large knee bend or throwing motion of a record server (Roddick, Sampras etc.)?. And he isn't tall either only 6'0". Any thoughts?
Great read Clarke.
The smallest of margins with those 2. The innate serve advantage Hubie has over Rublev is always a lot to overcome.