line backhands—clutch serving—variation—physicality
Great piece H! It's been a treat to see Sinner evolve his game and begin to turn the tables on a guy who's had his number for some time...in b2b finals no less!
A couple questions I'm curious to get your thoughts:
1) Can you elaborate on why "the running forehand is the loosest shot on the court in most matches"?
2) For the backhand technique, is it possible to develop both to have the option of using the locked-wrist backhand or the roll backhand? Or are they so technically different that it simply makes sense to commit to one style for the sake of muscle memory, stroke consistency etc? Based on what you wrote, there are distinct advantages where it might just be ideal to have both options at one's disposal.
One of the things I noticed after Beijing was that, compared to Rotterdam and Miami, Sinner went for way more Deuce-wide first serves. It worked a lot in Beijing. This time, Medvedev had done his homework and burnt Sinner with the CCFH return multiple times in the first set. Sinner's win rate on Deuce-wide first serves went down from 78% in Beijing to 61% in Vienna.
The fact that he still managed to win, is mighty impressive. Shows that he is adding more and more tangibles and intangibles to his game.
There are certainly no shortcuts to taking out Medvedev in a match with these conditions. Sinner put his hard hat on an earned it. Well done by Sinner. There is no player to me that has more oppressive groundstrokes cumulatively off both wings than Sinner. Karatsev and Bash are close, but both make too many errors match in and match out, particularly Bash.
Wouldn't Sinner's roll make it impossible to hit an "off" backhand that fades away the way Djokovic's does?
Great piece as always. I noticed this too, re:off-BHs, and you could just as easily see the huge difference in the Rotterdam map too. Also really liked that he took off depth, so he had even more margin in that sense and could then take away optimal pace and height (by contact) that Daniil would want in order to counter. Did it with the same discipline on the FH side by keeping it so short. Especially early on, it helped sustain a cycle of play that enabled him to really dictate the rallies.
Downside was it being outside of his comfort zone (+ Daniil finding the full extent of his range in the 2nd), as you say, which meant he strayed from it sooner than was ideal. Very nearly cost him the 1st set when he started hitting too close to the lines but the serve helped him out big time.