In Tennis it is too easy to get involved in statistics without looking at the play and the patterns in a match.
If you look at Stefanos Tsitsipas’ stats from the ATP World Tour Finals in London it does open up one question…
Aces – 32
Double Faults – 5
Forehand Winners – 51
Forehand Errors – 38
Backhand Winners – 18
Backhand Errors – 30
Net Points Won – 60/74
Break Points Won – 10/20
Break Points Saved – 23/27
What about the backhand?
Stefanos is known for having one of those Hollywood one-handed backhands but he has become super clever at when to use it. It isn’t just about smashing it down the line in hope of hitting a winner but being measured and unpredictable with it.
From this position below he can find the whole court and that makes it dangerous.
The end goal is essentially that backhand down the line. The cross court backhands however is where damage is done. He can spray it around the court with different heights, top spin and speed making it difficult to capitalise on.
Him doing this plants that seed of doubt into his opponents mind. It plants that knowledge that at some point he could pick it down the line but he measures his shots well.
You have to be ready and usually centre in the court to cover all basis. The problem is because of how deep he drops the ball in the court you can’t redirect the ball and then get stuck in a rally with him until he finds his moment to brush the backhand down the line.
However you might think 18 winners in five matches at the O2 isn’t much but the intention was there.
A shot isn’t defined as ‘great’ just by the winners you hit off it. There is much more to it than being ranked on numbers but also what it makes your opponent do.
Time and time again we saw his opponents in London scamper across the baseline, get something on the ball but nothing to send it back over the net and prolong the rallies. The quick change up was something all players would have been aware of but you cannot overcommit as you’d be picked off elsewhere otherwise!
Most of the Greeks game does centre around his forehand but this is where stats can be deceiving as he backhand does a lot of work to break down rallies and gain control just to add to his near on perfect game.