Brain Game: Rock-Solid Alcaraz Can Do Everything Under The Sun

  • Posted: May 08, 2022

Brain Game: Rock-Solid Alcaraz Can Do Everything Under The Sun

Learn how Alcaraz eased past Zverev in the Madrid final

Carlos Alcaraz is a 360-degree player. He comes at you from every possible angle.

Alcaraz defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1 in the Mutua Madrid Open final on Sunday by bamboozling the German with a scintillating array of Spanish shotmaking. Alcaraz comes at you with a laser forehand. Or a crushing backhand. Or a devilish drop shot. Or serving and volleying. He comes at you so many ways, you don’t know which way is up.

Alcaraz hit six drop shots in the final and won the point on all of them. Four came from a forehand groundstroke while two came from a forehand drop volley. The 19-year-old Spaniard also served and volleyed five times in the final and won them all. The skill level that exists across the entire spectrum of strategy is simply off the charts. Watching Alcaraz is like watching something for the very first time, even though you have watched the sport for decades.

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Alcaraz Forehands & Backhands
Overall, Alcaraz hit 60 per cent (50/84) forehand groundstrokes for the match, which excludes returns, volleys and overheads. Thirty-six of them were regular forehands standing in the Deuce court and 14 were run-around forehands standing in the Ad court.

The following breakdown includes Alcaraz’s forehand and backhand winners and errors as well as errors that were also extracted from Zverev from that particular shot.

Regular Forehands
– 36 hit
– 2 winners
– 6 errors
– 5 errors extracted from Zverev

Run-Around Forehands
– 14 hit
– 5 winners
– 2 errors
– 3 errors extracted from Zverev

– 34 hit
– 2 winners
– 5 errors
– 9 errors extracted from Zverev

Alcaraz’s forehand is a formidable weapon, with his run-around forehand especially so. Of the 14 times he struck this shot standing in the deuce court, he immediately won the point eight times from a winner or forcing an error. It’s a prolific strike-rate, especially when you consider he only yielded two errors in the process.

What’s fascinating is that Alcaraz’s backhand immediately produced more errors on the other side of the court from Zverev than his forehand did. Alcaraz extracted nine errors from his backhand wing and eight errors from his forehand. This is a key to the teenager’s success. There simply is no weaker wing for opponents to prey on.

Alcaraz only yielded five groundstroke errors (two forehand/three backhand) in the opening set, which set the tone for the one-sided final. Throw in two drop-shot points won and three serve-and-volley points won and Zverev had no discernible strategy to claw his way back into set two. To end the opening set, Alcaraz committed only one error from his last 16 backhands. It must have been a torturous time for Zverev, who regularly relies on his backhand to break down his opponent’s backhand. Not this time. Not even close.

The analytics of Alcaraz’s matches uncover a player who is solid as a rock and can do everything under the sun.

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