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Which Doubles Player Has The World's Best Backhand Volley?

  • Posted: Sep 08, 2020

Which Doubles Player Has The World’s Best Backhand Volley?

The Ultimate Doubles Player: Backhand Volley

In the ATP’s ‘Ultimate Doubles Player’ series, the world’s best doubles players enjoyed plenty of debate around who has the best backhand volley.

Two of the players who emerged in those discussions were 124-time tour-level titlist Mike Bryan, who recently retired, and Jean-Julien Rojer. Rojer and Horia Tecau are into the semi-finals of the US Open.

Find out what their peers had to say about their backhand volley, why those particular shots are special and who else excels with that stroke.

Mike Bryan
“He is obviously one of the best if not the best player of all-time in doubles along with his brother. He’s got an amazing backhand volley angle when he’s close to the net, and his first volley is also really solid. [He] really just has no holes and I feel like he’s the best I’ve played against as far as the backhand volley.” – Rajeev Ram

“Another legend on the doubles court. Very solid. Made a lot of money, won a lot of matches with his energy up close to the net, putting the ball away. Obviously his forehand volley is not too bad, either.” – Neal Skupski

Jean-Julien Rojer
“Jules is a very natural guy. He has nice touch and his volleys are always dangerous. He can volley to any spot he likes.” – Filip Polasek

“He’s very solid at the net, [and he is a] great athlete.” – Robert Lindstedt

Nicolas Mahut
“Good technique, classical technique. He can stick the ball well on that wing as well unlike a lot of players. He uses his body well and uses his hands… his left arm is very active in the shot. Very good first volley, good up at the net and has all the reactions.” – Jamie Murray

“Whenever I’ve played against him he doesn’t seem to miss one. He has also got a great backhand half volley. It’s more of an old school shot, but he has great feel and it’s just a great all-around volley.” – Joe Salisbury

Jamie Murray
“He has perfect technique. He always hits it in front, and it’s very hard to get it by him on that side.” – Jurgen Melzer

“[Jamie is] someone I’ve spent quite a lot of time around over the years. Neal’s obviously playing with him, so I’ve spent a little bit of time on the opposite side of the court of him. I’ve learned quite a lot of stuff watching him play. His ability to hold the ball on his strings and wait for his opponents to make a move before he puts the ball the other way [is special]. His angles around the net, his understanding of his racquet head and where the ball needs to be is exceptional and he’s got such a big wingspan as well that he’s able to cover a huge amount of the court. He’s very calm. He’s just super calm. He just never seems fazed by anything.” – Ken Skupski

Raven Klaasen
“He’s very solid. We played a couple of tournaments together and I could see he has a very good backhand volley.” – Marcelo Melo

Joe Salisbury
“He plays the volley in a very traditional way and he’s able to soak up power. He’s able to play with finesse and precision and he doesn’t tend to leave many volleys out there. When you combine his athleticism with his technique, he’s got one of the better backhand volleys and one I enjoy watching.” – Raven Klaasen

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Borna Coric Steps Back Into The Spotlight

  • Posted: Sep 08, 2020

Borna Coric Steps Back Into The Spotlight

Croatian is into his first Grand Slam quarter-final

Borna Coric first stepped into the spotlight as a teenager. When he was 17, the Croatian defeated Rafael Nadal. Just months later, as an 18-year-old, he upset Andy Murray.

A former junior World No. 1, Coric was clearly one of the tennis’ greatest young talents. With that came expectations according to former World No. 4 Brad Gilbert.

“Six or seven years ago, even before Alexander Zverev, everyone was thinking this guy was going to make a move and be a Top 5 player,” Gilbert said of Coric. “For whatever reason he had some results, but he didn’t go on the trajectory continuing upwards. Some of these other young guys have jumped him.”

It’s not that Coric hasn’t enjoyed success. By all measures, the Croatian has done well, especially for his age. He has climbed as high as No. 12 in the FedEx ATP Rankings (5 November 2018), won two ATP Tour titles and reached an ATP Masters 1000 final at the 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters. The list of top opponents he has defeated is lengthy: Nadal, Murray, Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Dominic Thiem among others.

Coric is still only 23. He has learned that expectations are not something he needs to worry about.

“I learned [during] that time I cannot focus on the other people’s opinion, that I don’t gain anything from that. I need to be focussed on myself, on the things which I need to do, on the things that I also need to improve,” Coric said. “I think every player has that, especially the ones who are a little bit younger, who had pretty much all the attention on them since a very young age. I think it’s also very important for them to learn that they need to focus on themselves.” 

Coric defeated Jordan Thompson on Sunday at the US Open to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final in his 22nd major appearance. It’s a rewarding feat for a player who struggled in 2019 with hamstring, abdominal and back injuries.

“It does feel great, to be honest. It’s a very big relief for me. I wanted this for a very long time,” Coric said. “I’m just very happy that now after this break, which came very good to me, because I was able to resolve some of my body issues, stuff like that, then I’m playing good. I’m pretty healthy now.”

Coric was very close to being eliminated in the third round. Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas was near the finish line against the 27th seed, leading 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-4, 5-1. But in the match of the tournament, Coric found another gear to save six match points and rally past the Greek star in a fifth-set tie-break.

“You feel like the next day you’re on house money. When I called his next match, everything was about how he recovered… He just took care of business physically and the most important thing is to get over the euphoria and the feeling like you won the tournament,” Gilbert said. “I think he did everything that he could and now you set your sights on the next day’s practice and recovery.”

My Point: Get The Players' Point Of View

Coric, who in addition to his Tsitsipas victory needed four hours and 19 minutes to oust Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round, is doing exactly that.

“My mentality was [that] as soon as I finished that match, I needed to focus on my next match, because that’s tennis. That’s tennis tournaments at the end of the day. It’s not like boxing. Once you win, you can go and you can celebrate [in boxing],” Coric said. “My mentality was I need to recover as quick as I can. I played two very, very long matches. I was just trying to focus on my next match.”

Coric will next face a familiar foe in 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev. Coric not only beat the German en route to the 2013 US Open boys’ singles title and he also leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-1.

“He’s playing I think some of the best tennis of his life,” Coric said. “It’s going to be [a] very interesting match.”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Croatian Mate Pavic, who is into the doubles semi-finals alongside Bruno Soares, believes Coric’s big run resonates in their country.

“It’s a big thing. We are a small country with quite a few good players. Marin [Cilic] won the title here in 2014. Borna has played some great matches. He came back from an unbelievable situation against Tsitsipas, from match points, serving for the match and all that stuff. I believe he’s very confident now,” Pavic said. “It’s going to be an open match [against Zverev]. He’s going to have chances and I believe he could go far this year.”

Coric has already gathered momentum by making it this far. That could play into his hands in the last eight.

“I’m the kind of player that needs wins. I need to play matches so that I can feel confident,” Coric said. “Honestly, it’s hugely important for me. It’s the best thing I could do.”

On Friday evening, Coric could have been booking a flight out of New York. Instead, the 23-year-old remains very much alive. He has a chance Tuesday to reach his first major semi-final.

“Sometimes in life and in tennis you can turn things on a dime and you don’t worry about what’s happened the past few years,” Gilbert said. “You live in the moment and this is the best result of his career. Who knows? It could get a lot better.”

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Ruthless Medvedev Rolls Into US Open QFs

  • Posted: Sep 08, 2020

Ruthless Medvedev Rolls Into US Open QFs

Third seed next faces fellow Russian Rublev

In a US Open with filled with epic matches and intriguing storylines, Daniil Medvedev is taking a drama-free path through the draw.

The third seed continued his stellar form on Monday by ending the run of Frances Tiafoe with a convincing 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 win. Medvedev grabbed the last eight games and took 17 of the last 20 points. He improved to 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.

”I was lucky enough to get the early break, relax a little bit and then I started playing amazing tennis after that,” Medvedev said on court after the match. “I’m playing better with every match and I hope this can continue. I’m pleased with the fact that I’ve won all of these sets and didn’t have to stay long on the court. That’s always good when you’re playing a Grand Slam.”

Medvedev is the only male quarter-finalist this year to reach the last eight without dropping a set. He’s only been broken three times in 51 service games this fortnight (94% held) and has been equally dominant when returning, converting 23 of 46 break points (50%). He improved to 12-3 in New York and has won 10 of his past 11 matches at this event.

Awaiting him in the quarter-finals is No. 10 seed and fellow Russian Andrey Rublev, who upset sixth seed Matteo Berrettini earlier in the day. Medvedev leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-0 after winning both of their matches last year in Cincinnati and St. Petersburg.

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”He’s playing amazing this year and it’s really cool that we managed to be in the quarter-finals together. Of course, it would be better if we were playing a final,” Medvedev said. “On the court, there are no friends and he knows that also. We’re going to have a good match.”

The third seed grabbed a quick break at 1-1 in the opening set and never lost the lead from that moment, earning an insurance break at 4-2 with a running down-the-line forehand. Medvedev continued to keep his shots within inches of the baseline and denied Tiafoe a chance to dictate their baseline rallies. His lone blip came when he was broken serving for the set at 5-2, but he made good on his second chance for the early lead.

Tiafoe attempted to throw Medvedev off with a variety of spins and slices early in the second set. The American charged forward when that tactic didn’t work, but struggled with his feel at the net. When Medvedev raced to a 4-0 lead with a delicate drop shot winner, Tiafoe smiled wryly at coach Wayne Ferreira and appeared to have accepted his fate.

The Russian scored his seventh break against Tiafoe to wrap up the match. Medvedev finished the night with 25 winners to 18 unforced errors.

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