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Medvedev On Solving The Alcaraz Drop Shot Dilemma

2023 match-wins leader says Spaniard has so many weapons he is ‘scary’
April 26, 2023
Daniil Medvedev is seeded second at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Mutua Madrid Open
Daniil Medvedev is seeded second at the Mutua Madrid Open. By ATP Staff

Stand deep and get caught out with a point-ending drop shot. Stand close and have a blistering forehand ripped through you. It’s the dilemma all players face against Carlos Alcaraz, especially on clay.

Daniil Medvedev has seen this first hand, most recently in Indian Wells. While the World No. 3 displays a unique style of play from the baseline, often resembling a brick wall and returning serves nearly in the stands, Alcaraz’s repertoire is like fire and ice. The 19-year-old can go big and bold or display deft feel around the court, sometimes drawing opponents in with a drop shot.

That is highly problematic for opponents.

“They are very disguised,” Medvedev said of the Spaniard’s drop shot. “One out of two he's going to make a dropshot, but the one he doesn't make, it's going to be a bomb forehand, so you can't just run for it because then it's going to be a winner. I'm going to be interested to play him more and more to try and see how I can handle this part better.”

Alcaraz ended Medvedev’s 19-match winning streak in last month’s BNP Paribas Open final, where an overwhelming 6-3, 6-2 performance helped the 19-year-old return to World No. 1. In the second half of the ‘Sunshine Double’, Medvedev was crowned champion in Miami after he saw off a series of opponents who tried - but failed - to successfully copy Alcaraz’s winning drop shot tactic against ‘Deep-court Daniil’.

“I remember against [Carlos] in Indian Wells, I was like, ‘Yeah, I was not expecting this, the drop shot from this position!’ Medvedev said. “Then the next week in Miami I think a lot of guys maybe saw the final, so they started to do only drop shots against me. It's not the same. It's like, ‘Okay, continue doing it, I'm there!’ [and] against [Carlos], I'm not there. He's playing great and everyone knows it. If you have him in your draw, it's scary.”

Medevdev arrives in Madrid boasting a 31-4 season record and is No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The 27-year-old is the only player to collect four trophies so far this year: Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai and Miami.

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Medvedev will be in Madrid action Saturday, when he will meet Andy Murray or Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori. While clay may not be his favourite surface, Medvedev believes his best chance to make a run on the red dirt could be in the Spanish capital.

“It's definitely different,” Medvedev said. “I would say it's a little bit like Roland Garros clay where it's kind of on a harder surface. Also altitude, so the balls are flying. What I see from results of many people, I should be able to actually play better here than other clay court tournaments. So far, I was not able to do it. But every year is a new opportunity. This year is another one, and I'm going to try to just play my best and hopefully play some good tennis.”

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