Match Preview

Physicality Index Insights: Day 3 In Jeddah

Four matches on schedule
November 30, 2023
Hamad Medjedovic in action on Wednesday night in Jeddah.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Hamad Medjedovic in action on Wednesday night in Jeddah. By Geoff Russell

The ATP and Tennis Data Innovations (TDI) will deliver unprecedented insights at the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. Using state-of-the-art tracking metrics, the insights will assess the physical capacity required to compete at the highest professional level of our sport.

Read more to learn about Thursday's matchups in Jeddah.

Arthur Fils vs. Dominic Stricker

Coming into Thursday’s match between Arthur Fils and Dominic Stricker, both players have had similar physical match profiles. They were both pushed in their first matches, with Physical Index ratings inline with their season averages, and saw those PI ratings drop in their second round match due to their dominating performances. Fils has an average Physicality Index of 7.4 and Stricker with an average rating of 7.0.

Fils has produced the most balanced and efficient physical output of any of the eight athletes in the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. He seems to be hitting his “stride” heading into the last round robin match. He was able to keep the points shorter in his second match which allowed for him to manage the amount of high speed distance he ran. When he had to make explosive movements out to the corners, he executed those movements with ease. This explosive movement showed in Basecamp, when Fils lit up the 5-0-5 test, having the fastest times to the right and left side.

Keys to Match
Distance does not both both players, as they typically have higher distance than their opponents, as these players look to hit their forehand more than any other player in the Next Gen ATP Finals. Fils is going to look to make this more of a physical match, looking to push the PI of Stricker above 7.5 with a lot of high speed distance. Stricker has had most of his success on tour when he has been the aggressor, looking to hit his forehand from the deuce court. If Stricker have a higher distance total than Fils, and keep the average rally length below 3.7, that would means he is doing more of the dictating with his forehand.

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Luca Cobolli vs. Luca Nardi

Luca Nardi and Flavio Cobolli both had similar match outcomes in their second match, but the intensities of the match were extremely different. Both players had a Physicality Index rating of 7 or greater in very highly competitive first round-robin matches. In their second-round matches, the PI dropped below a 6, making these two matches the least physical matches of the tournament so far. The biggest difference between both second round matches were the intensities at which the two players were moving. The score of Cobolli’s second round match did not reflect the intensity at which he moved. His workload, high speed distance, and explosive movements per minute jumped way above his season threshold, meaning he was being pushed in every point that was played.

Keys to the Match
Both players have similar styles of play, looking to use their speed to create offense and take time away from their opponents. Both players have shown that they can handle the volume and intensity of movement at the highest levels of the sport. The player with the highest PI with the least amount of distance covered.

Luca Van Assche vs. Alex Michelsen

Luca Van Assche was one point away from taking a commanding two-sets-to-one lead last night, which could have put him in a position to win his second round robin match last night. Going into the forth set, Hamad Medjedovic’s pace of play was starting to slow down. Meaning, he was covering less distance at a slower speed. The exact opposite was happening to Van Assche, he was maintaining his high physical thresholds going into the forth. Van Assche has proven he can handle the physicality of the ATP tour. Earlier this year, he recorded back to back matches against Stanilas Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic with Physicality ratings of over 9.2.

Alex Michelson ran into an opponent who came out firing on all cylinders last night. He was able to put Michelson into defensive positions, using the dropshot to make Michelson use his explosive movements and high speed distance to defend. Both of his opponents have been able to push Michelson to the top of his intensity metrics (high speed distance and explosive movements).

Keys to the Match
In both of their matches against Medjedovic, Van Assche and Michelson’s Physicality Index was pushed due to two times as much high-speed distance than their common opponent. This was largely due in part to the high speeds required to defend the speed and depth of Medjedovic’s shots. Whoever accumulates the least amount of high speed distance in this match should come out on top.

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Abdullah Shelbayh vs. Hamad Medjedovic

Hamad Medjedovic has shown amazing resilience bouncing back after his first round-robin match where he pushed the limits of his physicality, winning the match in a fifth set tie-break. In the final set he began to experience cramping but was able to limit the amount of movement by going for bigger shots down the stretch. A large percentage of the physicality in that match came from the sheer volume of play. Michelson was making Medjedovid play a lot of balls to win each rally. In his second round robin match, Medjedovic was forced to cover high amounts of distance per minute. He saw a 20% increase in the amount of distance he was forced to cover per minute in his second match.

The run to round robin match three for Abdullah Shelbayh has looked a little different. He was almost pushed to his career high physicality index rating of 8.8, recording a PI rating of 8.3 in his loss to Van Assche. The high PI rating in round 1 came from Shelbayh reaching a new career high in workload. Yesterday, in round 2, high level returning and more efficient play off the ground allowed Shelbayh to dominate his match against Michelson. This match he was not pushed physically as he was in control the entire match.

Keys to Match
Medjedovic is coming off two very long physical performances and will have to be ready to play one more match that will test his limits if he wants to get out of group play undefeated. Shelbayh must try and make this a physical match, even if this means him reaching a new high PI rating. A high PI rating for Shelbayh would mean he is staying in points longer and making Medjedovic play one to two extra shots. If Shelbayh can force Medjedovic into running a high amount of distance per minute early in the match, this might help fatigue him faster, pushing Medjedovic to his PI limits!

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