Coach Evan Gaudreau is back with an analysis of the Indian Wells 2023 Final Alcaraz vs. Medvedev. As always, his writing is very personal…
Indian Wells 2023 Final Alcaraz Vs Medvedev
Ps. You can check out more of Evan’s pieces here. Ds.
How have you been?
What have you been up to?
Have you seen any good bands lately?
Do you read?
What was the last book you read?
You don’t read?
What have I been up to?
TBO, I haven’t watched too many matches since the Australian open.
I’ve been super busy.
Working, writing, and finalizing a Divorce.
**A word to the wise. Do your background checks before you get married. If you don’t have the same core values, walk away.
It will not end well!
And if kids are involved,
You iz F%$#ed!
How to use court space
Although I haven’t been watching matches, I’ve been thinking a lot about the court space and how players use it.
Where do players PARK their rallies?
Medvedev, for instance, uses the “Sandman” strategy and PARKS IT in Box 3.
And it has worked well to this point.
Players are onto it (the top players. The “lower” ranked players focus more on establishing a mixture of Zone tennis with (+1s).
And they’re more concerned with their side of the court (regardless of what the other player is doing).
Why is that?
I don’t have a frickin clue.
And right off the bat, the Box 3 pattern and the “Tights” (The distance of a two-box area. Basically, half the court) are not working against Alcaraz.
Why would it?
If Alcaraz read the back of the Fruit Loops box, he would know that you must Blow Up his Box 3 clusters when you play Medvedev.
How to beat Medvedev
I said it once, and I’ll say it again, “If you want to know how to exploit Daniil, watch how Cilic dismantled him at last year’s French Open! You can use the same type of plan on the hard courts.”
Two main things.
Stretch the court using the angles,
And work out of controlling the baseline rallies out of Box 3.
And use drop shots.
*Did you know the Babolat racket has the best drop shots?
I can almost get the ball back on my side at will. It literally “sucks” the ground. Head rackets, however, are too soft, and the dropper will continue to move toward the service line.
The New Head Gravity is an exception.
In the 3rd game of the set, Alcaraz serve; at 15-0, Carlos throws in the “T” serve and the (+1) dropper back to the Ad sideline. We will probably see a lot of that.
*The tight patterns got Med broken because Carlos wouldn’t hang around.
Carlos is using his “Spread” formation.
Serve “wides” and create space.
Here’s the trick.
And this is what many players (tour, futures, college, etc.) aren’t getting.
How to utilize space
And keep your opponent “stretched.”
**Because (+1 winners have LOW value. In the long run.**
Alcaraz uses the middle of the court with his (+1).
Because he’s focusing on a “certain” SPACE.
He’ll get his winners.
But sometimes, you must “keep the point” going to “play” with your opponent like a cat with a mouse.
Listen to this from the book, “The Alignment Problem.”
-“An agent motivated purely by intrinsic rewards, One that cares nothing about the SCORE (Winning), plays the game not to SCORE on the opponent, but rather to deliberately extend rallies as long as possible.”
Does this remind you of another player?
Maybe one who holds the slam record!
What did you say?
Alcaraz is picking up on the usage of the middle of the court (I’d like to say that Jonas and I’s podcast has “awakened” people).
*Side note. And worth the watch. Check out Space Ice on youtube and his breakdown of Steven Seagal movies. They are eye-watering.
To Danill’s defense, it’s pretty frickin windy.
So, I get the whole Box 3, tight strategy.
But in game 4, he “opens” up his patterns and sneaks out a Deuce game.
**I’ve never seen more wrinkles in the stands than at Indian Wells. The Average age must be 90, or there’s a lot of Botox.
Pay attention to game 5.
There’s some Gold there for Medvedev.
At 30-0, he triples up the Deuce side.
That’s a diversion, not a game plan.
Diversions are “sprinkles” to be used once in a while or when necessary (after you’ve established your “base” strategy).
At 40-0, Med plays a 1, 2, 3.
1) Serve to ally
2) (+1) to the middle of the court
3) Inside-out winner to Ad side (The wind was blowing to that corner)
*Using the serve as part of the manipulation of threes*
Why didn’t he play more points like this?
What should Medvedev have done?
Last spring, I did a video in the wind (and was getting pissed off). I just wanted a “clean” hit. I was planning on throwing the video out. After I watched the video on my phone, I realized people watching couldn’t tell how frustrating it was to do.
It looked fine.
I wanted to explode during the taking of the vid.
Wind tennis does funny things to the mind.
And don’t judge the players dealing with it.
*Alcaraz did a good job of changing his baseline court position. A lot of that had to do with the wind.
If the winds on your back, play forward on the baseline.
If it’s in your face, you can play forward also or give yourself more time.
That’s up to you and whom you are playing.
The gist of this piece was that Alcaraz came prepared to hit winners (or aggressive shots) out of Box 3 and show Med, “Not today, Buddy.”
What should Med have done?
You tell me!