I like watching unorthodox players approach tennis in a creative way. Dolgopolov was such a player. Was? Yes, because Dolgopolov retires.
The news of Dolgopolov’s retirement didn’t come as a surprise. His career has been plagued by injuries and when you watched him play with his rapid stroke mechanics and bent-back serve, you can perhaps understand why. It’s a shame because he was such an entertaining player to watch with a unique style and loads of talent to match. One measure of your impact on the game is when Roger Federer sends you praise on your Instagram account.
“Congratulations on a great career, thanks for all the fun times on the practice courts and team RF always loved watching you play but you know that. Take care, best regards and hopefully we see each other again. All the best for what’s to come Dog.”
As you can tell from the message, Dolgopolov’s nickname was the Dog, which he has aptly put all across his Nissan GTR with 2000 horsepower(!).
Dolgopolov’s Wrist Injury Forced Retirement
“I hope I was fun to watch,” Dolgopolov told ATPTour.com. “I never broke any tennis records, but I hope I played entertaining tennis for fans. My wrist injury happened in Australia three years ago after mis-hitting a return in practice. I felt pain, but nothing serious. I reached the Australian Open third round and returned to Europe, but I never realized that it would be career-ending. I’ve tried for a couple of years, had two surgeries and I still have pain.”
Dolgopolov’s wrist-y technique likely made him more susceptible to such an injury. Like Del Potro, they both used a lot of wrist movement in their shots.
Dolgopolov won three ATP Tour titles and reached his highest ranking of #13 in 2012.
What racquet and strings did Dolgopolov use?
Dolgopolov used a Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 95 Original under various paint jobs, likely customized to heavier specs. It was a relatively flexible racquet for a Pro Staff and had a notoriously small sweet spot. Not that it seemed to bother Dolgopolov.
He strung it with Luxilon Ace (I think he switched to 4G at the later stages of his career) and Wilson Natural Gut in the crosses at pretty high tensions (60 lbs / 30 kg).
A quite uncommon setup for a quite uncommon player. I will miss seeing Dolgopolov and his crafty game. What about you?