Fabio Fognini – The Artist is another analysis piece by our guest contributor Evan Gaudreau. Not too serious, a bit like Fabio himself.
If you want to use the racquet Fabio Fognini endorses, check out the latest Babolat Pure Drive at Tennis Warehouse.
Fognini – the artist
Where Djokovic and Nadal,and Medvedev are Brains in a more “robotic” way, Fognini is an artist. There are a few of them out there like Kyrgios, Paire…in a way I’d put Federer in that category too, but he’s won majors. Fed gets exiled because winning Majors comes at a cost. Artists don’t have to win Majors if they don’t want to. That’s where the coaches and players don’t get it.
You see! The art they create is so good, it’s beyond reproach. At least for people who can SEE it!
Fognini is someone I would have liked to hang with in youth. If you hang out with an artist, you won’t be disappointed. They are a lot of fun. But they keep that to themselves. They show it only to those they are close to. To the outside world, they seem reckless.
Here’s the thing. Artists don’t want to be robots. That’s one thing that makes them unique. The other is their conviction to stay true to themselves and not sell out. They could work more middle combos and play to “WIN,” but that would detract from the ART. The only negative to Artists is not their own. It’s others people’s expectations or jealousy that wreaks out from the other players on tour.
Safin! I forgot Safin! Another Artist. Nothing is random in what they do. And after the first game, I’m getting excited. I’ve never broken down an artist before, and in the first game, I’m laughing at the patterns Fognini is playing.
Breaking down the match vs Andujar
In the first game, during the first 6 points, There were three dumper points, a missed return (Andujar is serving first), and two double faults. Pablo probably missed the 2nd shot because of the two doubles in a row he threw in there, previous to that point. But, the three points played were all different combos by Fognini. He did a 1,2,3 to one side, then a 4,5,6 to the other on point 2. On point 3, he returned middle, went to the left edge of the Ad side, and hit an unforced backhand down the line to the other side. And then at 30-40, it was just a quick 1,2.
What I’m looking for is how Fognini breaks serve. On the first breakpoint, he is positioning Andujar for his backhand down the line. The point was a 1,2 to the Ad corner, a 3 to the middle (FH side), Two more back to the Ad, and then he went for the backhand down the line and missed it in the net. The point goes back to deuce and he unloads my favorite combos on him. 1,2 to the Ad corner, shoots #3 to the opposite corner, and 4,5,6 back to the backhand corner. He will also use the sideline more than most players to stretch the combo. And to break.
Return to the center,
2,3 over to the Ad side,
4 over to the deuce side,
5,6, over to the Ad,
7 backhand down the line.
8 easy forehand winner inside out.
Fact: Artists can be lonely people. At times, they’d rather be alone than hang with “Grown Ups”, meaning people who don’t know how to have fun.
“Hut Hmmm. Andy Murray.”
I didn’t say that.
One of my daughters got a hold of the computer keypad.
The next game can cause a “normal” coach to go bonkers. Up 40-15 and throw in two first ball errors to the Deuce side. Maybe a bit too aggressive. But don’t question the Artist. He still won the game. BTW. What kind of a beast racket is Andujar using. It looks like a 110 sq inch head. Jonas?? (It’s an old Prince pro stock with o-ports, see my post on Andujar’s racquets)
Also, Is there a way we can shave ten years off Fognini’s age? Put him back in his early 20s. Elon?
Question: Can Elon Musk play tennis?
Answer: Probably not. I picture him running around the court like a lumberjack, tripping over his feet.
Fabio used another stretch combo to the Ad corner. As he set up the combo, he used ball 4 to put Andujar in the corner and ball 5, landing it halfway up the sideline, to pull him wider off the court. These are the points to look for because it opens up Fognini’s backhand down the line.
What you don’t realize at home, or on the tennis court with your academy coach, or period, is that to move the ball around the court, requires an understanding of the contact point. Because each location requires a slightly different contact point, which in turn means you have to stay on top of what you’re doing with the ball. Fognini is just as much a genius as the top guys. That is why they are jealous of him. He knows that. Zzzzzzz. Wake up!
Let me try to make this CLEAR. Inconsistency comes from the contact point and not the swing. It’s not what your swing looks like or how you finish. It’s what you do at the contact point. This is what keeps players hovering at 10-12 UTR. They don’t get it!! Because their coaches DON’T either. Their chasing Unicorns. “Who’s the grown-up now?”
So, if there’s one thing to take away from this piece is that the contact point is more important than the swing (especially if you’re already at a 7-8 UTR).
Artists are easily distracted
Here’s the other thing about Artist’s that people don’t understand. We get distracted by the smallest things. Fognini could be playing good tennis and then all of a sudden get a whiff from the food court or someone’s hot dog and his mind shifts from tennis to the food. Then he has to snap his mind back to the match.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure if you can truly understand. But I’m trying to help. He should be at 5-0, instead, he’s at 3-2.
Which is fine. Andujar looks as if he’s playing with a big Goof racket that you see at the tennis clubs that’s the size of a person. If you have one of those, that’s not cool. Go put it in someone’s yard and walk away. Just walk away! Oh yeah! Artists are very sensitive in some ways.
For instance, feet are an issue. We like to be in control, and when something as silly as a slide on the court happens while we’re going to hit the ball, it can cause all kinds of frustration in the head.
At 3-1, Fognini lost his way on the road. Was it the smells in the air? The shoes slipping? The strings? That’s what he’s thinking about. Or even thinking about being back home with the FAM. At this point, I’m not going to lie. I lost some of my excitement for the match. He should be wiping this guy out. I’m starting to get frustrated. But, again. That’s part of the fun.
Who cares what I think? Or the Fans? Right? Ahh! Not really. The fun part is waiting to see if he wants to get back into the match.
Andujar was ready to go early. It’s almost as if Fognini’s fighting himself. Should I win the match or should I lose it? DO I care or not? Deep down, I think about his childhood. Like I told you before, artists can be loners and that’s what makes them artists. A blessing and a curse. Everything we do in adulthood stems from childhood. When Fognini’s playing, I think there’s something way back in his life that holds him back, mentally. But I wouldn’t want him to change. This is part of the mystique.
I, myself, drifted during this match, mentally. I got a little triggered that Fogna was losing. Weird thought. I wonder if he has OCD. I don’t care about now. I mean in childhood. I wonder what kind of things he did that HAD to be done a certain way.
I’m back into the match. He won the second set.
I’m hoping for a Blitzkrieg this set. The first two games were quick. 1-1 But I’m feeling anxious. I want to know how the set turns out. Right now! Wait for it. Wait for it. I’m waiting for a certain shot. It didn’t happen yet.
2-1 Andujar. One good point so far. A pattern from the first set.
2 and 3 to the backhand side,
4 over to the deuce side,
A 5,6,7 inside combo to the Ad side and Fognini finishes with an inside-out backhand winner.
But that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a forehand crush. A laser beam.
A couple of forehands smokes that game. One missed at 40-0 and one made the next point for the game. One fantastic point on #2. A six-ball combo that finished with a forehand dropper. Classic! Another fact. Babolat rackets are the best for droppers.
Fogna plays like it’s an exhibition
Fognini is fun to watch in a sense like watching a big server get out of a 15-40 with a couple of aces. Fognini lingers in return games by hitting two ridiculous shots at 40-15 to get back to deuce (not today, but it happens a lot. Which is why it is fun to watch him play). 3-2 Fognini.
I can’t imagine what’s going through Andujar’s head at this point. Nothing going on next two games. 4-3 Fognini. Looking for rockets here during next few games.
First point Fognini looks like he’s playing an exhibition match. Haha. Cool as a cucumber, casually dropping the ball over the net. Two missed returns, lost point and a casually forehand winner down the line. I’m happy now. He’s going to win. I hate to say it, but I’m also happy Andujar’s energy dipped. He’s pissed. Oh! The temptation. 5-3 and wanting to hit a smoke for breakpoint. A one-shot wonder. He didn’t do it. But that’s the kind of stuff that goes through my head when he plays. Do it! Go for the smoke! And then laugh when he does.
Look. I’m just as frustrated watching his rollercoaster matches. I never feel emotions like this when I watch someone else. I get angry for bad points. Not at Fognini. Just in general. I get excited when he hits ridiculous shots when he’s in bad court position or when he’s down 15-40 and hits two smokes to get back to deuce. I feel so many different things when he plays.
And I think young Fogna and young Evan could have raised some hell together. More like messing with people. A thought popped in my head and made me laugh. I thought about traveling with Fognini and playing pranks on the other players on tour in the players’ lounges just to pass the time.
Don’t judge – enjoy!
HEY! I’m back from my dream. Dude! Listen! Don’t judge the artist! Appreciate that without Fognini, Kyrgios and Paire, tennis would be boring to watch. I don’t want to watch robots all the time, but I appreciate them too, and the players grinding it out. Judge not, that ye be not judged.