Did you watch the match between Medvedev and Cilic yesterday? Cilic was spectacular while Medvedev kept looking at his racquet. Why?
Medvedev kept looking at his racquet because he felt he couldn’t generate enough pace on the ball to trouble Cilic. The conditions were cold and slow, meaning that you need to string at a lower tension to open up a bit more free depth and power from the string bed. Pro players can get their racquets re-strung during a match, but it takes around 20 minutes, and that’s just one racquet. Maybe that racquet needs to go down even more in tension?
Anyway, we shouldn’t blame Medvedev’s racquet for his loss because Marin Cilic was spectacular from start to finish. Cilic said afterward that it was one of the best matches of his career. He took charge of the points and dominated with a strong serve and forehand. You can look at the stats and see how many backhands he hit for a five-set match – not that many. It was all about taking charge and striking first. This is Cilic at his best.
Medvedev on clay
Medvedev is a counter-puncher and world-class strategist on the tennis court. But on clay courts you need to attack the ball and generate pace yourself. This is not natural to him as he relies a lot on redirecting his opponent’s pace. Obviously, as a grand slam champion he can generate pace on the ball, but not with as much weight and spin as some other players.
If we compare him to Novak, who plays a similar style, it’s clear that Djokovic can generate more with his forehand on a “dead ball”. This ability to strike first with pace and spin is essential on clay courts, especially in slower conditions. Cilic did it well while Medvedev kept looking at his racquet.
Tsitsipas and his strings?
Tsitsipas actually did the same yesterday in his fairly straightforward loss to Rune. Complaining about tennis equipment during a loss is nothing new, but it’s clear that Tsitsipas has been a little bit uncertain about his string setup especially in recent times.
Tsitsipas was back to a natural gut/4G hybrid setup in the French Open. He is not a hundred percent comfortable using gut instead of a full bed of 4G (that creates a very stiff but consistent string bed). Maybe he should try a poly/poly hybrid instead? 4G and Element? 4G and Alu Power Vibe? The options are endless.
Do you blame the racquet when you play badly? I do :)