| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of USTA/Darren Carroll


Most high level players go into a match with a strategy.

Sometimes it’s based on their own game and what they know has worked in the past. Other times it is designed based on the type of player they will be facing.

There are also strategies used that apply to both of these. Even with all of the great preparation and planning a player and a coach put together, there are times when things do not go as expected. It is important for a player to pay attention to what is going on during the match and to make adjustments accordingly.

This was exhibited by both players in the 2019 US Open Men’s Singles Final. Daniil Medvedev made the first adjustment after barely losing the first two sets by becoming more aggressive. He served and returned more aggressively, moved closer in during the points and came into net often (60 plus times in the match). Rafael Nadal countered this with more aggressiveness on his side of the net, including groundstrokes hit with more speed, spin and angle, and also some serve and volley points and movement towards the net as the point progressed.

This resulted in some amazing exchanges on both sides and enabled Medvedev to come back and even lead in the fifth set before Nadal finally broke him twice. However, Medvedev kept the pressure on and played even more aggressively to bring it to 4-5 in the fifth.

The strategy adjustments that both players made resulted in one of the best matches ever played and allowed each of them to showcase their grit and determination right to the final strike of the ball. 


Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com