| By Steve Annacone
Photo Credit: Rhea Nall/USTA


Watching Carlos Alcaraz play continues to amaze me. He can basically do everything and has a huge selection of shots to choose from.

Jim Courier stated that Alcaraz is very unpredictable and doesn't always stick to the idea of playing the same way he normally does, especially in the crucial situations. I agree with this to a degree, but I have to say that Alcaraz actually does use many of the same shots and strategies when it gets close. Often, he relies on his drop shot and throws in a serve and volley at a crucial point in the match. He also does this throughout the match. Not many players have the skill and confidence to execute these things when it gets close.

My advice is to use the shots and the strategy that helped you get to the crucial stage of the match. Don't do something totally foreign to try to fool your opponent. It is always better to stick with your best shots and most successful strategy, even if the opponent knows you will do this. A good shot or a well executed strategy will be much more effective when things are tight, even if the opponent is expecting it.

Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer have proven over and over again that "sticking with what got you there" is the recipe for success when it comes to playing well at crunch time. The results of good execution usually outweigh the benefits of surprising your opponent in a close match.




Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY.  In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com