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When They Go Low, We Go High

When They Go Low, We Go High image

When Michelle Obama came up with her now famous phrase about the political arena, she had no idea that it pertained to tennis. Read on to find out how ...

We have all gone up against those players who are better than we are at hitting hard and pretty flat through the court. Felix Auger-Aliassime came up against this same dilemna when he was being outhit by Kei Nishikori in a 3rd round match at the Barcelona Open on 4/25/19. Nishikori led by 6-1, 3-1 and appeared to be cruising to victory.

Serving with this lead, Nishikori was suddenly confronted with a new tactic from A-A. He began to play high deep topspin shots taking Nishikori out of his comfort zone both in terms of timing and court position. In order to handle these shots, Nishikori often retreated far behind the baseline. From this weakened position, he could no longer control the court. The difference was huge. A-A generated his first 3 break points of the match only to miss a couple of short forehands just when it was time to close the deal. 

Lindsay Davenport, who was commentating the match said: "His [A-A's] point construction is so much better."

Although A-A narrowed the gap to 3-4, he was unable to hold and went on to lose by 6-1, 6-3. Surprisingly (to me!), he abandoned the high ball tactic and went back to playing his losing game - hitting hard and low. The high balls were giving him opportunities, i.e. short forehands to attack. He should have stuck with the program.

Remember, When They Go Low, We Go High!

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