It's time for the next installment in my series. For those who don't know. This is where I pick an active player, who's playing style I find interesting and create a dream match scenario. Complete with court surface, strategy, and my reason behind why I'd want to have a match with them.
#9 Nicolas Almagro
Coming in ninth on my list is Nicolas Almagro. A fantastic athlete. Who's versatile playing style and aggressive ball striking, makes him a threat on any surface. He's known for having a monster forehand, which he hits very accurately. His backhand is great as well. Almagro, is a tall order. Even for the best players in the world.
My playing style is relatively similar to Almagro's. I'm an aggressive baseliner and I like controlling points from the center of the baseline and getting to the net. The biggest difference in our games (aside from obvious playing level abilities) is that I use a two handed backhand.
How would I play him?
Almagro's, game is extremely well rounded. His best weapon may be his forehand but his biggest weakness would probably be his movement. Though getting him on the run isn't easy. Almagro, is a great shot maker. He can dictate play, very well from the center of the baseline. One option when playing someone like that is to serve out wide. But I have a tactic which might work even better. When I'm in a backhand to backhand exchange and I'm looking to go on the offense, I like to step inside the baseline and hit a sharply angled short ball to my opponents backhand.
This pulls them off the court and gives me quite a few options, if I'm able to get to their next shot in time. Another thing I've noticed about Almagro, is that he tends to slice the ball when his opponent, goes to hard to his backhand. This is not at all uncommon, since the slice is usually a safe shot which can be used to reset the pace of the rally. The downside to slice is that it has under-spin on it which gives it the tendency to land short. Short balls are attack-able. So hitting hard to his backhand may pay dividends throughout the match.
What surface would I play him on?
Hard courts. Clay would be nightmare because Almagro would be able to set up for everything and blast the ball away, all day long. I'd rather play him on something which has some speed. Sure the rallies would be shorter but with a match between two aggressive baseliners, you'd expect them to be short right?:)
Stay tuned for part three, which is coming up soon.