Sinner’s Height ‘Disadvantage’ On Grass Compared To Alcaraz Says Federer’s Ex-Coach

Paul Annacone coached some exemplary players in his time, including Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, and he talked about Jannik Sinner and what he can do to become an even better grass player.

Sinner holds a 12-8 record on the green surface, which doesn’t indicate some proficiency, but he’s a really good grass player, making the Wimbledon semi-final last year. Actually, his final two losses at Wimbledon were against Novak Djokovic, and beating him on grass is a challenging task for anyone.

The Italian beat Carlos Alcaraz two years ago, but the Spaniard seems to have overtaken him now, having beaten Djokovic in the final last year. So what does Sinner need to do to become better on grass and possibly overtake Alcaraz? Federer’s former coach spoke with the ATP about that.

“To me, even though the grass game has evolved, generally, the most effective grass-court players are the ones that are really good at first-strike tennis. He made a big improvement on second-serve success rate. His first-serve speeds and accuracy are up.”

Annacone on Sinner

“So I think when you look at those two things, and you look at his ability to return aggressively, and also first-strike tennis, power tennis, [playing] aggressively in return games… I think that’s going to be a catalyst to drive his success on the grass.”

The Italian is expected to have a really strong grass season beginning in Halle where he’ll play next. It will be his first event since he officially became world number one, a rank he’s expected to keep heading into Wimbledon as well.

“Even though he’s moving much, much better, he’s a tall, lanky guy. I actually think that’s one of the disadvantages, maybe, compared to a mover like Alcaraz who is lower to the ground. He’s much more powerful, he’ll probably move a little bit more nuanced and also subtly more balanced than Jannik will on a grass court, I think.”

“So based on that, you really have to be good off of the first strike. So when you look at [Sinner’s] improvements in the serve, in particular, that’s a huge bonus. He’s a terrific returner. So that’s standard and that is the status quo, but I think serve is going to pay huge dividends for him on the grass this year.”

 

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