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Interactive Forum May 2022: Carlos Alcaraz Forehand

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  • Interactive Forum May 2022: Carlos Alcaraz Forehand

    Carlos Alcaraz Forehand

    Carlos Alcaraz has created a buzz on the tour with his clutch match play and especially his forehand. It’s straight arm. How close is that to the mythical Federer model? Does his slightly more extreme grip—in between Fed and Nadal--make a difference?

    Look at how long he hangs onto the racket in the turn. Look at his fabulous extension. I get a feeling of confidence from him watching his forehand. What are your thoughts?


  • #2
    From the side view, Alcaraz looks a lot like Del Potro to me. Andy Roddick said that nobody could hit through the court like Del Po, and I think you are seeing the same thing here. And it has to do with the extension as John mentioned. He really goes through the ball. This extension, combined with the incredible contact point in front due to the straight arm, is a killer combination. You can also see the Nadal influence with the reverse finishes. It's a hell of a stroke, and explains, to me at least, why he is able to achieve so much at such a young age.

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    • #3
      Since John has started this sticky thread, let me post some images and data that might be of interest here, and extend the content in this month's Tour Portrait. All photos are mine from this March's Indian Wells where Carlos made the semifinals vs Rafa.

      Carlos Alcaraz strokes & more

      It's understandable that there is so much interest in Carlos Alcaraz, given his immense talent and sudden emergence. Here are some photos that might provide some insight on his game.

      Here's a photo I shared earlier with a close up of his Western grip added. A six photo sequence around this stroke is at the Tour Portrait link - - along with several on his serve and backhand ( cont below)
      https://www.tennisplayer.net/members...arlos_alcaraz/

      filedata/fetch?id=97256&d=1651594613&type=thumb


      Much has been made about Carlos' very effective use of drop shots -- particularly on important points. This sequence shows Carlos hitting an inside-out forehand dropper. On this shot, he switched his grip while holding the racket with his off hand. On other occasions I "think' (given small image on TV) that he "chucked" his grip in one hand (as Rafa does). If anyone knows for sure, please share. If he changes his grip when holding on with his off hand, I would suspect that opponents would begin to read it. I have seen him hit a drive-slice forehand out of that position (very much like his idol Federer ! )

      The second image shows his drop shots' placement, through, I think the semifinals in his title run at the Miami Open. They're all high margin shots. That is, he doesn't drop to land them extremely short, and generally gives himself a lot of margin over the net.

      filedata/fetch?id=97252&d=1651594613&type=thumb

      filedata/fetch?id=97253&d=1651594613&type=thumb

      Next we see his groundstroke shot placement in Miami. Carlos' game is more about spreading the court than consistent depth -- at least on this fortnite.

      filedata/fetch?id=97255&d=1651594613&type=thumb

      Stef Tstisipas says Carlos hits the ball faster than anyone else he has played against. Here's one HawkEye-InfoSys stat to back that up -- 129 MPH at 3,782 RPM right on the line vs Berrettini at the Australian Open. {Again, there's some understandable skepticism about the highest MPH stats HawkEye is yielding, given zero independent verification, but the numbers are consistent across events and players so far).

      filedata/fetch?id=97254&d=1651594613&type=thumb
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      Last edited by jimlosaltos; 05-03-2022, 08:24 AM.

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      • #4

        Just For Fun.


        Here's Carlos Alcaraz's mini-me teamed with Rafa to take on Nick Kyrgios and his ego in doubles -- just for fun. In the style of @Phetru who caricatures soccer stars in this fashion. Can't take tennis all too seriously <g>. My composite of multiple photos I took at Indian Wells. Enjoy!

        filedata/fetch?id=97258&d=1651594907&type=thumb
        You do not have permission to view this gallery.
        This gallery has 1 photos.
        Last edited by jimlosaltos; 05-03-2022, 08:31 AM.

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        • #5
          Love the mini Carlos!!! Great image of the grip too. So cool how you do that.
          Last edited by jeffreycounts; 05-03-2022, 09:07 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jeffreycounts View Post
            Love the mini Carlos!!! Great image of the grip too. So cool how you do that.
            Thanks ! Appreciate it.

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            • #7
              Love this forehand! I know these threads are probably more interesting when Karen's forehand is discussed with lots of red flags, but it sure is nice to see such a beautiful and powerful weapon like this! I find it interesting that in his unit turn he holds on the racquet much longer than the usual separation of the hands of most forehands, and the consequence of that appears to be a much less prominent left arm stretch. Am I seeing that correctly?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
                Carlos Alcaraz Forehand

                Carlos Alcaraz has created a buzz on the tour with his clutch match play and especially his forehand. It’s straight arm. How close is that to the mythical Federer model? Does his slightly more extreme grip—in between Fed and Nadal--make a difference?

                Look at how long he hangs onto the racket in the turn. Look at his fabulous extension. I get a feeling of confidence from him watching his forehand. What are your thoughts?

                I agree so much John. His forehand appears to me to be some kind of hybrid between Rafa and Fed, who to me, and a lot of others, are the 2 best forhands ever. It is an absolute beauty of a forehand. His forehand, and Sinner's, definitely have my attention. And Jim, to me, he is has more of a semi western Rafa type grip structure, but no matter, his forehand is no doubt in gold standard category.

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                • #9
                  JTHB,
                  Yeah no full left arm stretch! But look at the full shoulder turn. Hanging onto the racket longer is probably what makes that happen!

                  Stroke,
                  After looking at Jim's close up think it is more of a Rafa Grip

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    JY,
                    That is beyond a full shoulder turn with the left hand still on the frame right? I would think many players could approach the danger of over rotation especially with the minimized left arm stretch, but you nailed it Alcaraz’s extension is perfect!
                    i hope none of my students see the left arm stretch from him and want to prove me wrong. All day long I say “turn…stretch (meaning the left arm)…extend. My wife might hear me say it in my sleep hahahaha!!
                    I think him holding on to the racquet longer reminds me of the way the technology word works. He’s created a more powerful processor than Nadal and Federer. In my opinion in his unit turn he holds on to that energy longer than they do optimizing maximum power and from my high school physics class torque. The future of mens tennis will be just fine without Roger, Rafa, and Novak.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Pulled these for you since they might be of interest given the discussion so far.

                      First, I'm interested in his drop shot both because of how effective it is and that Carlos uses it on big points, a rarity he shares with Medvedev and Kygrios. I wonder if top pros will be able to read this as they get familiar with his shot selection. Sort of like a pitcher going through a MLB roster a second time in a game.

                      You can see how much he changes his grip (compare with the 1st photo in the thread). Holding on so long with his left (off) might help because he can switch then, instead of chuck the grip later ala Rafa (although I'm not sure Carlos might do both).

                      filedata/fetch?id=97274&d=1651686661&type=thumb

                      Second, on the take back and rotation, here's a running forward forehand. Still gets core rotation even then. Wish I saw what his left was up to one, two steps earlier.

                      filedata/fetch?id=97273&d=1651686661&type=thumb#
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                      Last edited by jimlosaltos; 05-04-2022, 10:42 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Jim I have a feeling you’re right about not giving the dropper away because the left hand stays on the racquet much longer, and also his massive unit turn probably hides the grip change from his opponent. Also the massive turn is probably the reason why the lions share of his drop shots go down the line or inside out. But I’m betting the disguise comes naturally with his preparation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For what it's may be worth, it varies. Here are 3 screen caps from John's vid

                          First example: Off arm goes back (and tip points forward ala Jack Sock, Kokkinakis, Kyrgios etc)

                          filedata/fetch?id=97280&d=1651703109&type=thumb

                          Then on another forehand, he drops his off arm early, with the racket at his waist.

                          filedata/fetch?id=97281&d=1651703109&type=thumb

                          filedata/fetch?id=97282&d=1651703109&type=thumb

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                          Last edited by jimlosaltos; 05-04-2022, 03:19 PM.

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                          • #14
                            And rooting around through the dusty corners of my hard drive I couldn't find examples actually holding the racket on take back but these three all have bent arms. I created this trio to accompany a post about an article by the sorely-missed Tom Perrotta of WSJ on the "Top Spinners" in tennis in 2015, TK4, Sock and Rafa, all then averaging in the 3,300-3,400 range.

                            I believe Rafa experimented with this take back at Uncle Toni's insistence, then dropped it? Please feel free to correct my hazy memory.

                            filedata/fetch?id=97285&d=1651706193&type=thumb
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jimlosaltos View Post
                              And rooting around through the dusty corners of my hard drive I couldn't find examples actually holding the racket on take back but these three all have bent arms. I created this trio to accompany a post about an article by the sorely-missed Tom Perrotta of WSJ on the "Top Spinners" in tennis in 2015, TK4, Sock and Rafa, all then averaging in the 3,300-3,400 range.

                              I believe Rafa experimented with this take back at Uncle Toni's insistence, then dropped it? Please feel free to correct my hazy memory.

                              filedata/fetch?id=97285&d=1651706193&type=thumb
                              Interesting. I have never seen Rafa with this take back

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