Dolgopolov Slice Tactical Patterns:
Learning from a Modern Magician

Chris Lewit

Just changing pace with slice like Dolgopolov can draw errors—especially at lower levels.

Alexander Dolgopolov is the modern day Fabrice Santoro, who was affectionately known as "the magician" for his creative shot selection, particularly his use of slice. Dolgopolov probably hits more slice backhands and a greater variety of slice than any player in the game, including Roger Federer.

He has the same unpredictability and creative flair that Santoro had in his prime, along with the power and aggression required in the modern game--he's also extremely fun to watch.

Often times simply hitting change of pace slice backhands mixed with power drives is enough to induce errors from Dolgopolov's opponents. While watching Dolgopolov play, I've also observed three clear tactical patterns he favors.

These patterns apply across all ages and abilities and are something that club players in particular can implement. Many times recreational players don't have the power to blow their opponents off the court. Learning to play craftily with the slice can be an excellent addition to a club player's game, especially as they get older.

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Chris Lewit, former #1 for Cornell and Pro Circuit player, has coached numerous top 10 nationally ranked juniors and is a leading coach, educator, and author. He has written two best-selling books, The Secrets of Spanish Tennis and The Tennis Technique Bible.

Chris runs a popular high performance summer tennis camp in the beautiful mountains of Vermont and coaches players world-wide through his virtual school, CLTA Online (

Chris also produces a weekly high performance tennis video talk show and podcast, The Prodigy Maker Show, which is available on Apple Podcasts and all other podcasting directories. All shows can be accessed at

Check out Chris's blog, also at for free articles on high performance junior development and Spanish training. Learn about his camp at or visit the online academy at

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