Brain Game Tennis Blog

Learn tennis strategy, read analysis of pro matches, and more from the Brain Game Tennis blog. All posts are written by ATP tennis strategy coach & analyst, Craig O'Shannessy.

G’day From Paris, You see something different when you watch something many times instead of just once or twice. You see the same thing happening again & again & again. You learn more. You appreciate the subtleties and nuances that you never really picked up on before. The last week I have been putting some
G’day from Roma, You can break down what happens in a tennis match into four simple categories. Serving Returning Rallying Approaching Different players are going to employ different strategies, but in general, you are going to find minor variations in the patterns of play because players know what works and what doesn’t from playing hundreds
G’day, Carlos Alcaraz rose to a career-high ranking of No. 6 in the world courtesy of winning the Madrid Masters 1000 last week. What makes this 19-year-old so special? What does he do a little bit differently than other players? Here’s one thing that stood out to me, and I bet it will help with
G’day from Roma, This match was an old-fashioned tennis brawl – with the partisan Italian crowd right in the middle of it! Denis Shapovalov defeated Lorenzo Sonego 7-5(5), 3-6, 6-3 in an emotionally charged encounter on Grandstand here in Rome yesterday. I have worked with the Italian Federation for several years and was courtside (front
G’day Watching two Rafa’s spank forehands instead of one is simply mesmerizing! Stromotion and Simulcam are two very cool tools in the Dartfish suite that I don’t typically use a lot. But these videos of Rafael Nadal practicing in Rome in 2021 seemed like a good idea! The Simulcam tool puts two Rafa’s on the
G’day, We are in the age of the ultra-deep returner, thanks to Rafael Nadal. Rafa started the revolution of standing wayyyy back near the back fence to return, and now other players such as Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud, and more are following suit. What’s the benefit? Glad you asked! The end-game for Rafa to stand
G’day, In the first three and a half months of 2022, Novak Djokovic played just three matches. Dubai def. Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 Dubai def. Karen Khachanov 6-3, 7-6(2) Dubai lost to Jiri Vesely 6-4, 7-6(4) Last week in Monte Carlo, he played another one:     4. Monte Carlo lost to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
G’day, Daniil Medvedev was forced to miss the 2022 Rolex Monte Carlo Masters after having an operation to fix a small hernia. Get well Daniil! I was fortunate enough to get down low courtside and watch him practice back in 2019. His groundstroke technique is certainly unique! Enjoy the forehand breakdown below – in 10
G’day, I was sitting courtside in Miami last week watching Andy Murray battle Daniil Medvedev. Sitting next to me was Tim Henman. Our discussion initially focused on Andy’s resurgence and how he is feeling better and better on court. Medvedev won the match 6-4, 6-2, pulling away from Andy after an even start to the match.
G’day, As a preview to the 2022 Miami Open final between Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud, I want to share the first time I saw Carlos Alcaraz play live. DATE: August 24, 2021 LOCATION: Wake Forest University EVENT: ATP250 Winston-Salem Open, North Carolina It’s a warm, sticky evening on the campus of Wake Forest University.
G’day, Most first serves in tennis go at the corners chasing aces and return errors. And then there is 18-year-old Spanish sensation, Carlos Alcaraz. The body server. Alcaraz is lighting the tennis world on fire in Miami this week with a breathtaking display of power tennis that now has him in the quarter-finals against 22-year-old
G’day, Nick Kyrgios has got his mojo back. The 26-year-old Aussie is through to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open and will face 20-year-old Italian, Jannik Sinner, tomorrow for a spot in the quarters. I was courtside for Kyrgios’ 6-3, 6-0 2nd Rd victory over Andrey Rublev and took some notes and pictures
Rafael Nadal def. Nick Kyrgios 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-4 Where you return serve and where you rally are the not same locations. The 2022 Indian Wells quarter-final between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios offers a prime example of the different targets players have when returning a serve or developing a rally. Return Of Serve Players generally
Rafael’s 2022 Renaissance. The 35-year-old Spaniard has: won his first 15 matches in a row to start 2022. That’s the best start to a season ever for the Spaniard. won 13 sets in a row. won the last 11 finals in a row he has competed in. moved up one spot in the ATP Rankings
Droppers. S&V. Run-arounds. Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the ATP500 Acapulco Open on Friday night. The scoreboard looks fairly routine. It was far from it. The first thing to understand is that Nadal converted 3/6 break points, while Medvedev went… wait for it… 0/11. 0 for California. 0 for
DUBAI: Jiri Vesely def. Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6(4) It was a stunning result. Vesely storms through qualifying to defeat Marin Cilic, Roberto Bautista Agut, and then… Novak Djokovic. How did he do it? Here are seven specific areas of the match that stood out to me analyzing the match video and the match statistics. 1:
G’day! I think most of us are still scratching our heads trying to figure out how Rafael Nadal staged such a brilliant comeback in the 2022 Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev. I was fortunate enough to be at the match and tweeted throughout it. A couple of days ago, I started re-reading the tweets

The Numbers: Nadal v Medvedev

Rafael Nadal v Daniil Medvedev in the 2022 Australian Open Final. Six matches down. One to go. Who do you think is going to win the Aussie Open final? It’s time to look back at the six matches both players have played to figure out where the strengths are and where the opponent will likely
G’day From Melbourne. Ash Barty plays a different sport. It looks like tennis, it smells like tennis, but the stats sheet simply doesn’t add up. Can’t be tennis. Case in point. Take a look at the forehand and backhand winners table below from the four players who competed in the semi-finals of the 2022 Australian
My opinion regarding coaching in matches has changed 180 degrees over the past few years. I used to want players to have no in-match coaching. It’s how it has always been. Tradition. One-on-one.  Not anymore.  The reality of competition is that tennis coaches are already helping players A LOT with their emotional support by clapping, showing