Dave Sammel on Fernando Verdasco

Dave Sammel on Fernando Verdasco

Ever wondered why Fernando Verdasco has broken into the top 10 this year, see what our expert has to say on the matter

Fernando Verdasco has drastically leapt up the rankings of late and with a 2009 career-best 12-3 match record, the world No.9 is drawing a lot of attention

In January, Fernando reached his first ATP World Tour final in Brisbane, followed by his first Grand Slam semi-final in Melbourne with back-to-back wins over world No.4 Andy Murray and No.6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, eventually losing to Rafael Nadal in an epic five-set classic.

As a result the 25 year-old reached the top 10 for the first time in February and we wanted to find out from a coaching expert what makes Verdasco so dangerous and what perhaps helped inject that little bit extra into his game.

We therefore called upon MCTA Managing Director and tennishead Coaching Editor Dave Sammel to give us his low-down on the Spaniard.

Sammel on Nandos weapons
What makes Fernando Verdasco so dangerous? His number one weapon is his forehand. He has power and speed of arm but the difference between him and others is his ability to change direction seemingly just before contact.

He plays the line forehand a little more often than most which before was a weakness because he tended to do it when he felt pressure and just wanted to finish the point so it was more hopeful than a committed shot.

On Davis Cup
Rafael Nadal withdrawing from the Davis Cup final was a blessing for Fernando. He won the big one and was the hero of his country and this sparked both confidence and an increased desire to get better.

On fitness
He put in a tough off-season with Andre Agassis trainer Gil Reyes who now helps adidas players so for the first time he is really fit and a lot stronger. This has helped him mentally as he no longer feels the need to finish points as quickly.

On Nandos forehand down the line
Verdascos forehand down the line is devastating as it is now struck with commitment and his forehand crosscourt is world class also. Rallying crosscourt with Verdasco is similar to a game of chess as players are consistently worried about the line ball turning the match into a much more mental battle than a physical one.

On his backhand
His backhand is more solid than before and his serve has improved, although his second serve still has a way to go and is a vulnerable area.

On his mental strength
His mental strength is the biggest difference since he gained that extra layer of belief from Davis Cup and then built on it by doing the hard yards.

In conclusion
The question now is will he sustain his challenge and keep on a mission to join the elite, the

Posted by: tennishead magazine

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