At the start of the year I said I wanted to see a player go for it and qualify for London for the first time. I put David Goffin in that bracket sadly for him he narrowly missed out but he did get his chance in London in a match of no-meaning as a alternate in the final match after Monfils’ withdrawal but no matter what he’d be leaving the competition. Now the Belgian has had a taster of London he will do everything to get back that in just under 12 months’ time but needs to improve two important aspects of his game to do this.
4th game in on serve you are finding your feet in the match but at this point you have to be at the races. I felt Goffin was slow and seemed to admire his shot like a golfer would especially off that backhand.
We see the still above going with that two-hander middle of the court, not pulling the angle cross court or down the line but playing it safe which opens up the court for Novak and the rest writes itself. The time for admiration and taking your foot off the gas is after the match not during it, otherwise you won’t challenge the best.
I struggle with the backhand of Goffin, it’s tense and rigid at times. As a right handed player that two hander could be a massive weapon, just look at Murray’s the variation off one shot is impeccable where as Goffin’s just seems to have that one setting of safe.
You can see him at times look uncomfortable on the backhand, look at the footwork, the right foot is planted and the left is dragging across the court. The yellow arrow shows where Goffin went with it and the red shows what Goffin is thinking Novak is going to do but he ties him up and goes back into the backhand hitting a clean winner with Goffin’s body commited to the cross court option.
Yes, but it’s about finding variation. Spoken about the backhand a lot but the second serve especially is quite predictable and nervous.
Novak’s on the move before he makes contact and with him looking down you might just glimpse him moving which can put you off doubting your serve and then hitting a double fault.
Body position and backhand I want to see improve. I like players who have that attitude of “I played a great shot then” but it mostly falls flat on it’s face and one point I will never forget is match point v Andy Murray in Davis Cup last year and it felt like Goffin believed it was a matter of time before he won the point and you could have picked three of four times he could have approached the net and end the point but decided against it and lost the point due to some outrageous defending from the current world number one.
I think top 10 is a possibility, now he has to do it a major. No better place than Australia, the conditions and court speed suit his game from the back of the court but needs to add variety and less predictability to his game.
Just a thought going back to the backhand I do think he could look to utilise a slice backhand more to keep himself in rallies and save himself from being pushed around the court. Once a rally finds momentum with Goffin it doesn’t feel like he is in control even when he is on the front foot, I’d like to see him maybe introduce a slice backhand more to change the rhythm of rallies and keep involved against the top players in the world.
Getting to London will be a priority but it will take a lot of hard work and maybe a couple of changes to do so.
Screenshots credit to SkySports