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Welcome to the world of Basilashvili
If you tuned in for Indian Wells just a few weeks back, you’d have noticed that some unusual names made it deep into the tournament. Basilashvili is probably the most unlikely of them all, making it all the way to the final. Ultimately, he lost out to Britain’s Cameron Norrie. But regardless, the tennis he was playing was borderline ridiculous. En route to the finals, he dispatched Tsitsipas, Khachanov, and Fritz – all top-level players.
However, the guy has not put in a streak like that for months, or even years! The reason for that is because his game is amazingly hit and miss. If you watched him at Indian Wells, you’d have seen that he absolutely grills every single shot he gets. It’s a high-risk, high-reward type of game, and when it pays off, it is almost unplayable.
But how has he suddenly started beating these guys, and why was he so successful at Indian Wells?
Why is he so dangerous on his day?
There’s a common term in tennis to describe those who try to take the fur off the ball with every shot they hit. This term would be ‘teeing-off’, and nobody embodies this more than Basilashvili, trust me! He absolutely smokes the ball from both wings, and here’s why he is capable of beating the world’s best on his day:
Strong on the run
I’ve watched this guy for many years now, and in my opinion, this is one of his most underrated areas. Especially at Indian Wells, he was getting nudged all over the court by guys like Fritz and Tsitsipas, yet he always found some fire while on the run. Sure, he prefers to control the point by being the first to strike a heavy ball, but his agility and strength on the run are actually quite impressive.
With that said, there are times where he gets a rush of blood and smokes the ball clean out the back – but hey, he’s a high-risk player.
His serve isn’t absolutely enormous, but it is big enough to get plenty of cheap points. In fact, on multiple occasions in Indian Wells, he cranked it up into the 130mph+ region. I noticed that he is able to hit his spots with his serve too. This makes up for the fact that his serve isn’t as large as other guys like Isner or Opelka, for example. Of course, he then follows up that serve with a huge forehand on most occasions.
Willing to take a risk
Not only is he willing to take a risk – he lives for it! There are many aggressive players on the ATP Tour. Think of guys like Thiem, Zverev, Rublev, and plenty of others. But compared to those other guys, Basilashvili is certainly more willing to pull the trigger at random times. He likes to slap the ball while on the run, paint the lines from the centre of the court, and just generally goes big or goes home – as proven by his rollercoaster results!