backhand low ball

He is not Rafa and, yes, he is from Malaga

Davidovich, who is not Russian and is the first Spanish U21 tennis player in the round of 16 of a Grand Slam since 2008, the eternal comparison with Nadal does not do him justice

In order to closely follow the career of Alejandro Davidovich, of whom I have references since he was 4 years old and barely rose above the net of a track, two absurd stigmas are still associated with him. The first, the classic comment of “but is this boy from Malaga?”, Given his Slavic surnames and physiognomy. The son of Russians, he is curiously more ‘boquerón’ than other illustrious names in local culture and sports. Raised in La Cala del Moral, living in Fuengirola, he trains in Marbella (and sometimes Mijas) and has forged himself on the Costa del Sol, outside the two major national centers: Barcelona and Valencia-Alicante.

The second stigma may haunt him longer: “But Nadal in his year had already won Roland Garros and was world number two.” And it is that nobody comes out well off the comparison with the Balearic, who will surely not have an emulation in decades (or ever) in Spanish tennis and who is for many the best national athlete of all time. Establishing links is unfair not only because the sport of the racket has entered another era, in which young people take longer to make the jump, but also because of their almost antagonistic profiles. The man from Malaga is temperamental and brilliant, the man from Manacor stable and physically marvelous.

It would be better to stay with other conclusive details that place him next to the Murcian Carlos Alcaraz (17 years old, already in the ‘top 200’) as the two leaders called to relieve a generation that will disappear in at most five years. Davidovich is the first Spanish tennis player of the under-21 age to reach the last 16 in a Grand Slam since 2008 (yes, his precursor was Nadal). To date, it only has two other players on the ATP circuit with better ‘ranking’ having been born later (we are talking about the Canadian Auger-Alliasime, twentieth, and the Serbian Kecmanovic, 47th). This and the fact that he was crowned junior at Wimbledon speak volumes of his potential.

Because Davidovich’s career has only just begun. Whatever happens today in his first official duel against a ‘top ten’, the German AlexanderZverev (not before 6.30 pm, live on Eurosport), has already obtained honors. Spending three rounds on his debut at a US Open in such an atypical season speaks wonders for his team, with Jorge Aguirre at the helm and the work of his longtime psychologist, Antonio de Dios. There are many who think that Davidovich does not lack tennis to continue growing, that his greatest must are his gaps in concentration when he becomes obfuscated in the development of matches. His performance against Novak, Hurkacz, and Norrie in New York speaks a lot, and well, of those who advise him and of how much he has improved in this facet, and it cannot be casual either in his improvement in those two weeks of training in Marbella as’ sparring ‘from number one, Novak Djokovic.

Technically, Davidovich is not a great server, nor does his height allow him to extract great advantages from the serve. It does not, therefore, have as many free points on fast surfaces as dozens of rivals, but it has other virtues. He masters all kinds of blows changes the rhythm of the balls very well, and his insistence on the left-handed, which he combines with precise balloons, gives him many returns. El rinconero is a tennis player that pleases to see. He always gives a show and is daring, as in his use of low serve (which is more than in the ATP Tour), with which a set ball was played against Hurcakz or that he applied in the pressure cooker of Rio de Janeiro against the local Seyboth Wild. In addition, his mobility on the court had allowed him to stand out preferably on the ground, but his coach is convinced that maturity in his game will end up making him very dangerous on the fast track, in a normal evolution very in line with the current type of Spanish player. far from that earthling prototype of yesteryear.

With his victory against Norrie (he has three consecutive against opponents with a higher ranking), Davidovich is provisionally ranked 69th in the world, pending further updates. There is the paradox that his season was not being good until this tournament, with the logical explanation that it was his first year as the ‘top 100’ and playing his entire calendar on the ATP Tour, not in the Challengers. Monday started as the 99th, its lowest point in 2020, but it has already surpassed not only its top (82nd), but that of any other Malaga in the ‘open era’ (Emilio Álvarez was 81st in June 1997). Davidovich joins the athlete Ouassim Oumaiz (yes, he’s also from Malaga) and the paddle tennis player Bea González.Three golden talents each in their disciplines and from the same generation. Without detracting from the latter, the first two shine amid enormous global competition. Three names that will give many joys to the local sport.

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