Carlos Alcaraz - Australian Open 2022

Carlos Alcaraz reveals what doesn’t work against Nadal and Djokovic

Carlos Alcaraz has revealed that his beloved drop shot does not have the same effect against Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, compared to other players on the tour.

“It’s very difficult to defeat Rafa with a drop shot or Djokovic because they see that I’m going to hit that shot,” said Alcaraz. “They see it before I hit the ball and they run a lot before so they always reach the ball and are very good at making counter-shots to win the point.”

Carlos Alcaraz head-to-head vs Djokovic and Nadal

Despite Alcaraz claiming that his drop shot is not as effective against two of ‘the big three’, he has had success against them both.

Alcaraz vs Djokovic (1-0)

2022 – Alcaraz beat Djokovic, 6(5)-7 7-5 7-6(5) (ATP 1000 – Madrid)

Alcaraz vs Nadal (1-2)

2021 – Nadal beat Alcaraz, 6-1 6-2 (ATP 1000 – Madrid)

2022 – Nadal beat Alcaraz, 6-4 4-6 6-3 (ATP 1000 – Indian Wells)

2022 – Alcaraz beat Nadal, 6-2 1-6 6-3 (ATP 1000 – Madrid)


The drop shot was also used by Alcaraz, to great effect, on the way to his first Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open. In the second half of the 2022 sunshine double the Spaniard hit a total of 50 drop shots, with a 70% success rate.

The US Open champion has discussed the theory behind the shot, “I pay attention to when the opponent is far from the bottom line to make the drop shots and, if he reaches the ball, I do the lob or the passing-shot to close the point more easily.”

He continued: “Sometimes it is planned, but not too much. Normally I do it when I feel it when the ball arrives. I feel like I have to make a drop shot without any plan in my head. Sometimes you send your opponent away from the court with the serve and it’s better to do the drop shot in these cases. It’s a good resource for me.”

Alcaraz and his drop shot will be returning to the tour next week, after missing the start of the season through injury, when he takes to the clay of Buenos Aires.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.