The drop shot in Tennis is much like sugar in your diet; A little is useful, but used too often, it can lead to serious illness.
Yes, the drop shot.
That much exalted shot within the minds of many a competitor. The one that mysteriously appears after half a dozen forceful groundstrokes have been belted with measured intent. Only, then, they panic. Lose their nerve. They crumble.
And even the best crumble. Even Novak Djockovic. The best player - not the greatest - of all time. Even he can’t resist something sweet every so often. Yet, in his fourth round victory over Roberto Bautista-Agut he so clearly over-indulged.
The Serb won in four sets against a Spaniard in the form of his life, though the World number one did his utmost to allow the 14th seed to almost take this encounter into a fifth set.
And how? Too much sugar. Yes, he pulled off some magnificent drops. Not many, but, still, some. Just as the red sky of the night was offering some delight, out came the most bizarre of offerings; Drop shots from the baseline. Yep, such low percentage drop shots that can be diagnosed as diabetics before they have even remotely left his strings.
And even worse, he, along with many others on the Tour, rarely follow in behind the shot to cut a foe’s options down if by some slim chance a miracle occurs and said shot works. The red sky of delight soon rotates into a morning warning.
What’s more, at this year’s Australian Open, during a post match interview, a member of the crowd yelled out no more drop shots in Djokovic's direction. The Serb replied, “ You know what, you’re totally right”. And yet here he is still applying himself to the art of the unreliable drop shot.
Why? Again, why, when seventy percent of these shots fail? One can only surmise that Djockovic, not the dimmest, indeed, an extremely lucid individual, likes those sweets too much to resist what he knows full well is bad for him.
No one is immune to the pressures exerted by extended rallies. Not even Novak Djockovic.
He may wish to reduce his blood sugar levels post haste, however. For a maiden French Open Title beckons.
Maybe even a calendar Grand Slam, too. If the Serb can control his urges.