Shortest Male Tennis Player

Diego Schwartzman shortest tennis player
  • Diego Schwartzman
  • 5ft 7 inches
  • Argentinian

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis is a sport where being tall certainly has major advantages.

And as the years have rolled by, becoming a successful player when you are a little on the short side has become increasingly difficult.

The days where a guy such as Michael Chang (5 feet 9 inches 175 cm) has been able to reach the VERY PINNACLE of the game are all but over.

So for that reason, it is particularly impressive that Diego Schwartzman has been able to break into the top 10 and enjoy the kind of results that he has.

At just 5 feet and 7 inches tall, he is the shortest male tennis player that is currently playing at the top of the game.

He even has the nickname ‘El Peque’, which translates as ‘shorty’ in Spanish.

Mind you, he seems to embrace his height and he’s not afraid to take on the big guys out there on the court.

I must also confess, he is one of my favorite players because of HIS FIGHTING SPIRIT and because of the way that he’s able to GRIND OPPONENTS DOWN.

After all, given his height, he will not be blowing any players away with massive serves or huge groundstrokes.

He has to fight out there for every single point, and I commend him for this.

Below, no, I’d like to continue to discuss Diego Schwartzman in terms of his rise up the ATP rankings and the greatest achievements of his career. 

Diego Schwartzman – The Little Miracle

It is no great secret that Diego Schwartzman is very small by tennis-playing standards.

In fact, some matches where he has needed to shake hands with guys such as John Isner at the net have been quite comical!

Of course, this is where you really see the height difference between Schwartzman and some of the other guys on tour.

But despite his height, which would be regarded as a disadvantage in the modern game, he has still been able to achieve some pretty astonishing things:

ATP High of Number 8

Schwartzman has been a very consistent player throughout his career.

Sure, he isn’t somebody who has managed to claim a ton of titles, but he has always done well in important events.

He has been consistent in Grand Slams and at the Masters 1000 level, and this is proven by his career-high ranking of number 8 in the world.

This was achieved in October 2020, mainly thanks to his 4th round appearance at the Australian Open and his first semi-final appearance at a Slam at the French Open.

This brings me to my next point.

French Open Semi-final – 2020

Given that Schwartzman has to really grind to win points in tennis, you would assume that his game is well suited for the clay courts.

Of course, the fact that he also grew up playing tennis in Argentina means that he is well adapted and comfortable playing on clay.

I’ve always known that Schwartzman was a very good player on the dirt, but I often thought that he lacked the necessary firepower to really cause a threat during the major clay-court events.

However, I’m pleased to say that he put my doubts to bed at the 2020 French Open.

This was the biggest achievement of Schwartzman’s career, where he managed to reach the semi-finals before losing to Rafael Nadal in an incredible four-set match.

En route, he also managed to beat Dominic Thiem in five sets – a match that lasted more than five hours.

Bear in mind that Thiem was a strong contender to win the event, which made this victory and semi-final appearance all the more impressive. 

The tennis was absolutely remarkable too, as you can see from the video here:

Rome Masters 2020 – Beating Nadal on Clay

The Rome Masters is a huge tournament on the ATP calendar.

And in this particular tournament, it seemed that Diego had a little added firepower to his game.

During this event, he came up against Rafael Nadal, a man whom he had a 9-0 head-to-head losing record against.

One of the main reasons he has struggled so much against Nadal over the years is because Nadal is physically stronger and he can hit a heavier ball than Schwartzman.

But on this day, none of that seemed to matter, and Diego put in a miraculous display to beat the greatest clay courter of all time in straight sets.

Most amusingly, after the match, Schwartzman was asked about his victory.

And the only response he gave is – ‘nobody beats me 10 times in a row’. 

Number 3 for Breaks of Serve

For a man who is 5ft 7 inches tall, it goes without saying that he’s never going to have the biggest serve in the game.

So not only will he struggle to hold serve more than other players, but this places even more emphasis on his ability to break serve.

On that note, Schwartzman is actually third in the rankings when it comes to total breaks of serve for his career.

He is behind only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in this category, in terms of percentage return games won.

Currently, his return game success is more than 32%, meaning that he tends to break serve, on average, almost 1 in every 3 return games.

For me, this is incredible, and this has helped Schwartzman massively throughout his career.

Early Struggles in Tennis

When Schwartzman was playing tennis as a junior, his family didn’t exactly have a bunch of money to invest in his tennis.

According to his own accounts, his mother would make bracelets and Diego would then go and sell them to people to raise money to fund his tennis adventures.

However, despite having relatively poor finances, he made it work, DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to keep going and keep chasing his dream.

And today, it would seem that the sacrifices made by him and his family have paid off.

Did you enjoy this piece? Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

World’s Tallest Tennis Player: Who Is Taller Than Everyone Else

Tallest Tennis Players Ever
  • Ivo Karlovic – 6ft 11
  • Reilly Opelka – 6ft 11
  • John Isner – 6ft 10
  • Kevin Anderson – 6ft 8

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

As the years have gone by, tennis players just seem to have become taller and taller.

And I’m not just talking MODERATELY TALLER EITHER.

As you can see from the players mentioned above, these guys are absolute giants, and they wouldn’t even look out of place if they were to take to an NBA court in all honesty!

If you’ve ever seen these guys actually playing a match, they really do look LIKE MAN MOUNTAINS OUT THERE.

And as you probably already know, there is a direct connection between how tall a player is and how big they can serve.

In fact, two of the guys from this list are responsible for some of the biggest serves ever recorded.

John Isner managed to hit a serve at 157.2mph at the 2016 Davis Cup.

And right behind him, you have Ivo Karlovic, who managed to hit a serve at 156mph at the 2011 Davis Cup.

I can only imagine the difficulty that players must have had in returning serves coming down at that kind of speed.

And it’s not just the speed of the serve that causes issues either. It’s also the angle of the serve raining down from such a height.

So what are some other feats that these guys have achieved besides being so tall?

Well, let’s continue to find out.

Man Mountains on the ATP Tour

Each of the four guys mentioned below is taller than 6ft 8 inches, which is pretty STAGGERING, to be honest.

But besides their miraculous height, let’s see what else these guys have been able to gain recognition for in their careers!

1) Ivo Karlovic

Karlovic has managed to gain a nickname as ‘Dr. Ivo’, because of the way that he just slices people apart with his serve – much like a surgeon would do to a patient.

This much-loved Croatian has been on the tour for many years as well.

And at the time of writing, he is still competing at the ripe old age of 42.

What I love about Karlovic is that he’s an old-school serve and volley player as well.

So when he rains down his serve he is immediately charging into the net and looking for his first volley.

I’ve actually had the pleasure of being able to WATCH THIS MAN PLAY LIVE, at the US Open.

And it amazes me how tight he got to the net when volleying.

But then again, I guess that’s what you can do when you have such a huge wingspan!

People often forget that Karlovic has been ranked as high as number 14 in the world too, despite his somewhat ‘outdated’ style of play.

And most impressively, he is the all-time leader for aces, with more than 13,700 to his name!

2) Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka is the joint tallest tennis player to ever play the game, alongside the one and only Ivo Karlovic.

Standing at 6 feet 11 inches, Opelka has one of the biggest serves on tour right now.

I wouldn’t say that he is a fantastic spot server, but the speed and height that his serve comes down from is enough to help him hold serve easily most times.

Opelka has actually been ranked as high as number 19 in the world too, which is FAIRLY IMPRESSIVE.

And in my opinion, he has one of the best kick serves in the game. 

I can remember watching him play at the US Open against Fabio Fognini, and poor old Fabio was hitting his returns above shoulder height most of the time.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

And perhaps most amazingly, Opelka has had some good results on the clay courts in his career.

This is most unusual for a taller guy, but I guess it’s a credit to the quality of his serve and how he is able to battle during the rallies too.

3) John Isner

Now we have the huge serving American, John Isner.

Of all the big guys I have been talking about here, John Isner has been the most successful on a CONSISTENT BASIS.

He is actually regarded as one of the best servers to ever play the game.

This is backed up by the fact that he has hit more than 13,200 aces in his career, and that he has the fastest recorded serve (official) of all time at 157.2mph.

Note that there have been faster serves than this, but the ATP hasn’t officially recognized them due to unregulated equipment.

Isner has been ranked as high as number 8 in the world.

And in my opinion, he also has the best groundstrokes out of the guys mentioned here.

He plays a super attacking style of tennis, hitting big forehands and taking his backhand early.

But he is also a decent mover for a guy of his height – 6ft 10 inches.

4) Kevin Anderson

Last but not least, we have Kevin Anderson.

This formidable South African has been ranked as high as number 5 in the world, which is actually the highest of the four guys I’ve talked about here.

Anderson is also one of the only guys to have PERFORMED WELL at the Grand Slam level.

He has reached the finals of both the US Open and Wimbledon – two feats that helped to push his ranking into the top 5. At 6ft 8 inches, Anderson has a SMOKING SERVE TOO.

He seems to hit his spots a little better than guys like Opelka, and he also moves well along the baseline.

Anderson also makes full use of his rather large levers by hitting big on both the backhand and forehand wings.

I love his temperament on the court too, fighting to the very end but remaining calm and positive throughout.

He is also the holder of the second-longest match in Grand Slam history too, sharing the title with John Isner for their 2018 Wimbledon semi-final.

After 6 hours and 36 minutes, Anderson managed to wriggle through to the finals, which must have been demoralizing for big John!

Did you enjoy this piece? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Why Do Tennis Players Bounce the Ball Before Serving

Why Do Tennis Players Bounce the Ball Before Serving
  • Focus
  • Think About the Serve
  • Calm Nerves

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

I must admit, having played tennis for more than 20 years at this point, bouncing the ball prior to serving has just become second nature.

But if I take a step back, I can understand why this action might seem a little strange for those who aren’t all that familiar with tennis.

Of course, when you start to watch tennis being played you will realize that the VAST MAJORITY OF PLAYERS actually do bounce the ball before serving.

Some do this more than others, with a certain Novak Djokovic being well known for excessive ball bounces prior to big points.

For a little bit of fun, check out this video that highlights Djokovic’s ball bouncing prowess:

Obviously, this video isn’t a real reflection of what he was doing during the match.

But in all seriousness, he has been known to bounce the ball up to 30 times before hitting a serve.

This is obviously a bit of an EXCESSIVE EXAMPLE, but most players will bounce the ball several times before they proceed to hit their serve.

I have mentioned the three main reasons why players do this above, and these reasons hold true for all tennis players, regardless of whether they are a beginner or a professional.

But why are these areas so important and how does bouncing the ball help? Well, let me discuss this in greater detail right now.

The Ball Bouncing Mystery Explained

It doesn’t matter who the player is, what surface they are playing on, or what kind of serve they have – tennis players will usually bounce the ball before kicking the point off.

Assuming you already play the game, you will likely have your own reasons for bouncing the ball.

You may even have your own preferences as to how many times you bounce the ball before hitting a serve.

But while this is all a matter of personal preference, I still believe that the three fundamentals mentioned previously are consistent for all.

(i) To Focus

It goes without saying that if a player was to just step up to the line and hit their serve, they probably wouldn’t be all that focused.

Not only that, but they wouldn’t have had time to set their balance and get into the correct serving position either.

Of course, bouncing the ball before the serve helps to slow down the game and create a bit of THINKING TIME.

This is where the element of focus comes into play.

Personally, when I am bouncing the ball, I am looking at where my opponent is positioned, and I’m also considering my serving options. 

These are the two things that I am primarily focusing on, and thinking about these things before serving has helped me throughout my career.

However, other players may prefer to focus on other things when bouncing the ball.

For example, you might like to focus on what your first shot will be after the serve, what direction the wind is blowing, or what kind of spin you want to apply to the ball.

Again, this all comes down to PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

In addition to this, as a bit of a bonus, some players like to do this purely as a ritual. And some of these rituals are a little more bizarre than others.

Take John Isner as an example – he doesn’t just bounce the ball, he passes it between his legs before each and every serve!

(ii) Think About the Serve

Speaking from personal experience, as I’ve touched upon above, I am always thinking about the serve when bouncing the ball.

If it is the first serve, these are the few seconds in which I can compose myself and decide what spin, speed, and wherein the box I will be AIMING MY SERVE.

Of course, I will also be planning what kind of shot I may be looking to hit after my serve.

But the only downside to doing this is that the return is unpredictable, and if the ball doesn’t come back as you’d expect, YOUR ENTIRE PLAN HAS EVAPORATED.

Either way, it is still good practice to consider what you will be doing with the serve when bouncing the ball.

And if it is a second serve that you are facing, you may want to think about adding some topspin or slice to the ball.

This can all be considered in those few seconds that you spend BOUNCING THE BALL.

You may even want to think about what kind of serves have been successful for you so far against that particular opponent.

If you’ve had decent success going to the backhand, you may want to think about doing this again, or switching things up depending on the point.

(iii) Calm the Nerves

This reason for bouncing the ball isn’t quite as prolific as the first two I have mentioned.

But when it comes to a big point, bouncing the ball in order to steady your nerves is actually a VERY COMMON PRACTICE.

If you’ve ever faced pressure situations in a tennis match before, you will definitely know what I’m talking about.

As you approach the line, your arm might be shaking, the sweat might be running into your eyes, and your mind may FEEL A LITTLE CLOUDY.

Therefore, it is critical that you then bounce the ball and take some deep breaths while doing so to calm yourself prior to hitting the serve.

Note that deep breaths are almost as important as bouncing the ball itself.

By slowing your breathing you will send signals to your brain that you are in a calm state, and this can really help with nerves ahead of a BIG POINT.

This is just my own advice based on experiences I have had in the past.

However, you might prefer to engage in other rituals that help you to steady your nerves.

Has this piece clarified the reasons why tennis players bounce the ball before serving? Let us know down below!

The Science of Tennis: What Makes a Good Tennis Player?

What Makes a Good Tennis Player
  • Intelligent Shot-Making
  • Tenacity and Fighting Spirit
  • Physical Fitness and Strength

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Have you ever stopped and wondered about the makeup of all good tennis players?

I certainly have.

And I believe that while all tennis players have their own strengths and weaknesses, there are some fundamentals that have to be there.

These three fundamentals have been listed above, and the good thing is that you can always work to improve these three areas in your own game.

Of course, we all have a certain limit to our talents in the game of tennis.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot reach the very pinnacle of how far your talents ALLOW YOU TO GO.

In fact, when I used to coach promising juniors, I would tell them that it was their duty to maximize the talents they had been given.

To that end, we all know the phrase ‘hard work beats talent when talent is lazy’.

I do believe this to be true, which is why it’s important to work on the three fundamentals as much as possible.

And if you manage to combine hard work with supreme talent, this is where you get THE GREATS OF THE GAME.

But for now, let me dive into some more details as to why these three areas are so important to becoming a good tennis player. 

The Three Vital Ingredients for Good Tennis Players

If you look at some of the best tennis players in the game right now, they all excel in different areas.

Take Novak Djokovic as an example – he is incredibly quick around the court and his ability to control the point is almost unrivaled.

This is different from others such as Rafael Nadal, whose main strengths are his competitiveness and NEVER SAY DIE SPIRIT.

But even these two guys, among many others, still display the fundamentals that I have outlined above.

So without further ado, let me describe why these are so important and so evident in good tennis players. 

1) Intelligent Shot-Making

It goes without saying that being able to hit a tennis ball well is a surefire way to become a decent player.

This is true in terms of your timing, technique, and how often you can REPLICATE CERTAIN SHOTS.

With that said, I have seen many tennis players who can hit a fantastic ball who never really do well in matches.

In fact, I’ve often seen great players lose to others who cannot hit the ball as well as them, but they choose their shots in a MORE INTELLIGENT MANNER.

This area is popularly referred to as having a good ‘tennis brain’.

In my opinion, intelligent shot-making comes down to two main things.

The first of these is being able to identify opponents’ weaknesses and then exploiting those weaknesses as much as possible.

The second comes down to your general choice of shots, regardless of which opponent you are playing.

Some players just seem to have a knack for choosing the right shot most of the time.

This is often what separates average players from great tennis players.

2) Tenacity and Fighting Spirit

Tennis can be a bit of a rollercoaster sport.

Unless you manage to dictate a match from the very first point, there is a STRONG CHANCE that you will need to deal with adversity and come from behind at certain times.

This is especially true if you manage to lose your serve early on or lose the opening set.

For that reason, I believe that tenacity and being able to fight through tough circumstances are absolutely pivotal for good tennis players.

All too often I have seen players start to lose early in the match and then their head just seems to go.

But those who maintain a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE and keep fighting for every point will always be in with the chance to turn things around.

Remember the two guys I have mentioned previously – Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic? 

These guys are two of the greatest fighters on a tennis court that I have ever seen, hence why they have such fantastic matches when they play each other.

Neither of them wants to give an inch to the other, and no matter the score, they will always fight to the end.

Nadal proved this in his recent Australian Open title, coming back from two sets down to beat Medvedev in five.

And Djokovic showed this magnificently when he won the 2021 French Open title – coming back not once, but twice from a two-set deficit en-route to the title.

3) Physical Fitness and Strength

If you have played tennis to a reasonable level, you will understand how physical things can be out there on the court.

Matches can extend for hours and HOURS, and the rallies that you will NEED TO ENDURE if you are to get the win can be brutal.

For that reason, being physically strong and fit is one of the most important aspects of all.

I can remember when I was a junior, I used to win plenty of matches on fitness alone, even if the other guy was a better ball striker than I was.

If you can extend a match and keep the opponent out there, FITNESS and STRENGTH definitely become a factor.

This becomes all the more apparent when you look at some of the matches that are played on the professional tour.

Again, I’d have to reference the recent Australian Open final between Nadal and Medvedev.

This game lasted almost 5 1/2 hours, and while Nadal is 10 years older than Medvedev, I’d have to say that Nadal had him in the fitness department.

This is also apparent with other players who use fitness to their advantage – as Djokovic also does.

Check out his fitness training video here to get a glimpse of how he does it:

Especially when it gets to the clay-court season, this is where those in peak condition shine through.

Look at players like Schwartzman, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Ruud, and many others.

They are all incredibly fit, and surprise surprise, they are all within the top 20 in the rankings!

Has this piece given you an insight into what makes a top-level player? Let me know in the comments!

How to Replace a Tennis Racket Bumper in 3 Simple Steps

How to Replace a Tennis Racket Bumper
  • Cut Out All Strings From the Racket
  • Push the Original Bumper Out Using the Grommets
  • Add the Fresh Bumper and Push Grommets All the Way Through

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Over time, our tennis rackets take a fair bit of punishment out there on the court.

One of the main parts of the racket that shows this is the bumper.

This is the part on top of the racket that tends to get scuffed up for many reasons.

Personally, I have a habit of hitting the ground with the bumper if I am hitting a low slice backhand.

Naturally, the more I do this, the more that the bumper starts to wear through.

And if you let the bumper get really bad, you can actually start to damage the frame of the racket itself.

Now, if you have played a fair bit of tennis before you will know how significant this can be.

And as I always like to say, PREVENTION IS CHEAPER THAN THE CURE.

I say this because should you continue to play with a worn-out bumper, you run many risks – with the most extreme being a full break of the racket.

This means you would need to spend in excess of $200 for a brand new racket if that happened.

But if you had replaced the bumper, which costs around $20 if you had to do it yourself, you would have saved quite a bit of money.

So hopefully, you can see the importance of learning how to replace your tennis racket bumper.

And on that note, I’d like to now proceed by explaining exactly how you can do this.

Replacing the Racket Bumper – Step by Step

I’d like to kick things off by stating that replacing the bumper on your racket isn’t overly difficult.

People often believe that it is, and this prevents them from taking the action necessary to replace the bumper in the first place.

However, I can assure you that this isn’t the case.

In fact, once you have bought a fresh racket bumper to put in, you can complete the whole replacement within a few minutes.

So without further ado, let’s get into the actual steps necessary to replace the bumper on your racket.

STEP 1: Remove All the Strings

First thing’s first, the bumper cannot be replaced while you have got strings in your racket.

Therefore, I recommend that you only replace the bumper when it is time to restring your racket.

Again, this will AVOID UNNECESSARY EXPENDITURES by restringing a racket before your string has busted.

And just like you would do when restringing a racket, you must remove all of the strings prior to taking the bumper out.

If you’ve strung a racket in the past, you will know exactly how easy this is to do.

Simply chop through the mains and the crosses, which can be done with a string clipper, or even a pair of scissors if you don’t have one handy!

And once all of the strings have been chopped, you can then pull them out and discard them.

You don’t even need new strings handy in order to put the new bumper in place, so you can always wait to perform the restring if you want. 

STEP 2: Strip Out the Original Bumper

This is where things can start to get a little tricky.

So if you would prefer a visual aid before attempting to do this for yourself, I’d suggest checking out the video right here:

As you can hopefully see from the video, once the strings have been removed you then need to take out the worn-out bumper.

The way in which to do this is to push from the inside of the frame.

Each of the little black holes on the inside of the frame, known as grommets, is what you need to push through and then snap the bumper out of place.

Assuming the bumper is not glued down or attached to any kind of lead tape, it should snap out of the racket PRETTY EASY.

If not, you may need to use a little device for a bit of assistance.

In my experience, the best device is an ‘Awl’.

This is basically a pin-type device, only much thicker, and you can insert the pin into the grommets to then push them through.

I even use this tool to squeeze the string through a tight grommet when restringing my racket, so it has a double usage here! 

STEP 3: Put the Fresh Bumper in Place

With the original bumper now removed, you can then look to put your new bumper in place.

Before I explain exactly how to do this, I’d like to take a moment to give you some advice on where to buy YOUR NEW BUMPER.

Not only should you purchase from reputable vendors, but I would highly recommend that you stick with bumpers from well-known tennis brands too.

This includes brands like Wilson, Babolat, Head, and others.

WILSON Sporting Goods Plastic Stencil, Red

In fact, I recommend that you purchase a corresponding brand to your racket, as some of the cheaper versions in the market today just will not do the job. 

So with that out of the way, it’s time to start putting the new bumper together.

You will always need to start with one end of the bumper and insert the first grommet through the respective hole.

You should get a little guide with your new bumper, but if not, YouTube can always be a good resource to find ‘how to’ videos for your specific racket model.

Once this first grommet has been pushed through, you can then start to roll the bumper over the top and push each grommet through as you go along.

Again, you can use the Awl tool if you like to make sure that the grommets are pushed all the way through.

And once they are all snapped into place, you have officially replaced the bumper and extended the lifespan of your racket!

Did these tips help you to successfully replace your bumper? Let us know below!

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top