Diego achieved 40 wins in a season for the first time in 2019 and a tournament win at Los Cabos. Other highlights for him were making the quarters at the US Open and semis at Rome Masters 1000.
Diego makes the most of what he has, and no doubt will be a solid contender for top 20 again in 2020. Thoughts for him: serve, backhand, retriever and return.
Serve: Unfortunately, his weak serve is keeping him out of the top 10. He is only 168 cms (5′ 6″), and it would seem a physical limitation purely. Although he has a high first-serve percentage, he does not produce enough service winners.
Backhand: Has super reliable two-hander and one of the best on tour. While his height hurts him on serve, it works well here to give him a low centre of gravity. He times the ball beautifully by staying up on the baseline. His backhand is also multi-dimensional, and he has a skilful drop shot and touch. Diego is not only masterful on this side but is almost as good on the forehand side as well.
Retriever: Gets involved in some of the best rallies on tour. He can’t power his way through players, so he keeps on retrieving wearing his bigger opponents down. He can, however, counterpunch effectively not solely relying on retrieving.
Return: One of the best returners. Remarkable given Diegos limited reach. Diego usually gets a racquet on first serves and gives away few service winners in spite of his short stature.
Likes: Seeing him bouncing around the baseline, counter punching and making demands on stronger, more powerful players.
Dislikes: Nothing. I would like to see Diego come forward more to finish at the net, but he plays to his strengths.
Areas for improvement: The lack of service winners is a clear area for improvement. However, I can’t see how he could improve it with his height disadvantage. His volleying, while not poor, could be better. Diego could also tidy up his forehand cross, which can leak errors. Homework is the usual volley masterclass on YouTube.