Gifted with incredible touch and timing, the lanky Belgian man has managed to work his way up the rankings at a time when the status of the big 4 has become shaky. Even with Federer’s recent triumph at the Australian Open, questions surrounding his fitness and overall endurance persist. And with Nadal’s shocking split with his uncle at the end of the season, his results could be up in the air. Goffin is one of those players that does not impress you with his physique yet he now sits as one of the top 10 players in the world. The question is, what makes his game so special?

Goffin has incredible timing and easy power

There is a misconception when it comes to tennis. Many people think that the more muscular a person is, the more power and pace they can accumulate. Though it may work for some players, the real key to pace is great timing and technique. Both off of the forehand and backhand side, the Belgian is able to produce a deal of power. His groundstrokes work like a kinetic chain; starting from his legs, then moving to his core and eventually releasing all of that energy through his arms into the contact point of the ball. He also remains incredibly relaxed through the point of contact which allows him to gain great amounts of racket head speed. This is something that Federer does very well.

Federer is not muscular at all in his upper body but uses the momentum generate from his legs and core to create his power. Goffin is by no means a power player and still has to grind his way through makes but in comparison to other players of his size, he hits a considerably harder ball.

Goffin has staying power in the top 10

The top 10 in men’s tennis is a lot different than that of the women’s tour. On the Association of Tennis Professionals, once you make it into the top 10, you normally stay or hover around the top of the game for a while. Every player in the top 10 has (at least) one weapon which makes the special.

If you look at Novak Djokovic, his flexibility and backhand are two of the main reasons why he was ranked number 1 for so long. For Goffin, his strength is not as in your face but still important. As shown in his wins in Rotterdam and even in his loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Goffin is incredibly fit and has amazing court speed. He rarely makes mistakes and it compared to someone from a past era, I would say that he is a more aggressive Michael Chang. Something that Goffin also does rather well is smoother the baseline. A lot of other tennis players (think Gael Monfils) prefer to station themselves ten to fifteen feet beyond the baseline. Goffin is great at taking time away from his opponents by hitting and redirecting the ball at a moment’s notice. Though hard to predict the future, Goffin has plenty of reasons to believe that he belongs in the top 10.