On all of your strokes, whether it is the forehand, backhand, volley, smash, or serve. You should have your head and eyes fixed on the contact point (where you strike the ball) until the ball leaves your racket.
Note that it is impossible to keep your eyes on the ball at impact because the ball comes and leaves too fast.The goal here is to just keep your head and eyes fixed on the contact point. When you do this, you will strike the ball cleaner and also decrease the chance of mishitting. If you do not keep your eyes and head fixed on the contact zone, you will disrupt the swing path because you end up jerking your head up too soon to see where the ball is going.
As you can see Federer below, he is not watching the ball, but he is keeping his head and eyes fixed at the contact zone to prevent the disruption of the swing path to the ball.
Learn how to properly uncoil on the inside-out forehand!
From reading through many threads and videos on the two-handed backhand, the majority of people argue that the two-handed backhand is basically a lefty forehand.
However, tennis-legend, Andre Agassi, who possesses one of the best two-handed backhands in the game, says otherwise.
Andre Agassi: “I hit my backhand primarily with my right hand.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcZFVQCfOQg – He states this after the point at the 12 minute mark)
I initially did not believe Andre Agassi knew what he was talking about due to the fact that many people said otherwise, but after experimenting with the technique and observing a lot of slow motion footage, it seems after all, Agassi knows what he’s saying. How could I have ever doubted him?
It’s understandable that his statement will yield different interpretations. People will think that you lead with the right hand throughout the entire shot; however, this is not what he meant by primarily using his right hand.
The right hand is the key to produce leverage. Leverage is achieved when the buttcap of the racket is pointed at the ball and the right hand is what gets you into that position.
The use of the right hand happens during the forward swing phase. From the takeback, notice how the left hand is leveled higher than the right hand.
Now in the forward swing, the right hand will be dominant. When beginning the forward swing and uncoiling the body, the positions change; the right hand drops, causing the left hand to fall below it. Here, proper leverage has been achieved.
All of this is what Agassi meant by him “primarily using his right hand.”
Though, in the end, as a result of the uncoiling, the left-hand will propel forward naturally and strike through the ball.
It makes sense for people to say that the two-handed backhand is similar to a lefty forehand because the left-hand is what really strikes the ball, but the forward swing phase and use of the right hand is what makes it not exactly like a lefty forehand. The right hand plays a key role in creating leverage and that is why Agassi says that the best backhanders in the world use their right hand in the shot.
Also check out my video talking about the key to leverage on the two-handed backhand:
Feel free to leave questions and suggestions for future videos and articles!
Besides Nishikori’s great mental fortitude, what attributes mostly to his success is the style by which he plays. There are many aspects of his game that are good, but the one that stands out the most is this…
His ability to play close to the baseline
The reason why this style is so effective because tennis is really a game of cutting time away from your opponent.
Say you are hitting your shots at a constant pace and you are five feet behind the baseline. What difference would it make if you were two feet behind the baseline? The amount of time you are cutting away from your opponent: his time to load and time to get to the ball. He will be running from corner to corner more if you were two feet behind the baseline versus five feet behind the baseline.
If you were five feet behind the baseline, the way to equal the amount of effect you apply when two feet behind the baseline is by upping your pace enough to match that effect. For example, Robin Soderling has crushing ground strokes, but he does not as play close to the baseline as does Novak Djokovic. However, because of his power, he is able to keep up with Djokovic being close to the baseline.
But what if you upped your pace and played closer to the baseline? You will be adding even more pressure to your opponent now.
One thing to note though; to play close to the baseline, you must be quick on your feet and Kei Nishikori is a perfect example.
Nishikori plays this style remarkably well, which is one of the reasons why he has respectfully earned his way into the top 10.
Nishikori is able to accomplish this ability because of his compact AND powerful strokes on both wings, forehand and backhand. His compact strokes allows him to take less time to load which makes it easier for him to play closer to the baseline. Also, the fact that he can produce firepower in his groundstrokes is a major plus for his style of play. With his power, he is putting tremendous pressure on his opponents, blowing them from corner to corner and greatly taking their precious time away to load properly.
Similar to his ground game, Nishikori will always try to take time away from his opponent when returning his serve, especially the second serve. If the shot is placed with good depth and placement as well, this will put more pressure on your opponent and give you control over the point in the very beginning. With his great returns, he is able to break his opponents more often than most players.
Nishikori, being a specialist at taking time away, is a difficult player to beat. You will see him often times effortlessly hitting winners past you and behind you. In addition, because of the tremendous pressure he applies, you will see him many times following up with a volley to end the point knowing that you will float him one. With his swiftness and aggressive playing style, he is a force to be reckoned with on the ATP world tour.
Check out his style in play by looking him up on youtube! Or check out these links here:
In the fast game of tennis, your instinct is a very important asset that should be used in your arsenal. Some may have it, some don’t. However, everyone develops their instincts playing tennis for a long time. Tennis is not just a ball-bashing sport, it’s a tactical game. Here are a couple of good tips that you should apply next time you play tennis.
1. Sense danger – be aware that you just got yourself into defense. If you know you just hit a ball back that you know your opponent is going to attack on, bring your court position more back a couple of inches! That way you have enough time to defend the attacking ball.
2. If the story is the other way around, then if you know that the ball you just hit is going to trouble your opponent (let’s say a deep ball into the open court) then bring your court position up more right onto the baseline to get ready for the weak response. That way you will take time away from your opponent – making him run more. And also you can shake up his feet and hit the ball behind him!