Tag Archives: ATP tennis

SMT Daily Tip #6: Safest Shots to Hit When Pulled Out Wide

What are the safest shots to hit when your opponent pulls you out wide?

The safest shots to hit when you are put in this type of danger are: the down-the-line loop and the loop down the middle.

Looping the ball DTL allows you to have more time to recover back and restart the rally. Also, looping the ball DTL is much safer than hitting it flat DTL since you are clearing the net by a large margin. If the shot is done correctly and lands deep in the court then it will be really difficult for your opponent to hit an offensive shot. In fact, because it is deep and is placed far from where your opponent hit his/her shot, your opponent might get pushed back behind the baseline, potentially putting him/her in the defensive depending on how he/she hits the ball. If not, the least you can get out of looping the ball back DTL is restarting the rally, making this shot selection very potent.

Looping the ball down the middle is also considered a safe shot. This is because when you aim it down the middle, you are clearing the lowest part of the net and the chances of the ball landing out wide are practically zero. The benefits you can reap from this shot are: more recovery time and – if hit deep enough – a high chance to restart the rally. This shot selection is commonly used clearly for its safeness and being easily executable. However, do not use this shot every time, for your opponent will catch on and take it out of the air with a swinging-volley.

Now, the key component that these two shots have that make them effective is that they must be hit deep! Depth is absolutely crucial. If they are not hit deep enough, then this allows your opponent to hit another offensive shot.

In conclusion, it is important that you learn to utilize both of these defensive shots since they are the safest shots that can get you out of a losing position. With these shots, your game, without a doubt, will become more solid. And remember, depth is crucial.

I hope this was helpful! Feel free to leave comments or questions regarding your game below. I will be glad to answer all of them!

How did Stanislas Wawrinka Beat Djokovic in the French Open Final of 2015?

The atmosphere at the French Open this year was definitely peculiar, with Rafael Nadal falling to Novak Djokovic in the Quarter Finals. Literally, this is only the second time that Nadal has ever been defeated at this grand slam, so for the first time in six dominating years this tournament has crowned a new champion. That man is Stanislas Wawrinka, the Swiss player with arguably the best one-handed backhand in the game.

This championship match was a thrilling four-set match with both players displaying transcending tennis; however, how did Stanislas Wawrinka take the win over Novak Djokovic? His consistent and menacing power was a major key factor in defeating Djokovic. When one can produce blistering power from both wings, no doubt it will inflict an enormous amount of pressure upon his opponent. The fact that they were both playing on clay was only more advantageous for Wawrinka because the surface slows down the ball, allowing his groundstrokes to be fully setup.  This automatically put Djokovic at a disadvantage because it is apparent that Wawrinka yields more power in all of his strokes than Djokovic does. Not only did it help Wawrinka to properly setup for his shots, but due to the slow surface, he was better able to keep up with Djokovic’s phenomenal placement. So basically for Wawrinka to defeat Djokovic, he had to consistently apply pressure with his powerful strokes, especially off the one-handed backhand like he did at this year’s Australian Open in order to break down Djokovic’s incredible defense.

No one else can strike a backhand as consistently powerful as Wawrinka can.  Although he only hit eleven backhand winners, his backhand was an integral asset in debunking Djokovic’s rhythm – unlike most players, he can also comfortably and willingly change directions with this stroke. The down-the-line (DTL) backhand proved to be extremely effective, especially during set/ break point in the second set. On Wawrinka’s second-to-last shot, he pounded his backhand DTL which in turn yielded an unbalanced shot by Djokovic, almost stumbling. Totally thrown off rhythm by Wawrinka’s powerful DTL backhand, Djokovic’s focus diminishes and hits the next ball out.

Overall, Wawrinka’s ability to execute his vicious power this match is what led him to victory over the best player in the game right now. Djokovic practically has no weaknesses. Although this is true, he is no superhuman who can swiftly get to every ball on the court. All one has to do in order to put Djokovic in a troubling plight (all players in fact), albeit difficult to execute on a daily basis, is to hit face-paced shots. This along with his accurate placement, is what Wawrinka was able to successfully carry out in the whole match, which ultimately earned him the win. Remember that Wawrinka is not really consistent in his level of play throughout the year, but it is absolutely conspicuous that Stan the Man strives on slow surfaces. Congratulations to Stanislas Wawrinka for winning the 2015 French Open and his second grand slam.

Breakdown of Marcos Baghdatis Forehand (Modern Technique)

Quick Tennis Tip: Keep Your Head Fixed at Contact!

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.

Hitting the Inside-Out Forehand

Learn how to properly uncoil on the inside-out forehand!

ANDRE AGASSI SAYS HE PRIMARILY USES HIS RIGHT HAND ON THE TWO-HANDED BACKHAND

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.

Left hand leveled higher than 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.

Right hand drops, left hand falls below the right.

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!

ONE THING THAT REALLY MAKES KEI NISHIKORI A DANGEROUS TENNIS PLAYER?

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: