Tag Archives: forehand

SMT Quick Tip #3: Wrong-Footing Your Opponent

A very effective tactic used to wrong-foot your opponent is aiming the ball behind him. What does aiming the ball behind your opponent mean? It is when you aim the ball back to the same place where your opponent struck right before.

Remember that in tennis that after you strike the ball you have to recover and be ready to cover the higher percentage shot. This usually means you have to side-shuffle away from the place you just struck the ball at unless you hit the ball cross-court (since if you aim it CC, the return would be a CC back to you). So when is the most effective time to execute this tactic? The best time would be when your opponent hits a down-the-line shot because now he has to go and recover to the higher percentage shot leaning towards the other side.

When executed correctly, your opponent will be in trouble having to immediately change directions and cover more space. There will also be many cases where your opponent will be completely thrown off balance by your shot that he won’t be able to reach the ball in time, if executed perfectly. Maybe your opponent could be completely wrong-footed and stumble.

This tactic does not only apply to groundstroke exchanges. You can most definitely apply this to your net game as well – hit an approach shot and hit your first volley towards the same spot. This tactic is a must-add to your arsenal!

Check out this video (At 7:13) of Kei Nishikori incredibly displaying this tactic against Rafael Nadal!:

Also check out this video (At 1:53) of Tommy Haas demonstrate hitting the ball behind Roger Federer:

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SMT Quick Tip #1 – Good Anticipation & Judgement

(Skip to the point at 0:24 where Stanislas Wawrinka serves out wide)

Anticipation is key. As soon as you see (or know) that your shot will yield a weak or short reply, you must capitalize on it! For instance in this video, Wawrinka knew without a doubt that his cross-court backhand would force a short return, so he quickly approached the net and put the ball away.

Having good judgement and anticipation like this will make your game more efficient; you will always be one step ahead of your opponent!

Hitting the Inside-Out Forehand

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

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:

Nick Crystal (USC) vs Andre Goransson (CAL) | Battle of the Bay 2014 Men’s Open Singles Finals | Full Match

Crystal shows great passion to win after dropping the first set against Goransson. Crystal in this match demonstrates amazing passing shots and raised his consistency after the first set. Goransson, unfortunately, could not bring out his “A” game in the final but nonetheless he did not show signs of giving up. Both were tired; however, the hungrier one, Crystal, takes the Battle of the Bay trophy in a thrilling close match.