Hitting deep shots is the key to the fame. If you are hitting deep then you will be famous by Friday. However, if your opponent is already famous in hitting deep tennis shots then you need to get your basics right to win the match. In this article we will learn how to handle deep balls in tennis. We can define deep tennis shots in which the balls are repeatedly dropping near opponent’s baseline with some topspin over it. These shots will land near to your feet will tend to rise if there is some topspin or otherwise will stay low however in either case it is very difficult to give a winner on these shots if your basics are not right. This is the most famous trend in the current decade of tennis and all the top-ranking players especially Novak Djokovic loves playing this style of game.
Now that we have understood what we are up against let’s get down to basics of how to handle deep balls in tennis. Following points should be considered while developing the game plan:
1. Footwork is the king
While handling deep balls being at the right position to return the shot is the key. Footwork is the key to be in position to be ready to return the deep shots. There are three simple steps to get in the position to return, first is to take a big step back with one leg (based on your prominent hand), quickly pull back your body with the other leg and now you are in correction position to return the deep ball. In this position the bounce will be at a comfortable height however you should be ready to hit the ball on the rise.
In this technique you will be able to see the ball before you hit the ball however in the third point of this article you will learn the technique to hit the blind shot which is very effective once you have done enough training to learn how to pull out rabbit of the hat.
2. Hit shots with body
Always remember that you are playing tennis and not in building muscles in gym, so you don’t have to muscle the ball to return the deep shots. The more you keep your arms and muscles loose, the easier it will be to hit a deep ball. You have probably noticed that the pros appear to return the deep groundstrokes with little effort. This is because their strokes have become second nature, which results in loose and relaxed muscles. On the contrary, those of us who are trying to learn new strokes or implement new strategies often tense up our muscles because we are consciously trying to do something new and unfamiliar. A more relaxed arm will help you in returning deeper groundstrokes with less effort.
3. The Perfect Return
In normal conditions, you want to see the ball before you swing the racket at it. You are aware that this small, bouncy, fast-moving object is not easy to hit and that too from the sweet spot of your racket; hence, you want to really see it clearly well before you hit it with your racket.
This logic only works when there is enough space and therefore enough time to initiate the weight transfer, trunk rotation and the swing and STILL hit the ball in front in the ideal contact point. However, we want to learn how to handle deep balls in tennis.
If the ball is coming deep near the baseline then there isn’t enough time for the ball bounce to contact point if you initiate the stroke after the bounce. When the ball bounces closer to you, there won’t be enough time from the bounce until your contact point for you to execute the stroke from the preparation (from the end of the backswing). Therefore, you will need to initiate the stroke BEFORE the ball bounces and simply complete it in that short time period you have from the bounce until contact. For most players, this is very difficult to do because they don’t see the ball yet but need to start the swing forward.
4. Intelligent game plan can bring any force down
The best examples of this type of players are André Agassi, the ultimate baseline attacker who loved hitting tremendous shots from the back court, and Serena Williams, who continues to dominate opponents with her baseline power.
They are strong and quick players whose technique highlights their power and skill and they like to take risks. They are ready to attack from the baseline but also to defend intelligently and creatively. These players like evenly hit, moderately fast balls because this allow them to play in cadence and take advantage of returning balls’ speed to attack. We must therefore:
- Coax them out of there routine by changing pace and direction. Dig in and play high to win time and centered to take away his angles. The most effective shots are the ones that draw him from the baseline. He will have a harder time attacking balls with a lower, slower rebound.
- Attack the net frequently to end there baseline rallies but be careful to ensure that these approaches are making things hard enough for them, particularly since they like hitting in motion with a clear line of site. The more you change your pattern to unsettle the opponent, the more likely they will lose confidence and do unforced errors.
- Throw in some of those fast body serve or surprise them with second serves that play to their strong side. They will be caught off guard and might hand over free points.
- When returning the serve, don’t hesitate to hit a short and low slice forehand or backhand and deprive him of an easy win.
Above all, don’t be intimidated by the power and number of winning shots. Be consistent and run a lot!
To Sum Up
As a conclusion to understand how to handle deep balls in tennis one has to learn the trick of hitting the blind shots, the footwork to create a gap between the bounce and your body, loosen up your muscles and variations in your shots to disturb the rhythm of your opponent. And if, after learning all this, we still lose a point to the baseline attacker. Stay positive and focus on your game plan! You’ll take him next point!