Tennis

How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis (Try This 3 Techniques)

How to Hit a Drop Shot in Tennis
  • Place Backspin on the Ball
  • Hit With a Continental Grip
  • Play From an Appropriate Court Position

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Hitting a drop shot in tennis is one of the shots that is not exploited enough in my opinion.

With the modern-day game, players are often slugging it out far behind the baseline.

This alone suggests that a drop shot is a great way to mix things up, especially since they would then need to track forward to the net from all the way back behind the baseline.

Of course, the purpose of a drop shot isn’t always to end the point, despite what some people think.

In most cases, playing a drop shot is simply done to SWITCH UP THE RHYTHM or gain a MORE DOMINANR POSITION in the point.

With that said, in order to play a drop shot successfully, you need to be fully aware of how to execute the shot.

And as you can see from the information presented above, you can give yourself the best chance possible of a successful drop shot by following those three tips.

Note that this doesn’t guarantee a 100% drop shot success rate, but these tips will certainly improve how effectively you hit the shot.

And now, I’d like to take some time to run into further details on each of the three points raised above.

A More Effective Drop Shot Explained

If you need any confirmation as to how prolific a great drop shot can be, look no further than the 2020 French Open match between Stan Wawrinka and Hugo Gaston.

(Hugo Gaston vs Stan Wawrinka – 2020 Tennis Match)

Wawrinka is a huge hitter of the ball, and he is far better than Gaston from the back of the court.

But Gaston was able to beat the great Swiss player by simply hitting AWESOME DROP SHOTS.

Obviously, this match was played on clay, which is the surface in which drop shots are used more often, in general.

But regardless, the Gaston drop shot managed to completely turn the outcome of this match!

And now that I’ve highlighted how effective a great drop shot can be, let me run through the three tips mentioned earlier.

1) Applying Backspin

When hitting a drop shot, the aim is to get the ball as tight to the net as you can.

Since you can win a point in tennis by getting the ball to bounce twice, this is the best shot you have of an outright winner from a drop shot.

But this isn’t always, and shouldn’t always be your aim when hitting this shot.

However, the objective is always to get your opponent out of position and hustling forwards to the ball.

Now, in addition to hitting the ball tight to the net, it’s always important to add a little backspin if you can.

This is what stops the ball from sliding through the court, which is advantageous if you are dragging your opponent OUT OF POSITION.

To apply backspin successfully, I recommend cutting down on the ball – not necessarily slicing right underneath.

It’s also good if you can reduce the follow-through of your racket when playing a drop shot, as this will stop the ball from carrying too far into the opposing court.

I’d recommend watching this video of Roger Federer hitting drop shots to get a better understanding of how this is done:

2) Continental Grip

If you are to successfully hit backspin on the ball, you need to hold a continental grip on the handle.

This is the grip that is used for serving, volleying, and when hitting slice backhands.

When holding the racket in this position, the racket face is more open than usual, so you can really cut down on the ball, which creates the backspin.

I also find that it’s easier to control the amount of spin and power you are putting on the ball with this grip.

However, beginners and sometimes intermediate players try to hit the shot with a standard forehand grip.

But when doing this, your racket face is flat to the ball on contact.

So not only is it very difficult to cut under the ball with this grip, but the ball will then push through the court after the FIRST BOUNCE.

This reduces the margin for error that you have on the shot, and it increases the likelihood that your opponent will track the drop shot down easily.

This then puts you in a defensive position instead of an attacking position following a drop shot.

3) Appropriate Court Position

Finally, I’d like to talk about when you should actually be hitting a drop shot in tennis.

Besides the technical pointers raised above, if you don’t play the drop shot at the correct time, it will not work in your favor – I promise you.

So what is an appropriate court position?

Well, there are two parts to this answer really.

The first answer is your own court position.

Personally, I would only be looking to play a drop shot if I find myself inside the baseline.

The one and only exception to this is if my opponent is way behind the baseline, as a standard rallying position.

I recommend this because it INCREASES THE CHANCES of success on your drop shot.

Secondly, you need to have a fundamental understanding of your opponent’s positioning, which I’ve touched upon earlier.

To hit the most effective drop shot, you need to hit this ball when your opponent is either off balance or out of position.

This gives them the least chance of actually tracking the drop shot down. 

Finally – make sure that you actually follow your drop shot in once you’ve played it.

I see many club players making this mistake and getting burned for it. Remember, the most likely return from a drop shot is another drop shot.

This is also the easiest shot to hit once you’ve tracked one down.

Therefore, you need to move forward with the ball in order to eliminate this shot choice from your opponent.

Has this helped you to understand what’s required to hit a great drop shot? Let me know in the comments if so!

Top 3 Simple Ways How You Can Coach Tennis

TONY NADAL How to Coach Tennis
  • Be Positive
  • Adapt to Each Individual
  • Understand Students’ Needs

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Coaching tennis is something that almost anybody can get involved with.

However, only a small percentage go on to become what I would consider being ‘good or great coaches’.

Having worked as a full-time coach myself in the past, I’ve seen evidence of this first hand.

There are many people who become qualified as a coach, and then try to follow a supposed blueprint for coaching the game.

This has always been a bit of a mystery to me, as there is no exact way to coach tennis that will suit all people.

However, some have obviously found an approach that works for most, such as the great Nick Bollettieri.

For that reason, I’ve included ADAPTATION as one of the MOST IMPORTANT TRAITS of any decent tennis coach.

And as you can also see, positivity and understanding the student are the two others.

Sure, there are a few more things to being a great tennis coach than these three traits.

But I firmly believe that all good coaches need to demonstrate EFFECTIVE ABILITIES in each of these three fundamental areas. 

So now that these have been highlighted, I think it’s time that we took things a little deeper.

Becoming a Great Tennis Coach

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about becoming a decent tennis coach is that you need to have been a great player to do this.

The evidence is everywhere that this just isn’t necessary.

Look at guys such as Richard Williams or Toni Nadal – both guys never played tennis at an ELITE LEVEL, yet they have produced some of the greatest players of all time.

In fact, I found this cool video of Toni Nadal giving a Ted Talk, and this gives a real insight into the mind of this truly awesome coach (video is in Spanish with English subtitles):

Of course, you’ve then got other guys that have indeed played tennis at a pretty high level.

But in my experience, it’s not always your own level that dictates whether you would be a good coach.

It’s how you can explain the game to a student and get them to understand and improve, and this is different for every individual.

Coming back to the three traits now, let me explain why they are so important.

1) Positivity

When it comes to positivity, I’d like to take you back to your high school days to emphasize why this is so important.

Think back to your class schedule – which classes did you enjoy the most?

Did you enjoy classes where the teacher had a ton of knowledge but presented things in a rather boring and methodical manner?

Or did you prefer the classes with an upbeat, passionate teacher who explained things in a positive manner?

I would hope that the answer is the latter!

And this also holds true when it comes to tennis coaching.

Being a great tennis coach all STARTS WITH:

  • YOUR PASSION FOR THE GAME and
  • HOW POSITIVE YOU CAN BE when teaching people to do it.

You have to be able to explain what the student needs to do and demonstrate this in a way that is exciting, not in a way that is somewhat robotic.

Believe me, I’ve seen coaches go through the motions out there on the court.

And I always liked to think that if I was ever bored or disinterested when teaching a class, then this certainly means that the students were bored!

Of course, creating a positive environment is also critical if you are to get the best out of your players.

2) Adaptability

If I am to be completely honest, I feel that the way in which tennis is taught to most people is FAR TOO GROOMED and robotic.

I’m not denying that there are certain fundamentals that need to be taught in tennis in order for an individual to improve and REACH THEIR POTENTIAL.

This is common knowledge.

But I firmly believe that you need to adapt to how an individual prefers to play the game and then style your coaching approach to suit.

For example, if you are teaching a student who loves to hit the ball flat from the baseline and this is one of their main strengths, it would not make sense to then focus so much on trying to get them to hit heavy.

In addition to switching your focus in relation to the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, you need to adapt how you actually explain things as well.

Some people are very visual learners, whereas some are perfectly okay with you just explaining how things are done.

So on that note, you need to be flexible and adapt your approach until you find a style that is getting the best out of the individual.

3) Understanding of Student’s Needs

It goes without saying that not everyone you teach wants to become a Wimbledon Champion.

In fact, depending on where you actually teach tennis, you may never teach someone who wants to become a professional.

So for that reason, you need to make sure that you actually understand what the intentions are for your students.

It’s important to keep in mind that some people receive tennis coaching purely because they want to get some exercise while socializing at the same time.

And if you have a group like that, you will obviously approach the session differently than if you were coaching aspiring juniors.

On a more personal basis, if you are teaching private lessons, it’s important to ask the student what they want to work on.

I always found that this is the best approach rather than simply picking what I think is important and then hammering it home.

By taking this approach, the individual will get the most out of the session, and they will leave the court with the knowledge that they worked on what they wanted to – not what you felt was necessary. 

Do you have anything to add when it comes to teaching tennis in the best possible way? If so, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.

Best Tennis Courts in the World. Here’s Why They’re So Cool.

Coolest Tennis Courts in the World
  • Monte Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo
  • Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast
  • Foro Italico, Rome

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

There are plenty of cool places to play tennis in this world.

But when people imagine cool tennis courts, they often think of the major stadiums where Grand Slams are played.

Sure, these courts are magnificent in their own right.

But in my opinion, when I think about cool tennis courts, I like to think of courts that are a little bit out of the ordinary.

So for that reason, I’ve listed the three tennis courts that you can see above.

You can always go and see these courts for yourself, but since they are so exclusive, I don’t believe that you can book in and play on them – as much as we’d all like to!

And while I have listed these three tennis courts above…

..I have to give some honorable mentions to stadiums such as Centre Court Wimbledon, the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open, Melbourne Arena, and Phillippe Chatrier at the French Open.

I feel that these stadiums are full of character, and they have been host to some extraordinary tennis matches over the years.

But coming back to the main point of this piece now, I would like to get into why these three tennis courts are so spectacular.

Details of These Three Unbelievable Tennis Courts

As you’ve seen already, these three courts are not all in the same country!

However, two of them are actually based in Italy – which is a testament to the quality of the architecture of that nation in general.

So without further ado, let me run through some specific details on the courts mentioned.

Monte Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo

The Monte Carlo Country Club is one of the MOST EXCLUSIVE SPORTS COMPLEXES in the world.

Of course, this country club is centered around tennis, and many of the most elite tennis players in the world actually use this place as a base.

Guys such as Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov spring to mind here, with both of these guys being residents of Monte Carlo.

You can even see a quick guided tour of the place from Dimitrov in this video:

All of the courts in this complex are clay courts, and as you probably already know, this is the location for one of the biggest Masters events of the ATP Tour.

This tournament is simply known as the Monte Carlo Masters, and a man by the name of Rafael Nadal has won that event nine times!

While there are many courts around the complex, I believe that the Center Court, which many games are played on during the Masters, is one of the COOLEST COURTS in the world.

Not only is the court itself spectacular, surrounded by the mountains of Monte Carlo, but it also has a backdrop at the Balearic Sea which LOOKS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

I’m not sure how the players can even concentrate on competing in their matches with such beautiful scenery around! 

Il San Pietro di Positano, Amalfi Coast

(Spectacular View From the IL San Pietro DI Positano, Amalfi Coast Hotel)

Speaking of exclusive tennis courts, this one is right up there with the Monte Carlo Country Club.

As it happens, the Il San Pietro di Positano is actually a five-star hotel and resort, and it is pretty spectacular from what I’ve seen (in photos).

Of course, the Amalfi Coast is one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL regions in Italy, and in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places in Europe, period.

And since you’ve then got a 5-star hotel and resort nestled between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, what more could we really ask for?

However, in order to play on this tennis court, you need to be staying at the hotel as a guest.

The court is completely closed off to the general public, and even if you are staying at the hotel, I believe you still need to pay a handsome rate to play a game of tennis on the court.

But when you look at the photos of the location, IT REALLY IS BREATHTAKING.

However, since II SAN PIERTRO DI POSITANO is so close to the sea, I think that if you were to shank a ball out of the court…

.. you might need to go and purchase another one rather than TRYING TO FISH IT OUT!

Foro Italico, Rome

(Foro Italico, Rome Tennis Court)

The third and final tennis court I would like to talk about is located in the Foro Italico sports complex in Rome.

Much like the Monte Carlo Masters, this is the location of another Masters event, simply known as the Rome Masters.

This is another clay-court event, and surprise surprise, Rafael Nadal has been the most successful player at this event, winning the title a staggering 11 times.

Putting the tournament aside, when you look at the architecture and location of the court, I really do think it is one of the coolest tennis courts in the world.

With the court being built into the ground, which is ALREADY COOL, I love that it is then surrounded by statues of great Romans of the past.

Obviously, Rome is one of the most historical cities in the world, and I love that the design of the court has captured this.

So even though guys are playing there and competing to win a tennis match, this court really does have a sense of magic about it, which adds to the spectacle.

It’s almost as though the Romans of the past are there to ENJOY THE SHOW AS WELL.

And naturally, with Rome boasting some pretty nice weather, this court looks ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR against the clear blue skies of Italy’s capital.

Conclusion

I do hope you have enjoyed this brief piece about the coolest tennis courts in the world.

And if you feel that you want to actually visit any of these locations, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING SO.

Should you be able to combine your visit with watching one of the Masters events, for two out of the three courts, this will be even better.

And if you do get to visit, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Shortest Male Tennis Player

Diego Schwartzman shortest tennis player
  • Diego Schwartzman
  • 5ft 7 inches
  • Argentinian

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

Tennis is a sport where being tall certainly has major advantages.

And as the years have rolled by, becoming a successful player when you are a little on the short side has become increasingly difficult.

The days where a guy such as Michael Chang (5 feet 9 inches 175 cm) has been able to reach the VERY PINNACLE of the game are all but over.

So for that reason, it is particularly impressive that Diego Schwartzman has been able to break into the top 10 and enjoy the kind of results that he has.

At just 5 feet and 7 inches tall, he is the shortest male tennis player that is currently playing at the top of the game.

He even has the nickname ‘El Peque’, which translates as ‘shorty’ in Spanish.

Mind you, he seems to embrace his height and he’s not afraid to take on the big guys out there on the court.

I must also confess, he is one of my favorite players because of HIS FIGHTING SPIRIT and because of the way that he’s able to GRIND OPPONENTS DOWN.

After all, given his height, he will not be blowing any players away with massive serves or huge groundstrokes.

He has to fight out there for every single point, and I commend him for this.

Below, no, I’d like to continue to discuss Diego Schwartzman in terms of his rise up the ATP rankings and the greatest achievements of his career. 

Diego Schwartzman – The Little Miracle

It is no great secret that Diego Schwartzman is very small by tennis-playing standards.

In fact, some matches where he has needed to shake hands with guys such as John Isner at the net have been quite comical!

Of course, this is where you really see the height difference between Schwartzman and some of the other guys on tour.

But despite his height, which would be regarded as a disadvantage in the modern game, he has still been able to achieve some pretty astonishing things:

ATP High of Number 8

Schwartzman has been a very consistent player throughout his career.

Sure, he isn’t somebody who has managed to claim a ton of titles, but he has always done well in important events.

He has been consistent in Grand Slams and at the Masters 1000 level, and this is proven by his career-high ranking of number 8 in the world.

This was achieved in October 2020, mainly thanks to his 4th round appearance at the Australian Open and his first semi-final appearance at a Slam at the French Open.

This brings me to my next point.

French Open Semi-final – 2020

Given that Schwartzman has to really grind to win points in tennis, you would assume that his game is well suited for the clay courts.

Of course, the fact that he also grew up playing tennis in Argentina means that he is well adapted and comfortable playing on clay.

I’ve always known that Schwartzman was a very good player on the dirt, but I often thought that he lacked the necessary firepower to really cause a threat during the major clay-court events.

However, I’m pleased to say that he put my doubts to bed at the 2020 French Open.

This was the biggest achievement of Schwartzman’s career, where he managed to reach the semi-finals before losing to Rafael Nadal in an incredible four-set match.

En route, he also managed to beat Dominic Thiem in five sets – a match that lasted more than five hours.

Bear in mind that Thiem was a strong contender to win the event, which made this victory and semi-final appearance all the more impressive. 

The tennis was absolutely remarkable too, as you can see from the video here:

Rome Masters 2020 – Beating Nadal on Clay

The Rome Masters is a huge tournament on the ATP calendar.

And in this particular tournament, it seemed that Diego had a little added firepower to his game.

During this event, he came up against Rafael Nadal, a man whom he had a 9-0 head-to-head losing record against.

One of the main reasons he has struggled so much against Nadal over the years is because Nadal is physically stronger and he can hit a heavier ball than Schwartzman.

But on this day, none of that seemed to matter, and Diego put in a miraculous display to beat the greatest clay courter of all time in straight sets.

Most amusingly, after the match, Schwartzman was asked about his victory.

And the only response he gave is – ‘nobody beats me 10 times in a row’. 

Number 3 for Breaks of Serve

For a man who is 5ft 7 inches tall, it goes without saying that he’s never going to have the biggest serve in the game.

So not only will he struggle to hold serve more than other players, but this places even more emphasis on his ability to break serve.

On that note, Schwartzman is actually third in the rankings when it comes to total breaks of serve for his career.

He is behind only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in this category, in terms of percentage return games won.

Currently, his return game success is more than 32%, meaning that he tends to break serve, on average, almost 1 in every 3 return games.

For me, this is incredible, and this has helped Schwartzman massively throughout his career.

Early Struggles in Tennis

When Schwartzman was playing tennis as a junior, his family didn’t exactly have a bunch of money to invest in his tennis.

According to his own accounts, his mother would make bracelets and Diego would then go and sell them to people to raise money to fund his tennis adventures.

However, despite having relatively poor finances, he made it work, DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to keep going and keep chasing his dream.

And today, it would seem that the sacrifices made by him and his family have paid off.

Did you enjoy this piece? Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

World’s Tallest Tennis Player: Who Is Taller Than Everyone Else

Tallest Tennis Players Ever
  • Ivo Karlovic – 6ft 11
  • Reilly Opelka – 6ft 11
  • John Isner – 6ft 10
  • Kevin Anderson – 6ft 8

   Your Guide

Gavin Davison   Gavin Davison

As the years have gone by, tennis players just seem to have become taller and taller.

And I’m not just talking MODERATELY TALLER EITHER.

As you can see from the players mentioned above, these guys are absolute giants, and they wouldn’t even look out of place if they were to take to an NBA court in all honesty!

If you’ve ever seen these guys actually playing a match, they really do look LIKE MAN MOUNTAINS OUT THERE.

And as you probably already know, there is a direct connection between how tall a player is and how big they can serve.

In fact, two of the guys from this list are responsible for some of the biggest serves ever recorded.

John Isner managed to hit a serve at 157.2mph at the 2016 Davis Cup.

And right behind him, you have Ivo Karlovic, who managed to hit a serve at 156mph at the 2011 Davis Cup.

I can only imagine the difficulty that players must have had in returning serves coming down at that kind of speed.

And it’s not just the speed of the serve that causes issues either. It’s also the angle of the serve raining down from such a height.

So what are some other feats that these guys have achieved besides being so tall?

Well, let’s continue to find out.

Man Mountains on the ATP Tour

Each of the four guys mentioned below is taller than 6ft 8 inches, which is pretty STAGGERING, to be honest.

But besides their miraculous height, let’s see what else these guys have been able to gain recognition for in their careers!

1) Ivo Karlovic

Karlovic has managed to gain a nickname as ‘Dr. Ivo’, because of the way that he just slices people apart with his serve – much like a surgeon would do to a patient.

This much-loved Croatian has been on the tour for many years as well.

And at the time of writing, he is still competing at the ripe old age of 42.

What I love about Karlovic is that he’s an old-school serve and volley player as well.

So when he rains down his serve he is immediately charging into the net and looking for his first volley.

I’ve actually had the pleasure of being able to WATCH THIS MAN PLAY LIVE, at the US Open.

And it amazes me how tight he got to the net when volleying.

But then again, I guess that’s what you can do when you have such a huge wingspan!

People often forget that Karlovic has been ranked as high as number 14 in the world too, despite his somewhat ‘outdated’ style of play.

And most impressively, he is the all-time leader for aces, with more than 13,700 to his name!

2) Reilly Opelka

Reilly Opelka is the joint tallest tennis player to ever play the game, alongside the one and only Ivo Karlovic.

Standing at 6 feet 11 inches, Opelka has one of the biggest serves on tour right now.

I wouldn’t say that he is a fantastic spot server, but the speed and height that his serve comes down from is enough to help him hold serve easily most times.

Opelka has actually been ranked as high as number 19 in the world too, which is FAIRLY IMPRESSIVE.

And in my opinion, he has one of the best kick serves in the game. 

I can remember watching him play at the US Open against Fabio Fognini, and poor old Fabio was hitting his returns above shoulder height most of the time.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

And perhaps most amazingly, Opelka has had some good results on the clay courts in his career.

This is most unusual for a taller guy, but I guess it’s a credit to the quality of his serve and how he is able to battle during the rallies too.

3) John Isner

Now we have the huge serving American, John Isner.

Of all the big guys I have been talking about here, John Isner has been the most successful on a CONSISTENT BASIS.

He is actually regarded as one of the best servers to ever play the game.

This is backed up by the fact that he has hit more than 13,200 aces in his career, and that he has the fastest recorded serve (official) of all time at 157.2mph.

Note that there have been faster serves than this, but the ATP hasn’t officially recognized them due to unregulated equipment.

Isner has been ranked as high as number 8 in the world.

And in my opinion, he also has the best groundstrokes out of the guys mentioned here.

He plays a super attacking style of tennis, hitting big forehands and taking his backhand early.

But he is also a decent mover for a guy of his height – 6ft 10 inches.

4) Kevin Anderson

Last but not least, we have Kevin Anderson.

This formidable South African has been ranked as high as number 5 in the world, which is actually the highest of the four guys I’ve talked about here.

Anderson is also one of the only guys to have PERFORMED WELL at the Grand Slam level.

He has reached the finals of both the US Open and Wimbledon – two feats that helped to push his ranking into the top 5. At 6ft 8 inches, Anderson has a SMOKING SERVE TOO.

He seems to hit his spots a little better than guys like Opelka, and he also moves well along the baseline.

Anderson also makes full use of his rather large levers by hitting big on both the backhand and forehand wings.

I love his temperament on the court too, fighting to the very end but remaining calm and positive throughout.

He is also the holder of the second-longest match in Grand Slam history too, sharing the title with John Isner for their 2018 Wimbledon semi-final.

After 6 hours and 36 minutes, Anderson managed to wriggle through to the finals, which must have been demoralizing for big John!

Did you enjoy this piece? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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