My friend Sally is a wonderful player. She and I were able to win a mixed doubles tournament a few years ago. She was the number one singles player in her high school, and went on to coach high school tennis for many years.

Sally‚Äôs game is worthy of analysis. She has a marvelous two-handed backhand that she says she developed by copying her baseball swing. She hits the ball kinda flat, sometimes with a little backspin, sometimes a little top, sometimes a pure knuckle ball. Her forehand is usually a slice shot, which she strikes by getting down low and punching the ball with heavy backspin, like a volley. She can also slap the forehand with a wristy flick that can turn into a topspin pass or a flat drive. Her serve is an inside-out twist, which stays low, and skips or stops. She places it well and varies the pace. She also lobs very well off both sides. But she is maddeningly consistent, takes the ball early, recognizes the patterns of her opponents, and disguises her shots until the last second…able to hit cross court or down the line without giving it away.

And now, she has developed the BLOOP!

Recently, I played Sally and her partner Ted a couple of times. The first time, they beat us in straight sets. The second time, we were wary of what she was doing, and we squeaked out a close first set, lost the second, and gave up a 2 break, 5-2 lead in the third set ( we had to leave the court at 5-5).

Sally has mastered the BLOOP, and it has taken her already formidable game to a new level. The Bloop is a derivative of the lob volley, the advanced shot that is so handy when all four players are at the net. Read the rest of this entry »

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