Posts Tagged winning tennis

How To Hit A Drop Shot By Joe Marshall

I told my friend John, a marvelous player who passed away recently, that I thought the most important thing in hitting a drop shot was “Weight”….in other words, get your weight into the shot, so your soft hands are concentrating on taking power off, and directing, the ball. John nodded, seeing my point. But then he topped me.

”I think the most important factor in hitting the dropper is HEIGHT,” he said. And as usual, he was right.

A lot of people miss drop shots, because they think the most important aspect of the shot is to skim the net with the ball, figuring that the lower the height at which the ball peaks, the more difficult it will be for the opponent to get to it before the second bounce. But think about it. If you hit the ball at a low trajectory (initially dangerous because you may catch the net), the opponent will see that the ball will be short, and will hustle in immediately. Also, the trajectory of the ball will make it bounce low, but forward, perhaps reaching almost to mid court.

On the other hand, if you concentrate on lifting the ball higher, peaking maybe THREE OR FOUR FEET ABOVE, BUT WELL IN FRONT OF, the net, the opponent, not realizing that you took the pace off the ball, will initially read a deep shot, and will not immediately rush the net. This trajectory will also allow the ball to drop much closer to the net, which is the most difficult factor for the opponent, since he has to apply the brakes quickly for fear of running into the net, and must still hit a difficult, controlled return into a safe spot. Spin, of course is the killer.

The best droppers seem to have a mix of side and back spin.

If you incorporate a slice shot as part of your game, the dropper should look like it was going to be a hard slice. Even after it comes off the racquet, your follow-through combined with the appropriate height above the net will give the impression that it is a deep slice or an approach shot. Drop shots should catch the opponent by surprise.

They are usually best when struck from inside, or just at, the baseline. They are a great way to break up a long rally, when the opponent is already a little winded or in a groove. Hit them to the opposite side of the court from where the opponent is…..although the inside-out forehand drop is deadly (for those who have the Jim Courier-type, inside-out forehand weapon). Follow the dropper in toward the net (in case he drops it back!), stopping just on the net side of the service line, anticipating a ball you can lob-volley (or even lob half-volley) over the charging opponent.

Drop shots are like body blows. They have a way (especially when combined with lobs) of breaking the opponents spirit, and wearing him out. They earn you invisible points, because they can cause an opponent to lean in every time he hits a short ball, worried about your potential dropper, and mess up his next ground stroke due to poor footwork.

To summarize, think WEIGHT as you approach a shot you want to drop (GET your weight into the shot, use quick short steps, like you are preparing to hit a drive), think HEIGHT as you stroke the shot, making sure to follow through high and clear the net. Follow the lob in past the service line and anticipate a lob-volley. You can win a point on a poorly executed dropper that clears the net and goes too deep, You lose the point every time if your stroke hits the net and bounces back.

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Why I Admire Fabrice Santoro’s Tennis Game By Joe Marshall

Joe Marshall loves Fabrice Santoro’s ultra-unorthodox style, and many of Joe’s opponents have complained to me how maddening it is to play against him. It’s full of lobs, spins, surprise placements and drop shots, and a ball that lacks all the speed and force of what most modern power tennis is about. Maybe you’d find it works for you. In the video above, Fabrice is the guy who keeps returning the balls that the other guy just can’t seem to put away. There is another video that won’t embed. This is Joe’s fifth article in a series about winning tennis strategies for doubles.

The magician, Fabrice Santoro. He played for 22 years on the pro tour, the only man in the open era to play in four decades. His highest rank in singles was 17, yet he was as high as 37 in his mid-30’s, a year or so before he retired.

Fabrice beat more #1 players at some point in their career than anyone else (tied with Andre Agassi). He was 3-4 against Pete Sampras, 3-3 against Andre, 8-3 against Marat Safin, 1-0 against Jimmy Connors….he beat a total of eighteen #1’s. It was Pete who named him The Magician.

No one had more joy on the court, no one had a more original style (his main shot was his two-handed, cross handed, righty forehand slice, which he hit primarily with his left hand! Sound impossible? Watch the video).
In an age of power and more power, Fabrice hit the ball softly, neutralizing power, and using his opponent’s aggressiveness to confound him…..like Judo the way the monks invented it. He was a showman and a great sport, quick to compliment his opponent on a great shot with a bow or applause.

He could beat you many different ways….great defense, tricky spins, looped passing shots, drop shots, lobs, sneak attack volleys, and gentle but confusing approach shots….he was afraid of no one. He has the record for the most singles losses in the open era (more than 400), but he won more than he lost (more than 450 matches), and was a great doubles player, winning a couple of grand slam titles. He had the record for the longest match ever (beating Arnaud Clement at the French open in 6 hours and 40 minutes over two days) until it was eclipsed by the famous John Isner-Nicolas Mahut three day affair at Wimbledon. I doubt that they will let him on the senior tour….he would wear them all out…..Enjoy!

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