Connect with us


Tennis Strategies And Tactics: When You Should And Should NOT Slice



Many recreational and league players already know how to slice the ball, but only a small percentage know how to use it correctly. Rather, they just slice it whenever they feel like it, which probably does work sometimes. What those players don’t know, however, is that there are times when it is the optimal shot to use, and then there are times when it is the worst.

These are the most common singles and doubles situations in which you should slice:

When changing the pace

During fast and furious topspin rallies is a great time to throw in a deep, low slice at your opponent’s feet. The ball will be slower and have lots of spin and a low bounce, giving you a little time to snag some oxygen and get back into position. More often than not, a rec player (especially lower level) will also return with slice, giving you another second or two more to figure out your next plan of attack.

When transitioning from the baseline to the net

If you’ve got an opponent who camps out at the baseline because they hate coming in to the net, force them in with a low, mid-court slice or drop shot. Be sure and follow it in because they will be hustling to get it. Unless your opponent is Roger or Serena, the return will likely be a high ball with little or no pace… perfect pickings for your killer angled volley!

When blocking back a hard serve

Sometimes you get a rocket serve and have no time for a proper backswing for a topspin return, putting you in defensive mode right off the bat. That’s the perfect time to use the pace from the serve and, with a shorter backswing, block the ball back with a slice deep into the court. To keep it as low as possible, make sure you don’t open your racquet face too much.

Don’t stay where you are, and watch your ball to see if it’s going deep. Get back into position as quickly as possible while watching your opponent. If they stay back, you know the return will be a groundie. If they are moving forward with their racquet at or above their shoulder, your return is short, and they will attack it, and you will need to be ready to defend as best as you can. Blocking back with a deep (the key word is: DEEP) slice keeps you in the point and allows you to get into offensive mode.

When you notice your opponent has difficulty returning it

Many lower-level rec players don’t like the slice. Typically, they wait for every ball to come to them after it bounces, and the bounce from a slice is already low. By the time it does get to them, they can’t get under it to hit a topspin or even flat groundie, so they typically slice it back high and with little pace. Lower-level players rarely run around the ball, so they slice away at their backhand. More often than not, the return will be a floater or shallow lob, so be ready to move forward and be aggressive with either your overhead or swinging volley if it’s mid-court or angled volley if it’s closer to the net.

Tips for when you do slice:

  1. Be mindful of your grip changes. You do not want to change your grip to continental at the last minute, as that could lead to a bad shot and a possible winner return for your opponent.
  2. Bend your knees for optimal control.
  3. Keep your racquet face open and get it up so you can bring it down and brush under the ball as you push forward and through it.
  4. Remember the technical differences of each type of slice (deep, mid-court, and drop-shot), most importantly, the differences in backswing for each, and how much and how quickly you will need to open your racquet face.
  5. Practice all the different slices from different parts of the court with a ball machine and/or in your practice matches. This will not only help you perfect your shot execution, but it will also help you build muscle memory so you will be better prepared to use them well when it counts.

Of course, you can use the slice at almost any time. The type you choose just depends on what your strategy or goal is. Be that as it may, a slice can also set you up for failure.

When you should NOT slice:

  • When you are away from the net and the ball is at or above your shoulder.
  • When you are at or behind the baseline, NEVER attempt a drop shot – unless you are Roger Federer. Dropshots require time to prepare and finesse to execute well; if a bullet is coming at you, you have neither. If you must slice from back there, keep it low and aim deep – at least mid-court, but preferably near the baseline.
  • When you are on your back foot and can’t transfer your weight forward
  • When your opponent is at the net. This one is pretty obvious, but sometimes players think they can still get one past their opponent. Slices tend to float, so you must be very cautious here. The only slice you should use in this situation is the slice lob.

These are just some tips to consider when using the slice. Practice and try them out in a match, and then come back and tell us how they worked!

Source link

Continue Reading


WATCH: How To Hit A More POWERFUL Serve




Hey there!

Look, hitting a more powerful serve is a topic that has a lot of moving parts.

In this video, I’m teaming up with the crew at Essential Tennis to entertainingly (if that’s even a word?) offer you our top 4 “secrets” to getting more power on your serve.

  1. Ian talks about the need to move away from the “waiter’s serve” where the palm stays open during the backswing and the trophy pose.  It’s important to move towards keeping the palm rounded and facing downward with loaded shoulders in the trophy pose, so you can achieve a wrist “snap”. Not to mention nobody can come put cupcakes on your racket during the serve and expect you to pass them out.
  2. Kirby mentions the need to keep your toss in front of you, into the court. This prevents your momentum from falling backwards during the serve, and instead, encourages a good body lean into the court, ensuring that your momentum is going up into the ball. POW!
  3. Ira tells us that his top tip for getting more serve power is to stay loose.  He says that most players “gear up” to try and hit a big serve, and usually end up trying too hard, getting tense, and ultimately not getting as much power behind their serve as they’d like. If you have trouble getting loose, tell your significant other you need a massage or a shot of tequila immediately.
  4. Finally, Ramon talks about how to properly use your legs on the serve. He mentions the “squat and thrust” method, which some players on the tour still use (Such as Bouchard).  He then shows you the best way to use your legs which is through the “corkscrew method” where as your legs bend, your hips rotate away from the baseline, creating the coil… which will later be delivered into the ball.

For more great videos like this, please head over to my Youtube channel.

Source link

Continue Reading


Inside The Struggle to Survive In Professional Tennis




The 2023 US Open in New York brought to light an issue that affects professional tennis players around the world. Recently, Vox Video spoke with players and the head of the Professional Tennis Players Association to discuss the pay problem in our sport.

It turns out that tennis is unique in how players are paid, what costs they are responsible for, and how they are categorized as independent contractors. Unfortunately, this means that unless you are consistently among the very top-ranked players like Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Coco Gauff, and Iga Swiatek, it’s nearly impossible to make a living with income from tennis alone.

It’s concerning that, unlike other sports (like football, baseball, and basketball) that provide support for athletes outside the very top performers, tennis leaves them high and dry. Professional tennis players not only have to pay for coaching, training, travel, and accommodations for tournaments, food, equipment, and all medical needs.

  • A shocking 80% of the top 1000 players don’t earn enough from the sport to cover the expenses of playing at the top level.
  • Even players ranked between 751-1000 earn between $5500-$4400 compared to the top 10, who bring in between $6.5-3.69 million.

It’s important that we hear from professional players like Taylor Townsend, Hubert Hurkacz, and Alycia Parks, as well as the Executive Director of the Professional Tennis Players Association, Ahmad Nassar, to understand the challenges they face and work towards a solution.

Yes, we understand that Taylor Townsend is currently on a come-back winning streak, with year-to-date earnings of $988,223. And Hubert Hurzack has earned $1,988,312 so far this year. Alycia Parks has also had a good year with $690,400 in earnings. So why do they appear in this video discussing tennis players who are struggling to make a living? Simple – they used to be those players, and are open to talking about it. And if they get injured and need expensive surgery(ies) and treatment, they can easily become those players again.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you feel that the lower-level professional tennis players should earn more for their matches? Or do you feel that the system is fair as it is? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Source link

Continue Reading


Famous Tennis Players Who Wore Glasses On Court




Tennis has produced plenty of stars famous for what they wore on the court – it’s made a fashion icon out of the like of Anna Kournikova. Likewise, Emma Raducanu’s Tiffany jewelry pieces have already become the talk of the tennis world.

Like Raducanu’s jewelry, it isn’t always what a player wears off the court that raises eyebrows – indeed, many players have made fashion statements on the court in the form of glasses. Players wearing glasses is not new – Billie Jean King often wore glasses while playing, and she often stressed their importance in her career.

Tennis Players Who Wore Glasses On The Court

Whether they wore sunglasses or eyeglasses, these tennis players made huge statements with what was on their faces during their matches.

Sam Stosur

Sam Stosur is one of many players who chose to wear an iconic brand of sunglasses while playing. Indeed, Oakley sunglasses have become a staple of the game for many players. Stosur preferred the Half Jacket range when she was on the court. They’re both lightweight and functional, with polarized lenses to protect from glare and high-quality acetate frames.

The 39-year-old Australian player was a US Open winner in 2010 and was once ranked number one in the world for doubles with victories in the French Open (2006), Australian Open (2019), and twice in the US Open (2005, 2021).

Natasha Zvereva

Natasha Zvereva was often seen on the court wearing sunglasses and was also known to favor Oakley. She often wore a wraparound pair, which increased the stability while playing, and had tinted orange lenses for some matches.

Though Zvereva played singles tennis, she became famous for her doubles tennis. From 1989 to 1997, she amassed 18 Grand Slam titles, including four Wimbledon titles in a row between 1991 and 1994. She also broke ground politically as the first major Soviet Union athlete to publicly request that she should be able to keep her tournament earnings which were going into Soviet coffers, while she received only expense money.

Janko Tipsarevic

Janko Tipsarevic is a player we featured in our article Tennis Careers That Sparked But Never Flamed and is another player who, like Billie Jean King, needed prescription glasses for tennis. He also favored Oakley, utilizing the Oakley True Digital Corrective Lens technology when beating Andy Roddick in 2010. Towards the end of his career, he wore the Oakley Rx Flak Jacket sunglasses, popular with cyclists and golfers.

Unlike our first two players, Tipsarevic never tasted Grand Slam success. However, he made it into the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2011 and 2012 and was a member of the Davis Cup-winning team in 2010.

Martina Navratilova

While Tipsarevic needed prescription sunglasses, Martina Navratilova needed regular glasses to get her through a match. The image of her wearing eyewear and lifting trophies is something etched onto the mind of tennis fans from the eighties. She started wearing glasses in 1985, attributing a loss in form to her failing eyesight.

The fix must have worked for her; she won three Wimbledon titles on the bounce (1985, 1986, and 1987) while wearing glasses, as well as the Australian Open (1985) and two US Opens (1986, 1987). She also captured 13 Grand Slam doubles titles while wearing eyeglasses, usually with long-time doubles partner Pam Shriver.

Source link

Continue Reading