Court Calculus: Surprise, Surprise
One of my favorite tactics is called “surprise, surprise” and it’s a great way to turn the tables on your opponent during a point. Let’s say you and your opponent are in a normal rally when, all of a sudden, your opponent hits a drop shot. How quickly you respond to this surprise attack determines the fate of the point. If it’s a bad drop shot, you’ll have an easy winner into the open court. But if it’s a good one, your best tactic is to surprise your opponent back with a drop shot of your own.
If you can barely get to the ball, the highest percentage play is to execute a drop shot barely over the net and right in front of you. The placement is key. It will force your opponent to go around you or pass you crosscourt, and it puts you in the best possible position to handle your opponent’s reply. Be ready to step into a volley on the next shot and hit the ball into the open court.
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Joey Rive is a former ATP professional and instructor at T Bar M Racquet Club in Dallas. He is the co-author of Tennis Skills & Drills, published by Human Kinetics.