Advanced tennis shots require higher skill level and a lot of practice. Some tennis players who play tennis daily or weekly say that there are a few shots they try to perform over and over again, but rarely with success. And success doesn’t necessarily always means performing a backhand slice like Andy Murray, but just sending the ball back over the net in any direction.
So, we wanted to know, which shots are the hardest for advanced, non-professional players to perform and master. We surfed the internet, visited various tennis forums, included our own experience, personally asked various higher-level tennis players, and came up with the list of Top 5 Advanced Tennis Shots, which are, according to tennis coaches and players themselves, harder to master. The order is not strict, as different players had different abilities.
The ‘Tweener’ aka ‘Between-the-legs shot’ is a very difficult tennis shot to perfect. It looks like an insane and totally amusing shot when the professionals perform it during tennis tournaments. Practice-court – sure, knock yourself out. But, match-court? Even the high-level tennis players don’t think about performing a tweener on a match-court. The player performing a tweener is usually facing away from the opponent, because he’s trying to recover a lob (ball which flew high above the players head and is going to land behind his back), but has no time to turn around and to hit the ball that way. Forward-facing tweeners also exist, and are equally hard to perform. Players say that hitting the ball between your legs is not impossible, but it’s difficult to make the shot meaningful – to send the ball in the right direction, over the net and MAYBE even winning the point after you do it.
2. Backhand Smash
Tennis players say that Backhand Smash is one of the toughest shots in tennis. Experienced tennis players tend to send their lobs over opponent’s backhand side, because they know they’ll make it much more difficult for their opponents by doing so. The reason why the backhand smash is difficult, the players say, is because you’d need to perform a smash with same power as you would a regular smash (which is difficult enough), but from the backhand side, while your back is facing the opponent. You’d need to swing from an awkward position which makes it hard to generate power. To do the shot properly, you elbow needs to be raised, your shoulder under your chin, while the racket is facing the sky. Then, to hit the ball, your arm comes in full extension, and after making the contact, your wrist and forearm need to snap, which requires some serious skills. Players who try to perform this shot regularly, report that the shot almost never comes off, so they don’t play it consistently. Important to mention is that backhand smash is more difficult for two-handed than for one-handed players, who report the Jumping Backhand as one of the toughest shots (then again, the jumping backhand is easier for two-handed players).
3. Swinging Volley
Unlike the regular volley, which is performed with a short swing, the Swinging Volley is performed with a full swing. Both tennis coaches and tennis players consider this shot difficult, so it can be called an advanced shot. If hit correctly, it won’t leave enough time for the opponent to recover. The racket-side you are hitting the ball with, needs to face down (‘closed racket’), while you’re coming down with a swing bellow the ball, and then hitting it vertically at chest-shoulder height. Once you hit the ball, the arm relaxes across the body, and the racket head finishes around the neck. Players make mistakes by rolling the ball instead relaxing the arm after the contact, or by lowering the elbow and opening the racket, or by hitting the ball horizontally, which won’t create a proper topspin to keep the ball in the court. Body position is also important, as you’ll need to be in an open or at least semi-open stance while approaching the ball, and you’ll need to make sure you are transferring your weight on the back foot.
4. Jumping Backhand
The name says it all - Jumping Backhand means jumping in the air and hitting the ball with full power with the backhand stroke. The shot is performed when you don’t want to go back and hit the ball defensively, but to go out there with confidence and hit it aggressively. As mentioned earlier, this shot is less difficult for the two-handed than for the one-handed players, because of the leverage, however, it does require a certain level of athleticism to be performed with acceptable and safe effort. The timing is everything with this shot, as it has to be perfect. If you are a right-two-handed player, you’ll need to jump on your right left (opposite of what we do in basketball, for example), raise your left knee and hit the ball on its highest spot, while landing on the same foot. If you are a one-handed player, you’ll need to push yourself off the ground with your right foot and land scissor-kicking the left leg behind first, and then with the right leg in front. Otherwise, you’ll fall over. Either way, the jumping backhand requires a lot of practice, as it requires power to push yourself of the ground on one foot, coordination and strong a core.
Dives are difficult shots, dangerous, even, as players can injure themselves quite easily. Even the king of acrobatics, Gael Monfils, ended up hurt after throwing himself on a hard court. But, as he said in an interview during the Australian Open last year, to him, dive is an instinct, something that comes natural to him – he sees the ball and he jumps. You need the will to move and determination not to give up, to do everything you can to return the ball back in the opponent’s field, and for some, especially those weekend warriors, dive is not on the menu. Others, perhaps, have the will, but they are aware that jumping is just the first element of a dive, and that what comes up, must come down. You need to know how to land without hurting yourself, and that’s the difficult part. Quickly getting up after you hit the ground and continue to defend yourself or to attack (unless you scored a point) deserves a round of applause.