Originally Posted by Limpinhitter
I can't dispute your perception of net clearance. I'm just saying that Vic Braden claims to have done studies on net clearance by pros and asserts that it is much higher than it appears to be by most observers. I agree that it looks like 3 feet is a typical high clearance. But, that's a perception. On the other hand, I've spent a lot of time hitting on a backboard and I like to put a strip of blue painter's tape on the wall as a target. I place the tape as high as I can reach, which is about 7 1/2 feet (4 1/2 feet over the net). But, when I step back and start hitting, that tape seems like it's 4-5 feet high (1-2 feet over the net). All this to say that perceptions from a distance can be deceiving, even at ground level.
These were all just visually confirmed, but I was sitting almost on top of the net at a few matches. The only balls I can describe the net clearance with great precision were those that ticked the tape.
The takeaway from watching the pros was that lower level players who don't blast the balls should usually hit topspin with net clearance between 3 to 6' over the net. For instance, I watched Cilic warming up during practice hitting balls down the middle. The slower warmup balls were crossing between 3 to 6' over the net. As the warmup progressed, they started hitting harder and harder and the net clearance diminished.