Depth of groundstrokes

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Yoel Beaucaire, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Yoel Beaucaire

    Yoel Beaucaire New User

    Nov 11, 2013
    This is my first post on TT, so hello to everybody here! :)

    I was watching Federer in the WTF finals and I thought once more that he hits the majority of his groundstrokes really short. Most of them seem to land around the service line and quite often in the service box, even when its just a groundstroke down the middle.

    My first question is: how does he and a lot of other ATP players (Nadal, Murray) get away with this so often? Even when Delpo played him, who can punish a shorter ball for sure, he didn't step in or anything but just waited a little longer (with lots of time to step in it seemed). It would seem to me that, even though Federer can create a lot of spin with his FH, a ball that falls in the service box down the middle would be a good ball for any player to just step in, take it early and try to hit a winner - consistently.

    Here are some vids that show it to some extend:
  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Jul 24, 2009
    They aren't hitting most of their shots short, but many of the ones that do land short have such topspin on them that they are still penetrating the court. Also, the top guys have such great defending capabilities that they can get away with leaving a ball or two short.
  3. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Feb 11, 2011
    I once made a statistic over that in a nadal/Fed match over a whole set.

    Actually about 60-70% of their groundies landed about 4-5 feet longer than the service line or shorter. most would land maybe 3 feet longer than service line.

    I was asuming that players would hit the majority within maybe 5 feet of the BASELINE but actually in that set that happened only like 15% of the time for both players.

    of course there are short angles and passing shots which should land short but even most of their DTL shots would land closer to the service line than baseline.

    it seems like pros are not trying to paint the baseline consistently. it even seems like WTA players play deeper on average sometimes than the ATP pros. djokovic seems to play deeper on average than Fed and nadal though.
  4. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Jun 14, 2004
    I would say that depth was a key part for Djokovic in controlling Nadal at the WTF match.
  5. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

    Jul 8, 2006
    Cluj-Napoca, Romania
    They "get away with it" due to the time factor...even when they hit shorter, they hit it with pace and spin, and earlier than "hobby players".
    That means the "other guy" is not not in ideal position for some of those "shorter" balls...and hence can't really punish them, but just "rally ball it back".
    If they hit weak/floaty shots in the same locations it is point over in 9 out of 10 cases.
  6. ForehandReverb

    ForehandReverb New User

    Oct 20, 2013
    The camera angle at the WTF is a bit different and makes the court seem shorter. The space between service line and baseline looks very small. But of course the pros hit a lot of shortish balls and they get away with it because they put action on the ball like others said. Nadal hits even shorter on average IMO.
  7. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Mar 2, 2012
    They "get away with it" sometimes, but I still think that pros strive to get their shots beyond the service line as often as they can. Unless they are going for an extreme angle, where hitting short benefits their tactic, then I think any short ball on or around the service line you see, is a mistake.

    They get away with it, but they'd prefer not to have to worry about it. Same with weekend hackers, really.

    If you watch any pro rally, count how many times the victor of the rally hit the ball beyond the service line. 9 times out of 10, he hit the ball at least 1 more time past the service line than the other guy.
  8. BIGJ98

    BIGJ98 Rookie

    Feb 8, 2013
    Southern California
    At a higher level it is better miss short on topspin because the ball still penetrates the court. If you hit heavy topspin a foot from the baseline the other guy will have an easier time taking it on the rise and smash it. The short ball allows your topspin to keep the guy back.
  9. mightyrick

    mightyrick Legend

    Aug 19, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Depth isn't everything.

    One tactic that I have incorporated in my game that I have seen a lot of professionals use is taking the pace off the ball for an opponent who camps behind the baseline.

    Djokovic is guilty of camping by the baseline A LOT... and I have seen him get burned on it by opponents who excel at hitting very short topspin rally shots -- namely Federer and Murray. Nadal really can't shorten it up because he hits so loopy that his short balls turn into easy sitters.

    But for guys who hit flatter, taking the pace off of a rally ball will force your opponent to lunge forward reaching for a ball. An effective low-pace topspin shot to your opponent during a rally can draw a lot of easy sitters/pop-ups.
  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Mar 31, 2008
    Welcome to TT.... here is a thread you may like that relates to your question....

    Imo and in short, the key to the modern game seems to hit good pace & directon, with enough spin to bring the ball down soon after the svc line. That would be fairly short by old standards and IS STILL short if you leave it there softly.....but with good direction and pace, there is no time for the opponent to position to attack before the ball gets to the BL.

    This has many benefits and few downsides. These balls bouncing just past the svc line give you good margin for error if the ball carries a bit on you and sets a very versatile shot as your standard. This same shot is great for angles, passing shots, and hitting to wide open court with little risk of missing.

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