Flattening out very high balls by changing racket face angle or swing path?

It is better to flatten out balls that bounce above your head by

  • Changing your racket face angle and keeping swing path the same

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • Changing your swing path and keeping racket face angle the same

    Votes: 8 88.9%

  • Total voters


If you have a ball that is approaching you such that contact will be made at head height or above, and you want to flatten this ball out for a winner, should you change your swing path or swing in the same swing path as usual, but make a micro-adjustment to the racket face angle (make it slightly more closed), such that the ball will fly low over the net and give your opponent less time to track it down?

It is possible to swing in a very steep low-to-high plane, and still get a ball that flies low over the net if your racket face angle is closed, isn't it? Almagro seems to accomplish this on his backhand all the time, as it looks a very upwards, whipping stroke, yet the ball seems to fly as flat as an arrow off it.

My concern with changing the swing path in order to flatten out very high balls is that firstly, it may mess up muscle-memory if you have too many different swing paths, and also if you're swinging in a flat plane, the swing needs to start at a similar height to the height the ball will be at contact. If the ball will be at or above head height at contact, it does not feel at all good for the shoulder (on the backhand or the forehand) to start the swing so high up. It feels like you will run into impingement issues.

So, how would you deal with flattening out a ball which you have to make contact with at head height or above? Which approach would you take?
I would say flatter swing with more closed racket.

I think sometimes tennis players also call that stroke "slapper".


I would only do it if you are at least a couple feet into the court. behind the baseline lifting the high ball is usually more effective.

but against shorter and high ball you can use the slapper effectively. you step into the court and on the highest point you slap into into the court.

did this at TWU (5 foot high contact 6 feet into the court, 10 degree upswing, 8 degrees racket closed, 80 mph swingspeed= 97 mph FH):


On both forehands and backhands, I change my grip (to a more extreme Eastern), swing path and racquet face angle since I prefer to club the ball with a flat slice (a bit like Kim Cleijsters used to do) rather than trying to generate topspin on it. I just don't have the strength to do that.


Bionic Poster
Of course, BOTH !!
Flattening the swingpath with a barely closed face that worked for an upwards swingpath will just result in a netted ball, or a groundball.
Opening the face with a upwards swingpath just allows you to hit the backfence.


I almost never flatten out a very high ball anymore if the contact point is high. Instead, I usually return these with a topspin moonball or topspin lob. This was one adjustment I made to my game in 2013 which made a huge difference. It made me much more consistent.

Otherwise, if a moonball is coming to me and I have enough time to get into position... I will either take these on the rise after the bounce... or back up enough to let the ball drop into my wheelhouse. For me, the goal is to flattening these balls out is making contact waist-to-chest high.


Bionic Poster
Maybe I'm impatient, but when I see a high slow deep ball coming my way, my first thought is..hit a winner off it, to end this nonsense. So, I need to both flatten my swingpath with a higher backswing and lower followthru, AND square up the face of my racket to hit a fast, very little spin ball that goes fast through the court for a winner...attempt.
This shot is used all the time by the pros, used against any slow high ball.