Is hitting deep really that important?

He was a tough opponent, right?
Definitely. My other 2 league matches were 3rd set TBs. But his game clearly has taken a quantum leap [he won 3&1, although I did manage to win a TB 10-6 as the light was fading].

I'm a mid-4.5; he looks to me like he's on the verge of 5.0.
 

Curious

Legend
Definitely. My other 2 league matches were 3rd set TBs. But his game clearly has taken a quantum leap [he won 3&1, although I did manage to win a TB 10-6 as the light was fading].

I'm a mid-4.5; he looks to me like he's on the verge of 5.0.
I’m obviously not good enough to make a lot of comments for your level but can’t help but ask still: do you feel like you need more power especially on the serve? Is that likely to bring you the next level?
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Hitting deep is important but you can hit deep with a safe margin if you can generate a lot of top.

I was hitting too deep, IMO. My shots were 2 feet inside the line rather often, but it's very tough to hit like that an entire match. I now aim between the service box and baseline, and that has helped my consistency.
 

zaph

Professional
The OP has a point. I'm a pusher, which means I like playing on the defensive and I'm fast. A player who hits the ball deep to me is my dream opponent. I don't have to move front to back, I can spend all day moving laterally. They are also giving me more court to hit into and that reduces my chances of missing.

Unless my opponent can use their deeper shots to move up the court and hit a shorter angle. They will lose the point because they will miss before I do.
 
I think more important than bouncing depth is depth of the second apex after the bounce.

It is somewhat related but the closer to the fence the apex of the ball is after the bounce the more it pushes the opponent back because hitting on the rise consistently every ball is very hard.

This is influenced by bounce depth but also trajectory, hitting speed and spin.

Nadal doesn't always hit super deep but because of the spin and power his second bounce is really far and the apex far behind the baseline.

In the other hand you can also a deep but slow and spinless shot which sits up and has its apex only a meter behind the baseline and that shot will not force anybody back.
 
I’m obviously not good enough to make a lot of comments for your level but can’t help but ask still: do you feel like you need more power especially on the serve? Is that likely to bring you the next level?
It's a fair question. My serve is mediocre and definitely could use improvement.

However, I'd rate 1st serve % and placement above power.
 

Curious

Legend
I think more important than bouncing depth is depth of the second apex after the bounce.

It is somewhat related but the closer to the fence the apex of the ball is after the bounce the more it pushes the opponent back because hitting on the rise consistently every ball is very hard.

This is influenced by bounce depth but also trajectory, hitting speed and spin.

Nadal doesn't always hit super deep but because of the spin and power his second bounce is really far and the apex far behind the baseline.

In the other hand you can also a deep but slow and spinless shot which sits up and has its apex only a meter behind the baseline and that shot will not force anybody back.
Good point but even a spinless deep moonball can have an apex far behind the baseline which is bloody annoying to deal with.
 

Vanhalen

Professional
I've done three hitting sessions recently, and it seems like it's a big difference when you focus on deep shots.
Forget about speed, hitting deep allows you to focus on early preparation, movement, and exaggerating the follow-through. Result: more topspin. 3-4 metres above the net also means that on those rare occasions when I play doubles, I don't set up my partner for a smash in the face.

It seems the height/depth combo gives the ball pace, while the conscious focus on finishing adds topspin.
Has anyone else got any input/advice on this topic?
You responded to a thread from 2007!!!!!

The OP has been gone for over 8 years.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
The majority of the pro’s shots land closer to the service line than they do to the baseline, look at any shot chart of a pro match and very few shots are close to the baseline.
Yea, you're right and they are also busting the cover off the ball and most rec players end up setting up their opponents if they land their shots around the service line. Pros hit so hard and generally with so much topspin they get penetration through the court even when their shot lands closer to the service line than the baseline. Even decent 4.5 level rec players don't have that much spin or power. Ask yourself what would you like to play against, a ball that is deep or a ball that is short? I much prefer my opponent to land their ball around my service line than close to my baseline. It isn't even close for me.
 

NLBwell

Legend
I was looking at a couple of Djokovic/Murray matches in-depth (pun) a couple of years ago. What I found was the the first one who hit short - the ball landing in front of the service line - almost always lost the point. The point may have gone on for several more shots but the one who received the short ball was able to step in closer and be more aggressive - putting the other player on the run. The one who received the short ball had more options, and could then hit more forcefully with more angles open to him. It may have taken 2 or 3 more shots to win the point but it was rare that the one who hit the first short ball won the point.
Once Murray or Djokovic got the advantage in the point, they would slowly strangle the other player, not try to kill him off in one shot.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Yea, you're right and they are also busting the cover off the ball and most rec players end up setting up their opponents if they land their shots around the service line. Pros hit so hard and generally with so much topspin they get penetration through the court even when their shot lands closer to the service line than the baseline. Even decent 4.5 level rec players don't have that much spin or power. Ask yourself what would you like to play against, a ball that is deep or a ball that is short? I much prefer my opponent to land their ball around my service line than close to my baseline. It isn't even close for me.
If a rec player can hit deep with pretty good consistency then yes it’s effective. The problem is most rec players can end up hitting too many long if trying to hit deep all the time.
 
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RajS

Semi-Pro
If the short ball landing near the service line comes at you like a kick serve (and it does in higher level tennis), it will be as effective as a deep ball I guess since you will be contacting heavy spin in an awkward hitting zone. Deep balls are great, of course, but if you are standing a few feet behind the baseline at least you can hit it defensively in a comfortable hitting zone, albeit on the rise (which is a bread and butter stroke in higher level tennis). As a rec player, I prefer to receive a no pace short ball bouncing about waist high...
 

Dragy

Legend
Ask yourself what would you like to play against, a ball that is deep or a ball that is short?
I would be quite ok with my opponent trying to land every ball couple of feet in front of the BL. I believe that would end in my favor more than not.
 

socallefty

Legend
Most rec players hit at a pace and with a topspin rpm that is comfortable for their equal-level opponents to handle in a neutral-ball rally - therefore, we have to hit deep consistently or have to create space and then hit into that space to change a neutral rally into a positive rally in our favor. However, if you can hit with enough pace or enough topspin where it bothers your opponent on neutral shots, then you don’t have to worry about hitting deep all the time. The ‘holy grail’ is having enough pace and enough topspin where both bother your opponent - usually those kind of players are one or two levels higher than their opponent if that is the case.

I once played against a high-level, tall (6’5”) German heavy top-spinning baseliner on a clay court - he said that he trained at an academy run by a former German Davis Cup captain and I would guess his equivalent NTRP level would be 5.0+. His rally balls were as hard as the hardest shots of my usual opponents and had enough topspin where he would land the ball just deeper than my service line and it would be over my shoulder at the baseline and well over my head a couple of feet behind the baseline. My only chance to rally with him was to stand 10 feet behind the baseline and wait for the ball to drop into my hitting zone - but, then he hit short angles with heavy spin to run me off the court laterally within a few shots. Suffice it to say that he did not have to worry about depth when he played me - in fact when he hit shorter, the ball bounced even higher and still had enough pace to bother me. It gave me an appreciation for the way that very high-level players play as he had a huge 1st serve and very high kick on his 2nd serve also.
 
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Cashman

Hall of Fame
You are also greatly increasing your chance of making errors by hitting deep.
There’s a difference between hitting deep and painting the baseline. Deep shots do not have to involve substantial risk, especially when hit with a lot of topspin. A lot of it is about where the ball’s trajectory peaks after the bounce.

If you are hitting solid, consistently deep shots the advantage you get from depriving your opponent of good court geometry dwarfs any marginal increase in risk.
 

nyta2

Professional
When you are hitting deep are you actually making it easier for pushers to get to the ball? Are you not making use of the entire court to your advantage? Wouldn't a medium-paced sharp-angled short ball more deadly for pushers than a deep ball with a lot of pace?
personally if i'm hugging the baseline, i don't like having to half volley deep balls, so i'll naturally move back 2-4ft... which then makes me more susceptible to the sharp angle short ball if i happen to hit short..
 
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