Thursday, 13 October 2016

Tennis: Players and their Shots

Tennis is a sport of shot-making. A better shot-maker makes a better and successful player. We look at the shots and the players who play them the best.

The Serve

Ivo Karlovic

Serve is the only shot a player has under his control. Other shots are more of a reflex according to situations. When it comes to serving, the player who stands out is Ivo Karlovic. Standing at 6’11’’, the Croat is nicknamed Dr. Ivo on the circuit and has established himself as one of the best in the history, when servers are considered. At 37 years of age, the Croat defies all obstacles and continues to play the sport he has given so much to. Karlovic announced his arrival when he beat defending champion Lleyton Hewitt at 2003 Wimbledon Championships in his first ever Grand Slam contest.

Also, he is only the second player to serve 10,000 aces or more in his career.

Other contenders: Milos Raonic, John Isner, Roger Federer

The Forehand

Roger Federer

For many players, the forehand is the go-to shot just after the serve. The forehand helps to set up the point for the player and allows him to dictate rallies. Roger Federer knows how to win matches when his forehand fires. With probably the most precise serve on the tour, Federer mostly follows up with his nuclear forehand. A shot which has taken the Swiss to 88 career titles including 17 majors, millions in prize money and worldwide accreditation, disrupts the opponent’s rhythm and takes time away from him. American legend Pete Sampras once described “forehand” as the most important shot for a player and labelled Federer’s forehand as the best on the planet.

A player should have a deep and penetrating forehand. Roger’s forehand is the best, said Sampras, himself a holder of 14 Slam titles.

Other contenders: Juan Martin Del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Rafael Nadal

The Backhand (Double Handed)

Novak Djokovic

A double handed backhand allows the player more control, precision, accuracy, and power on the shot. Novak Djokovic’s unbelievable success in the past couple of years can be totally attributed to this shot. Between 2012 and 2014, Djokovic won 3 Grand Slam finals but lost 5, the reason being his unlively backhand. With the addition of Boris Becker to his coaching staff and a lot of hard work put, especially into his backhand, the Serb reached 7 out of 8 Slam finals and winning 5 of those. The Serb’s solid game play is mainly built around his backhand.

The backhand return pushes the opponent deep into the baseline and ropes him into a defensive position for the Serb to pounce and attack.

Other contenders: Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych

The Backhand (Single handed)

Stan Wawrinka

A single handed backhand is probably the toughest routine shot in tennis. Swiss Stan Wawrinka deserves all credits for his version of the Single hander. Often called the Stanimal among the fellow players and the fans, the Swiss star is known for his brutal attacking baseline game, with the backhand delivering the final punch in most of the rallies. Wawrinka has beaten all members of the Big Four in Grand Slams, including three victories over Djokovic and solitary victories over the other three. Wawrinka’s counter-punches his opponent’s stronghold on the rallies, with the backhand, either finishing the rally or changing its course.

The shot has helped the Swiss star to win 11 finals in a row, including 3 Grand Slams.

Other contenders: Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet, Dominic Thiem

The Drop Shot

Roger Federer

There is no doubt in mentioning Roger Federer’s name on the top of the list of best drop-shot players.

Federer’s drop shot stays low and comes as a complete surprise to the opponent. With proper backspin on the shot, Federer draws his opponent out of his comfort zone to strike a stinging blow.

Also, the Swiss is probably the best player of drop volley as well, with him using it majorly in the 2012 Wimbledon final.

Other contenders: Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic

The Slice

Roger Federer

Once again, Federer tops the list. His backhand slice is not only a defensive shot but an offensive too.

With his slice, Federer can control the pace of the ball, draw the opponent into the net, force him to play defensive and get an upper hand in the rally. Federer uses his slice in almost all his matches, especially when other things don’t seem to work.

Federer’s slice is thick and keeps the ball extremely low, setting him up for a backhand down-the-line.

Other contenders: Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

The Lob

Andy Murray

A perfectly executed lob can quickly turn a point in the favor of the defender, with the opponent either giving in or the rally turning against him.

Andy Murray is probably the second best defender after Djokovic in the men’s game today.

But when it comes to lobbing a threatening opponent at the net, Murray stands tall.

Other contenders: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer (slice-lob)

Coming Soon-  A look at some of the best playing attributes of players, including mental strength, physical bearing, focus, motivation and more.

Written by Mayank Sharma
A third year Engineering student at Delhi Technological University. An avid tennis fan and a die hard fan of Roger Federer. Loves writing articles on Tennis and developing Web pages.

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