- Drop shot
Tennis shots Forehand Backhand Serve Volley Slice Lob Smash See also: Ace Topspin Backspin Flat
A drop shot in tennis is slicing, putting a backspin on the ball just over the net. A good drop shot travels such that the opponent is unable to run fast enough to retrieve it.
A good drop shot requires great touch. The ball should bounce low and near the net, sometimes using underspin (or backspin). Often if the backspin is great enough, the bounce of the ball will be shorter, and in some extreme cases will even cause the ball to bounce back towards the net. Sidespin may also be put on the ball so it kicks sideways upon contact with the ground. A bad drop shot, however, can be chased down easily by the opponent who will then have the advantage. The secret is having "soft hands." Making one's grip slack at the moment of impact will allow the racquet to absorb more force and make the ball less powerful and less likely to bounce high. A soft drop shot is known as a dink.
The notion of skimming the net might be misleading. Keeping the ball as low as possible over the net is very useful, but the trajectory of the ball is quite "arched" and may better be thought of as a small lob.
Drop shots are good as an element of surprise, when the opponent is expecting a normal shot and is not ready to run forward to retrieve them. Therefore, a technique of hitting a drop shot is to disguise the shot.
The characteristics of some court surfaces make drop shots particularly effective; grass and clay are good examples. On grass, the ball tends to bounce lower than other courts, which makes it harder to retrieve a drop shot. On clay, the slow surface tends to encourage players to stay far back and engage in rallies from behind the baseline, which in turn increases the distance the player must cover to reach a drop shot near the net. Drop shots on hard courts can be useful, although to a lesser degree. Drop shots are also useful when the wind is blowing in the opposite direction of the shot; this allows spin without hitting the shot too long.
For many years the 1940s player Bobby Riggs was considered to have had the greatest drop shot of all time, off both his forehand and his backhand.
The drop shot became unpopular in the 1990s, but has experienced a recent popularity due to its success rate. The drop shot is most commonly used by clay court specialists, such as Rafael Nadal, Guillermo Coria, Marcos Baghdatis and Juan Carlos Ferrero. Even players who previously never opted to use the drop shot, such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt and Maria Sharapova, now occasionally execute the shot. It is a generally accepted belief that the term "drop shot" comes from its ability to make the ball "drop" right into the opponent's side of the court. Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal are known for their ability to chase down drop shots and returning them with one of their own, requiring great touch.
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