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Tennis Coach's Corner

Tennis Tip

Presented by Paul and Kathy Settles, Co-Directors
Nike Tennis Camp at Claremont McKenna College

A New Approach to the Approach Shot by Paul and Kathy Settles

New approach to approach shot forehand

Below is Paul and Kathy Settles' take on a new way to hit the approach shot.

"Most of what has been taught about the approach shot has focused on the positioning of the player hitting the approach. Ideally, the approach will be hit up the line so that the player approaching can cover his line and also move to the center of the court comfortably to cut off the cross-court passing shot.

I would like to suggest that we flip this equation, and instead consider the position of the player receiving the approach and hitting the passing shot. At the 2020 US Open, I observed a few top players who hit their approach shots cross-court instead of up the line, and right at their opponents, forcing them to move out of the way of the ball in order to hit a passing shot. When the approach shot was delivered deep in the court, the receiving player had a difficult time changing direction with the passing shot and usually left the ball in the middle of the court for a relatively easy put-away volley.

So, the next time you take the court, re-think the approach shot in the way some of the top pros are, by hitting cross-court deep, at your opponent. You may be surprised at the effectiveness of your approach and the type of volley you receive to finish the point!"

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