Remember, from the stand point of simple geometry, approaching down the line is usually
the best way to go when you get a short ball in singles. Having said that, there are no
absolutes in tennis. If your opponent has a noticeably weaker side (forehand or backhand),
you might be better off approaching cross court to that weakness. Also, if your opponent is
already positioned to the down the line side, it might make sense to approach cross court
to hit away from them.
From the Baseline, Keep the Ball Deep
The first part of our basic singles strategy is to keep your opponent away from the net. Hitting
the ball at least past your opponent’s service line will keep you opponent back. As we’ve discussed,
the easiest way to hit the ball deep is to aim high over the net: you remove the danger of losing the
rally by hitting the net, and you don’t have to swing hard to successfully keep your opponent on her heels.
The second part of our basic strategy is approaching the net when our opponent coughs up a short ball.
Presented with a short ball, you should: move in, hit an approach shot (down the line), keep moving in,
and Split Step as your opponent strikes the ball. The split step gives you a chance to
hit the first volley from a stable stance, and if you are lobbed, you won’t be fighting forward momentum to
After the first volley, look to move even closer to the net if the last volley was effective. The closer
you are to the net, the easier it is to hit a winning
Serve and return work soon is coming soon!
Tips Provided by Benton Camper, Owner of the
Nassau Tennis Club.