The game of tennis has evolved into a power struggle, with both players often trying to hit their shots through the opponent.
An underused strategy is to hit the ball up in front of your opponent so that they have to deal with a short, low ball while moving forward. This strategy is especially effective when players are standing double digit feet behind the baseline. Use the short and wide serve, the short and low return of serve, and even the short low groundstroke, or volley, to make your opponent feel like the court is even larger than it is.
Starting with a deep hard hit ball will also make the intentional short ball even more effective. A low, short slice is one of Roger Federer's best shots and often catches his opponents on their back foot and struggling just to get their racquet on the ball.
Think about making contact early with a little shorter backswing, as well as flattening out the shot to maximize the effect of your intentional short shot.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323