Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots
What are some examples of players' trademark shots, or shots that are unique or interesting?
It can be a strange kind of trick shot, or just really unorthodox technique, or an awesome shot that not many players can hit. Or it can just be something basic that a player does a lot of, which makes it kind of like their trademark. Basically anything that makes a player stand out.
But if you're going to mention a shot, mention what it is about it, like whether it is a technical thing rather than just something like "Safin's backhand".
There are many examples out there, but I can't be bothered writing in detail about all of them.
The more elaborate examples that I've written below fall under more the players' strengths...
The flick backhand half-volley passing shot. His opponent comes in on an approach shot right to his backhand side and Federer’s still on the forehand side of the court. He smoothly and casually strolls his way there, or so it looks and barely makes any backswing nor does he even look up, he just keeps his head still. He flicks the backhand right at the last second and directs it exactly where he wants to for a winning shot.
He's also got the short-slice backhand intended to make his opponents scoop it back up and force themselves into the net, after finding themselves in no-man’s land. Then Federer whips across an easy passing shot winner straight past them, while making his opponents feel silly and hopeless in the process.
The unusually powerful double-handed backhand crosscourt passing shot, where he swings the racquet through in a straight line making the racquet seem more like a sword, cricket bat or other similar sort of equipment. He bends his knees down incredibly low and his racquet nearly hits the ground on the initial contact. Commentators refer to it as being like a double-handed forehand.
The high loopy forehand crosscourt that he throws in to completely throw his opponent off-rhythm before throwing in the fast-paced flat forehand or backhand the next shot. Two of the most contrasting shots you could play consecutively, and Murray does it deliberately. Most players only hit change-up loopy forehands to give themselves more time to get back into the court, or either they usually hit with a fair amount of topspin as it is. But Murray uses it as a regular shot in his repertoire.
I once read someone describe Davydenko on form as like “playing on skates”. The way he sprints from side-to-side, then sets himself in position right on top of the ball each time with perfect timing, makes movement and racquet control almost synchronous with each other at contact.
I also like the strangely nice feel he has on those double-handed volley dropshots. He can’t seem to hit any other kind of effective volleys but he bends down really low and opens his racquet face right out flat, instead of at an angle like most people would. He barely moves his racquet at all, keeping it in the same position to cut under the ball making it stop dead as it bounces over the net.
The backhand crosscourt angle shot, that he throws in the middle of a neutral rally catching his opponents completely by surprise. He flicks his racquet across, using almost entirely his left wrist, with his right hand as support. Most players need to either slow the pace down when attempting a short angle, roll over it with top spin or both but Nalbandian almost does it entirely with racquet control and feel making it almost impossible to return.
David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo
The effort that they put in to make sure that they hit as many forehands as possible, even if that requires running all the way out of court, only to hit a three-quarter kind of shot, not even a near-winner or setup shot. You get the feeling that not much thought goes into whether any sort of reward will come out of doing it, but rather to follow the mindset of making everything into a forehand, as long as it's humanly possible.
He teases his opponent with a floating, mid-court ball, begging for it to be hit for as an approach shot. His opponents do exactly as they should, hitting a deep approach shot into the corner, then you can feel Monfils lighting up with excitement already anticipating the glorious running passing shot winner. He sprints over to the corner three or so metres behind the baseline, does a trademark slide and finds the down-the-line shot, just as he knew he would letting out a predictable “Allez!”.
The go-for-broke inside-out forehand, where he takes a massive backswing and you know it’s going to be big before it’s even hit. The backswing itself is intimidating itself, then he gets his footwork in position like he’s putting every ounce of energy into it knowing that he’s not going to be in position if it comes back. But that’s okay because he wants to hit an outright winner off it. I remember when Andy Roddick got back one of his “forehand bombs” in the US Open match, and Gonzalez got to it late and slapped a forehand two metres long afterwards, to essentially give up the point.
The sound that comes off his racquet after hitting a forehand. Andreev gets right under the ball, then whips right across it to send it spinning several rotations. Like the complete opposite of a cleanly struck shot.
When he’s on one of his hot streaks and you can tell how eager he is to hit his shots before he even hits them. Gasquet wants to hit glorious winners and he wants them to be spectacular. He puts in that extra hop on the backhand to make it a jumping backhand and gets right on top of that forehand. And just because he's in that kind of form, most of those winners actually come off. It even looks like he's walking quicker and more purposefully in between points than usual.
Then there are some random ones, like...
Andy Roddick’s drive backhand, how he grips his racquet with both hands together close to the middle of the handle, leaving a gap down the bottom, depriving himself of getting the full amount of power out of it.
Janko Tipsarevic, when he’s wrong-footed, going back to retrieve a shot on the backhand side, hits the ball on the other side of the racquet strings. Like a very strange kind of forehand.
Tommy Robredo’s backhand, where he sets himself up with an exaggerated backswing then whips through his backhand, in a windmill sort of motion making almost a full circular rotation. His opponents predictably kick it up high to that side on serve, and he falls backwards three metres behind in the baseline just to be able to prepare for that stroke.
Last edited by krystlel; 12-26-2008 at 10:03 AM.