When you’re a beginner playing tennis, usually, your main objective is very simple: to get the ball on the other side of the court. We’ve all been beginners at one point.
But once a player starts to feel more comfortable on the court and the shots begin to come more naturally, that’s when the fun can really begin.
Once you get your basic shots down, you then have the allowance to play around a little more and try out some of the oldest tennis moves in the book. How many of these pro-level tennis shots have you been able to make?
The perfect ace
Let’s start off with the ace.
An ace in tennis refers to a legal serve that your opponent cannot get to. Essentially, hitting an ace gets you a point without needing to return any more shots.
Getting your serve in tennis is not an easy feat. In fact, most beginners don’t serve the ball from overhead until later on because when you’re starting out, it can just be a real challenge getting it within the right limits.
But once you get comfortable serving, you can start working towards the ace. It’s a killer when done right, and if you’re like Emma Raducanu, it can even win you the entire match.
Just watch how stealthily Emma took her the US Open championship with that ace. It looks like an easy way to get a point, but there is more than what meets the eye.
The drop shot
The drop shot is one of the most fun to watch the pros nail. One of the players who execute drop shots well almost every time is Novak Djokovic.
A drop shot refers to a gentle shot that sends the ball just over the net, as Djokovic has perfected in this video from the US Open.
The drop shot takes a while to nail the drop shot, especially for beginners. This is usually because drop shots, as we said, are done with gentle hits, and most beginners usually focus on finding their power.
For this, a player needs to strike a balance between enough power to get it over the net, but not too much that it goes any further than that.
Keeping the ball close to the net is what will have your opponent sprinting after that ball.
And just like the ace, though it is so smooth to watch, don’t let the pros deceive you.
When you’re watching a tennis match, the back-and-forth rallies usually have a rhythm to them. Hit, bounce, hit, bounce. You can hear it in your head, right?
A volley is meant to derail that rhythm.
Volleys refer to return shots that players take before the ball bounces. Watch Serena Williams here take the volley for the point.
Volley shots usually fall closer to the net, so similar to a drop shot, it’ll surprise your opponent and have them running to chase it. Notice here how the opponent just couldn’t reach it in time.
Volleys require precision though. It’s much harder to hit a ball at full speed versus when it’s coming at you from a bounce. But, as the video shows you, having it in your back pocket can make you an unpredictable opponent.
The slice is subtle, but it’s killer (the name suits it well, doesn’t it?).
A slice refers to a shot taken by literally slicing your racket in a quick, downward motion. Watch how Rafa Nadal nails it. You may need to repeat it a few times to notice—that’s how subtle it can be.
But it isn’t just for style points—slices are used strategically. When you hit a ball with that same downward motion, it forces the ball to spin back in your direction, causing the ball to stay low.
If your ball stays low as you want it to, your opponent will be challenged to try to return it back with power. Or, they just won’t return it at all. We prefer the latter.
Balls hit by slices also travel slower, so you can also use the slice to buy yourself a little more time to get to an optimal position for your next shot.
If you’ve mastered the slice, we bow down to you. It’s one of the killer tennis moves.
The one-handed backhand
Finally, we have to mention the one-handed backhand, one of the most challenging tennis moves. If this is one of your specialties, consider us impressed.
The one-handed backhand is one of the hardest moves to achieve because, for most beginners, coaches and trainers will have players perform a two-handed backhand.
In fact, Novak Djokovic himself prefers the two-hander, and he isn’t alone. Fewer players, even among the pros, are using the two-handed backhand nowadays. This is because the two-handed backhand is better for stability, control, and power.
But the one-handed backhand has its perks too. It’s easier to volley and slice from a backhand position with one hand. And plus, it looks suave.
This move in particular is not one you need in your arsenal, especially if your two-handed backhand is getting you where you need to be.
But, only a few players can do it to perfection, making it somewhat of a rarity like Roger Federer, who is known for this move.
So if you wanna perfect this move, tips from Federer are tips from the best.
So of all the tennis moves, tell us, which ones do you currently have in your arsenal? And which ones are you hoping to add to your skillset next?