This month’s tip is about the approach shot.
The approach shot is quickly disappearing from the pro game, but still has relevance in the game for the club players. The days of the serve and volleyer or net rusher are almost gone from the game of tennis. Even Roger Federer has changed his game from when he was a 19 year old beating Pete Sampras at Wimbledon. For the club player however, the approach shot is still a major part of the game. We are always teaching to keep the ball deep in the court. The reason for this is so you will get a short ball and move in to the net. After all, it’s easier to win points the closer to the net you get.
When we get that short ball, two things can happen: We try to hit a winner, or hit a normal groundstroke and retreat to the baseline. The approach shot is often overlooked because of what we see on tv. We should hit the approach shot with some underspin so the ball stays low and forces your opponent to hit up, making your volley easier to hit. Also, the ball won’t travel as fast so you can get closer to the net.
From now on, after we hit our deep groundstrokes and get that short ball, get to the ball quickly, hit it with underspin down the line, follow it to the net and put the volley away. Essentially it’s a two shot winner, the approach and the volley.