A common mistake singles players make is to always
hit all their first volleys into the open court. This sounds
like the correct thing to do but strategically there are
other options. Lets say you hit a serve and follow it to
the net. Lets also assume your opponent is lucky enough to
get a low return down the line. If your target is cross
court you have to get down and hit up to the side of the
court your opponent and yourself are not. The problem is
that while you are down hitting the volley, your opponent is
hurrying over to cover the open court. That means he will
probably get to that volley you hit faster than you can cover
the opposite side of the court. So in this situation,
hitting into the open court has actually set your opponent
up for a winner.
If you take that type of volley down the line or to
the middle of the court, you will already have the next shot
covered. Of course going down the line requires greater net
clearance so you have to remember to bend your knees and open
your racquet face a little more.
Now if your opponent had floated you a nice high
volley you that you can hit aggressively, you can probably
hit a forceful offensive shot cross court. Hopefully your
shot will be a winner or at least good enough to keep your
opponent from having a good passing shot attempt. Placing
volleys down the line can also catch your opponent off
guard by hitting behind them.
So the next time you are playing your Patrick Rafter
game, remember to try hitting only your put away volleys
cross court. Its a nice little game plan to try and see if
it helps your serve and volley game. You might find you
have more in common with the Aussie than you thought!