How should you respond to a drop shot?

These days, tennis is mostly played from the baseline. Because of that players spend most of their time practicing their groundstrokes, serves & returns. The modern game of tennis seems to get less and less surprising, with very little variety. Most players hit the ball hard from the baseline trying to force their opponents to make a mistake. The drop shot is not mastered by many players but mostly higher skilled players are able to hit them. It´s your job to be prepared for a drop shot whenever they decide to play one!

Because of this style of play, many players don´t feel comfortable closer to the net, they run to catch the drop shot but they don’t understand how to respond to a ball that bounces really close to the net. They don’t feel comfortable in this area of the court and they are not aware of the options they have from this position.

However, if you want to become a better tennis player, you should be able to play effectively against different game styles that your opponent might use. The drop shot should be one of them! Obviously on clay you will receive more drop shots compared to when you play on hard courts. However, it will be good for every player that wants to improve his game to understand what to do in this situation, regardless on what court surface you always play.

To improve your response to drop shots, understanding what your tactical possibilities are is key. Combine this with practicing these skills in your training sessions and you will be prepared to win every drop shot point.

Djokovic catching a drop shot
PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 29: Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during his Men’s Singles first round match against Mikael Ymer of Sweden on day three of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on September 29, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

So what are your options when you receive a drop shot?

Hit a counter drop shot

This is a great option when your opponent stays far back behind the baseline. If you are able to surprise your opponent hitting a counter dropshot can be an easy winner, all you have to do is just touch the ball and let it drop down right behind the net. Easier said than done though 🙂

Hit the ball towards your opponent´s feet

This could be a great tactical solution if your opponent steps a bit into the court after hitting his drop shot. In this situation, by trying to hit the ball towards your opponent´s feet you will force them to hit the ball up (let me explain why).

Often your opponent will be waiting holding the racquet in the continental grip, combine that with very little reaction time. This will result in them hitting the ball upwards with little to no power. That´s great news for you, easy finish!

Hitting the ball deep down the line

A deep shot down the line respons on a drop shot is a great tactical option. Placing the ball into the corner in straight line gives benefits from three perspectives:

  1. When hitting the ball deep down the line, you have time to take a proper position at the net and hit a winning shot on the next on is this shot is not a winner yet.
  2. If your shot is not a winner, hitting the ball down the doesn´t give your opponent much of an angle compared to a cross court shot. Which will give them less option to pass you.
  3. Your opponent will have a really difficult job to respond and hit an effective passing shot when you take a proper position at the net.

Hitting the ball cross court (only if you can finish the point)

If you want to hit the ball cross court, you have to hit a winner or atleast a very difficult to catch shot for your opponent. If not, your opponent will have an open field to hit an easy passing shot.


Now you´ve read this article, you understand what are the best tactical options to respond to a drop shot. It depends on the situation which option will be best for that particular drop shot, try to choose wisely.

As mentioned before, it´s key to understand many different scenarios of the game of tennis, now you can add one to your list 🙂

If you want to learn more about there drop shot, HERE: is an article which will help you to understand when it´s a great time to hit a drop shot. Wisely timed drop shots can win you easy points.

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