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What Is The Hardest Shot In Tennis?

Tennis is a physically demanding sport where a player must consistently maintain focus to hit shots with precision and accuracy. Some shots in tennis are a lot easier to hit compared to others. But at some point, every tennis player is forced to execute difficult shots during a match. Even with much practice, some shots are never easy to hit.

Professional and amateur tennis players have different opinions regarding the hardest shot in tennis. However, there are several shots that players agree are the hardest to hit. These include the backhand smash, the tweener, the drop shot, the serve, and the Sabr shot.

Throughout a tennis match, players must be able to hit various shots. If a player cannot hit a certain shot, the opponent can exploit that weakness. However, in tennis, some shots are incredibly hard to master, so much so that even professional players struggle to hit them successfully. So, what is the hardest shot in tennis?

The Hardest Shots In Tennis  

Every player has a different opinion regarding tennis’s hardest shot. Professionals and amateurs have their strengths and weaknesses, determining what kind of shot they are likely to state as the hardest shot. 

For instance, a player who hits backhand volleys well may not struggle as much when hitting a backhand smash as a player who favors forehands over backhands. 

However, just because there is no single agreed-upon hardest shot in tennis does not mean that players find that some shots are much harder than others. Let us look at what players find to be the hardest shots in the sport of tennis.

The Backhand Smash Is One Of The Hardest Tennis Shots

The backhand smash fully deserves to be on the list of the hardest (and most elegant) shots in tennis and is perhaps the hardest one of them all. Though Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal can make it look effortless to pull off this shot, the reality is that it takes a great tennis player to master it. 

Players are usually forced to hit a backhand smash when opponents lob them. As the ball travels over the player’s head, they can choose between running after it to hit it after the bounce or take it as a smashing volley. 

When it is a well-hit lob, the player does not have time to move to a forehand smash position and is forced to go for the backhand smash. 

The rarity of this shot is probably one of the main reasons players struggle with it the most, as it is not necessarily a shot often practiced on the tennis court. In addition, it is difficult to generate power from that awkward position, and the timing of the jump and flick of the wrist needs to be perfect. 

The Tweener In Tennis Is Hard To Pull Off

Perhaps the tweener is the most spectacular shot in tennis that always gets a strong reaction from the crowd. Perhaps the most famous tweener shot (hitting the ball in between one’s legs) is Roger Federer’s at the 2009 US Open in his semi-final against Novak Djokovic. 

Players usually hit a tweener when they get lobbed by their opponent and choose to hit the ball between their legs as they reach it by the baseline. Sometimes players try to pass their opponent like Federer at the US Open, while other times, it is better and easier to lob them with the tweener as Nadal did at the 2011 Madrid Open.

Over the years, the tweener has gained popularity, with more and more players giving it a try on the tennis tour, but it does not always go their way. Sometimes, even when players have the time to run around the ball to hit a forehand or backhand, they purposefully choose to go for the tweener to show off.

Players can also hit tweeners when they are facing their opponents. Those tweeners are usually hit when the player is caught off guard and has not had the time to adjust their footwork. A good example of such a tweener is Roger Federer in Doha in 2011 and Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon in 2010. These are also extremely challenging to execute, as it requires quick thinking and good balance.

The Perfect Dropshot Is Hard To Hit In Tennis

Unlike the backhand smash and the tweener, players regularly hit drop shots. Despite this, hitting a drop shot is a risky tactic as it is a challenging shot to pull off. Some players can hit amazing drop shots even when under the highest pressure. Here is a video of Fernando Verdasco hitting a perfect drop shot under pressure. 

The drop shot is risky and difficult to execute because if it is not short enough, the opponent can get to it comfortably and hit a good shot that puts the player in a difficult position. 

The Serve Is One Of The Hardest Tennis Shots

It may surprise some, but the tennis serve deserves to have its place among considerations of hard tennis shots. It is a crucial shot that every player is required to execute, even when under pressure. Players that can serve well consistently while under pressure are better equipped to win matches.

Serving in tennis is difficult for a variety of reasons. For one, the player is required to get the ball to land in a smaller target area. In addition, they must hit the ball at a decent place and angle so that the opponent cannot hit a good return to give them an advantage, putting them under more pressure. 

Professional players train their serves for hours, which enables them to choke less under pressure. However, amateur players will regularly hit double faults, showcasing how difficult it is to maintain a good serve. 

In truth, with enough practice, performing a service is not as difficult as some other shots. Nevertheless, the strong psychological aspect of serving requires good mental strength. Every point begins with serving, which sets the dynamic of the exchange. In tennis, players need to have a good start in the rally, thus needing a good serve.

The SABR Shot Is Hard To Master In Tennis

The SABR, known as the Sneak Attack By Roger, is a shot named after Roger Federer. At the Cincinnati Open in 2015, The Swiss player occasionally charged the service line as the opponent was serving. Federer would hit a half volley that would catch the opponent off guard.

Half the time, the SABR was unsuccessful as it would either go out straight away or not be a good enough shot to put the opponent at unease. When the shot did work, the point would end quickly in favor of Federer, who would hit a volley winner.

The SABR is a hard shot, requiring a player to charge the opponent’s fast serve.


There are multiple hard shots in tennis. Some players find some shots more difficult, while others have different opinions. Generally, the hardest shots are the backhand smash, the drop shot, the serve, the tweener, and the SABR.


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