The 5 Best Tennis Rackets For Doubles

The 5 Best Tennis Rackets For Doubles

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How to Improve Your Tennis Agility #1 – Hit The Breaks

For a car to lap around a track at the fastest possible time, what is the most necessary feature it needs to have? Most of us will think about the car’s power (horsepower, torque and so on).  While there is no denial that power is massively important, what helps a car shave off a few lap time seconds is how well it is able to break. The ability to continuously accelerate and break equals improved track performance. In tennis, you can be the fastest person in the world but if you are not able to break, you will struggle to become an agile tennis player.

There are several factors that play into how agile an individual can be on a tennis court. In this article I will focus the importance of breaking at the right moments in order to maximize your agility. By improving your ability to properly break, you will have more body control which allows you to move to and from the ball at greater speeds. In addition, it frees you from giving unnecessary steps after you hit a tennis shot, which can only slow you down. Tennis is a sport of sharp movement and quick reactions, there is no time to waste. Let’s take a closer look.

Why is Breaking So Important?

Inside a tennis court, we are constantly accelerating and breaking. Our movement is inconsistent because it is reliant on what our opponent decides to do with the ball; it is not our decision. We can move laterally, forward, diagonally, etc. The only constant movement is that (unless we are moving to the net) we are always trying to move back to the center of the court after we hit a shot. We do so because being close to the center of the court will give us the best chance to be in a good position for our next shot. Now, maybe you are struggling with this. You might be having a hard time recovering back to the middle of the court even though you are a fast player. Your inability to break could be the one to blame.

Learning From the Pros

Federer is without a doubt one of the most efficient and agile players to ever play the game. While there are several other players who might be faster and cover the court a little better (Djokovic and Nadal mainly), Federer’s style of moving is a bit easier to replicate for players of all levels. Federer’s footwork has often been described as “effortless” but it takes a great amount of effort to be able to be as agile as him. If you pay close attention to the video above, you can see how Roger is constantly accelerating and breaking in order to be perfectly positioned for every shot. Watch the video again and observe the following things:

The split step: right after the split step pay attention to how quickly he accelaretes. The first couple of steps after the split steps are the quickest ones.

As he moves towards where he needs to make contact with the ball, watch how he starts to slow down using small adjustment steps. By the time he is at the spot where he wants to hit the ball, he has almost fully stop and will hit the ball with a strong base.

After he finishes the shot he will accelarate back to the middle of the court. Again, like the first couple steps after the split steps, the 2 or 3 steps after he hits the shot are incredibly fast.

Now really pay attention to the split step after he recovered from his shot. Look how he uses it to come to almost a complete stop. What that does is, it restrains his body to have too much momentum in any direction which will allow him to quickly burst to any direction. If you have too much momentum going into a certain direction it will be difficult to control your body. That is the most important part of this whole observation.

What Do You Need To Focus On

In order to slow down at the right moment it is very important that you recognize ultra fast what kinda shot your opponent hit. Is it fast? Slow? Is it going to land short or deep on the court? How wide is it coming? All these questions need to be answered within a split of second in order for you to properly move to the ball.

As you move towards the ball, pay attention to the moment in which you need to start breaking in order to be stable and not moving as you hit. Your goal is to hit the ball without moving (or barely moving).

Make sure you finish your stroke before moving back to the middle. Don’t try to move back as you hit. But at the same time, don’t just wait and watch to see where your ball is going. Get your ass back to the middle of the court.

As you move back to the center of the court (sometimes you won’t have the time to fully go back), the split step will act as your breaks. (Remember what I told you to observe about Federer’s split step?).

Know Your Steps

Tennis is all about repetition. We think a lot about our upper body and tend to neglect our lower body. But a good mover is exceptional at recreating it’s own steps, meaning that he/she will move similarly to every shot. If they see a shot a couple steps to their right, they will more or less give the same amount of steps to and from it every single time they need to hit that shot. The same happens as they move to all other varieties of shots (wide, deep, short, slice). The location which your opponent hits will determine your movement to and from the ball and if you are able to move similarly to the ball every time, you will be much more effective on the court.

Drills That Can Help You

The best way to train your agility is off the court. There are a few very uncomplicated drills you can do (even during your warm up) that can help you improve your breaking prowess.

First Drill: Run the lines

This drill is very simple. You will run the lines from the baseline to the net. Start at the center of the baseline and side shuffle to one of the singles lines (you will repeat this to both sides). Once you reach the singles side line, sprint forward towards the service line. From there, side shuffle towards the center line. As you reach the T line, sprint towards the net. This seems simple but the key here is to make very sharp turns. I have seen a lot of people do this exercise and the majority takes circular turns at the corners (look at the picture below). Be aware of your speed as you reach the edges so you can break accordingly and change directions more efficiently.

Left picture – Wrong way to do it
Right Picture – correct way to do it

Side Shuffle and Ball Catch

You will need someone’s help for the second drill. Start at the baseline and side shuffle side to side facing the other side of the court. You don’t need to shuffle all the way to the sideline; give around 4 side shuffles each way. Your friend should be positioned behind you holding a tennis ball. He will toss the ball in front of you at any given moment (ball toss should be catchable but challenging). Your goal is to quickly react and try to catch the ball with one bounce. During your side shuffle, make sure you get low with your legs and stay in control of your body momentum. As soon as your eyes see the ball, react fast and try to catch it. After you do so, return back to the center of the court, take a breath and reset. Repeat it as many times as you feel necessary.

Side Shuffle and Ball Catch

There are several different drills to work on your agility, these two just happen to be my favorite. You can definitely get creative with it and search for more drills. When you do so, however, keep in mind what we focused on today – breaking. Observe the drills attentively to see if it will help you improve your ability to stop and change directions.

Clay Court and Grass Court

Different surfaces require different kinds of breaking. I will write more about moving in on clay and grass courts in the future but let’s take a quick look at some key differences between breaking on clay and grass when compared to hard courts.

Clay Court

On a clay court we often see players break in the form of sliding (we are seeing the same more often on hard courts as well). By perfectly timing a slide, players are able to recover back to the center of the court faster. Take a look at Rafa doing this.

Grass Court

On grass courts it is a bit different. Because the surface is so slippery, sometimes you need to add an extra couple steps after an on the run shot in order to change direction and move back to the middle of the court. This is even more prominent when you have to fully sprint to reach a shot because it is hard to regain traction with the grass court in order to change directions. To solve this issue, it is important to be very low with your legs in order to lower your center of gravity which will make it easier to stop and return back to the center of the court. Take a look

As you can see, moving on different surfaces requires small adjustments but the core steps I mentioned earlier remains the same. Your goal on the court is to move fast to the next ball you will hit as well as moving fast back into the center of the court. You are constantly accelerating and breaking and in order for you to become more agile on the court you need to excel at both.


There are several things we can do to improve our agility on the court. That is why we are creating this series. Becoming more agile inside a tennis court is essential if you want to become a better tennis player. Being able to break is a huge part of this. You can be the fastest person but if you can’t stop at the right moment, you will be doomed to fail on the court. Tennis is a sport of fast reactions and there is no time to waste with unnecessary steps. Next time you step into the court, be sure you are conscious about breaking at the right moment and you will notice you will be in greater control of your body and therefore, more agile.

What Is the Average Height of Tennis Players?

Throughout the past 30 years, the sport of tennis has changed dramatically. The shapes and materials of rackets have changed, new technologies (like hawk-eye) have been introduced, and even rules have changed. And as the sport changed, players have had to adapt. Tennis players today are stronger, more endurant, faster, and even taller. 

Back in the 80’s, it would be crazy to even imagine that one day we would see players taller than 6 feet 5 (195 cm) moving all over the court and enduring 5-hour matches. However, this has become a common sight on the ATP tour today. In fact, 4 out of the top 10 ATP players are taller than 6 feet 5. In addition, 13 out of the top 50 players (26%) are taller than the same mark. So as we can see, taller tennis players are finding increasing success and height is playing a stronger role in tennis year after year. But at what point does height begin to help a player’s game?

The average height of the top 500 male tennis players in the world is 185.5 centimeters (6-feet-1). 222 of the top 500 players measure between 183 cm to 188 cm, so that can be considered to be the average height of professional tennis players.

The chart below contains our own analysis of data from the Association of Tennis Professionals. It illustrates the number of top 500 players with a specific height, so you can see how the majority of them is clustered around the 183 – 188 marks.

The average height of the top 500 ATP tennis players

While a large number of the top tennis players falls within the 183-188cm height range, it is not to say that height does not matter in tennis – as it actually does.

The average height of the top 10 players is 190.9 cm (6-feet-3), while the average height for the players ranked between 401 – 500 is only 183.5 cm (6 feet).

As you can see, there’s a significant difference in height between players of different rankings, so we will explore that a little further. Below, we will cover the heights of different ranking “zones”, and eventually come up with the ideal height for tennis players. 

Top 10 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

The average height of the top 10 ATP players is 190.9 cm (6’3), a surprising 6.3 cm (3 inches) taller than the average player ranked between the top 50 and 100.

While Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal are not extremely tall, new players in the top 10 like Alexander Zverev, Mateo Berrettini, Karen Khachanov, and Daniil Medvedev are all taller than 196 cm (6’5) – which brings the whole top 10 average to the previously mentioned 190.9 cm. 

In November 2019 (when our analysis was conducted), the shortest top 10 players was Roberto Bautista Agut, who measures 183 cm (6 feet). On the other hand, the tallest players were Zverev, Khachanov, and Medvedev, all at 198 cm (6’6). 

Below you can see a chart representing the height of the top 10 players.

Top 11 – 25 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

The players in the next section of the ranking are actually quite shorter than the top 10. The average height of the players ranked #11 to #25 was 186.9 cm (6’1), a total of 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) shorter than the top 10.

However, the difference between the two groups is normally not that significant. Currently, some relatively short players (Nishikori, Fognini, and Goffin) are ranked just outside the top 10, and if they once again enter the top 10, they will make the height difference smaller. 

As of November 2019, the shortest player ranked between #11 and #25 was Diego Schwartzmann, who is 170 cm (5’7) tall. On the other end of the spectrum is John Isner, who measures 208 cm (6’10).

The chart below shows the height for the players ranked in this range. 

Top 26 – 50 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Players ranked between #26 and #50 in the ATP rankings measure on average 189.3 cm (6’2). Interestingly, they are shorter than the average top 10 but taller than the players ranked 11-25. Some of the tallest players are ranked in this range, like Reily Opelka and Kevin Anderson. 

The tallest player in this ranking range is Reily Opelka, who measures an astounding 211 cm (6’11). In comparison, the shortest players in this range are Daniel Evans and Radu Albot (175 cm / 5’9), a striking 36 cm (14 inches) shorter than Opelka. 

You can see the height of the players in the chart below. 

Top 51 – 75 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Average Height:184.3 cm / 6 feet
Tallest Player:Lorenzo Sonego and Andreas Seppi (191 cm / 6 feet 3)
Shortest Player:Yoshihito Nishioka (170 cm / 5 feet 7)

Top 76 – 100 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Average Height:184.9 cm / 6 feet 1
Tallest Player:Nicolas Jarry (198 cm / 6 feet 6)
Shortest Player:Corentin Moutet and Damir Dzumhur (175 cm / 5 feet 9)

Top 101 – 150 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Average Height:185.5 cm / 6 feet 1
Tallest Player:Ivo Karlovic (211 cm / 6 feet 11)
Shortest Player:Thomas Fabbiano (173 cm / 5 feet 8)

Top 151 – 200 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Average Height:187.8 cm / 6 feet 2
Tallest Player:Danilo Petrovic (203 cm / 6 feet 8)
Shortest Player:Steve Darcis (175 cm / 5 feet 9)

Top 201 – 300 – Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Average Height:184.4 cm / 6 feet
Tallest Player:Christopher Eubanks (201 cm / 6 feet 7)
Shortest Player:Horoki Moriya, Roberto Ortega-Olmedo, and Shuichi Sekiguchi (168 cm / 5 feet 6)

Top 301 – 400 –  Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Average Height:184.8 cm / 6 feet
Tallest Player:Michael Redlicki (203 cm / 6 feet 8)
Shortest Player:Yuta Shimizu (163 cm / 5 feet 4)

Top 401 – 500 –  Average Height of Professional Tennis Players

Average Height:184.2 cm / 6 feet
Tallest Player:Louis Wessels, Benjamin Lock, Tobias Simon (198 cm / 6 feet 6)
Shortest Player:Evan Furness, Sebastian Baez, Yusuke Takahashi, Johan Nikles (170 cm / 5 feet 7)

Does Height Matter in Tennis?

As you were able to see, the height of professional tennis players is all over the place. There are successful players who measure 211 cm and others who measure 170 cm.

Height is an important matter in tennis. Shorter players generally tend to move better, but taller players can serve faster and hit better angles. While players at the ends of the spectrum will excel in one aspect but fail in another, players with a height between the optimal 185 – 190 cm can usually excel at both.  

The chart below compares the average height of players in different ranking ranges. As you can see, the trend is that the higher the ranking goes, the tallest players are. 

Who is the Shortest ATP Tennis Player? 

Just to add some fun facts at the end of this article, I wanted to come up with a list of the 10 shortest players in the top 500 of the ATP rankings. Here they are:

  1. Yuta Shimizu (#367) – 163 cm 
  2. Hiroki Moriya (#224) – 168 cm
  3. Roberto Ortega Olmedo (#248) – 168 cm
  4. Shuichi Sekiguchi (#272) – 168 cm
  5. Rio Noguchi (#398) – 168 cm
  6. Diego Schwartzmann (#15) – 170 cm
  7. Yoshihito Nishioka (#72) – 170 cm
  8. Oscar Jose Gutierrez (#371) – 170 cm
  9. Evan Furness (#407) – 170 cm
  10. Sebastian Baez (#430) – 170 cm

Who is the Tallest ATP Tennis Player? 

On the other end of the spectrum, here is a list of the 10 tallest players on the top 500 of the ATP:

  1. Reily Opelka (#31) – 211 cm 
  2. Ivo Karlovic (#101) – 211 cm
  3. John Isner (#17) – 208 cm
  4. Kevin Anderson (#45) – 203 cm
  5. Danilo Petrovic (#172) – 203 cm
  6. Michael Redlicki (#321) – 203 cm
  7. Christopher Eubanks (#201) – 201 cm
  8. Daniil Medvedev (#4) – 198 cm
  9. Alexander Zverev (#6) – 198 cm
  10. Karen Khachanov (#8) – 198 cm

What Are The Hand Signals Doubles Players Use on the Tennis Court?

Ever wonder what the doubles players on TV are signaling behind their backs? What do the signs mean? Or even what the point of doing it is rather than just telling their partner face to face? If so, you came to the right place.

In order to maximize a team’s potential on court, both players on the team need to be on the same page, and hand signals are the most effective way to do that. Doubles signaling is simple, but if you are unsure what the signs mean it can seem complicated.

The hand signals used by doubles players on the tennis court are used by the player at the net to indicate where the server should hit the serve and where the net player will move after the serve.


The player giving the signal will always be the one who is at the net, while his partner will be saying yes or no to those signals. The most important thing is that both players are willing to execute what is agreed upon before the point is started, or else the team will be out of place as a whole.

The order of the signals is the same whether the team is serving or receiving; the first signal is where the shot is meant to be hit, while the second signal is meant for where the net-man is going to be after that shot is hit.

Servers Partner: Serve Spot

Because the first signal is for the direction of the serve, there are 5 different serve targets to hit. This can be simplified to 3 targets depending on the level of the server, but I will demonstrate all 5 just for reference. The pictures below show the serve signs for the server in the deuce court. 

Now let’s take a look at the signals. For this, I will be your partner at the net showing you the signals and you are the server. You are serving from the deuce side.

Body Serve

Body Serve

Body Serve can also be signaled using only the middle finger. Essentially, flip your partner off and in order to tell him to serve body.

Wide Serve

Wide Serve

T Serve

T Serve

Body Backhand

Body Backhand

Body Forehand

Body Forehand

Server’s Partner: Movement

The second signal is shown to indicate where the net-man will be moving after the serve lands in the box. There are 3 potential signals for this portion: stay, poach and look to poach



The first signal of the fist, meaning stay, indicates that the net-man will be holding his ground and covering the line



The second signal of the open hand shows that the net-man will be committing to a full poach. This means that this player will be crossing over into the other service box in order to pick off the likely crosscourt return. In this case, the server’s job is generally to cover the line, so both partners will end on different sides than they began.

Look For It

Look For it

The third signal of the fingers “pinching” together indicates the pinch. For most teams, this is the most commonly used play. This means that the net-man will be looking to poach based on the quality of the return coming back, but it is not a fully committal poach so the players do not switch sides of the court.

Returner’s Partner: Return Spot

There are three basic signals for the return direction: crosscourt, down the line, and to the middle. Because most good doubles players are looking to pick off the middle ball, the middle return is most uncommonly called.

Similar to the serve signaling, the direction in which the fingers point correspond to the direction of the intended return spot.

Return Cross

Return Cross

Return Down the Line

Return Down The Line

Return Middle

Return Middle

These pictures are taken with the returner on the deuce side of the court, so the net man is on the ad side. You can see that the first picture indicates a crosscourt return, the second shows a down the line return, and the third calls for a middle return

Returner’s Partner: Movement

The returner’s partner signals for movement are the same as for server’s partner. The first picture shows stay, the second shows poach and the third is pinch.

Look For It/Pinch

Look For It/Pinch





Advantage of Hand Signals

You might be thinking, “Why even use hand signals in doubles? My partner is close enough to me, can’t we just talk between each point?” Sure. You could, but there are a couple advantages to using them.

  1. The Audible

Giving signs is advantageous because plays are most effective when a team sees how the other team is set up. We see this not only in tennis, but other sports as well. In football, many times the quarterback comes out of the huddle with a play drawn up. However, when he sees how the defense is lined up he may audible by using signs to change the play.

For example, if the returner is standing several feet behind the baseline, you may pick a different serve target than you would if he was standing inside the baseline. Or, if the returners partner is starting on the baseline with his partner, the movement call may be different than if he was at the net.     

  1. Visual 

Signs also help most people simply because they give a clear visual to what they want to execute on the court. It is much easier to picture what a player wants to happen when they see it as they set up to serve or return. Signals minimize miscommunications, and as mentioned earlier, if a doubles team is unable to move together as a team on the court they will be exposed. 

Approving and Disapproving the Signals

One of the most important things to remember with all of this is you do not have to agree with your partner. The person giving the signals is solely giving a recommendation. The person that is hitting the serve or return is ultimately the one who needs to be calling the shots. The biggest mistake you can make with this is agreeing to hit a shot they feel uncomfortable with in a given situation. So, do not be afraid to wave your partner off of the call that he or she suggested. 

Simple “Yes” and “No”

It is the server or returner’s job to verbally agree or disagree with the call they are given. The net-man switches the signal until he finds the serve that his partner is happy with, when he then says “yes.” After the server agrees to a serve spot, the net-man then starts showing the signs for the movement. The same protocol is followed for this, as the server decides where he wants his partner to move.

To put it into a visual, here is an example. If the partner at net calls a serve down the T, but the server wants to go body, he simply says “no” to the first call. The net-man then shows the sign for a body serve, to which the server agrees. The net-man shows that he wants to poach, but the server isn’t confident that this play will work either. He shakes it off with a “no.” Finally, the net person shows the fake-poach sign, and the server agrees with a “yes.” Now the server is comfortable starting the point with a play that he feels will work.


Hand signals on the doubles court are something that you and your partner can add to your game without any real drawback. No matter what level your game is at, everyone can benefit from incorporating these into their game for a multitude of reasons. Most importantly, they give a clear idea of what you and your partner want to execute as a team. Additionally, especially at more beginner and intermediate levels of doubles, it is a good way to start thinking about strategy on the court. Remember, doubles should be played as a team not as two individuals on the same side of the court. Communication is key in order to improve as a team and these signals will help you be in better harmony on the court.

How To Hit A Flat Bunt Backhand (Like Kyrgios and Norrie)

If there is something I know about tennis, it is definitely how to hit a backhand. My entire game revolves around setting up a clean backhand down the line. I credit a lot of this to watching (and copying) the best two-handed backhands in the world (Nalbandian, Safin, Djokovic, Murray).

While today we have several good double-handed backhands on the ATP tour, there are a few players who hit what we call the “bunt backhand”. Cameron Norrie, Nick Kyrgios and Alex DeMinaur have some of the most effective bunt backhands on the tour and in this article, I will teach you how to hit a damaging and consistent bunt backhand as well as show you why it is very effective to have this shot in your repertoire.

How To Hit The Bunt Backhand

Before we begin, let me preface by pointing out that this shot is a little bit more advanced. If you are a beginner, you should focus on the basics you are learning right now and save this article so you can read it later in your career. We have an awesome complete guide on how to hit backhands, and you can check it out here Tennis Backhand – The Ultimate Guide.

For intermediate and advanced players, this is a fairly simple shot to add to your game. Let’s take a closer look:

Step by Step on How to Hit the Bunt Backhand:

    • as you take back your racket to prepare for your shot, make sure the racket head is higher than the line of the ball (this will be more clear in a moment).
    • Ideally, you want to hit this shot close stance (right foot in front if you are a righty). Make sure your center of gravity is low and you have a good lean towards the ball. If you try to hit flat falling backward, you will most likely miss.
    • before making contact with the ball, there are two things you need to pay attention as you start to move your racket forward
    • Unlike most shots, the head of the racket will not come from a low to a high position. Generally, you want the racket head to move towards the ball around the same height as the ball that was hit to you. 
    • Make sure your left wrist is very firm. We want the least amount of wrist movement in order to execute this shot precisely. Feel like you are locking the left wrist and pushing the head of the racket with your left hand’s palm (see image)
    • as most shots, having a good contact point is key. But when you are trying to hit a bunt backhand it is especially important you focus on the following tips:
    • Make contact in front of you so you don’t have to correct the shot direction with your hands
    • Make sure your left hand is squeezing the grip very hard during contact. Why is this important? By squeezing the grip, your racket will be more solid and move less during the impact. Another benefit is that the duration of the contact between the racket and the ball will be longer, which will give you more control.
    • Again, try to keep the ball in touch with your strings for as long as you can, this will give more control. Because you aren’t hitting with too much spin, you need to focus on controlling the ball.
    • after you make contact with the ball do the following:
    • Immediately after you make contact with the ball, your racket needs to start moving up. There is a misconception where players believe hitting flat = swinging from high to low. This will make you hit the net. Make sure your racket starts moving upwards after you touch the ball.
    • Your left elbow should stay high all the way from your takeaway to the finish. By keeping your elbow high, you’ll limit how much spin you add to the ball as well as having more control of your shots

Video Breakdown

As you can see, it is really important to follow all the steps cited above. In addition to what I explained earlier, pay attention to a couple extra things. First, watch how I have a very strong base. That allows me to use my entire body to absorb the pace of the ball that was hit to me instead of relying on my hands/arms to do so. Second, my right foot is creating forward momentum by pushing the ground. By doing so, I will be stronger through the shot. Lastly, look how the ball flies a little closer to net compared to your typical topspin backhand. That is ok. Try to aim about one foot over the net and follow all the steps I mentioned earlier and you will rock your opponent.

Nick Kyrgios Backhand in Slow Motion – Source: Love Tennis

Why is the Bunt Backhand Effective?

Cameron Norrie. Source Regina Cortina Photography

In my experience, the bunt backhand has two major benefits. First, when you have control of it, it is a lot easier to absorb pace and change the direction of the ball. Kyrgios has one of the best backhand returns in the game because he has such a short simple motion. And while his forehand is definitely more of a weapon, he is able to move the ball around the court very effectively by absorbing his opponent’s pace and bunting it in different directions of the court.

The other reason the bunt backhand is effective is because it almost acts as it’s own shot variation. Look at Cameron Norrie, for example. His forehand is very heavy and spinny, while his backhand is incredibly flat. His opponents are constantly having to adapt to two different shots, which in the course of a match can be very demanding. Norrie is able to push his opponents back with his heavy forehand and then hit his backhand early and flat. His opponents don’t move only side to side, they also have to move diagonally, which is quite difficult.

How To Train the Bunt Backhand

Get on the court and do it. You will miss a lot at first and you will have a hard time controlling the depth of the shot. Sometimes the ball will just fly off your racket. But keep working on it. It is very important to keep in mind the instructions you read above because your body still doesn’t fully understand how to execute this shot from a muscle memory perspective. I suggest rallying a lot with someone who hits with a fair amount of pace because it will be easier to use their power to drive your backhand back to them.

Is the Bunt Backhand For You?

For the most part, the bunt backhand is not the most technically challenging shot but you need to fit a certain player profile to hit it. Some people are naturally good at generating spin, hitting their shots from low to high and using more wrist. It is important to know yourself as a player. Rafael Nadal could most definitely hit the bunt backhand if he wanted, but he chooses to hit it with more spin because that’s where he is most comfortable and effective. Don’t force the issue, follow the instructions from this article and discover if it is a shot you would feel comfortable hitting during a match.

Common Mistakes When Hitting the Bunt Backhand

  • The most common mistake I see from people trying to hit this shot is a swing from high to low. Players often mistake hitting the ball flat as hitting down on the ball. The only outcome from this is that you’ll hit the ball into the net. Instead, make sure you make contact right on the “face” of the ball and have your racket move up afterwards.
  • Another mistake is to swing too aggressively at the shot. The bunt backhand requires more finesse than power. You are already hitting the ball flat and through the court, trust that it will do the damage it is supposed to.
  • Finally, keep in mind that while the bunt backhand is very effective, you won’t be hitting tons of winners from it. Instead, look for it to be a good set up ball. If you hit it correctly, the bunt backhand will stay low which will make your opponent have to hit up. From there, if the ball allows, you will be able to take a good swing with your forehand (Nick Kyrgios tennis 101)

One Drawback from the Bunt Backhand

The only drawback I see from hitting this shot is hitting it when balls are hit to you low and without pace. Because the shot doesn’t require a lot of spin, it can be a little tricky to lift it up and over the net without missing long or hitting a bad shot right in the middle of the court. To fix this, make sure you get very low with your legs and trust the shot. Aim about a foot over the net and swing confidently. It will take you a little bit of time to nail down the precise strength you need to use to hit a good/deep ball from this position, but like every shot in tennis, practice will make it perfect.


The bunt backhand is one of my favorite shots to hit on a tennis court. It is a fantastic way to break your opponent’s rhythm and it can definitely help players change the ball direction more often from their backhand side. Personally, I think it is important for players to use both topspin and flat backhands during the course of a match because it will keep your opponent on their toes. Also, by owning both shots, you can try things out during the match and see what hurts the other person the most. Once you find the answer, stick to it. Finally, understand that this shot takes a lot of time to get comfortable with, especially during matchplay. But don’t let that scare you off. Learning new shots is a lot of fun and you will love it once you successfully annoy your opponents with your new and improved bunt backhand.

Is Playing Tennis Good Cardio?

When you’re young and you’re used to playing sports frequently, you don’t think of them as a way to burn calories. You choose to play a sport because it’s fun, because your friends play it, or because your parents forced you to do so. However, as you grow older, your metabolism slows down, life becomes busier, and you realize that, if you don’t get off the couch, you will gain weight and get out of shape. 

Until the age of 21, I used to play tennis for 3 or 4 hours a day and still work out after, so I never had to think about how many calories I was eating or about how my cardio was. Honestly, I used to eat 2 giant breakfast burritos every Wednesday morning and would still not gain weight. Now, I feel like I gain weight every time I so little as smell bread. Naturally, I had to start thinking about sports in terms of which ones will help me with my cardio, help me lose weight, and still be quite enjoyable. Since I have played tennis all my life, I figured it would be a good one to start with. 

So is playing tennis considered to be a good cardio workout? When you play tennis, you move your whole body constantly, which causes your heart rate to increase and pump more oxygen into your system. That is the true definition of a good cardio workout. Tennis will also make you burn a lot of calories, helping you lose belly fat.

If you would like some more information before making a decision on whether tennis is the right cardio exercise for you, I suggest you continue reading this article. Below we will cover what a good cardio workout consists of, and how many calories you will burn when playing tennis.

What Is Considered To Be Good Cardio?

Many people talk about their cardio exercises, yet the vast majority of them don’t know exactly what a good cardio workout entails. Cardio workouts – also known as cardiovascular or aerobic exercises – are workouts in which your larger muscles (arms, shoulders, legs, back) are either constantly or frequently moving. Since your body is constantly moving, your heart will need to work harder to pump more blood, raising your heart rate and making you breathe faster. 

By making your heart work faster, cardio workouts force more oxygen into your system (if you don’t remember your anatomy classes, our hearts absorb CO2 and release O2 into our bodies). Every time you engage in a cardio workout, your body trains itself to use oxygen more efficiently. As that happens, many other positive things will happen in your body (which I will mention later). 

Based on the definition above, tennis can be considered a very good cardio workout. You’re moving frequently, using your arms and legs, raising your heart rate, and breathing more frequently. Some tennis exercises (like rallies or moving) will be better cardio workouts than others (short points).

Below are some other sports that are considered to be good cardio exercises:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Rope Jumping
  • Rowing
  • Boxing
  • Swimming

Benefits of Good Cardio Workouts

Now that we’ve covered the science behind a cardio workout, I wanted to mention some of the benefits that they will bring you. By choosing to play tennis as a cardio exercise, you will reap the following benefits:

  1. Decrease the risk of several different cardiovascular conditions;
  2. Burn calories and lose weight;
  3. Improve your stamina and endurance;
  4. Stabilize your mood and increase energy;
  5. Improve concentration;
  6. Strengthen and tone your muscles.

How Many Calories Do You Burn In Tennis?

Calculating how many calories you will burn while playing tennis is not super simple. The exact number will depend on your age, weight, gender, the intensity of your workout, and how used your body is to playing. However, I have tried categorizing and estimating a rough number depending on your weight and the type of tennis workout you’re engaging in. The following numbers are based on approximately 1 hour of tennis.

Your WeightModerate Drills or HittingDoublesSingles
120 lbs286 kcal344 kcal458 kcal
140 lbs334 kcal401 kcal535 kcal
160 lbs382 kcal458 kcal611 kcal
180 lbs430 kcal 515 kcal687 kcal
200 lbs477 kcal573 kcal764 kcal
220 lbs525 kcal630 kcal840 kcal

Just as a reference, a 140-pound person running for an hour at about a 6 mph speed will burn roughly 640 calories. A 180-pound person running at the same pace for an hour will burn about 800 calories. As you can see, tennis will burn a similar amount of calories when compared to running – and it’s a lot more fun!

Can You Really Lose Weight By Playing Tennis?

You know now how many calories you might be able to burn after playing an hour of tennis, but how does that translate into how much weight you will lose? At the end of the day, weight loss happens when you consume fewer calories than you spend. Since tennis helps you burn calories, it can definitely help you lose weight. 

In order for you to lose one pound, you should have a deficit of about 3500 calories. What that means is that, if you are eating a balanced diet and you decide to play tennis for 3 or 4 hours a week, you will lose one pound every 1 – 2 weeks.

Does Tennis Help Lose Belly Fat?

When we consider different workouts, most of us are really looking for the workout that will help us lose belly fat the fastest. At the end of the day, in order to lose belly fat, you will need to lose weight in your whole body. Unfortunately, belly fat is usually one of the last ones to disappear. 

However, tennis is considered a good workout to lose belly fat. Generally, cardio workouts are considered to be helpful when it comes to burning belly fat. The fact that you are using your lower and upper body while playing tennis will help with the activation of your whole body, which will help with losing belly fat. Additionally, you use your core for essentially every tennis stroke – which will help you tone your abs. 

What Muscles Does Tennis Work?

While tennis is considered to exercise your whole body, there are some muscles that will naturally work harder than others. When it comes to your legs the muscles that will work the hardest are your calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads, adductors, and abductors. If you start paying attention, most tennis players have very well defined calves and quads. 

When playing tennis, you will also exercise your upper body a lot. Your abs (once again, great for burning belly fat!), shoulders, upper back, chest, and forearms will work hard and frequently, which will help them to become stronger and more toned. 

You should expect to feel quite sore after playing tennis, especially if you are not used to playing it often. Having a good recovery strategy is extremely important to reduce any soreness, so we’ve written an article that lays out the best recovery methods, and you can check it out here – 9 Post-Match Recovery Strategies for Tennis Players.


If you’re still wondering whether tennis will be a good cardio workout for you, I highly recommend that you at least give it a shot. It will most certainly help you when it comes to your health, but it is also a lot of fun and it will help you make friends. Soon, you will be hooked!