Clay Court Depth + Positioning

The WTA and ATP tours are well into the swing of the clay court season and its during this time of the year that the points get longer, tougher and more strategic. 

Your position on court matters! And what matters most to court positioning is depth of stroke. 

It’s very hard to get back to offense this deep in the court, especially on the backhand side. Even if your name is Richard Gasquet .
Depth is essential to success in tennis, especially clay court tennis. A deeper shot pushes your opponent behind the baseline, effectively taking away their offense, but more importantly allowing you to position yourself closer to the net, open up your angles and allowing you to attack the open court.  


Nadal controls Wawrinka’s offense by keeping him deep behind the baseline
Court positioning on a clay court often illustrates who’s winning and who’s losing. 

Andy Murray attacking Rafael Nadal after pushing him behind the baseline

The further behind the baseline you are, the further you have to run and the less aggressively you can hit the ball. If you can keep good depth on your shots you can avoid playing defensively and dictate the points. Depth is more important than pace. In general a hard short ball is much easier to deal with than a soft deep ball. (*moonballers secret

The easiest way to improve your depth of shot is to hit higher over the net with topspin. Depth and positioning isn’t an exclusively clay court tactic but this time of year it becomes more pronounced. 

Dominic Thiem on the run deep against Rafael Nadal. Not a good place to be!

Think about court positioning when you watch clay court tennis this season and work on depth and positioning in your own game. 
See you on the courts!

Joel Myers
USPTA Elite Professional
Tennis Director
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Sheraton Hotel & Marina San Diego
(949) 485-8679

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