A shot with back to opponent is difficult and can injure wrist while turning torso towards opponent or hit leg/knee. It can require flexibility in places such as back, shoulder and hands. Luckily, there are multiple ways you can handle the situation where you are too late or in wrong position which forces you to awkward position with back to your opponent.

How to deal with tennis shots with back towards the opponent?

Helper points

  • Things to avoid? Avoid the shot between legs altogether? Any other shots to replace the shot between legs? Safer shots? Replace the shot between legs with parabola shot where you just get the ball to the other side?

  • Flexibility required for the shots? Pros and cons? Surprise element versus convenience?

2 Answers 2


I often need to hit balls with my back to the opponent.

If this really is "often" then you are doing something very wrong. You either need to stop coming up to the net on weak approach shots that are easy to lob over your head or you need to adjust your court positioning somehow. This shouldn't be happening to you more than a few times over the course of an entire match.

Also you should understand that this is a very difficult shot to attempt because of the timing involved and unnatural position you have to put your body in, relative to the ball compared with your average tennis shot. You basically have to let the ball drop between your legs, very low to the ground, and a little behind you at the point of contact. I regularly see guys at the 4.5 and 5.0 level even that can't hit this shot without looking foolish. Even some ATP Tour level players look foolish trying this shot. It's not something I would recommend trying to "learn" or rely on at all, except to try and be flashy on the court.

Basically, this is not really a shot you "train" for - it's a last resort for when you have no other options. Don't let the top 20 players in the world fool you into think it's as easy as they make it look. They are wizards with a tennis racquet - you are not.

  • Less personal tune now in question, I would appreciate the same from you. There are many different shots with back towards the opponent -- all options of last resort and you should avoid them -- but they do sometimes happen. The title "Tennis shots with back towards the opponent?" shows the main focus, the main focus is not on the shot between legs.
    – hhh
    May 16, 2014 at 23:09

Different shots with back towards the opponent

  1. Dimitrov hitting between his legs 1.14 here (flashy with surprise element but can damage knee/wrist)

  2. Parabola returning shot where you just return the ball to the other side by swinging racket from the bottom to the top (easy to wrist, safe)

  3. Torso-turning shot where you turn your torso and upper body while still having back towards the opponent in trying forehand or backhand (can be hard to wrist)

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