Aggressive baseline tennis is probably the most popular style of tennis today. Aggressive baseline tennis is played by controlling and dictating play by using powerful groundstrokes hit by a player from the area of the baseline or behind the baseline. The aggressive baseliner thrives on controlling points and moves his opponents around the court until the position of hitting a winner and ending the point is created. A point is then usually ended with a powerful groundstroke.
The aggressive baseline player will not come to the net if this can be avoided. This is because aggressive baseline tennis relies on power and angles to keep the opponent moving, thus giving the opponent a difficult time in setting up points. After such difficulty is created for the opponent, the aggressive baseline tennis player expects that one of the shots that the opponent hits will land short, and this creates the opportunity for the aggressive baseliner to create an angle that his opponent will not be able to return. However, even if the opponent does hit the ball back, the return will usually be another short or weak return, thus giving the aggressive baseliner another opportunity to put the point away.
Why is Playing Aggressive Baseline Tennis so Popular Today?
Tennis courts today are much slower than they used to be. As a result, players now have more time to get to a ball and prepare to hit it. They have time to run to a ball even if it is hit at a challenging angle. Thus, it becomes easier for the aggressive baseliners to hit a ball cleanly and with lots of power.
Another reason why most players today choose to play aggressively from the baseline, instead of coming in, is that tennis technology today has allowed tennis players to generate much more speed than was possible before using standard wooden racquets. Changes to both the material and shape of tennis racquets and strings have completely changed the face of the game, thus making aggressive baseline tennis a popular style to use.
Furthermore, this tennis style is relatively easy to learn and use. Unlike serve and volleying, which takes a long time to master, aggressive baseline tennis is quite one-dimensional. Viewed simplistically, an aggressive baseliner just needs to learn how to hit hard from the back of the court, and his game style is complete.
Lastly, because tennis today has grown significantly in terms of scientific advancements with regard to athletes' training and nutrition, today's tennis players have much more power and stamina. In the past, aggressive baseline tennis style could have been considered too tiring to maintain throughout a standard two-set match because of all the power that goes into hitting powerful groundstrokes. However, players today are now able to generate much more power and are able to keep using this power for longer periods of time, thus allowing them to use aggressive baseline tennis throughout a whole match.
This, coupled with advancements that have resulted in allowing athletes to recover from fatigue faster, has allowed the aggressive baseliner to afford using his power-heavy style of play throughout an entire tournament. Before this it was absolutely unimaginable that a player could be competitive in his next tennis match after spending more than five hours on the tennis court in the previous round. And now players like Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic are showing this on a regular basis during their heroic Grand Slam runs.
Tennis Players Using This Strategy
Most of today's top players, including the up-and-coming young players, both male and female, are aggressive baseliners. Even the supposed all-court players use aggressive baseline hitting more than the other styles that they blend together. It is for this reason that tennis observers are predicting that the other tennis styles will soon die out, leaving only aggressive baseline tennis as the style used by the top tennis professionals in the world.
Some top tennis players who are using or used aggressive baseline tennis style are current men's #1, Novak Djokovic, long-time Top 10 player Tomas Berdych, the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic and also former men's #1, Andre Agassi. The best examples of the aggressive baseliners on the WTA Tour are current women's #1, Serena Williams or her ancient rival Maria Sharapova. Arguably the most amazing example of aggressive baseline hitting, though, is displayed by Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, who hits shockingly powerful forehands and has little else in terms of the other aspects of his game. The reason why the example of del Potro's aggressive baseline play is so striking is that despite limited variety in his shots, his powerful groundstrokes have enabled him to win a Grand Slam title, the 2009 US Open.
How to Beat the Aggressive Baseliner
Beating the aggressive baseliner involves taking him out of his comfort zone, which is hitting consistently powerful groundstrokes from the back of the court. However, the goal is not to draw him in by hitting a short return; that will only give him the opportunity to hit a powerful angled shot to end the point. The proper approach is really to attack the baseline hitter's consistency. This is because hitting hard increases a player's possibility of making errors, so the use of varied spins (top spin, side spin, under spin) should destroy a baseline hitter's rhythm, thus drawing out errors from him.