Tennis is one sport that requires a combination of a lot of skills in a player for him/her to succeed at the highest level. Agility, flexibility, athleticism, elegance and whatnot - Tennis requires everything. To achieve this level of greatness, the players often go through some extremely gruelling sessions in training and the results are seen on the court in form of brilliance. There is a long list of some jaw-dropping shots that players can produce but there is one that stands out - the drop shot.
The drop shot goes down as one of the most difficult art in the sport to execute. With the players so athletic and quick, it is very challenging to deceive the opponent. However, the fans often get to see the moment of magic when players pull off the drop shot with such elegance. While there have been a number of spectacular shots played in the history of the sport, let us have a look at the top 5 drop shots which had something special about them.
1. Kei Nishikori vs Novak Djokovic (2006)
It was the 2016 BNL Internazionali d'Italia semi-final match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori. After an even start to the game, the Serbian found himself 30-40 down in the third game of the first set. The Japanese was one point away from securing the first break of the match and it is then he produced one of the most delightful shots.
In the middle of a hard-fought rally, Nishikori put the pressure on Djokovic with a lethal backhand down the line. Although the Serbian managed to return he had pushed himself way deep as Nishikori caught him out of position with a very sly drop shot, earning him the crucial break.
2. Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal (2011)
It was 10 years back when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were at the peak of their powers. The duo used to play some out-of-the-world tennis at that time and a glimpse of the same was given in the semis of the Madrid Open 2011. Nadal was 5-3 up in the decisive set and was serving to win the match. The scores were tied at 30-30 and Federer needed a moment of magic to pave his way back into the contest.
It had become quite a long and intense rally before Federer decided to do something different as he advanced near the nets to put pressure on Nadal. However, the Spaniard positioned himself really well to return the ball back into play. With Nadal not giving up, Federer tried to attempt something audacious at such a crunch moment as he played a gutsy drop shot which turned out to be out of reach even for someone as athletic as Nadal.
3. Grigor Dimitrov vs Novak Djokovic (2014)
It was in 2014 Wimbledon when Novak Djokovic was in complete control of the game against Grigor Dimitrov, with one set up. The Serbian was serving to take a 3-1 lead in the second set and found himself in the middle of a brilliant rally. Both the players were firing forehands and backhands and only a sheer moment of the class could have forced a point.
While fans would have expected Djokovic to produce that moment, it was Dimitrov instead who stepped up and produced a drop shot out of nowhere, giving the Serbian absolutely no chance. Djokovic was quick to acknowledge the heroics of Dimitrov and looked towards him to appreciate his effort.
4. Andy Murray vs James Blake (2009)
It was the 2009 Aegon Championship Final between Andy Murray and James Blake. The first set was poised in a very interesting situation. Murray was serving to make it 5-5 and after a fault, he found himself slightly on the back foot as he got set for a second serve.
Blake wanted to take advantage of the situation and attacked Murray's serve and surprised him with a backhand drop shot. Although the Brit wasn't in a very good position to return, he did manage to run towards the nets to cover the distance before pulling off an outrageous drop shot himself which absolutely stunned his opponent.
5. Roger Federer vs Denis Kudla (2012)
It was the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in 2012 when Roger Federer was cruising towards a comfortable win over Denis Kudla. However, the tennis ace wanted to make the match a bit more memorable as he decided to show his opponent a glimpse of his class.
Both the players were involved in a gruesome rally and the fans were wondering who will pull the shackles down. Out of nowhere, an across the court shot by Kudla was followed by a scorching backhand drop shot which left everyone in the stadium, including the commentators and Kudla, in awe of the Swiss legend.