What Is A Moonball In Tennis?
A “moonball” in tennis is a type of shot that bounces abnormally high and deep by the baseline. Once mastered, it can be used to throw your opponents off their game and keep the ball in play indefinitely.
To hit a moonball, a player is meant to create as much topspin as possible to give the ball a high, arching angle as it approaches their opponent. The perfect moonball lands almost directly on the opposite player’s baseline. This and the high arc of the ball makes it difficult for them to handle the return properly. It is designed to push the opponent deep behind the baseline.
A moonball can be an excellent technique to use against power hitters because it can also be used to slow the pace of play. If an athlete relies on their power to win, they can sometimes get impatient and make mistakes on this type of shot. By hitting the ball deep by the baseline it prevents a power hitter from dictating play and adding pace to the ball.
Defending The Moonball
Patience is the key to defending a player who uses the mooball as a signature move. If you take the time to settle into a match and shed any initial frustration with being set so far back on the court, you will be able to settle into a routine to get into the best position to counter these high altitude serves.
Another way to counter a moonball is to “take the ball early”, or hit the ball “on the rise”, while it just bounces off the ground. It is also possible to take the ball out of the air without letting it bounce. By hitting the ball this way you can take time away from your opponent and redirect the ball for an outright winner.
If you are not comfortable with “hitting the ball on the rise”, you can sidestep back behind the baseline and hit a topspin ball back (even a moonball of your own). Just be aware that your opponent may see you well behind the baseline and decide to come into the net for an easy volley.
The worst thing you can do when you encounter a moonball is to change your style of play. If you lose patience and try to hit a “Winner” on a moonball, you also give your opponent exactly what they want.