09.07.10

11 Incredible Tennis Shots

Federer between the legs. Hanescu's disappearing trick. Connors' classic racket throw. Watch video of insane tennis shots.

Federer’s Magical Tweener

In what many have dubbed the shot of the 2010 U.S. Open—a shot which came on opening night— Roger Federer hit a scorching winner with his back turned to opponent Brian Dabul. Between his legs. Seemingly about to lose the point, the all-time Grand Slam leader chased the ball behind his own baseline and hit a perfect “tweener.” Federer wasn’t too thrilled, perhaps because he hit the same shot at the semifinals the year before.

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Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Victor Hanescu didn’t have the roaring crowd of Arthur Ashe Stadium, but he sure gave those watching a delight at the U.S. Open when he faked an overhead smash and tapped the ball over the net for a winner. Best of all was Hanescu’s reaction. No big deal, it’s probably his signature move.

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Anything A Man Can Do, A Woman Can Do Better

If there’s anyone who disagrees with John McEnroe’s comment that women tennis players can’t handle the mental and physical aspects of the game, it’s Francesca Schiavone. While everyone cooed over Federer’s open round shot at the first round of the 2010 U.S. Open, Schiavone showed that while she may be a woman, she still has some tennis skills.

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If Only Shaving Were This Exciting

In this viral Gillette spot, Federer does the impossible and knocks a ball off a crewmember’s head. Twice. When asked if the shot was real, Federer said magicians never reveal their tricks.

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Sliding into Competition

In this 2010 U.S. Open match, Denis Istomin hits an incredible shot while running full speed and then sliding toward Rafael Nadal. While the No. 1 seed went on to win the match, Istomin’s enthusiasm has to be commended. As for the slide, did he know that he wasn’t at the French Open?

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3, 2, 1…Racket Blasts Off

Jimmy Connors may occasionally get a bad rap for being a hothead, but if one thing’s for sure, it’s that he was passionate. Case in point, this moment from 1996’s senior tour. Connors wins a miraculous point by throwing his racket in the air and knocking down the ball. It does make more sense than running down the ball and hitting a shot with your back to the net. We’re looking at you, Roger.

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Roddick Serve Punishes Ball, Court, Opponent, Referee

If you’re in a match with Andy Roddick, the last thing you want to happen is have the umpire piss him off. The victim in this serve is the clay court, as Roddick hits the ball so hard that it literally gets stuck in the ground.

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Flippin’ It Over the Shoulder

Post-crazy hair and pre-revealing autobiography, Andre Agassi stunned his opponent in 1995 by chasing down a shot and hitting a wicked shot over his shoulder. Agassi’s wife and tennis great Steffi Graf would have been proud—and probably couldn’t have returned the shot.

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Both Feet on Court? Not Necessary

Can Federer hit a winning shot between his legs in midair? The jury’s still out on that one, but Franco-American Mary Pierce sure can. Watch as she hustles across the clay and hits the amazing shot against Monica Seles at the French Open.

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Tennis: Where Diving is Acceptable

Boris Becker owes some of his six Grand Slams to his propensity to dive on the court. While his move has been mimicked over the years by everyone from Andy Roddick to Gael Monfils, no one could do it quite like Becker. Here, he does it twice.

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Nadal Doesn’t Care Where Net Is

Rafael Nadal is so good he doesn’t need to hit the ball over the net to beat you. Forget about physics and the angels of a tennis court, Nadal hits a shot that wraps around the net post and lands inside the line. Federer, however, is not impressed.

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Sujay Kumar works at The Daily Beast. He's written for MTV Splash Page and The Daily Illini.