Novak's backhand down the line is likely his best and most dangerous shot. He can decide to go down the line from almost any position with his backhand and it's very difficult to read when he will.
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This gives him a huge strategic edge over his right-handed opponents because they cannot afford to run around their backhand since this will leave the court open for Novak's down the line backhand.
His opponents are usually not prepared to get all the way over to cover a good down the line backhand. Additionally, he keeps them guessing with his drop shots. Overall he makes great strategic use of this shot.
A great one-handed backhand is essentially a result of great backhand technique. In reality there's very little difference between a cross-court backhand and a down-the-line backhand.
The tennis court is less than 20 degrees wide and the main difference between these two shots is the angle of the racquet face at contact. This difference is minimal though and therefore the real key to developing a great backhand down the line is developing great backhand technique.
Once you master backhand fundamentals you'll be able to hit great down the line backhands with ease.
No. 4: Incorporate the Drop Shot on Your Stronger Side
Novak tends to hit a lot of drop shots with his backhand and he has a lot of success with this strategy.
Novak's excellent backhand and his ability to go down the line forces his opponents to retreat relatively far behind the baseline. This makes it a lot easier for him to hit successful drop shots.
If you have a great forehand, a forehand drop shot should be fairly easy to incorporate into your game and vice versa.
That's exactly what the top players do. Novak tends to hit drop shots with his backhand and Roger and Rafael Nadal tend to hit more drop shots with their forehand.
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Many recreational players on the other hand make the mistake of hitting drop shots from their weaker side because they are afraid to hit the ball on that side. This is usually isn't very effective because your opponents aren't afraid of your weak side and therefore they're not as far behind the baseline.
Novak's backhand drop shot is successful so often because he disguises it well.
This is something that you can easily practice. You need to practice turning the same way that you turn for your backhand and only when you begin your forward swing do you open the racquet face for the drop shot. A great way to practice this movement is in front of the mirror without actually hitting a ball.
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