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Scientist and co-author of Newton's Football.

The drop shot—a tennis move that sends the ball just barely over the net—has grown in popularity since Roger Federer used it to win the French Open in 2009. It’s a risky shot that can catch opponents off guard, sending them scrambling forward to the net.

The drop shot isn’t executed by luck—it’s a combination of an angled hit by the racquet and the movement of air above and below the ball as it spins.

Above, watch materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez explain the physics behind the tennis drop shot.

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