It’s the equivalent of the penalty box on the football pitch. You need to get into the penalty box to increase your chances of scoring the point. The zone of truth is a crosscourt shot close to the sideline. But it’s not a deep crosscourt shot, it’s a little bit shorter. It’s in a square just after the service box against the sideline.
I (Carl Maes) call it the penalty box because for me that is a crosscourt shot where you have an ideal combination between having enough pace, having enough speed on the ball and having some topspin to it. If you draw that geometrically on a tennis court, if you’re able to play the ball in that zone of truth, you will make your opponent run 1,5 meters more outside the court. In fact, it’s 3 meters because it’s 1,5 meter outside the court and also 1,5 meters to get back in the court.
So, in that respect, I (Carl) find it a good combination of pace and spin, whereas if you have the very deep crosscourt shot, a good counterattack player can get into the corner and play a good down the line shot. If you have fit enough players that like to change direction, they can really benefit if you play a normal deep crosscourt shot.
Likewise, if you play too short and with too much spin inside the service box, this short crosscourt ball, can put you in danger because it’s too slow due to the spin. So, for me (Carl), this in-between zone, I (Carl) call it the zone of Truth. Particularly it’s interesting in female tennis because in female tennis, there is a little bit less spin. So, we don’t want to ask them to play with too much topspin. We want to focus on that zone. For me (Carl), it’s the penalty box of the tennis court, because if you hit it there, I (Carl) think your chances increase of scoring the next ball.