Ryan Harrison Biography And Detailed Game Analysis

Ryan Harrison is an upcoming American tennis player who tasted success at the professional level at a very early age. He is often seen as the next American player that might be able to compete for Grand Slam titles. Let’s take a look at his Biography and analyze his game in detail.


Harrison was born in 1992 in Shreveport, Louisiana. His dad is a tennis coach and his younger brother is also a very promising young player.

As a junior Ryan spend a lot of his time training with his dad at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in Texas. Ryan got so good quickly that the family decided to move to the link: Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy because of the high level competition there.

Harrison competed on the ITF Junior circuit and reached a career high world ranking of number 7 at the age of 16. He could have competed two more years on the junior tour but decided to move on to compete in professional tournaments!

A Short Feature Video On Ryan

Game Analysis

Harrison is a phenomenal athlete and plays solid Tennis from the baseline!



The forehand is Harrison’s weaker side. He can hit solid topspin shots with it but he has a really hard time flattening out his forehand, which makes it very tough for him to win points against Top10 kind of players from the baseline!

When he gets involved in forehand cross-court rallies with the top players he almost always ends up on defense because his ball often sits up nicely in the strike zone for his opponents.

He definitely has a tendency to over rotate with his upper body. It appears as if he is trying to throw his right shoulder around and that causes a lot of problems with the forehand; often resulting in mishit shots. Instead the rotation of the upper body should stop once you get close to contact, which allows for better energy transfer into the arm! He also does not make enough use of the stretch shortening cycle in my opinion.


The backhand is Ryan’s better shot and he has very good mechanics with this stroke. He has good grips, finishes with his elbows up rather high and also gets good penetration by extending his arms out to the target

Ryan Harrison Hitting Groundstrokes In Slow Motion:

With this solid technique he can hit some very dangerous backhand down the line shots, which he does not attempt to do often enough in my opinion!


Ryan hits a solid slice backhand. He manages to keep the racket face relatively flat and as a result his slice backhands tend to stay low and go through the court.

Overall I think he uses the slice too much because he should focus on being more aggressive with his two-handed backhand!


Ryan has a very nice fluid motion. He can hit huge serves and does generate a nice amount of points with it. His serve is definitely a strength!

The Ryan Harrison Serve In Slow Motion

As you can see his motion is very fluid and he makes contact well inside the court!


Ryan has a good net game and he is not afraid of coming to the net either. His forehand volley is very good and he can stick the ball nicely. His backhand volley is also solid even though he does swing a bit too much left to right for my taste.

Have A Look At Harrison Practicing His Volleys


Ryan spends too much time way behind the baseline. I watched highlights of his matches against many different players and it appears like he is usually 10 feet behind the baseline whereas his opponents are close to the baseline. This is not a strategy that will make him a Top10 player in my opinion!

The common pattern that I see when he plays top players is that his opponents find a way to work the point with their forehand and eventually end up getting past Harrison!

Additionally he tends to hit a lot of balls short because he is already moving back again while hitting instead of moving through the shot. This is most likely caused by an overall defensive mindset that he is used to since his junior days. The fact that he is so athletic allowed him to be successful with this strategy at the junior level but his success at the pro level will be limited playing this way in my opinion!

Have A Look At These Highlights

Harrison has a hard time winning points once the ball is in play from the baseline and that is not a good sign for his future success!

Ryan does play some nice drop shots and also does come in to the net at good times in general so that is definitely a positive on the tactical side!

At times he likes to throw in the occasional serve and volley which I also like as long as he doesn’t overdo it! My guess is that this habit was born out of frustration because he realized that he cannot hang with the top players from the baseline!


Harrison is a phenomenal athlete. He is strong, explosive and moves around the court incredibly well. I am sure he worked hard at this but this is certainly a natural kind of athleticism that not many people are born with.

I also believe that being such a good athlete at a young age is what allowed him to have solid success at the professional level at a young age!


Harrison is known to loose it on the court at times and he tends to get overly negative when things are not going his way. Nevertheless, he is also a good competitor in many ways and he is not afraid of giving it everything he has.

He is known to break rackets every now and then and sometimes he completely looses it on the court. He might be frustrated internally because his expectations are most likely Top10ish and he is starting to realize that he will have a really hard time reaching that!

Overall I would say that his mental game is a slight weakness but getting that under control should be a lot easier than actually improving his game from a technical and tactical standpoint so that he can make a jump towards the Top20.


1. Physical
2. Mental
3. Technical
4. Tactical


Overall Ryan Harrison plays solid from the baseline but isn’t able to put enough pressure on his opponents, especially with his slightly weaker forehand side. At the top level you need to go for bigger shots on a regular basis and I am afraid he is not used to doing that!

He has a huge asset with his phenomenal athleticism and he also has a good serve but he still lacks certain elements to get to the Top20 or Top10 level and I am skeptic about him ever becoming a Top10 player!

Coaching Recommendation

Harrison tends to over rotate on his forehand and is not able to put enough pressure on opponents with this shot. He needs to work on and improve that forehand if he is going to be a Top10 player in his career in my opinion.

He also needs to work hard on getting away from that defensive mindset, which is going to be tough because he has been playing like this for a long time!

Nevertheless, it is certainly possible to change at this point.

Online Tennis Instruction