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anantak2k
11-18-2012, 02:29 PM
I recently realized that I have a lot of trouble playing against lefties. I am just not used to playing them as I have no hitting partners that are lefties and the only times I play against lefties are sporadically in tournaments.

I am a solid 4.5 player. My best shot is the inside out FH (I can hit it with good pace and excellent short angles to create space). I move really well. BH is pretty steady both DTL and CC. Serve and net game is very average. My FH CC needs some work (it's good some days but I have days where I shank this shot a lot) but my DTL FH is pretty good.

The biggest issue I seem to be having when playing lefties is the fact that I tend to stand more to my BH side of the court in order to hit IO forehands even though my BH is a very steady shot. I seem to have a lot of trouble reading a lefty's shot as opposed to a righty so my shot anticipation sort of goes out of the window.

I seem to have a hard time recognizing when a lefty is hitting a forehand DTL or an inside out FH or an inside in FH. There FH DTL and inside out FH seems to put a real hurt on my game because I am not anticipating it well so half the time I find myself just watching the ball go by for a winner. Even ones that I feel I should be getting to.\

I am wondering if anyone has some suggestion/advice on what I should be doing and what I should be working on or how I can recognize and anticipate shots from left handed players better.

Thanks :)

Edit: Let me add that my best shot inside out FH goes right into their FH which definitely hurts me if they take it DTL.

LeeD
11-18-2012, 02:44 PM
I'm a lefty. Played in 12-14 A/Open tourneys in the SanFrancisco area back in the late '70's.
Every lefty is different, just like righties. Some hit consistent strong forehands, other's don't. There is no general rule except to probe the backhand first and foremost, then if that isn't working, probe the forehand.
Most lefties seem to be athletic all courters, not all. So they tend to get bored quickly if you hit high deep balls up the middle. Me, of course.
You know where their backhands are, so serve there if you want a weaker, more consistent return.
Federer hits a fine inside out forehand vs Nadal and Meltzer, but they get there oftentimes.
Watch your backhand on their serves, especially the ad court wide serve, either first or second.
Good defense against speed and athleticism? Hit behind them.

vil
11-18-2012, 02:49 PM
I'm a lefty and one thing righties do to me, when I serve on the ad court, they stand bit more out wide, getting ready for a wide one but at the same time forcing me to think about serving down the middle. I have to be more accurate for that serve 'cos otherwise they are ready with their forehand.

Tennusdude
11-18-2012, 02:54 PM
I usually have had great success against lefties except at the USTA Nationals where I lost a close match because it took me two sets to figure out what to do when a lefty hits an american twist serve. Actually I was leading the first set 5-3 and hit what I thought was a backhand passing shot for a winner on set point. The crowd was cheering and after the cheering died down, the opponent informed me that my shot was out. Even though he had clipped me, I was not worried and built a 5-3 lead in the tiebreaker only to blow that lead and lose the set. Next I was up 40-0 in my first service game of the second set and wound up losing that game for the only break of the set. However when he was serving for the set at 5-4 and 40-love I finally figured out how to return his American Twist service for outright winners. I had been taking it with my backhand but realized that if I took it with my forehand it would merely be the same are return a righty slice serve or topsin serve. I proceeded to pass him on the first two returns to make the score, 40- 30, then on the last set point I hit another great shot but he lunged for it and made a miracle volley for a winner. After the match was over, my opponent told me that he couldnt believe that he had beaten me. I felt like telling him that as long as he keeps up the cheating in set points, he should continue to do well!

Anyway, normally I play well against lefties. The key is to slice the serve either to their backhands or else slice it into their bodies. Also pull them off the court with crosscourt forehands to their backhands. then either hit behind them or to the open court. But mainly its how you return their serves that makes the difference and how you serve to them.

anantak2k
11-18-2012, 03:36 PM
Thanks LeeD, vil and Tennusdude for some of the tips.
I did notice that lefties usually tend to have a very consistent BH. I usually get used to their serve after a couple of games. My BH return is actually much better than my FH return because its a very compact swing as opposed to my long FH swing.

I am going to actually try the strategy of hitting deep into the middle of the court to see if that yields any results (I feel like by hitting IO FHs I keep giving them an opening to hit their FH DTL).
I also think I just need more practice against them in order to be able to read their shots better and have better anticipation.

I will also try to work on hitting my own FHs more CC with more consistency (its definitely a shot I need to work on) so that I can hit more to their BHs.

My biggest issue is definitely defending against an all-court type lefty player, which I have no problem with if they are a righty. It's really strange. I anticipate so well vs righties but vs lefties I seem to have no idea where the ball is going.

LeeD
11-18-2012, 03:42 PM
Lefties have the same strategy as you do.
Pound the backhand side, then when opponent cheats that way, hit behind them.
Every lob you throw up needs to find their backhand side.
Their serves hook out wide on ad court to your backhand.
They often slice up the T on duece court, to get you started in one direction.
Most have lots of spin on their serves, so prep higher.

kopfan
11-18-2012, 04:26 PM
Just stop focusing, stop thinking they are lefties. Focus on the ball more and play more relax, spot the weakest and work on it. Keep attacking the way you usually does and if isn't working, try your plan B.

anantak2k
11-18-2012, 05:31 PM
Just stop focusing, stop thinking they are lefties. Focus on the ball more and play more relax, spot the weakest and work on it. Keep attacking the way you usually does and if isn't working, try your plan B.

Thank you! :)
I need to just relax and play. You are absolutely right :)

mikeler
11-18-2012, 06:17 PM
Thank you! :)
I need to just relax and play. You are absolutely right :)

Exactly. Play the percentages. If your backhand is not a liability like you say, go cross court with it. When you hit DTL, you are taking the chance by opening up your own court position. Geometry is your friend unless your lefty opponent has a monster forehand and then you have to throw your protractor out of the window.

Timbo's hopeless slice
11-18-2012, 08:16 PM
ye, keep it simple, man, just do what you do, make them play etc etc..

don't let 'em get in your head.

(and watch your service return on the ad court to your BH!!!! :))

anantak2k
11-19-2012, 05:40 AM
Thanks for all the tips everyone :)

dman72
11-19-2012, 06:18 AM
If I just play the percentages against most of the lefties that I play regulary, I will lose every time.

However, if i intentionally hit every shot to their backhand and cheat towards my backhand, it will always be close. I may not win every match, but I have no chance if I just keep feeding their forehands.

There are 4 lefties in my league, and this is the case with 3 of them. The other guy has no power on his forehand so it doesn't apply. The other 3 can hurt you with their forehands, and will just keep pounding my backhand with more and more angle until I'm off the court. If I just take every shot and hit it to the deuce court (even weakly) until he runs around to his forehand, I'll be in every point, because even their best backhand is just a decent rally shot.

Of course, they try to do the same to me, avoiding my forehand at all costs, because it can do damage. It becomes a game of cat and mouse.

dominikk1985
11-19-2012, 06:23 AM
I'm a lefty. Played in 12-14 A/Open tourneys in the SanFrancisco area back in the late '70's.
Every lefty is different, just like righties. Some hit consistent strong forehands, other's don't. There is no general rule except to probe the backhand first and foremost, then if that isn't working, probe the forehand.
Most lefties seem to be athletic all courters, not all. So they tend to get bored quickly if you hit high deep balls up the middle. Me, of course.
You know where their backhands are, so serve there if you want a weaker, more consistent return.
Federer hits a fine inside out forehand vs Nadal and Meltzer, but they get there oftentimes.
Watch your backhand on their serves, especially the ad court wide serve, either first or second.
Good defense against speed and athleticism? Hit behind them.

I thought you were a lefty by reading your posts:D.

I'm a lefty too. basically the R against L strategy is the same as L against R. So my tactics against a righty is the same as the tactics a righty should be the same.

the biggest thing in that matchup is the CC rallies. in tennis CC is the most common shot for a lot of reasons. but in contrast to and RR matchup you will always have FH vs BH and vice versa. so each of the CC rallies usually is an advantage for one player. both players try to get that FH to BH matchup especially since lefties often have better FHs (probably because they play it more often since righties are used to hit to that side).

however sometimes that approach can backfire when you don't realize quickly enough when an opponent has a stronger BH side.

mikeler
11-19-2012, 08:49 AM
Dman,

Sometimes you do have to play the "find the backhand" battle.

kopfan
11-19-2012, 09:06 AM
Why do you have to think so much when playing a leftie. It not about they have great forehand hitting to you and you feel so afraid to hit over to their forehand. It is mental. Do you think if all ball play to your forehand, you will win most of the point? Just play relax and focus on your own hitting. To me... it not about... he is a rightie or leftie... it more about... i am hitting to the right or left corners and plan my points. During a match... somehow... there is one particular corner that you will have a higher percentage of winning... it varies from game to game and not opponent to opponent.

LuckyR
11-21-2012, 02:59 PM
Yes your inside out FH is your favorite shot but it is not your best shot. I say this because you like hitting it against RH players because it goes to their BH which can't handle it well enough to go DTL against you, so you cheat even more to the BH side and hit the next shot inside in for a winner.

Against LH players, their FHs can handle your inside out FH and they punish you DTL for a winner.

You have two choices: don't go inside out with your off side FH (go inside in) or hit your inside out FH better, such that they can't go DTL with any consistancy.

BlueB
11-21-2012, 11:04 PM
You can do what I did - mary a leftie! :D You'll get lots of practice. To me it's natural to play my Mrs Leftie and am a bit baffled to play righties...

Frank Silbermann
11-22-2012, 05:47 AM
Yes your inside out FH is your favorite shot but it is not your best shot. I say this because you like hitting it against RH players because it goes to their BH which can't handle it well enough to go DTL against you, so you cheat even more to the BH side and hit the next shot inside in for a winner.

Against LH players, their FHs can handle your inside out FH and they punish you DTL for a winner.

You have two choices: don't go inside out with your off side FH (go inside in) or hit your inside out FH better, such that they can't go DTL with any consistancy. Yes, running around your backhand leaves your forehand corner open. That's why the books I read when I learned tennis said, "Never run around your backhand. Instead, practice it until it is as good as your forehand."

I guess RH people get away with it against RH opponents because their opponents didn't follow that advice either (or they'd be able to smack the backhand down-the-line for winners).

If your LH opponent's backhand isn't so good, what you might want to develop is a killer inside-out backhand that you could use to pound his backhand after running around your forehand.

martini1
11-22-2012, 06:16 AM
When I play a lefty the first goal is to avoid his fh cc to my bh. I would keep my fh pounding if possible, bh dtl if necessary.
Playing my fh dtl is very dangerous unless it is a winner or sets up a winner.

The lefty's slice serves kicks to the bh, so normally I would stand a little more to the left on returning.

Mentally I don't think of lefties as better. My slices kicks to their bh as well. I/O shots are also less effective because it is fh to fh.

Watch a bunch of Djoker vs Rafa clips.

LuckyR
11-22-2012, 09:10 AM
Yes, running around your backhand leaves your forehand corner open. That's why the books I read when I learned tennis said, "Never run around your backhand. Instead, practice it until it is as good as your forehand."

I guess RH people get away with it against RH opponents because their opponents didn't follow that advice either (or they'd be able to smack the backhand down-the-line for winners).

If your LH opponent's backhand isn't so good, what you might want to develop is a killer inside-out backhand that you could use to pound his backhand after running around your forehand.

Yes that was the advice back in the day. But Classic inside out FHs can't be compared to Modern inside out FHs. After all there is a reason that the Pros go to this shot day in and day out. It is a critical part of the Modern game. The OP just needs to learn to hit it better against lefties.

martini1
11-22-2012, 11:30 PM
Yes that was the advice back in the day. But Classic inside out FHs can't be compared to Modern inside out FHs. After all there is a reason that the Pros go to this shot day in and day out. It is a critical part of the Modern game. The OP just needs to learn to hit it better against lefties.

But of course, a weak i/o shot can be a disaster if you cannot win the point within the next 2 shots, and the opponent can counter you with a dtl shot. When I play a good defensive player I would only pull and i/o if i totally have the upper hand in that point.

anantak2k
11-24-2012, 06:36 PM
Thanks again for all the advise guys.

I played against the lefty today. I had an absolute blast. It was a great match. I lost 4-6 3-6 but I felt that I played very well. I just came across a better player. His BH was definitely the weaker wing. I won many points going there. But more often than not, he controlled the points better than I did.

The first set kind of got away from me. I felt that I was the better player during the first set. I had around 6 breakpoints on 3 of his service games but he came up with some huge serves or great play on those points. He had 1 BP on my serve at 4-4 which he took with a ridiculous topspin lob on the run.

The second set he was by far the better player. I was just hanging in there. He stopped serving to my BH and started serving 90% of his serves to my FH. He realized that my BH return was far superior to my FH return. He also stayed away from hitting short angled FH CC shots to my BH side. I was hitting a lot of those for BH DTL winners. Instead he kept them deep until he got a nice opening to hit a winner to my FH side.

It was a very enjoyable match and I will definitely be playing him more often in the future to further improve my game.

Frank Silbermann
11-25-2012, 03:08 AM
Yes that was the advice back in the day. But Classic inside out FHs can't be compared to Modern inside out FHs. After all there is a reason that the Pros go to this shot day in and day out. It is a critical part of the Modern game. The OP just needs to learn to hit it better against lefties. Well, then, I guess it _would_ pay to have a second forehand on the left side.