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Ash Doyle
09-22-2005, 10:00 AM
This is probably a very vague question but, I have a match scheduled tomorrow against a player who I am assuming is better than I am. He is a Div III College player with a winning record for last season; and I'm afraid thats all I know about him. In general, what is the best strategy for playing a better player. I'm guessing trying to play safe and consistent may be a bad idea, since if he can "out-consistent" me, he'll win. I could just go all out and hope I have some luck on my side, but without the luck that will be a losing plan. I know I'll have to see how he plays and see if I can pick out a weak spot; but in general, how should I approach this match?

Rickson
09-22-2005, 10:04 AM
This is probably a very vague question but, I have a match scheduled tomorrow against a player who I am assuming is better than I am. He is a Div III College player with a winning record for last season; and I'm afraid thats all I know about him. In general, what is the best strategy for playing a better player. I'm guessing trying to play safe and consistent may be a bad idea, since if he can "out-consistent" me, he'll win. I could just go all out and hope I have some luck on my side, but without the luck that will be a losing plan. I know I'll have to see how he plays and see if I can pick out a weak spot; but in general, how should I approach this match?
Play his backhand. Always test the opponent's backhand, no matter what level. If his bh side is strong, then check his forehand. If both wings are strong, draw him in and see how he plays the net. If his net play is strong, try moving him all around the court. If he can move well, play the net well, and is strong on both wings, play short points and take it as a learning experience.

Geezer Guy
09-22-2005, 10:09 AM
Can you slip him a mickey before the match?

Well, seriously, I guess I would suggest that since you REALLY know nothing about how he plays (other than he wins a lot) you should approach the match with a fairly clean slate. During the warm-up and the first couple of games, figure out what his style is, along with strengths and weaknesses. Then attack his weaknesses with your strengths. Try NOT to let yourself get psyched out before the match even starts because he's a successful college player (although sounds like it may be too late for that). Think if him as just another notch on your racquet.

And, if he turns out to really be "all that", just relish your chance to play against someone that good, and have as much fun as you can. Winning isn't everything. (And, if you think about it, he's under MUCH more pressure to win than you are.)

Rickson
09-22-2005, 10:21 AM
Good advice, GG. The pressure's on him to win and not you. Play him with no pressure and make him sweat. Even if you get bageled, you won't be scrutinized, but if he loses a tie break, he'll get thrashed by his peers. Remember, it's all on him, not you.

mucat
09-22-2005, 10:33 AM
A while ago, I was practicing with a player at least one level higher than me. His groundstrokes are just overpowering. His first serve has power and spin, very tough to handle. If I play him a match, I know I will get bagels. However, I found if I hit deep to his BH, he will just float a BH back, not really float, but compare to his regular BH, it is a float. It is very attackable if I go to the net and volley. But the problem is to identify early when he will float one in.

The second thing is, I notice he has a little less consistent handling low slice on his FH, but the problem is not big enough and sometimes he can hit winner with that.

The third one is big. I notice if I bring him to the net, I can actually pass him.
This is the only situation I found I can have a winning or even % against him.
I think the reasons it works are he is not a tall player, about my height 5'7" and I have very good pass shots. He has very good volleys but it is just the wingspan cannot cover enough angle.

louis netman
09-22-2005, 10:47 AM
Assess his strengths and weaknesses during warm-up, then play your own game and attack whatever weaknesses you've assessed... Try and keep up your first serve percentage and don't make unforced errors on the return...

NoBadMojo
09-22-2005, 11:28 AM
Assuming the guy is really better than you (you dont know this for sure), you shouldnt use the match to experiment and test his backhand, then his forehand, see if he can volley, etc etc..by the time you have done all this probing, the match is likely over. I suggest you justplay your game whatever it is. trying to play out of your comfort zone will likely cause you to play worse not better in a match situation.
Warmups can be revealing. You should be able to tell what his grips are in warmups, and that should give you clues about how to play him. You should also be able to tell if he will likely run around alot of backhands during the warmup by sending him a few balls slightly to his backhand and observing what he does, and that should give you a clue how to play him. If he doesnt warm up his volley, he probably doesnt have one. It's hard to tell what kind of a serve a good player has by the warmup as he likely isnt going to reveal much.

Ash Doyle
09-24-2005, 04:29 AM
Thanks for the input everybody. The match went well; I won 6-4, 6-2. I picked on his backhand so much he probably thought I was incapable of hitting to the deuce court. The first set was difficult, but I broke his serve in his third service game of the second set and I think he went into a little bit of a panic and started trying for too much to pull it back even and things just got away from his after that. One thing that surprised me about my playing in this match was I think was a little nervous and as a result was not serving as well as I could have and I was choosing some bad time to come to net. I guess I got a little too excited.

Marius_Hancu
09-24-2005, 05:11 AM
If he doesnt warm up his volley, he probably doesnt have one.

Right on the target:-)

goober
09-24-2005, 06:52 AM
Thanks for the input everybody. The match went well; I won 6-4, 6-2. I picked on his backhand so much he probably thought I was incapable of hitting to the deuce court. The first set was difficult, but I broke his serve in his third service game of the second set and I think he went into a little bit of a panic and started trying for too much to pull it back even and things just got away from his after that. One thing that surprised me about my playing in this match was I think was a little nervous and as a result was not serving as well as I could have and I was choosing some bad time to come to net. I guess I got a little too excited.


Well 6-4, 6-2 sounds fairly routine. What level do you play at? D3 level players are usually around 4.5 right?

callitout
09-24-2005, 07:11 AM
With results like that, sounds like you should only play players who are better than you. I hear Mardy Fish is looking for a game.

Ash Doyle
09-24-2005, 10:31 AM
With results like that, sounds like you should only play players who are better than you. I hear Mardy Fish is looking for a game.

Hey! I like Mardy Fish. I hope he can turn it around and get back in there like Blake and Ginepri have.

Well, after my first round win I had a severe let down in the second round. I lost to a player I was assuming I would beat easily. He hit with very little pace, but he was placing his shots very well and everything came back. I wouldn't really call him a pusher, but it was basically the same mentality and game plan. I got way to overconfident during the warmup and then it all went down hill from there. I'm coming off of a five week period of no tennis due to sickness, but that was still no excuse for this horrible loss. The one lesson I taking away from this one is "never underestimate your opponent no matter how easy you think it will be". He played an ugly game, but that doesn't matter....it was effective.

mucat
09-24-2005, 09:47 PM
Ash Doyle, I totally agree with you. Never know how good a player really is until play him a match. Isn't tennis a great game or what.