Please help me beat this opponent...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by aka1809, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. aka1809

    aka1809 New User

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    I am a 4.0 all around player. I try to play consistent tennis and not make too many errors. I have been playing a guy who I can't seem to figure out what the best strategy to beat him. I have beaten him twice, so I know it is possible although I would say he is a better player than me. Last night we played to long sets which he won 6-4, 6-4.

    He is a former college player, probably a high 4.0 now and hit EVERYTHING back. That isn't the problem so much, but the fact that he hits with little to no pace and hits short balls with angles. These short balls usually have some slice on them, but the angles are the most damaging to me.

    I've tried hitting mostly to his backhand, didn't work. Tried running him from side to side, didn't work. Tried coming into net, he will pass. I'm stumped.

    Any thoughts/suggestions would be much appreciated. I feel like I should be able to beat him.
     
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  2. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    #2
  3. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Long story short, if you can't hit heavy enough, you can't beat him.
    Heavy = pace + spin => push your opponent out
     
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  4. aka1809

    aka1809 New User

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    I don't know if I'd call this guy a pusher.
     
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  5. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Yes, he is and he is good at it (from what you described)

    Resistance is futile if you have no weapons, like really good serve + volley and/or ability to push him out to the back fence with your ground strokes or hit winners off those short angled shots.

    You can be good "all around player" making few unforced errors, but you need some weapons to advance.

    Try to focus on running forehand first (search Youtube) to use it as an attack shot down the line. Then you will be able to add inside out forehand and you will see how you then like those short angled sliced shots that he feeds you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
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  6. aka1809

    aka1809 New User

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    So with that in mind, would you wait for an opportunity and go for winners?
     
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  7. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Why hit running forehand or run around the ball to hit inside out, unless you want to do some real damage? Or at least make him uncomfortable/unable to pass you at the net

    If you have a weapon, you will "invite" opponent to give you that short angled shot so you can roll it into his corner on the run, and then walk to the net to pick up leftovers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
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  8. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    what happens if you go to the net? is he good at passing shots or lobs?

    of course since you mentioned that he is a former college player he could also be toying with you. can he hit "normal" strokes too?
     
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  9. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I play a pusher like this and the way to beat him is to push him back with heavy groundies and come into the court each time. So if I start the point behind the baseline, as soon as I get a hold of a forehand I come into the court behind it. Not to net, unless he is lunging, but closer in to rob him of time.

    I then hit the next shot to the opposite side of the court and from there finish the point with a drop shot to the other side.

    So basically:

    heavy top to backhand, step inside the baseline
    heavy top to forehand side, come inside service box
    drop shot to backhand.
     
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  10. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    ^^ See, the key word is "heavy" ;)
     
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  11. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    IMHO, short,slow angle shots should be dropshot-ed for winners.

    (or hit dtl deep)
     
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  12. MauricioDias

    MauricioDias Rookie

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    This is a great how to =)
     
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  13. aka1809

    aka1809 New User

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    He is definitely not toying with me. It is his style of play.

    He can definitely hit well placed passing shots. I think I need to hit better approach shots.
     
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  14. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    maxpo is correct!

    Your shots are still too weak to cause any damage.

    Once your shots reach a certain mph(placement is a given but not terribly important if you can't place 1foot from the lines), it's very difficult and many times impossible for your peers to control and put it back short or with angle.

    Watch the AO, most of the time everyone just simply hits a lot of great groundstrokes. Rinse and repeat.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
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  15. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    It's very simple: he hit shots that were either difficult for you to hit back, or frustrated you to the point of playing low % tennis in a desperate attempt to win.

    So, how do you beat him? You must change gears, change your game completely in order to beat him. The single biggest reason why he beat you is because you gave him easy, short shots for him to continue pounding away with. He, in turn, gave you deep shots that were difficult for you to hit back. When this happened, the depth of your shots got shallower and shallower until you either made an error, or he hit a winner.

    How do you counter this? You need to hit deep as well. As long as you hit the ball deep, he won't be in his comfort zone. The deeper you hit the ball, the harder it will be for him to maintain the constant barrage of deep shots. Eventually, after 8 to 10 hits, SOMEONE is going to make a mistake and hit the ball short. Hopefully, that's him. That's your cue to step into the court, hit an approach shot, and finish off the point.

    Remember, all tennis matches have three phases: starting the point, maintaining the point and finishing the point. His strengths are starting and maintaining. You need to match that by also being able to maintain the point... until he gives you an opportunity to finish it. You MUST be comfortable with long rallies. If you feel like you must hit a winner from the baseline, because you're frustrated, then he's going to win every time.

    It's SUPER difficult to end points from 3 feet behind the baseline. In all reality, most people can't (unless you hit a drop shot). Better off MAINTAINING the point from the baseline, wait for him to make a mistake and give you a short ball, then you can start to dictate the point.
     
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  16. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    So your opponent hits sharp angles? That's skill tennis. If he also uses the short slice as a tool in his bank, it's a further testament to his superior touch and skill.

    IMO, you should rob him of the angles he creates. This is best implemented by hitting heavy and deep groundstrokes into the middle, so that he cannot create the angles. This forces him to try something extra, possibly low percentage play.
     
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  17. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    Took the words out of my mouth. When i'm in a losing situation I try and change my strategy based on my opponent. Figure out what YOUR OPPONENT is doing to hurt you.

    In this case he's all over the short angles - response - take them away, deep balls to the middle of the court. Wait for an opening.
     
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  18. willeric

    willeric Rookie

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    Adding to the current replies, you need to back him up and give him tougher balls.

    Moonballing with extra top tends to work against this type of player. It will either back him up or take it out of his strike zone.
     
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  19. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    For a really good pusher, I have never been able to beat them trying to hit harder, heavier, or higher. They seem to be masters at using my pace, spin, and heaviness to get the ball back with even more interest.

    The way I beat pushers is to bring them up. Get them off the baseline. Dropshot, short harsh angles. At that point, I can either elect to hit a safe pass or hit a safe lob.

    IMHO, the key to beating a good pusher is to get them out of the east-west-east mode and into the north-south-north mode.
     
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  20. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    Are you a pusher? If so chances are he's able to hit 'angles' and passing shots because you do not have the offensive weapons to really bother him, as other posters have said. Angles and passing shots are hard to hit for almost anyone if the incoming shot is an aggressive and heavy ball.

    If you've won before, cant you look back on your victories to see what happened? Did he simply make more errors?
     
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  21. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    This does not sound like "high 4.0 slice master occasionally losing to another 4.0 all around player" in the OP

    But north-south vs east-west thing is good!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
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  22. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    What's your definition of "a really good pusher"?

    For my sanity I think of tennis as simple. Watching pros play, playing the game myself proves this: you need to play correct shot selection and it's all about speed. Sport is speed!
     
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  23. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    If I were to put in simplest terms, a really good pusher is one who is almost never beaten in a baseline rally... meaning they never cough up an unforced error from the baseline.

    To beat a good pusher, it requires a non-baseline weapon.

    Most players do not possess a consistent non-baseline weapon which is what makes them extremely hard to beat at 4.0.
     
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  24. SublimeTennis

    SublimeTennis Semi-Pro

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    Hard to tell based on the information, a video would be perfect. You did emphasize he hits everything back, which tells me you are giving him the angles he needs to hit everything back. Likewise he is simultaneously throwing off your game by hitting shots with no pace, different angles, sounds like he's running you around.

    You have to take control of the points, don't just go to his backhand, go deep and hard to his backhand and come forward if he's off balance, nothing better than a pusher barely hitting it over, you need to work on crushing low balls with little pace. Mix it up, hit deep and hard, then hit it over the net with little pace, and vice versa. Fed is great at slicing low to bring his opponents in, they come in pop it up and he's there to kill it.

    I played a guy like this like a year ago, I'd hit a killer "winner" cross court, turn around as I was convinced I had him only to see him like a Cheetah tracking it down. Those heavy strokes paid off though as all he could do was pop it up, and I'd be mid court. That's the problem with the baseline only game IMO, no one knows how to work mid court. I'd also delay on my shots, so he'd hit soft, it would give me plenty of time, I'd get his eye attention and wait on the ball instead of taking it early, look to the left and hit it inside out, he told me that gave him trouble.

    Yea I can't stand guys who run down every ball and just get it back over the net, I do think they are easy to beat if you can play coming in, many can't.

    Anyways just my two cents, put up a video looks like some guys on here have some good views.
     
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  25. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    mighty

    If you define it in that term, nobody can beat this type of player, not even Nadal, Federer.

    Anyway, let's not discuss in circular logic. What do you think about my assertion that you just need to (a) play correct shot selection and (b) it's all about speed. Sport is speed! Those are the only requirement.
     
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  26. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I might not be clear. All I am saying is that against a good pusher, you cannot sit there and just try to "out-baseline" them. If that is your strategy, you are going to lose every single match. You must defeat them by incorporating something off the baseline. Whether it is bringing them up, or your yourself coming forward. There is no other way.

    We'll leave professionals out of this. Every professional on tour has a weapon.

    I think (a) is certainly right. But if the correct shot is a short shot... but you don't have it in your arsenal... then you will lose. If the correct shot is hitting an overhead but you don't have it in your arsenal, then you will lose.

    Playing the correct shot against a pusher means you have to be able to do more than just run back and forth hitting topspin. You need a real non-baseline weapon.
     
    #26

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