Tactics vrs a net player

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by safc_number10, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. safc_number10

    safc_number10 New User

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    My next opponent in my singles league like to approach the net and I remember him picking off a lot of points at the net in our last meeting.

    Obviously I'm going to by lobbing to the backhand side if I spot them at the net and perhaps hit hard to the sides on occasions too - but can anyone offer any further tactical advise?
     
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  2. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    One of my regular tennis buddies is a benchmarked 4.0, plays #1 and #2 singles for his USTA team, serve and volley, net rusher. He's 6' 3", very athletic. Great hands, can drop volley, comes in behind every serve like a version of Edberg at our level. He developed this style some years ago after being unable to slug it out toe-to-toe from the baseline IMO (I surmise that, have never actually asked him but back then he was taking a licking).

    A tactic I use with success to beat him is to center my ground strokes on his chest, to the backhand side a bit. Trying to lob him won't work because he has a decent serve with fair amount of spin - so he just gets overheads too often. I will lob (over the backhand side usually, but a crosscourt topspin lob from my forehand is also there sometimes and used) during rallies when he comes charging in and I can hit while he is still on the move.

    Anywho, hitting hard (I have a powerful forehand) at him forces him to get out of the way to get his racquet on it, leading to volleys being popped up, i.e., sitters, that I can then finish off. Not talking in between pace, am talking a healthy cut.

    Also, I put extra focus to take care of my serve so you I get after his serve more aggressively. With a high percentage of first serves going in, I can keep him pinned back at the baseline ... which is NOT his comfort zone.

    It may sound simplistic, but with this approach I win 7 out of 10 of our singles matches and we've played 50+ of them. But he lost about 15 of the first 20 ... so he's had much more success with this approach. I give him credit, and love the challenge as most of the singles guys in my crew are baseliners.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
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  3. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    Most S/V are good at reading the lob and moving back to cover/attack in my experience.

    Counter with a 2 point pass. First ball low to their feet, preferably with pace. Step in and take the reply safely down one of the lines depending on your stronger stroke....or just take their head clean off, hammer the forehand shoulder which will jam them if they get the racquet there in time. ;-)

    First ball not good enough? Just like a net exchange in doubles, keep their contact point low and below the tape as you move in, attack the first high ball.
     
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  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    In general, it can be easier to volley a hard flat shot than a slower one. Before you start trying to blast the ball 100 mph, see if taking off some pace or slicing will trip him up.

    This is level-dependent, I must admit. At my level (4.0 ladies), there are many players who don't have the most solid volley mechanics and will struggle to generate their own pace/penetration on a volley.
     
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  5. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Since you imply that you are not an all court player, since you make a big deal of your opponent playing the net, I assume you are a baseliner, like >90% of young, capable players are nowadays. If so, then I am a bit baffled by your proposal to resort to the lob, when most Modern baseliners would relish an opponent who provides them with passing opportunities, since they are so easy to perform with a Modern game.
     
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  6. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    How was he picking off points at the net? Putting away high volleys? Forcing you into too many errors on passing shots? Putting away low volleys? Because the 1st two are much more common than the last in my experience. So one strategy is to make him work for his points at the net - don't try hit winners past him, just try hit his feet; the combination of being low and having no angle to work with might give him trouble and set you up for the next shot.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    How about keeping him away from inside service line position by hitting your shots deep, or with heavy topspin?
    If he's around the service line, you can hit your dipping balls and passes much easier than if he camped inside his service line.
    Rather than react to his net play, maybe YOU should come to net before he does.
     
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  8. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    As he approaches use either a slow short slice below the knees to force him to hit up, most players below 4.5 will have trouble with that volley, or hit heavy spin short over the net and again force them to hit up or have to stop and hit a half volley
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    But can most lower than 4.5's hit sliced low balls or heavy topspin dippers when there's a guy charging into net position?
     
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  10. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    Good point, they should be able to hit the slower spin, but the low slice is not a shot seen as much below 4.5 level.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, I"m a low 4.0 S/V player.
    You beat me by getting my serves back somewhat short, like NML, lob really high repeatedly, and pass me when I get tentative rushing the net too deep. Your returns don't have to be strong, only low and past the service line. This stretches me, forces me to lunge and take the initiative off a slow moving ball that I have to create my own depth with.
     
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  12. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I step in as a returner and try to return quicker to take their timing away. If my return gets to them before they can get a balanced split step, I can get a weak volley from them. Then I just have to not miss my pass.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Normal serve tactic vs quick guys who take the ball early is to hit serves into their body, over and over again, allowing only their mishits to be winners.
     
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  14. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    That would be fine by me, as a returner. I'm just hard blocking it at that point. Much rather the serve be at me than putting me stretched out wide or T.
     
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  15. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    If he has a really good serve you won't win often as you'll be blocking balls back short over the middle. I'm a S/V player but greatly dislike getting lobbed all day. Why? It's exhausting.

    Net players love to stretch out so don't give them the luxury. Hit it low to the body.
     
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  16. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Depends on the quality of your ground strokes and the level that you're playing at.

    At my low level, I usually dont try to pass unless the ball is on my forehand side because ill make too many errors. At this level, even if I more or less "feed" a ball, there is still a chance they can miss it, or fail to put it away.

    In doubles, ill hit it straight at them and follow the ball in. I hit low, high spin forehands so there is a good chance they will pop the ball up if they get a racket on it. By the time this happens, im already closing in and can put it away.

    If you have a good slice, try and slice a few balls at them. See if they can handle both spins. Low and "spinny" topspin shots, or low and "floaty" slice shots work really well for most levels of tennis.

    The only thing you dont want to do is hit hard and flat 2 ft. above the net. That's an easy put away, unless you're playing a midget and 2 ft. above the net is his face.
     
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  17. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Hit at their feet--but as they say, "you can't teach that shot"--but, if the coach is good and you have a lot of money, you can.
     
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  18. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    In my experience, all his service points will be decided by your return, and nothing else. If you hit a good, low return at his feet, you will win the point more often than not because he will hit back an easy ball, then you can just rip one to either side for a winner, or do the same thing, just to a side (ie low and to the side, so that if he does get a racket on it, you're just going to hit the same shot again). The key is topspin, a bit of touch, and not so much pace (unless you can do that as well; but soft, low balls are the tougher ones to volley aggressively).

    On your service points... Well, if you're a good server, then keep doing what you do (serve in, kill short response or rally aggressively). If you're a decent server, then keep them at the baseline. High, deep, and side to side if you can.
     
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  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Put the ball at his feet when he is coming in.
     
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