“I played bad today. I usually play much better.”

Haven’t we all heard that before?

I played a set against a guy a couple of weeks ago, and that’s what he said to me after we finished.

I had showed up for a hitting session against a local teaching pro. He started out feeding me a few balls, and seemed surprised when I told him I wanted to play a match.

He was a short, stocky, a bit overweight, 22 years old. We start playing the match, and he is taking pretty big cuts. I wasn’t playing particularly well, but I was being scrappy, getting a lots a balls back in play, mixing in some serve and volley. I got a break in the opening game, and then we both were holding serve after that for the next 7 straight games.
Throughout the set, he was displaying ‘I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy’ body language. I had a break point to go up 5-2, but of course blew it. My opponent cleaned up his game a bit after that, and my level got a little sloppier, resulting in him winning the last 4 games to take the set.

Afterward, he gave me the ‘I usually play better’ line. I didn’t think much of it.

I assumed he was a strong 5.0 player. I was wrong.

A week and a half later, I got a chance to play him again. He backed up his ‘I usually play better’ comment and then some. It seemed like he was totally in the zone. I was not playing that well, so I got blitzed 6-0, 6-2. His forehand was really good. So was his serve. And his backhand. And his touch. And his overhead.

The day after that, I played him again. This time was more of the same. I was struggling just to win a point or two. I won a game in the second set just because he got bored.

Then I played him again today, the third day in a row. Again this guy was really, really good. And his forehand was not just good - it was supernatural. He could hit winners to the corners from anywhere on the court with it, even on low balls from knee high. And he is blasting these with explosive heavy spin. It was so good that I am certain there are not more than 100 players on the planet that can hit a forehand as good as his.

And even though he’s 5’8” or so, his serve has perfect textbook technique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better serve from soneone his height.

Turns out he was ranked top 1000 in the world after playing a few futures tournaments back when he was 16 years old. He didn’t have enough funds to continue to pursue his pro tennis career after that, but it’s clear that this guy has the talent skills-wise to be a top 100 ATP singles player if he got himself back into shape and had the resources to train and travel.

After another quick 6-1 set today (I serve-and-volleyed to his backhand well enough to steal a game, but was hopelessly overmatched from the baseline on points started any other way), I stopped and said, ‘hold on... Please teach me how to hit a forehand!”

I figured I should take advantage of being on the same court as someone with a truly world class forehand. If I can pick his brain, maybe some of his forehand awesomeness can be transferred to me to help me overcome my abominably ugly, shovel-shot, self-taught weaker wing?

He offered that next time we play, he doesn’t mind if I spend the first few minutes adjusting the weight on my frame before we start the match, as he said he understands how much difference that can make to controlling the ball. First time a teaching pro ever offered that.

We working a little on getting better spacing. Making sure that I throw my whole body forward into the court on balls that I have time to set up and attack. Extending forward further beyond contact. Following through on the high ball outward and across the chest.

I’m determined to take advantage of this opportunity.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Dude you almost won a set against a top 1000 player, how awesome is that.

I thought I was a pretty good 4.5 player, played a 5.5 once and he spanked me 6-2 6-2 but it wasn't even close, could've easily been bakery products if he tried his best all the time.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Dude you almost won a set against a top 1000 player, how awesome is that.

I thought I was a pretty good 4.5 player, played a 5.5 once and he spanked me 6-2 6-2 but it wasn't even close, could've easily been bakery products if he tried his best all the time.
yea but that top 1000 player was having a BAD day. so that doesnt' count. you have to Almost take a set when he is having his best day. Then it counts. I always tell my opponents, if you beat me on my bad day, it doesn't count as win.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
Everybody loves to play beat the pro. Keep in mind we’ve usually been on court 3-5 hours feeding and hitting with other clients before you show up with fresh legs out for blood


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Not sure why mods moved this thread to Adult League section? This thread is about a dude with a better forehand than most of the NextGen mugs I watch on TV.
 

Max G.

Legend
Maybe not better than the over 30 guys, but at least as good as the other NextGen guys his age.
If his fh was as good as the next-gen guys his age, he'd be ranked almost as high as nextgen guys his age. Or at least he'd be *winning* the nearby futures and challengers, which would fund his pro career pretty nicely.

Since he's not, I'd say the opposite conclusion is true - that the guys we watch on TV are a heck of a lot better than they look on TV.

I've seen it a million times on this board, how anybody who people try to rate "from video" turns out to be a heck of a lot better than they look. IMO, the conclusion from what you're saying is that the same thing applies all across the board, all the way up to the top.
 
If his fh was as good as the next-gen guys his age, he'd be ranked almost as high as nextgen guys his age. Or at least he'd be *winning* the nearby futures and challengers, which would fund his pro career pretty nicely.

Since he's not, I'd say the opposite conclusion is true - that the guys we watch on TV are a heck of a lot better than they look on TV.

I've seen it a million times on this board, how anybody who people try to rate "from video" turns out to be a heck of a lot better than they look. IMO, the conclusion from what you're saying is that the same thing applies all across the board, all the way up to the top.
He is 50 lbs overweight, only 5’8” tall in shoes, has trouble returning my serve on his backhand, and isn’t the fastest. Those are the reasons he is not as good as those players on TV. But his forehand is every bit as good, if not better.

I have hit with other players who were good enough to be world ranked. This guy’s forehand is much better than any of theirs.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
He is 50 lbs overweight, only 5’8” tall in shoes, has trouble returning my serve on his backhand, and isn’t the fastest. Those are the reasons he is not as good as those players on TV. But his forehand is every bit as good, if not better.

I have hit with other players who were good enough to be world ranked. This guy’s forehand is much better than any of theirs.
Video or it didn't happen.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Not sure why mods moved this thread to Adult League section? This thread is about a dude with a better forehand than most of the NextGen mugs I watch on TV.
Most of these NextGen mugs have reached a top 50 ranking. This guy reached 1000. Very good player for sure but would get absolutely blitzed by these NextGen mugs with their “awful” forehands.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
He is 50 lbs overweight, only 5’8” tall in shoes, has trouble returning my serve on his backhand, and isn’t the fastest. Those are the reasons he is not as good as those players on TV. But his forehand is every bit as good, if not better.

I have hit with other players who were good enough to be world ranked. This guy’s forehand is much better than any of theirs.
Camera slows everything down.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Fair enough. I don't hit against such elites so I couldn't distinguish a D1 standout from a Qualifier from a pro from a top pro.
You wouldn’t be able to distinguish between D1 standouts and Qualifiers because many D1 standouts are Qualifiers and direct entries into Challenger events. Or could be getting WC into ATP events. Strokewise, most D1 standouts and Qualifiers look just like top pros. The difference is movement and top pros are always looking for the opportunity to shorten the length of the court to take time away from their opponents whereas the Qualifiers and D1 players rove the baseline moving side to side.
 
Most of these NextGen mugs have reached a top 50 ranking. This guy reached 1000. Very good player for sure but would get absolutely blitzed by these NextGen mugs with their “awful” forehands.
But this guy reach top thousand when he was only 15-16 years old and was still a few years away from his prime. Had he continued playing pro tournaments, I think he would have cracked the top 100.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
But this guy reach top thousand when he was only 15-16 years old and was still a few years away from his prime. Had he continued playing pro tournaments, I think he would have cracked the top 100.
My coach reached top 500 when he was 16...he gave up on pursuing professional tennis when he was 17...he thought he had a chance to crack the top 200. He didn’t think he would crack top 100. And he is 6’4”.
 
The funny thing is, when I first moved down here, I was playing at the public facility and having a hard time finding good competition. And since I was playing more often down here than I do when I’m at home, I was improving, which the situation worse.

I found myself traveling every weekend to South American cities, and found that, unlike in the us, every private every club down here has former atp pros on staff.

So I started playing at a local private club instead of the public courts. Along with this this guy with the ridiculously good forehand, they also have a former top 1000 gal with a ridiculously good backhand return. At least against her I have a chance if I play well.

Playing against better players every time I play is forcing me to want to leave my comfort zone and try to tweak my game.
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
Not sure why mods moved this thread to Adult League section? This thread is about a dude with a better forehand than most of the NextGen mugs I watch on TV.
He's probably able to hit those shots because the shots coming to him aren't bothering him and you aren't able to make him move enough. Also the forehand is an important shot but it's not as important as a serve, return or movement if you look at guys like Paire and Gasquet their Forehands look like a rec shot to me sometimes but they serve well enough and move well enough to stay near the top. You can't compare a 1000 guy to top 50 that's just 2 different sports almost
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
The funny thing is, when I first moved down here, I was playing at the public facility and having a hard time finding good competition. And since I was playing more often down here than I do when I’m at home, I was improving, which the situation worse.

I found myself traveling every weekend to South American cities, and found that, unlike in the us, every private every club down here has former atp pros on staff.

So I started playing at a local private club instead of the public courts. Along with this this guy with the ridiculously good forehand, they also have a former top 1000 gal with a ridiculously good backhand return. At least against her I have a chance if I play well.

Playing against better players every time I play is forcing me to want to leave my comfort zone and try to tweak my game.
Are you planning to invest the time and effort to completely rebuild your fh?
 
If my opponent's forehand is that powerful, their other strokes (particular backhand) relatively suck, because if all their strokes were good they would be above my level and sandbagging highly. So whenever I see the big forehand, I know I can defend against it, although not attack it outright, and that the guy is weak on his other side.
 
Big forehand means almost nothing.
Can he handle a sliced ball?
How fast can he run?
Can he handle a lob?
Does he spazz out and crush every ball out?

THESE thing matter
 
Big forehand means almost nothing.
Can he handle a sliced ball?
How fast can he run?
Can he handle a lob?
Does he spazz out and crush every ball out?

THESE thing matter
he was once one of the top junior players in the world, so the rest of his game is not too shabby. I misjudged his level because he had the flu the first day, and he had underestimated me because my strokes are much uglier than my level.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
he was once one of the top junior players in the world, so the rest of his game is not too shabby. I misjudged his level because he had the flu the first day, and he had underestimated me because my strokes are much uglier than my level.
It’s really just your fh. Your bh and serve look fine.
 
Update:
It finally happened again. This guy finally had another bad day. This time it coincided with me having a very good day.

Once he got behind, and I started getting in the zone, it had a snowball effect. He starting pressing, and I started hitting highlight reel defensive stab volley and half volley winners like I was McEnroe. And it seemed like every time I was off the court and out of the point, I was able to sprint back across to cover the drop volley to the open court and hit the passing shot winner.

After a rough start, I ran off the last 11 games in a row and won 6-2, 6-0. I didn’t even have my serve really firing today. But every other shot was clicking. It was a weird feeling, but I was just the better player today.

Now, I freely admit that when this guy plays to his usual level, he is a much better player than me. But today was my day. Somehow my forehand woes were fixed today and I was confident on that wing. I also figured out return patterns that bothered him. Returning in ad court, today I was able to take my 2hb down the line like a laser. And when he served to my forehand, I was able to feather the slice nice and low to his backhand so he couldn’t hurt me.

I will probably play him tomorrow, and he will be motivated to erase the sour taste and get revenge.
 

HunterST

Hall of Fame
Not sure why mods moved this thread to Adult League section? This thread is about a dude with a better forehand than most of the NextGen mugs I watch on TV.
No offense, but if he were that good, you wouldn’t have gotten games off of him.

No disrespect to the pro, either. I’m sure he’s amazing. I just don’t think you have a concept of how good the top 100 are.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Personally I prefer to use age and injuries as excuses.
I always laugh when my compatriots pull those types of excuses out.

Them: "My vision is getting bad with age"
Me: "Yeah, I know what that's like, I've had amblyopia (lazy eye) my whole life. Pretty bad depth perception."
Them: "Ohh.... And my shoulder's been acting up lately."
Me: "Yeah, I can relate, I've had reconstructive surgery on my shoulder. No range of motion anymore"
Them: "Yeah and my knee is degenerating."
Me: "Dude we can do this all day, but face it we are both old and breaking down. No excuses."

I never pull out the excuses until they start trying to out disable me.
 
NYTA was a huge stickler about this being bad sportsmanship,
so I make a point to not say anything, even if I am having a legitimate issue that day (injury)
 
:-D:-D:-D

Seriously, are you considering developing a more conventional fh stroke now?
I actually made a radical change to my forehand, by necessity, after I first moved down here.

My single-pendulum hardcourt forehand was not a weapon, but reliable on defense on hardcourt as long as I could keep my specs tuned carefully. But it was useless on red clay.

I changed my specs from MgR/I of 21.0 to 20.7. The new spec lets me control the racquet with more of the modern forehand style. It actually got to a decent level pretty fast - it went backwards a few weeks ago when I started experimenting with my weighting again - but now that I’m back to 20.7, it’s decent and solid again (at least last night it was), but certainly still a work in progress.
 
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Dartagnan64

Legend
NYTA was a huge stickler about this being bad sportsmanship,
so I make a point to not say anything, even if I am having a legitimate issue that day (injury)
At a certain age, there's always an injury issue. Either somethings starting to hurt or your just getting over something. I'm at the point where I've had tendinitis in virtually every conceivable tendon for tennis. I'm one rotator cuff injury from the full house of arm issues. I think I need an ankle issue to complete the trifecta in the legs.

So no point mentioning them anymore unless, as I said, someone starts with the injury card first. Then its full on old man warfare.
 
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