Beating the pusher!

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
What I always find interesting watching MEP matches is how often his opponent goes for a risky shot (power, placement close to lines, shots with low net clearance, etc) when there isn't any payoff for doing so. In other words, even when they don't make an error on these balls, MEP just easily returns it to a neutral position. So they gain nothing by taking risk. If you don't have a clear plan when you hit a risky ball (moving in to cut off the court for example and take advantage of the space you created), then you just need to think about basic "risk / reward" tennis.

If you just hit neutral balls that allow you to easily recover to a good position to cover the court, MEP isn't going to "make you pay". He's just going to either hit a neutral ball back to you, or hit a drop shot. But the drop shot isn't as effective if you didn't give him the right kind of ball. In other words, his drop shot is effective because 1) It's easier to "cut" a ball with some pace and spin; 2) He takes advantage of your bad court position (and being off balance after hitting hard). If you don't "hit yourself" into bad positions, MEP won't be able to do it himself that often.

True, you need to develop a mindset for playing that few have (and few want to have). But's it's probably less frustrating than beating yourself (and torturing yourself in the process).

A big reason why "50 year old guy" won is because of the 3rd set 10 point tiebreaker. If they had played a full 3rd set, MEP takes this something like 6-2.
 
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davced1

Professional
Only watched a few seconds so far but I noticed some good pace and determination. I will watch the full video and see if there are some useful patterns too. MEP matches are interesting but also a pain to watch. I will suffer through this one too because it helps against all players with this style to know some patterns.
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
What I always find interesting watching MEP matches is how often his opponent goes for a risky shot (power, placement close to lines, shots with low net clearance, etc) when there isn't any payoff for doing so. In other words, even when they don't make an error on these balls, MEP just easily returns it to a neutral position. So they gain nothing by taking risk. If you don't have a clear plan when you hit a risky ball (moving in to cut off the court for example and take advantage of the space you created), then you just need to think about basic "risk / reward" tennis.

If you just hit neutral balls that allow you to easily recover to a good position to cover the court, MEP isn't going to "make you pay". He's just going to either hit a neutral ball back to you, or hit a drop shot. But the drop shot isn't as effective if you didn't give him the right kind of ball. In other words, his drop shot is effective because 1) It's easier to "cut" a ball with some pace and spin; 2) He takes advantage of your bad court position (and being off balance after hitting hard). If you don't "hit yourself" into bad positions, MEP won't be able to do it himself that often.

True, you need to develop a mindset for playing that few have (and few want to have). But's it's probably less frustrating than beating yourself (and torturing yourself in the process).

A big reason why "50 year old guy" won is because of the 3rd set 10 point tiebreaker. If they had played a full 3rd set, MEP takes this something like 6-2.
It's stupid and a losing proposition to hang around with an opponent who's much fitter and faster than you.


(good) players know so they take risk.
 

AnyPUG

Semi-Pro
A big reason why "50 year old guy" won is because of the 3rd set 10 point tiebreaker. If they had played a full 3rd set, MEP takes this something like 6-2.
The 3rd set 10 point TB does not account for the first set which the other guy won... MEP didn't need the 3rd set if he was able to win the first set??
 

Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
I found it really entertaining.
I liked 50 years old's type of game.

Anyone else is thinking that MEP is improving his groundstrokes?
GSG is hitting a McEnroe forehand now, I like it.

50yo just a better player that kept forgetting how to play GSG, as it's often the case, but he'd only lose the match if he lost interest or ran out of steam.

He was close to running out of steam towards the end, but was very solid on the tie-break. I thought that in the tie-break you could really see the fundamental superiority of 50yo.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
50yo’s decent overhead came in handy here, as it seemed like MEP hit too many weak floaty lobs - maybe used to playing against low 4.5 guys who lack confident overhead.
 

ubercat

Professional
MEP could be even more of a nightmare if he added some side to his s slice lobs.

50 YO had some nice volleys from NML. Good luck running those down.

I ve got my own MEP I play. I can see I won't do it without a better net game
 
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r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
It's stupid and a losing proposition to hang around with an opponent who's much fitter and faster than you.


(good) players know so they take risk.
I never said "don't take risk". I said that, if you do, be sure you're taking advantage of it. Otherwise, there's no point.

What MEP understands is that most rec players will hit the big shot and just stand there. They just expect their opponent to panic off those balls and go for a big shot, either making an error, or leaving the court wide open. MEP is smart enough to understand that the correct play is to just push the ball back high and deep. And if the opponent isn't willing (or able) to come in after their big shot to take advantage of the space they created, then it's easily neutralized.

He also understands that this play frustrates the heck out people. They "feel like" they should get some payoff from the risk they take. So then what normally happens is, the guy will just whack it hard again from the back of the court and make an error (and make himself angrier).

MEP essentially give you 2 choices:

1) Play aggressive, which means you have to possess a variety of skills. You're not going to win with just single "big shots". And he's betting that he can find some weakness. Basically, his game is lower risk, so he's betting you can't execute your higher risk game well enough to beat him.

2) Push with him. And he's betting that he's better at that game (he has a higher tolerance, he understands that style better and he's fitter). He's betting that nobody is willing to stay out there for hours and push with him. Eventually, you'll "crack" and go for shots. And then he's got you.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
From what I saw is that it really just follows the basic rules of tennis singles. Keep the opponent back until you get a short ball then finish at the net. That strategy works at almost all levels.

I try to always play deep groundstrokes at a variety of paces and bounce heights along the Wardlaws then when finally get a short ball I try to finish the point with any number of strategies including power FH/BH through open court, drop shot or deep low bouncing slice to set up a volley winner. The quality of that approach shot and subsequent volley determines whether I win or lose.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
MEP essentially give you 2 choices:

1) Play aggressive, which means you have to possess a variety of skills. You're not going to win with just single "big shots". And he's betting that he can find some weakness. Basically, his game is lower risk, so he's betting you can't execute your higher risk game well enough to beat him.

2) Push with him. And he's betting that he's better at that game (he has a higher tolerance, he understands that style better and he's fitter). He's betting that nobody is willing to stay out there for hours and push with him. Eventually, you'll "crack" and go for shots. And then he's got you.
I disagreed.

1) You don't necessarily have to possess a variety of skills. But what is necessary is you play whatever you have well, be that 2 things or 10 things. The risk taking part is only the adjustment of the stuff that you already know, example, I can crank the ball 4 feet inside the side lines, but if MEPs can get them all, it's time for me to aim the ball at 2 feet or so. I won't go for risks like drop shot if I don't have them. That's a sure loss. I won't stick around doing the same 4 feet inside shots if I don't have the stamina. It's that simple. It's definition of being crazy.

MEP's seemly lower risk style is only because that's all he knows, and he's counting on you to hang in there with him and do lower risk shots along.

2) "Push with him" -- Yeah right! [sarcastic] A fatter and older player will win a pushing game against a younger, fitter pusher!!!!? :-D Not to mention it's a game that MEPs have played for ages and the fatter, older man just suddenly start out as a strategy!!??? Good luck !!!
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Actually, this is a TT staple, which is...it is more important to looks better doing the stroke, than being effective. 50+ dude just happens to do both, so truly TT legend status achieved.

Da, da, da, da, da...

I detect lead tape on that Pure Drive. No wonder he won.
 

nicklane1

Rookie
Kudos to both players. I'm impressed with how quickly MEP picks up the ball, and the consistency of both players. Not going to comment on technique.
 

davced1

Professional
It seems to me MEP has evolved into a "better" player since the first videos I watched a few months back. He hit's with some more pace and this match looked to me like more normal tennis. The problem here for MEP is that although he looks like a better player now he will probably win less matches if he keeps it up. What made him successful was the akwardness, unpredictablity and the fact that he gave his opponents absolutely no pace to work with. It seems to me he used more slice forehands before compared to this match. I actually didn't mind to watch this at all, some good tennis really from both players! In fact I wouldn't even call MEP a pusher in this match :D
 
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davced1

Professional
Funny how 50 yo said "Kyrgios" after that underhand serve attempt at 18:28. Needs some more work to be Kyrgios class:)
 
One important point to note, MEP does not like producing RHS. The most RHS he makes is probably on his first serve, but otherwise he doesn't swing fast.

You can be aggressive without swinging fast, but you just won't be exerting aggression with topspin. Your aggression will most likely be from drop shots if you're hitting up or sharp slices if you're cutting down on the ball.

The 50 year old had a few nice topspin one handed backhands, but 95% of his backhands were solid slices that stayed low and didn't land short. The best way to be aggressive with a deep low (albeit slow) slice, is to move your feet, get low, and hit a well placed heavy topspin shot. Not sure I've seen MEP commit a full unit turn in any of his matches so far, so needless to say almost all of the 50 year olds backhand slices went unchallenged. And many times forced MEP to hit up but also produced some short balls, which 50 YO took advantage of. On the other hand, MEP didn't want to feed his opponent forehands either, because most of 50 yo's forehands had no loopy-ness but stayed pretty flat and low over the net.

I thought 50 yo would serve and volley more often, his volleys weren't bad and his first serve was forcing pop ups.

If 50 yo were to play MEP 10 times, I'd imagine he'd only get more accustomed to hitting aggressively off MEP's returns and pop up groundies.
 

toth

Professional
How do you think Justin beat the pusher? I see two things - aggressive returns and better net play.

I like these videos very much.
What i still miss in these videos: i dont know whether it was i first or sec serve..
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
I'd say it was the low BH slice that did him in.
^^
It's clearly his low BH slice CC to MEPs FH that won him the match.
Not sure why there's even a discussion about this.

MEP is clearly very uncomfortable with low ball to his FH, esp those he can not moon ball easily, like low slices.
But most of his opponents target his backhand, as this should be the best tactic against a leftie as it sets up a FH to BH CC exchange.
This tactic most often ends up with a super moon ball exchange, where the opponent goes for broke trying to rip that huge FH winner.

Patterns on MEP serve:
  • Deuce-side
    • always serving middle to T. Low balls, perfect for BH slice.
    • 50YO returns an identical low ball: low BH slice, but DTL. Once in a while he moves over to play a FH CC.
    • MEP is ok comfortable with low slice to his BH, but as long as long as he is only trying to neutralize the exchange, 50YO can redirect the (next) low ball to MEPs BH with a low slice = winning strategy
  • Ad-side
    • always serving out wide on the ad side. Low balls, perfect for BH slice.
    • 50YO returns an identical low ball: low BH slice, CC.
    • MEP is clearly very uncomfortable with low slice to his FH (late contact point)

What MEP should work on:
  • being able to (or better at) slice the FH
  • against BH slicers: being able to place the serve on the deuce side wide, and down the T on the ad side
 

nyta2

Semi-Pro
It seems to me MEP has evolved into a "better" player since the first videos I watched a few months back. He hit's with some more pace and this match looked to me like more normal tennis. The problem here for MEP is that although he looks like a better player now he will probably win less matches if he keeps it up. What made him successful was the akwardness, unpredictablity and the fact that he gave his opponents absolutely no pace to work with. It seems to me he used more slice forehands before compared to this match. I actually didn't mind to watch this at all, some good tennis really from both players! In fact I wouldn't even call MEP a pusher in this match :D
same reasons i love watching similar players play: santoro, hseih, etc...
 
I like these videos very much.
What i still miss in these videos: i dont know whether it was i first or sec serve..
After watching both serve for a game, you can usually pick up on that based on the trajectory [unless they're one of those rare birds that basically hit the same serve all of the time].
 

slipgrip93

New User
Was it ever confirmed since MEP appeared on the TT videos, that he's actually a right-hander "awkwardly" playing leftie-handed? "Trolling" the TT viewership all this time, where he actually has a regular power & tennis game when he's "caught" on the courts playing his regular side?
 
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Curious

Legend
Was it ever confirmed since MEP appeared on the TT videos, that he's actually a right-hander "awkwardly" playing leftie-handed? Where he actually has a regular power & tennis game when he's "caught" on the courts playing his regular side?
MEP plays left handed!
 

nyta2

Semi-Pro
1) Play aggressive, which means you have to possess a variety of skills. You're not going to win with just single "big shots". And he's betting that he can find some weakness. Basically, his game is lower risk, so he's betting you can't execute your higher risk game well enough to beat him.
i thank every player that's been a better counter puncher than me, for any forecourt skills i have developed.
especially that french guy in NH that was in phenomenal mover, and i swear, intentionally smoked a cigarette between sets to mock his opponents
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
Well,
I did not have the willpower to finish the entire video,
But I think, maybe, the 50yom won, not so much for what he did,
But, more so, for what he did not do.

What he did not do is change his style of play, he did not loose
confidence, play more cautiously or risk too many chances- things many
players are tempted to do when facing a pusher like the mep.

I was on a team with a player like the mep. The captain had him play
#1 singles against a hard-hitting opponent with reliable strokes.
By the 3rd Set, The guy with good strokes had lost all confidence and his game had devolved
into defensively, tiredly, batting the ball back. From a distance, it looked like a game of "Pong".

The 50yom remained confident in his game and, in the end, was the better player.
 

ubercat

Professional
Wow I encountered a hooking pusher last night. I d called his line shots in and gave him benefit of doubt on score a couple of times. He took all that without even a nod and made some blatant calls.
Next time I c this guy I m going to be aiming for small unsafe targets.
 
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