How do you assess your opponents weakness?


New User
Now that I am getting older (age 55:( ) and can not move as fast as I once could I have to find an edge or be more "aware" of an opponents weakness. Tell me some tips you do or what to look for either while warming up or as you play? I guess I got to play "smarter" and not "harder".....should have been doing this all along!:grin:


Talk Tennis Guru
During the warm up, check and see what type of backhand they prefer to hit (slice/drive), how deep do they usually hit it and where. Same on the forehand. Do they often run around their backhand.

Are their backhand volleys better than forehands. Which one do they hit with more depth and control.

Their movement not only side-to-side, but up and back.

By the way, you are still young at 55!! Keep Rocking, and good luck!


Hall of Fame
First of all, there are many good strategies that work against everybody, regardless of and particular weakness.

Keep the ball in play. Hit over the low part of the net, slice to make them hit up. change your pace and spins to keep them off ballance, vary your serve, wait for weak shots to go for a winner/angle and follow the ball to the net, hit deep to keep the opponent behind the baseline, run them around, basic percentage play tennis.

In addition to these things, watch for hitches in their game. Do they run around thir backand? Slice only on the backhand? Serve in a predictable way? Have a weak volley? Tire easily? Hit with loopy moonballs? Have a weak overhead? Prefer pace over slow balls with spin...

There are any number of things to look for. The more you play, the more it will become second-nature to evaluate your opponent's game at a glance.

If they like pace-- hit them spin or junk. If their serve is weak-- go for winners and pressure the serve. If he likes balls in his comfort zone-- hit them low or high. If he dislikes volleys-- bring him in and pass him or lob. If your partner is 55, like you, then you already know some of his weaknesses--run him around, back and forth, dropshot and lob...

The possibilities are almost endless for the observent player. Finding faults in you opponent's game should not disuade you from improving your own. Work on your basic skills. The more fluidly you move, the fewer mistakes you make, the better you place your shots, the smoother your strokes-- the less effort you will expend.

Good luck,



I have 4 seniors playing once a week with me, and they ask me the same a few weeks ago.

IMO, when you think (or know) you cant move as you used to before, and you want to use your best shots to take advantage from your opponent weakness, use a pattern.

Its a easy trick to beeing concentrate over the match, and you can find the weakness of your opponent quickly, but you must believe in you.

Example...maybee your opponent have a bad backhand, you dont know that, and every ball you send to your opponent backhands, comes really fast...

Ok...try to do the same, sending there, but send 2 or 3 in a row, and lets see if he can send you back that backhand with the same speed.

You can choose your own patterns and change every time you want.
Thats easy to do, and you'll be playing with a simple and strong structure.

If he knows over a few games you'll send the ball there, change and send 2 to his forehand, and 1 to his backhand, and design your knew pattern.

Hope this help you :D

Sorry my english.


At my level, I start with certain assumptions and then abandon those assumptions only when my opponent disproves them.

I assume the backhand is weaker, esp if it is a one-hander. If a player has a one-hander, I will hit to it all day because at the very least they can't drive the ball to my feet with it when I approach the net.

I assume they can't volley on the backhand side.

I assume they have a slow, weak second serve.

I assume they can't hurt me with an overhead if I throw up a bad lob.

I assume they won't come to net unless I hit an extremely short ball.

That's life at 3.0! :)


Well...assessment isn't just limited to weakness, but determining strengths too. After all, prevailing in any type of conflict is about attacking your opponent's weakness while also avoiding your opponent's strengths.

As for the actual assessment process, it's pretty simple...really. Just keep mental notes of the circumstances and shots that your oppenent hurts you the most with; also keep mental notes of when you hurt your opponent the most and/or when he/she hits lots more errors or weak shots. You'll have to hit various shots against your opponent throughout the match to get a good idea of what his/her strengths and weaknesses are.

Below are guidelines for "Quick Assessment" where people are generally weak:

Two handed backhand slightly shorter reach;

Bh generally weaker than forehand?;

Shorter opponent...

...slower moving?

...weaker serve?

...easier to pass and lob.

Likes to hit too hard (can be induced to hit more unforced errors just by hitting DEEP balls back to this opponent);

Little direction control of his/her shots...should make for easy net game since this player won't have a passing shot.


When facing an opponent I've never played/seen before, I usually start pressuring my opponents on their backhand side.
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Also, write down your opponents weaknesses. Keep a small database with stroke analysis and strategies for each of the opponents you face (not necessarily a fancy Access database - a notebook would suffice). Use it to come up with gameplans before you go on court.

Tim Set Match

New User
To echo what a previous poster said, make a note of their strengths. If they have a really good cross court backhand, keep the ball away from their backhand side, or start moving cross-court when you hit the ball to their backhand.

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
I don't pay much attention to their shots during warm-up. Everyone warms up at different rates, and the shot that looked weak early on might be a strength once their into the match. I myself hold back quite a bit during warm-up. However, I do watch their serve toss location pretty closely. Lots of people have different toss locations for different serves.

During the first set I try to keep track of how often they go DTL vs CC, when the usually slice their backhand instead of using topspin, where they hit their overheads, etc.


for 3.0 payers or so....

most players have stonger forehands than backhans so dumped majority of shots to their backhand.

2nd serves is weak, attack it, try for winners when up.

don't volley well. only go to the net on short balls that pull them in.

usually for 3.0 players, the points are lost due to too many unforce errors not winners so it makes sense that whoever keeps the ball in play tends to win.

so call pushers and counters tend to win majority of the matches as they are steady, don't have a lot of firepower, just enough to keep the points going and let the other players make the mistake. they lose if someone have a great consistent weapon, like a forehand that will get winners.