How to beat someone higher rated?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Alexio92, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Alexio92

    Alexio92 Professional

    Jul 14, 2007
    For everyone in the uk, I am an 8.2 going up to either an 8.1 or a 7.2. I am drawn against a 6.2 next week in a tournament, I am looking to have a good result. I recon my hitting is as good as his, and he is 2 years younger than me if that makes any difference and I am quite big. The gap in standard shouldn't be that much, I just want to know if anyone has any tips to beat someone who is meant to be a slightly higher standard than myself. :-?
  2. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    Assuming the rankings relate accurately to actual ability levels and past performance, the only sure way to beat a higher ranked player is to improve your all-round game so that you become the better player.

    But that could take a while.

    If, from personal observation, you feel you have the game to win the round, then I would say, don't worry about it and just play good, solid, percentage tennis to the best of your ability. To try and change too much, at this point, may even be counterproductive.

    I am not that familiar with the UK rating system, but if smaller numbers mean better ratings, then (I assume) you are both low to mid level players (correct me if that is wrong). At that level there is lots of room for gaining points through errors. So, you need to stay as steady as possible and let him make mistakes.

    Make sure your serve and return of serve are working for you, hit each ball to an inended placement for a specific reason. Watch for weaknesses in his game and pressure them when you can.

    Above all, maintain the attitude that you are having fun and that, whatever happens, it is a learning (and therefore, positive) experience.

    Let us know how it goes.
  3. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

    Nov 1, 2005
    Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    Just serve well, keep the pressure on him (considering that you're bigger than him) and don't give him any free points. If you can hold your serve easily every game it will put so much pressure on him to hold that he may crack finally.

    Good luck, and let us know the result.
  4. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

    Sep 3, 2007
    Good luck Alexio.

    Don't fall into the trap of giving him too much respect. If he outplays you in the first game don't immediately assume he's better - he may just have played the game of his life for all you know.

    Likewise don't assume a set is over if you get a couple of games down, keep fighting even if you perceive him to be better.

    It's sometimes easy to get in a mood settling for the result against a higher ranked player. If you are 6-4, 5-5 avoid all thoughts in the back of your mind that 6-4 7-5 would be a pretty good result against a player of his ranking. Treat it like you are playing someone lower and at 5-5 it's absolutely vital you win that set so you can take the match.

    In short don't let his rating change your levels of determination or your score expectations. Too many matches are already lost before we take to the court.
  5. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

    Nov 1, 2005
    Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    Completely agree! I ALWAYS give too much respect for players that are better than me, or I think they are. I remember playing a seed at a tournament and lost 5 and 4 just out of too much respect for his shots....very stupid. And a few weeks ago lost the first set 6-4 to this guy, was 3-2 up in the second and thought "oh well, 4 and 3 is a good enough result for me". Luckily I won the next set 6-3 and won in a 3rd set 7-6! So don't ever lose hope!
  6. Alexio92

    Alexio92 Professional

    Jul 14, 2007
    I have pulled out.
    I really wanted to play this
    "I can't get there" ffs yes I can
  7. TonLars

    TonLars Professional

    Nov 23, 2006
    When youre playing a player that you know will give significant resistance, it comes down to how tough you are mentally. Think about the important points in the match, such as break points, game points, 30 all and such. The tennis match comes down to who is going to win those big points at the crucial times. You wont be able to just execute your game plan and beat a better player like you normally can against others, so you need to have the mindset that you are going into a drawn out battle to the end.
    *Cues Rocky 4 fight with Drago clip*
    Instead of primarily relying on being focused, you will need to call upon getting mentally "psyched up". Dont try to play outside your capabilities as well. This is a common and defeating misconception. Play within yourself, and trust your game. "...Dont ask for the tools to win, only the tools to fight, and you'll handle the rest"

    Im going to give you another trick that I have used over the years to get completely mentally prepared before the big match occasions. This is in a book as well, and I was pleased to see that I was already doing the written tactic I will share.
    Because it is often hard to repeatedly summon enough adrenaline to get completely psyched up match after match, the trick lies in classical conditioning. Ever heard of Pavlov's dogs? They were trained to salivate whenever they heard a bell, associating it with food. I do something similar. Choose a set of songs that trigger a rush of adrenaline. Only listen to these songs before the big match. It becomes an automatic effect, almost nostalgic to always have this prematch mind frame of going to war. Choose your songs carefully. Now, everyone has there music preferences. But Ive seen some peoples' so-called "playlist" for playing and matches with a bunch of happy go lucky, relaxing, country stuff. Would you go to a fight with this in your head? Certainly not. Tennis is truly a war, so dont kid yourself that its a game if you want to win. I truly believe its the greatest sport ever, as individual, and a non-contact fight trading blows on a court. Your intensity is like a switch, and it is either on or off.
  8. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004

    TonLars gave you some good advice. What I am a bit concerned with is your analysis of the player you are going up against. In a nutshell, it isn't very thorough or you are not giving any indication you have done your homework on the person.

    What stroke do you think you can stay up with or even get more points then him?

    Certainly, if the player is a little above you, and you have weaknesses in your game, hwe must have weaknesses. So what are his weaknesses?

    In developing a strategy for the matches you play, knowing your key matchups is important. Is it backhand against backhand? Is it coming to net and putting pressure on his strokes on either side? What about his footwork, where could you take advantage? His grips?

    You may know this already but it is hard to see that you have done a good analysis. Forget your game for now, and study his game. Once you know his strengths and weaknesses, then match your strengths and weaknesses to his. Also, dont over estimate the mental and emotional part of the game. What shots frustrates him? what players? Etc...

    Some areas to thnk of are:

    1. Conditioning

    2. Footwork

    3. Footspeed

    4. All strokes

    5. Mental toughness

    6. Stamina

    7. Mental focus (does he lapse or wonder occasionally and when)

    8. How he closes games, sets, matches

    9. His grips

    10. How he starts (slow to get going, etc...)
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  9. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    Further to the advice above, I would also suggest probing the player to look for weaknesses. Try to use strategy to play to your strengths, by seeing what the other player does well and avoiding those shots. For example, I play against a guy who hits amazing angles on the run, so you have to keep the ball in the middle of the court.

    Even at the highest levels, you can see that pros are trying to get to Federers backhand.

    In a lot of juniors, players win often by feeding loopy bouncers to the backhand.
  10. toughshot

    toughshot Rookie

    Jan 24, 2008
    Simply... play like you have a higher rating than they do.
  11. 1337Kira

    1337Kira Rookie

    Sep 26, 2007
    You could try junkin' him up.
    Heh heh.
    Especially if you're playing outdoors in windy or otherwise poor weather, you can just hit slices, lobs and other junk to push it out.
  12. fridrix

    fridrix Rookie

    May 1, 2007
    Carolina del Sud
    See "Winning Ugly" by Brad Gilbert. He'd say figure out early what da guy's weakness is and figure out how to exploit it.
  13. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

    Feb 18, 2005
    IMO, the one way a lesser player can actually beat a better player (which seems like an oxymoron) is by pushing. Like really pushing, hitting lobs from the baseline, refusing to hit any unforced errors.

    Otherwise, yes, by definition the better player will always win. But that's why pushing can work because it's not about who the superior ball striker is, it makes the game way more psychological, so it's a matter of who's mentally stronger if only for that day. You might not be able to rip extreme cross court forehands but you probably certainly have the skill to hit lobs down the center of the court all day. It's a matter of if you're willing to take the angry comments, the tsk tsks from spectators, etc, and I'm not saying it'll work against anybody, and it probably only really works between two players who are .5 or 1 ntrp rating away from each other, but with pushing, the inferior player has a shot at beating a better player.
  14. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

    Jan 24, 2008
    Stillwater, OK
    Them be fighting words on TW!
  15. nguyenandyy

    nguyenandyy New User

    Jul 25, 2007
    play all or nothing
    thats the only way
    hit every shot
    go for everything

    but dont play stupid though
    hit the good shots that you know you can make it
    and dont be down on yourself if you do miss it

    hit 2 first serves
    change it up

    play every point like it was match point
  16. sunnyIce

    sunnyIce Semi-Pro

    Mar 10, 2008
    Too Cold Country
    simplest things first and always.
    Keep the ball in when you serve.
    Keep the ball in when you return.

Share This Page