Just played the most upside down match so far

jussumman

Professional
My opponent (from India) had a 110-130 square head racket and hit everything back with as much underspin as possible (but not the traditional slice that goes low and far) but more just chopping it back that it goes kinda high and lands straight down into the court, like a drop shot into the court almost but not close to the net. Any of my topspin hard shots into the corner he would get to every ball and just chop the ball back this way. If at any time I would go to the net he would hit the ball even higher and more spin and it would 100% of the time land at the back of the court inside, I could go and retrieve it because it's so slow and have ample time, but it was a struggle to run back and get it to return it.

So, essentially standard tennis ground topspin strokes and volleys (90% of game I play) were gone.

To counter this, I ended up doing something I've never done in a match. Everytime he would slice the ball back so extremely giving no pace, I lobbed everyone of his balls back (moonballed/lobbed). He was forced to provide some pace to hit the balls back and couldn't do the extreme underspin. He erred many balls. I was able to win a bunch of games like this but still lost the 1st set 6-4.

This went on the 2nd set, unfortanately I didn't have the 2nd half of the equation to beat him because I found the two ways to end points were to either overhead smash the high ball returns or if lower and landing in middle of the court, to drop shot the ball when he's way back on the baseline. I just have not focused on practicing the overheads and drop shots, and couldn't execute those and lost the match. It was a very bizzare match. Virtually no ground strokes and no volleyes.. I have to go out and practice my dropshots and overhead smashes, if I had these as part of my game I think I would have a much better chance of winning. But one of the most bizzare (and frustrating) tennis matches I've had so far.

Anyone else face these type of players?
 
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josofo

Semi-Pro
sounds like a interesting match. i like your conclusion as well to have a more complete game to counter whatever the villians can throw at you
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
Yes, I've played these type of players before. Some people have barely any skill but manage to run down shots and plop them down in the middle of the court.
Specifically, you nailed it, you have to have a game that can return short balls down the middle. Volleys and deep topspin to corners followed by overhead smashes. Once you know how to do it, it'll be easy and you'll never lose to these guys again.
 

mhj202

Rookie
I played a guy just like this last summer in a usta league match--- the guy was fast, in good shape and had pretty good hands so he could hit that wicked spinning high floaty ball pretty consistently and chase balls down.

It actually drove me crazy and I lost the first set and was extremely frustrated.

I think jdubbs nailed it-- volleys and deep topspin to corners followed by overheads or put away volleys. Another factor was that I went after my serve more to try to get a few more quick/free points, which worked out well this time.
 

coloskier

Legend
Guys like that used to be my kryptonite. I hated playing against someone who could lob to within 4 feet of the baseline on any shot I sent at them. But I found that most of them also have a kryptonite. Medium speed heavy topspin loopers that they have to hit around shoulder height. They can do it all day if the balls are waist height or lower, but give them something around neck height and their lobs/underspin goes way short or way long, especially on the BH side. Realize that you can't just dink this shot, you have to put some pace on it. Make it jump up into them. Once you get that shot grooved the match will be over fairly quickly.
 

TobyTopspin

Professional
Guys like that used to be my kryptonite. I hated playing against someone who could lob to within 4 feet of the baseline on any shot I sent at them. But I found that most of them also have a kryptonite. Medium speed heavy topspin loopers that they have to hit around shoulder height. They can do it all day if the balls are waist height or lower, but give them something around neck height and their lobs/underspin goes way short or way long, especially on the BH side. Realize that you can't just dink this shot, you have to put some pace on it. Make it jump up into them. Once you get that shot grooved the match will be over fairly quickly.
Great advice. That's generally what I say when approached with this same question.
 

LuckyR

Legend
My opponent (from India) had a 110-130 square head racket and hit everything back with as much underspin as possible (but not the traditional slice that goes low and far) but more just chopping it back that it goes kinda high and lands straight down into the court, like a drop shot into the court almost but not close to the net. Any of my topspin hard shots into the corner he would get to every ball and just chop the ball back this way. If at any time I would go to the net he would hit the ball even higher and more spin and it would 100% of the time land at the back of the court inside, I could go and retrieve it because it's so slow and have ample time, but it was a struggle to run back and get it to return it.

So, essentially standard tennis ground topspin strokes and volleys (90% of game I play) were gone.

To counter this, I ended up doing something I've never done in a match. Everytime he would slice the ball back so extremely giving no pace, I lobbed everyone of his balls back (moonballed/lobbed). He was forced to provide some pace to hit the balls back and couldn't do the extreme underspin. He erred many balls. I was able to win a bunch of games like this but still lost the 1st set 6-4.

This went on the 2nd set, unfortanately I didn't have the 2nd half of the equation to beat him because I found the two ways to end points were to either overhead smash the high ball returns or if lower and landing in middle of the court, to drop shot the ball when he's way back on the baseline. I just have not focused on practicing the overheads and drop shots, and couldn't execute those and lost the match. It was a very bizzare match. Virtually no ground strokes and no volleyes.. I have to go out and practice my dropshots and overhead smashes, if I had these as part of my game I think I would have a much better chance of winning. But one of the most bizzare (and frustrating) tennis matches I've had so far.

Anyone else face these type of players?

It is the unusual Modern era player who can't tee off on no pace shots that sit up for angled off winners. I assume you do not have Classic strokes...
 

norcal

Hall of Fame
Players described in the OP usually have soft, spinny serves. So make sure and stand way in on the return to pressure them. Too many people don't adjust their return position when playing this type of player.

And yeah, deep topspin takes away the accuracy of the 'chop' slicer. As does attacking their serve.
 

jhick

Hall of Fame
I had a match recently somewhat similar to what you describe. I was told before the match that this player was a solid to higher level 4.0, but wasn't told about his style of play. I had played junkballers before, but this guy put most of those junkballers to shame. I noticed that by looking at past scores that he had troubled some of the guys that I usually have close matches with at the 4.5 level.

Whatever he hit had very little pace on it. Many times it was short in the court which usually plays into my strength, but I had rarely had to deal with so much spin. A few times he put so much slice on his serve, that when I tried to run around my backhand I misjudged the spin and the ball almost hit me in the stomach. The only way I could get it back in the court was by hitting a slice/sidespin forehand back to him. He played this way most of the match but about 15% of the time he would attempt to rip a FH or BH. It was a bizarre match.

I won fairly easily (2 & 1), but in the end didn't feel like I played all that well. Ugly tennis for sure. I can't imagine anyone would feel good about their tennis playing him. In the second set, I played serve and volley on pretty much every serve and had good success playing that style (don't have to deal with the bounces that way).
 

jussumman

Professional
It is the unusual Modern era player who can't tee off on no pace shots that sit up for angled off winners. I assume you do not have Classic strokes...
I would agree with your assertion and to a degree you're right. I don't play modern tennis (excess extreme topspin) and go for winners often with a mid racket with medium topspin shots, touch, and placement as priority. But I'm only 3.5 and even the best penetrating shots in the corner, the combo of the huge racket head he was using (130 or more) and speed along the baseline, were good enough to chop slice the balls back in play (he played 100% defensive tennis). He said they play with smaller balls in India like this and basically hit all underspin shots and lobs, and it's normal for them to play that way.

My own criticism is that I didn't have the all around game to beat this guys defensive style. I am working on it.
 
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LuckyR

Legend
I would agree with your assertion and to a degree you're right. I don't play modern tennis (excess extreme topspin) and go for winners often with a mid racket with medium topspin shots, touch, and placement as priority. But I'm only 3.5 and even the best penetrating shots in the corner, the combo of the huge racket head he was using (130 or more) and speed along the baseline, were good enough to chop slice the balls back in play (he played 100% defensive tennis). He said they play with smaller balls in India like this and basically hit all underspin shots and lobs, and it's normal for them to play that way.

My own criticism is that I didn't have the all around game to beat this guys defensive style. I am working on it.
Well, I stand corrected. Actually as I alluded to, if you had a Modern FH, this guy would be toast. Your more Classic approach forces you to create pace without the luxury of high spin to create angles, thus he is able to play his defensive game on a smaller court.
 

goober

Legend
I would agree with your assertion and to a degree you're right. I don't play modern tennis (excess extreme topspin) and go for winners often with a mid racket with medium topspin shots, touch, and placement as priority. But I'm only 3.5 and even the best penetrating shots in the corner, the combo of the huge racket head he was using (130 or more) and speed along the baseline, were good enough to chop slice the balls back in play (he played 100% defensive tennis). He said they play with smaller balls in India like this and basically hit all underspin shots and lobs, and it's normal for them to play that way.

My own criticism is that I didn't have the all around game to beat this guys defensive style. I am working on it.
It is a rite of passage to get to 4.0 to be able to beat players like this. It sounds like you already know what you have to do.
 

Bionic slice

Semi-Pro
Been there done that

I have played several guys like all you describe. I usually notice the lobs coming in when I'm up 3-0, or 3-1, I usually allow this guy to come back more than I should and ... Thinking why am I playing him, I get impatient, frustrated, after I lose a few games, I refocus on the next point, trying to be overly aggressive to end the point sooner and not play his game.
What happened to me recently in a 3.5 league match, I got destroyed, my weapons , strong heavy fh, super slice backhand that if some hits pace I'll send it slicing faster, low, if my 1st serve is going that day, easy winners, some serve and volley, I'm an all court player, good returner and very fast mover on the court, I'm just a little rusty....I love pace but rarely see the opposing player hitting it so heavy top , pace , great form and hit so consistently .... I got beat 2, 1 and my best shots were doing nothing, it was so bizarre not to be to able set up or hit but a few winners / or cause so unforced errors, it was like this guy had everything, 1st and 2nd kick serves, good Control of serves hitting angles and down the t, he was hitting winner inside the serve box out with amazing angles I couldn't get to and haven't ever seen someone hit those shots in singles at 3.5, his serves I hit great returns but he would hit back with even more pace, sometimes stealing what I thought was going to be a winning return for a winner by him, I hit my hardest slice paced backhands mixing up depth or angles to see him hit winning shots or force us on a baseline battle for 6 to 10 shots, and he was winner 90%, if I sent cross court he did the same but would eventually rip a winner! I tried to mix it up! serve and volley and he hit winners down the line or lobbed always inside the freaking line! chip and charge and good set up to another perfect lop! I've never lost so badly! I'm 19-6 this year in total single matches from tournaments( good results in the tournaments ), other non usta league and usta, I usually see my matches go 1.5 to 2hrs, this match went in under 1 hr. I've never faced a loss when I'm healthy, lost a few due to injuries or severe cramps but this guy was too good. I've never been so frustrated but also know I what I need to do to get better I think this guy was clearly a high 4.0 or low 4.5, yet playing 3.5. What can you do when your bread and butter doesn't work...?
 

NLBwell

Legend
When playing a pusher (of almost any type) you have to be able to move toward the net and be aggressive and MUST be able to consistently hit good overheads. You also need to be willing to run backwards and start the point over when the lob is just too good to hit an overhead.
You've got the idea; attack the opponent's serve, dropshots to get the opponent to where he isn't comfortable and overheads to finish off the opponent. People practice groundstroke after groundstroke, but don't become real tennis players until they have a complete game.
 
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