Need advice for playing against heavy topspin

TennisMan70

New User
I’m playing against a player with a huge kick serve and heavy topspin forehand. Drives the ball well on the backhand. What do I need to do in order to win this match? Only hits a heavy kick serve that jumps to much to step in on.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I’m playing against a player with a huge kick serve and heavy topspin forehand. Drives the ball well on the backhand. What do I need to do in order to win this match? Only hits a heavy kick serve that jumps to much to step in on.
Does he have a Western FH grip? If so, test how well he handles lower shots, skidding slices, etc. Even if he doesn't have an extreme grip, you should still test his ability to deal with low balls. If you think you can't rally with him TS to TS, you need to figure out another way.

If you can't step in on the return, move back far enough so you can take it on the decline and position yourself better for the kick.
 
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Injured Again

Hall of Fame
I’m playing against a player with a huge kick serve and heavy topspin forehand. Drives the ball well on the backhand. What do I need to do in order to win this match? Only hits a heavy kick serve that jumps to much to step in on.
Number one question is what do you do well, and can you do those things in response to this player's shots? If the answer to the second part is "no", then you will almost assuredly lose unless you can find some way in what you do well, that prevents your opponent from from playing his normal way.

It's all well and good to hear what may work, but if you can't do those things well and try to do them, you will lose anyway, probably in a flurry of errors.

So again, what is it that you do well, and can you do those things in response to his serve and topspin groundstrokes?
 
Focus on matching your strengths to their weaknesses.

Have a Plan B ane Plan C if your Plan A doesn't end up being effective.

Try and keep the points as short as possible!
 

FIRETennis

Professional
I'm playing a similar style like your opponent.

What "works" against the kicks is: stand way in to return and slice sharp return on the rise, vary aim between the feet of the server short or baseline deep.
if your opponent does not come to the net you can also "return like Nadal" from way back and wait for the ball to come down and rip if full power and spin back deep mid-court.
In terms of groundstrokes, disrupting rhythm and short low slices can be very annoying.
If none of those work, he might just be a better player and just try to enjoy and game.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
If your opponent has any volley skills at all, the "returning from the fence" strategy will not work unless you have Nadal like footspeed. And even if you did, the endurance to keep that up is something 99% of us just don't have. If you feel you must, you probably should mostly hit deep lob returns - give yourself time to get back up to a normal playing position.

It is a difficult thing to practice, but moving in and catching the kick serve early with a more blocked return is probably your best bet.
DONT OVERSWING!
 

2nd-srv-ace

New User
I’m playing against a player with a huge kick serve and heavy topspin forehand. Drives the ball well on the backhand. What do I need to do in order to win this match? Only hits a heavy kick serve that jumps to much to step in on.
Get yourself a SlingerBag machine and practice!! you will learn how to handle the top-spin in no time!!
 
I’d suggest that you give your oppo what he doesn’t want… basically this means slice, low. No one particularly likes getting the ball up and down with heavy topspin from ankle height.
 

roadto50

Rookie
I’m playing against a player with a huge kick serve and heavy topspin forehand. Drives the ball well on the backhand. What do I need to do in order to win this match? Only hits a heavy kick serve that jumps to much to step in on.
Depending on your level and his/her level, you might just be outmatched.

Recommending to hit on the rise or slide on the rise...while correct...is not something most amateur players like us can do consistently.
 
Exactly, there is absolutely no point hitting on the rise or hitting slice shots if they are not your strenght. It will simply frustrate you.

Try and match your strengths to your opponent's weaknesses. Focus on playing your best game. If it becomes clear that isn't working then move to your Plan B, or Plan C.

IIRC, there was a story in a coaching book - can't recall if it was Braeden or Gilbert. Two girls were playing a Final. The first girl was dominating, she won the first set quickly and was ahead at least one break of serve in the second cruising towards an easy victory. The second girl moved to her Plan B which was to simply hit a moon ball. She won a couple of points and then heard her opponent yell out that she hated "moonballers". You can figure out the rest. :)
 

jz000

Rookie
Improve your strokes too.
No fast track to success on the court.

If we're even level, then I'd try to smash it flat on the rise when possible.
But if he's a D1 player, no chance. Gotta spin it back.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
I’m playing against a player with a huge kick serve and heavy topspin forehand. Drives the ball well on the backhand. What do I need to do in order to win this match? Only hits a heavy kick serve that jumps to much to step in on.
Does not compute. If you step in on it, you catch it before it jumps.
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
On the kick serves, occasionally try to take it on the rise. But most of the time, stay back, take the ball on the way down, and focus on returning deep instead of hard. In rallies, return the ball flat or with sidespin, again focus on hitting deep. Look for short balls. You can hit these flat and hard for a winner on the way down after the bounce, occasionally take them as a swing volley hit hard, or slice volley hit deep or angled off the court.
 

a10best

Hall of Fame
Use low bh slices to the FH and attack the kick serve. I was getting killed by a guy with a heavy 2nd serve kick at first, then got accustomed to it and took it on the rise. Staying back didn't work well for me with a 1HB (at 6' 2") because it would kick above my head.
 

gqnelly

New User
I agree. Shorten your return stroke and take it early. I like backhand slices to the middle of the court to make them miss. They try to do too much from a neutral position after a few shots...
 

Rosstour

Legend
One thing OP didn't mention is which side this heavy kick serve goes to. Most players have one preferred side for their big weapon. So cheat to the other side and try to make him hit there.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I think taking kick serves early only works if the kick is reasonably consistent. If it bounces at different angles, taking it early will be a challenge unless you've got cat like reflexes to adjust. I typically have more success against really good kickers by taking them deeper so I can adjust to the bounce and take a more aggressive swing.

I also find standing back a bit more against heavy topspin groundstrokes works better for me. The problem happens if they can routinely put the heavy topspin within 2 feet of the baseline. If so then I'm screwed as that's a really good player. My only hope to get points here and there is to throw junk at him to get him out of rhythm. Slices, droppers, moon balls, etc to explore for a weakness and not let him play to his strengths.

My general rules for all opponents are:
A) Dance with the one that brought you is Plan A. Hit my best shots and see if the opponent can handle it. Don't leave my wheelhouse if that is working.
B) Plan B is for when they have a weapon I can't overcome. Then I stay away from it like dancing around a slugger. Throw slices and short balls mixed in with bouncy topspin to try to stay out of their wheel house.
C) Plan C is for when they are merely playing defensively and waiting on my errors. Then I move to getting safely into the rally, attacking corners a little more aggressively and get into the net when I get the ball to their weakest wing on the run.
D) Plan D is when Plan A-C fail and then I just go for it, get the match over and head to the bar.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Backing up is the easiest way to play topspin

A lot of rec players have an aversion to playing too far behind the baseline, which is weird

I think it is maybe because they don’t have faith in their own shots being consistently deep enough to protect them from droppers and angles
 
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