Opponents that surprised the hell out of you...

mightyrick

Legend
I was practicing serves earlier this week and some guy came over and asked me if I wanted to play a friendly match. I accepted.

The guy was about 50 pounds overweight. I'd estimate 6'1 and probably 260 pounds. He probably was my age -- 40s. He was dressed in a too tight polo shirt, and a camo khaki pair of shorts. Very sort of "slobbish". I'm not skinny myself. 5'10" tall and about 205 pounds. But usually I'm at least as fast as most of my opponents.

However, this guy crushed me. I'm a pretty solid 4.0 (although I sandbag at 3.5 sometimes).

His serve was strong. But nothing I wasn't able to block back. The thing was... he was purely serve and volley. His forehand must have been at 5.0 level. I would block his serves back pretty decently -- high, low, left, right -- and he would CRUSH them out of mid-air, flat, hard and there was nothing I could do.

He moved really well, too. Feet were lively. He didn't really have to *run*, per se. He seemed to glide over the court. His running forehand was lightning. He sweated like a pig, but he was the best player that I think I've ever played.

In the end, I lost 6-2, 6-1. And I was playing the best I could. All the games that I managed to win... I pretty much won on my serve.

After the match, I thanked him for the match, apologized for my not giving him much of a challenge. He gave me a few pointers. But he told me in college he played varsity for Wake Forest a "lifetime ago".

Have any of you had an opponent who just surprised the hell out of you and crushed you? Either because of their physical characteristics, gender, looks, or whatever?
 

GetBetterer

Hall of Fame
This one chick had a decent serve (I returned all of them), and her forehand was also decent as well but her two-handed backhand was a closed stance backhand and for a girl had surprisingly amount of power.

I didn't even try to return it, I jumped and dodged it (I know...embarrassing) and me, knowing that core rotation helps a lot with closed shots that require body rotation, I asked to see her abs (I made it not sound so creepy as it may seem) and she had a 4-pack... I don't even have 2. :( I was also Varsity 1 of the Men's Tennis Team at my high school (back when I went to high school) and she was Varsity 1 of the girl's Tennis Team.

I won, but I never aimed for that backhand unless it was a shot she could only slice or something.
 

Strateon

New User
I didn't even try to return it, I jumped and dodged it (I know...embarrassing) and me, knowing that core rotation helps a lot with closed shots that require body rotation, I asked to see her abs (I made it not sound so creepy as it may seem) and she had a 4-pack... I don't even have 2. :( I was also Varsity 1 of the Men's Tennis Team at my high school (back when I went to high school) and she was Varsity 1 of the girl's Tennis Team.
How is that EVEN possible?
 
Never happened to me, I always go in expecting a tough match.

I did do this to someone once, I was wearing bright green lax pinnie some long nadal shorts and sunglasses and was just sitting near the courts with my racquet waiting for my friend to get there. Some guy came over and asked if I wanted to hit I went about my lazy way of warming up, he wasnt that good prolly only an average 4.0. (BTW he was wearing the 09 fed us open outfit and had a 12 racquet bag with 8 racquets...nothing makes me angrier)

So in the middle he asked if I wanted to play a set and I said yes. So I decided to play around his level just to make it ok, he got the first game and shouted come on. After that I got really angry and crushed him 6 games in a row in about 20 minutes. He admitted after the match he thought I looked like a bum and wasnt good at tennis
 

dr325i

G.O.A.T.
I met a guy in Ottawa 2 years ago and we met for a hit under the balloon, red clay.
During the warm-up, the guy was brilliant, deep, powerful shots, just a joy to hit with.
We started playing points and the guy completely turned into the worst pusher anyone can imagine. I could not believe that someone can have so many problems going from the warmups to the match play...
It took me a set and a half to compose myself and turn the match around, and win it in 3.
Tennis is largely a mental game, no doubt about that!
 

Hardserve

Rookie
Yep, it's the tennis that does all the talking.

Not how they look, who knows, they may do fitness training as well
or may a well seasoned player even though they might not look it.
Or may have had coaching lessons under a top level coach.

Never underestimate the opponent.
 
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jdubbs

Hall of Fame
It's always the older guys that used to surprise me but don't any more, and the ones I worry about the most as a fairly solid 4.0. They just have a game that's so hard to read, they don't move that well but just incorporate so much spin and dropshots. Hate playing them!!!
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
I've also had the opposite happen. I once showed up to a 4.0 Flex match and the guy looked like a pro - super fit, 6 pack racket bag stuffed with gear, the best clothes, bandana, etc. So I'm thinking I'm in for a tough match, but no, he couldn't play at all. so, it goes both ways.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Sure, been surprised ball most of all mentioned, but that's why we accumlate knowledge.
We learn not to judge a book by it's cover, and not to assume we will always play our best...or worst.
And we learn the opponent has an EQUAL say in the matter, that tennis is not just US hitting our shots.
 

pyrokid

Hall of Fame
I generally warm up REALLY casually. Like, maybe 50%. But I don't really ever hit out in the warm up, just kind of groove stuff and get the opponents shots back and work on footwork.

I end up surprising a lit if people that way, because they think that after beige able to kill me in the warm up it should be easy.
But a while ago I played someone who was only a little better than me in the warm up. I thought he was pretty terrible.
Then we start the first point and it was great. Long, hard baseline rallies that eventually ended with a shot about a foot wide by him.
He looks over and says
"You hold back in the warm ups too? This is gonna be a fun match!"
It was a really fun one, too.
He just kind of sucked at deuce points. Otherwise it would have been really close.
 
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Totai

Professional
Never happened to me, I always go in expecting a tough match.

I did do this to someone once, I was wearing bright green lax pinnie some long nadal shorts and sunglasses and was just sitting near the courts with my racquet waiting for my friend to get there. Some guy came over and asked if I wanted to hit I went about my lazy way of warming up, he wasnt that good prolly only an average 4.0. (BTW he was wearing the 09 fed us open outfit and had a 12 racquet bag with 8 racquets...nothing makes me angrier)
So in the middle he asked if I wanted to play a set and I said yes. So I decided to play around his level just to make it ok, he got the first game and shouted come on. After that I got really angry and crushed him 6 games in a row in about 20 minutes. He admitted after the match he thought I looked like a bum and wasnt good at tennis
You get angry when people do what they want with their money?
 

jb193

Rookie
I was once practicing serves at a University court when this really small international student who could barely speak english walked up to me in and asked me to play. I said sure and I thought this guy wouldn't be able to play at all. He walked awkwardly and just looked spastic... 30 minutes later, he beat me 0 and 0 with incredible footwork, timing, and all court conistency that I had never seen.. We became really good friends and hitting partners for years afterwards.. He later told me that his childhood hitting partner played Davis Cup.... Absolutely can't judge a book by its cover...
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
I generally warm up REALLY casually. Like, maybe 50%. But I don't really ever hit out in the warm up, just kind of groove stuff and get the opponents shots back and work on footwork.

I end up surprising a lit if people that way, because they think that after beige able to kill me in the warm up it should be easy.
But a while ago I played someone who was only a little better than me in the warm up. I thought he was pretty terrible.
Then we start the first point and it was great. Long, hard baseline rallies that eventually ended with a shot about a foot wide by him.
He looks over and says
"You hold back in the warm ups too? This is gonna be a fun match!"
It was a really fun one, too.
He just kind of sucked at deuce points. Otherwise t would have been close.
I think it's been covered, but what's up with people hitting winners during warmups? I played a guy who was trying to hit winners in the warmup before our set, I never moved from the center line for them, and finally, after about 6 in a row, I said "HEY! I'm right here!"

Isn't the purpose of warming up to actually hit the ball?
 

SmAsH999

Rookie
over the summer, at my tennis camp, I was hitting with a 3 star. when i went to take a drink break, this short kid came up to me, and asked me if i wanted to hit. i said, "Sure, you any good?"
he said "Actually, i'm 1 in florida" we played dubs together, and when i looked him up, i found he was a blue chip. don't judge somebody by their looks. :)
 
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