Playing someone who hits continual heavy slice on both sides?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Torres, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Torres

    Torres Banned

    Jan 1, 2011
    I had a hit with this guy at the weekend, who I thought would be cannon fodder but he proved to be a very awkward opponent to play against.

    Firstly, we were playing indoors on carpet, so the surface is fast and the bounce very low compared to outdoor hardcourts where the ball sits up and you always feel you have time.

    Secondly, this guy hit every groundstroke with a forehand or backhand slice, with not a single topspin stroke to be seen.

    The problem was that on this type of surface, the ball just skids forwards off the carpet and never went higher than my knees. On occasions the ball was almost down to my ankles. I was already stuggling a bit adjusting to the surface, but these heavy slices and the ball shooting forward and slaying low off the bounce just made life really awkward.

    I have quite a flat hitting game so it was difficult to attack off these balls and I found that I had to change my swing to a more small topspinny stroke to bring the ball up and over, which in turn made it more difficult to attack or hit through the court and consistently go after him.

    Where I did have success was when I managed to move him around the court or push him out wide so he didn't have time to plant and slice, or bring him to the net with droppers, but this game was awkward! I never felt I could consistently play my normal game.

    Has anyone played against such a strange type of player? Any tips for neutralising this type of heavy slice game?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  2. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Sep 18, 2010
    Yes I play a couple guys who play like this. I have had success hitting low slices back to them (as well as moving them around with dropshots and lobs). A topspin groundstroke plays into their hands because it sits up, which makes hitting a slice easy to do. When I slice to them, their groundstrokes generally become less effective/penetrating.

    Playing a slice-only player is awkward (and no fun), which is why I try not to play against these guys if possible.
  3. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

    Apr 21, 2005
    Mar del Plata, Argentina
    The obvious choice would be net game. Attacking those slicers at the net. Passing shots are unlikely, specially since he doesn't hit flat nor topspinny.

    My uncle plays like that. He's been playing 45 years like that, and got good at it. He can place a ball in a dime with slice, but even though they're extremely accurate, they don't have the pace to keep me from volleying most of them.

    Try it next time :)
  4. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

    Sep 26, 2008
    Central Florida
    I used to play against a guy like this and he gave me all kinds of fits. Eventually I figured out to give this particular opponent softer loopy topspin shots. Any time I gave him pace, he would hit a razor sharp slice. When he had to generate his own pace the slice was not as effective. Still, it was always hard to generate that initial looper off his skidding slice. This was on clay, so I'm sure carpet is incredibly hard to do this on.
  5. ondray

    ondray Guest

    If I were to play someone like that, I would position my split steps near the baseline and be prepared to explode to where the ball is going to land.

    Technique wise, I would slice it and spin it back deep on both ends and see whether it brings him out of his comfortable hitting zone.

    I personally think it's beneficial to rally or play with someone who slices both ends. It makes me practice for variety and device back up plans.
  6. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

    Dec 9, 2010
    I played a guy like that in a tournament last year, ended up losing in a tie break. I took the second set by focusing on short angled topspin shots, I lost the tie break because my serve broke down.
  7. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

    Jul 4, 2011
    Have to agree with Andres.

    Thought slice only players went extinct in the 90's. I remember them well from the days when I played lots on grass - nightmare opponents for me as I was predominantly a baseliner back then. It was this specific type of opponent that made me develop an all-court game.

    Once I learned to vary my game with the occasional chip and charge/S&V things improved for me greatly. The other mental note I kept was to sometimes hit the ball straight at them with depth; hitting a slice from a ball directed at you, normally solicits a very week reply and following in such a shot normally presents you with an easy put away. The same shot at someone with topspin grounds strokes leaves you wide open to something nasty cross-court.
  8. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Nov 7, 2006
    Long Island, NY
    I got killed by one of these guys 2 matches in a row when I first started my league a few years back. After the second loss, I lost the first set of the next match..since then I haven't lost a set and I have won at least 6-3 every set against this guy. This is an older man pushing 60, but who still seems to cover court well. The reason you perceive this is because he stands at or inside the baseline.

    I started winning based on few simple things:

    I stand inside the baseline..even if he hits a ball deep, it dies, so there is no use standing 6 feet back

    Do not provide him with any angles..if I can't put a ball in a corner where he will get it back weakly or I can't hit a clean winner, I hit the ball right at him.

    This in turn makes easier to volley, because a deep ball down the middle gives him less to work with. Hitting deep and right at him leads to him hitting a lot of balls on the half volley or even volleyed out of the air...few of these shots come back that I can't attack with my own overhead or a volley, or they land near the service line and I crush them. Try slicing a ball that's hit right at your feet with's pretty damn hard.

    The other thing is on that dying slice, you need to start your swing earlier than you would think, in comparison to an incoming top spin shot. When I was struggling with this guy I found myself watching the ball hit and then starting my swing, and it inevitably ended up a weak or mishit shot. Then I'd compensate by swinging really fast and that led to inconsistency.

    As the ball is coming towards you, you should be staring your unit turn or taking your racquet back. As it's about to hit the court, your swing should already be started. You do not want to wait on slice, you want to attack it, but in a controlled manner.

    The guy has conceded that I've "figured him out".....thank god because the first few matches I thought maybe I should quit tennis, it was so ugly and I got very frustrated.

    I do think in the long run, once you figure these guys out, playing them regularly can be detrimental to your game against heavy hitters, becuase many of the techniques that work agianst one do not work against the other. Luckily there's really only one slice-meister in my league, so it's an interesting challange once per season.
  9. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

    May 16, 2006
    Hard to pass with a slice. That's all I'm going to say.
  10. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Jun 22, 2007
    Good advice has already been given. I agree with getting the ball out of the opponent's strike zone, which for most of these guys means a high bouncing ball - which isn't as easy on carpet.

    Also, hit deep and come to the net. Get ready to hit overheads because most slice only players aren't going to be very good at the pass.
  11. passive_aggressive

    passive_aggressive Banned

    Nov 18, 2011
    Just keep pushing the ball over (lob to the baseline) until he slices it straight into the net.

    It's hard to slice low consistently.
  12. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

    Aug 22, 2010
    I tried this tactic in a match once, playing against a tenacious retriever who stole the pace in rallies.
    So, I sliced every single backhand along with nearly every forehand. . .no, I'm serious, throughout the entire first set that I won.
    He came out with very heavy topspin attacking my forehand in the second set that he won.

    The point is that, while he took the pace, I troubled him by slicing off both wings. It was that simple. Only after he started hitting with pace was I no longer able to slice everything back.

    My advice to you is: pick one wing of his and just hammer away with your forehand at that wing, with heavily rolled, highly safe shots. Keep at this tactic until the flatter trajectories with your western grip present themselves (shouldn't take but 10-15 strokes before you have the feel needed to flatten out your forehand, especially if you're hitting mostly forehands).

    You will probably have to get down really low, in order to dig these balls out particularly if this guy's slice whom you are referring to is really that nasty.
  13. Zolar

    Zolar New User

    Jun 29, 2011
    Might be hard at first, but in my opinion, this kind of player is really good for making me get back to my basics! Have to concentrate on MY game, especially technique, to overcome the disadvantages of trying to hit his strokes. Maybe we should all be grateful for these slicers.
  14. kub

    kub New User

    Jan 1, 2012
    increase amount of topspin on groundstrokes, ball won't be in best desired zone (i.e above waist height) for him to hit an effective low slice..this will force a defensive shot by which you attack with confidence,,ideally at net
  15. mxmx

    mxmx Professional

    Feb 14, 2011
    I would probably hit high topspin shots against an opponent like this. It will cause him to have to hit the ball earlier on the rise, or else his racket face will be too open by trying to hit the ball at a higher point. Then i would also attack shorter balls and approach the net. Slices are normally slower and one would have more time to put it away at the net. I'm sure someone like this would crack against consistent net game.

    Another option would be to hit even a shorter slice in return, forcing him to maybe approach the net, then attacking him with a passing shot or lob.
  16. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

    Dec 8, 2007
    The good thing about playing against someone like this is that you don't have to worry about them blasting a winner past you. My advice would be to relax and construct your points. Definitely move him around and be comfortable approaching the net more often. Once you're at the net, whatever spin the ball has becomes a bit less of an issue.

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