Slow surface to fast surface HC, how to adapt?

Arak

Semi-Pro
Hi all. Any tips on how to adapt technique when moving from long term training on slow high bounce HC to very fast low bounce one?
 

mnttlrg

Professional
More plow / less lift, faster tempo plays, less defensiveness, but more slices. If they are pushing you too hard the same way, go for full-on lobs or moonballs to offset it.
 

mnttlrg

Professional
More slice serves and flat serves, less kicky stuff. Flatten out your kick serves a bit on the seconds or use a hybrid slice.
 

Arak

Semi-Pro
More plow / less lift, faster tempo plays, less defensiveness, but more slices. If they are pushing you too hard the same way, go for full-on lobs or moonballs to offset it.
Thank you very much. Those are all very helpful points. So basically hit more flat, less topspin, and add slice.
One of my main problems is getting a lot of short low bouncing balls, so I have to leave my comfort zone at the baseline to retrieve them. Difficult to do anything advantageous with them as I can barely reach them on time due to low bounce or skidding. Once at the net, I’m getting lobbed all the time.
Your advice should definitely help with that.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
One of my main problems is getting a lot of short low bouncing balls, so I have to leave my comfort zone at the baseline to retrieve them. Difficult to do anything advantageous with them as I can barely reach them on time due to low bounce or skidding. Once at the net, I’m getting lobbed all the time.
Your advice should definitely help with that.
Sounds a bit weird to me, as fast courts tend to let balls reach you more easily. Yes they bounce low, but they go through, and most of times you can stay and wait for them to get to you (or rush your prep, as they get to you pretty fast). On the flip side, you are forced to play more lower balls which you need to lift somehow.
So it’s great to take and keep control with flattish lowish shots, if you can - from serve, from return. Not that much if you actually are first to get pushed and start scrambling. Slower courts are more equalizing here, both players can retake control and neutralize based on great movement.
 

Arak

Semi-Pro
Sounds a bit weird to me, as fast courts tend to let balls reach you more easily. Yes they bounce low, but they go through, and most of times you can stay and wait for them to get to you (or rush your prep, as they get to you pretty fast). On the flip side, you are forced to play more lower balls which you need to lift somehow.
So it’s great to take and keep control with flattish lowish shots, if you can - from serve, from return. Not that much if you actually are first to get pushed and start scrambling. Slower courts are more equalizing here, both players can retake control and neutralize based on great movement.
I think it can be explained by the fact that my opponents are giving me short dead balls. I barely can reach them and I need to lift them too which induces errors or weak shots that they can lob or place beyond my reach. My opponents are mostly doubles players, and this kind of court is very suitable for their game.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I think it can be explained by the fact that my opponents are giving me short dead balls. I barely can reach them and I need to lift them too which induces errors or weak shots that they can lob or place beyond my reach. My opponents are mostly doubles players, and this kind of court is very suitable for their game.
Well there’s no chance but to learn to control points and to neutralize points in such conditions. Where your neutral shot was arcing TS drive on clay/slow HC, here you use low slice - also easiest and safest shot off the incoming dead ball. Also, having put pressure on the opponent you want to get to net, as you possibly don’t get a short sitter but a low deadish reply. Use slice approach shots more as well.
 

socallefty

Professional
Stand closer on returns and during rallies. Serve and hit more to the middle and less wide so that they don’t have angles when they hit short slices - the hardest short slices to retrieve are the angled ones. However, if you hit down the middle as a tactic, you have to hit deep all the time and you have to see if it is sustainable.

Ultimately, you need more practice against the slice and short, low balls. So, work with a coach and do repetition drills against those types of shots. The footwork is very different from hitting high-bounce balls and you have to get the spacing and swingpath right against low slices - practice makes perfect!
 

socallefty

Professional
I wrote this on a different thread about how to adapt to grass courts. Many of the points apply for a fast, low-bouncing hard court. The same kind of players win on both those courts. Channel your ‘inner Fed’.


The surface is fast, the bounce is low and the footing is slippery - so, serve and hit shots that take advantage of it.

- Serve hard/flat along with hard/slice and leave the kicker at home - maybe a top-slice for 2nd serves.
- Stand closer on returns, leave more space on the BH and chip/slice more - use short angles more than hitting deep returns all the time.
- Stand closer to the baseline during rallies as the bounce is low and there will be uneven bounces - better to hit on the rise if you can rather than standing back and waiting for the ball to drop from peak height into your hitting zone.
- Slice more and come to the net to finish points more than usual. If you can S-V and chip/charge, the best surface to try it is on grass.
- Try to wrongfoot the opponent by hitting behind them more than usual as it is tough to brake and change direction on grass.
- If you have a lot of touch, bring out your finesse shots like dropshots, dropvolleys, FH slices etc. - hit with more variety and change pace often. The low bounce makes even low-pace shots difficult and it is better to disrupt the rhythm of your opponent rather than giving them the same topspin drive all the time.
- Serve bigger late in sets and in tiebreaks as the more aggressive player usually wins on grass.
 

Arak

Semi-Pro
Stand closer on returns and during rallies. Serve and hit more to the middle and less wide so that they don’t have angles when they hit short slices - the hardest short slices to retrieve are the angled ones. However, if you hit down the middle as a tactic, you have to hit deep all the time and you have to see if it is sustainable.

Ultimately, you need more practice against the slice and short, low balls. So, work with a coach and do repetition drills against those types of shots. The footwork is very different from hitting high-bounce balls and you have to get the spacing and swingpath right against low slices - practice makes perfect!
Great advice. Thank you! It seems I have to work on adding more variety to my game.
 

Arak

Semi-Pro
It was really great advice guys. Thank you again. I only had to just forget about my ultra modern ATP forehand style and reverted back to my old almost WTA style very flat forehand, mixed with slices on both wings. That worked perfectly well. I actually never realized how powerful a flat forehand is until I reverted back today. My opponent wasn’t able to give me short dead balls, due to the velocity in my shots, so his shots were long and bouncy, very easy to attack, just how I like them. My opponent even said that my forehand was too fast today! Now I’m actually thinking to ditch my ATP forehand and go back definitively to hitting flat.
 
Top