Strategy vs. fast players that runs around backhand?

Eddie Brock

New User
I'm playing a guy who is in incredible shape that has a 1 handed backhand and runs around it to hit heavy topspin to my backhand. We're playing on slow clay so it's hard to hit winners and he's pretty fast.

I'm extremely consistent and my backhand cross court is better than his backhand, but I'm concerned about my backhand vs. high heavy topspin forehand. If he goes down the line I have a really good running forehand and can whip it cross court. My forehand is also my weapon, but I don't normally run around it unless I have a sitter. My backhand down the line is probably my worse ground stroke. I can get it in, but need a wide margin for error, esp if it's off a high backhand.

What kind of pattern or placement should I go for on a typical point?
 

LuckyR

Legend
I'm playing a guy who is in incredible shape that has a 1 handed backhand and runs around it to hit heavy topspin to my backhand. We're playing on slow clay so it's hard to hit winners and he's pretty fast.

I'm extremely consistent and my backhand cross court is better than his backhand, but I'm concerned about my backhand vs. high heavy topspin forehand. If he goes down the line I have a really good running forehand and can whip it cross court. My forehand is also my weapon, but I don't normally run around it unless I have a sitter. My backhand down the line is probably my worse ground stroke. I can get it in, but need a wide margin for error, esp if it's off a high backhand.

What kind of pattern or placement should I go for on a typical point?

Not enough info. Is he a power baseliner who finishes at the net? A PB who hits angled off winners from the baseline? A high consistancy player who doesn't hit winners? An all courter?
 

RoddickAce

Hall of Fame
1) Hit even higher and loopier in the corner so he has to move way off the court to run around his backhand.

2) Then if he hits to your backhand, if you don't feel comfortable driving it down the line, then slice it low down the line to get him to run. You can also consider dropshotting him if you can hit decent drop shots from deep behind the baseline. It is usually not recommended but I find the difficulty of this shot to be overblown.

3) He likely will not be able to produce any winners from that position off a slow slice.
a) If he hits to your forehand, then loop it down the line and he will be forced to hit a backhand.
b) If he hits to your backhand, then you have the crosscourt backhand all open and you can drill it there to target his backhand.
 
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mightyrick

Legend
I'm playing a guy who is in incredible shape that has a 1 handed backhand and runs around it to hit heavy topspin to my backhand. We're playing on slow clay so it's hard to hit winners and he's pretty fast.

Try hitting shorter, slower balls on the backhand side at a slightly sharper angle. This will keep the bounce low and also require him to come forward a little bit. These kinds of balls are incredibly difficult to run around.

If he's cheating over enough that he can run around his backhand all the time, then start hitting flattish balls to his backhand but closer to the middle. It will take away his time and make it more difficult for him to run around.
 

mikeler

Moderator
It sounds like you should camp out in your backhand corner as well. Consider taking the high topspin on the rise and slicing short down the line. Your opponent will have to move from deep in his backhand corner to mid-court in his forehand corner. Now his backhand is wide open for your next shot. Consider inside-in forehands to his forehand to open up his backhand as well.
 
hard balls into the wide FH since he is camping at the BH and leaving the FH open. I'm asuming you play at least at the 4.5 level if you play an opponent who can run around the FH consistently and cover the court so well.
 
Maybe consider going to his forehand side. You'd be surprised how many players have killer inside out forehands but struggle when they have to hit one crosscourt.
 

blip

Rookie
I agree with the above.

I like to make them run then hit behind them as well.

All this ofcourse depends on how good your opponent is. If you aren't able to hit your shots there's no strategy thats gonna work.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I play against someone like this - he likes to stand about ten feet to the left of the center line and hit hard inside-out shots to my backhand. It used to bug me as I wasn't always able to hit deep shots to the corner off of his forehands. So my solution was the DTL backhand, either flat or with heavy topspin. In many cases it would win the point outright as he wasn't expecting it. In the worst case, he would get to the forehand and hit it hard crosscourt but that would just reset the point.

When you get confident enough with your DTL, you can sometimes push him further from the center line by hitting sliced backhands deep to the middle moving a little farther over each time, and when he's too far from the alley, you let it rip down the line.
 

Eddie Brock

New User
Not enough info. Is he a power baseliner who finishes at the net? A PB who hits angled off winners from the baseline? A high consistancy player who doesn't hit winners? An all courter?

Yes, he is quick to the net, but he volleys aren't that great.

If I put the ball short and high he'll put it away, but he generally likes to be consistent and wear people down with this fitness.

I can hit down the line with my backhand, it just doesn't have the placement or pace as my other shots. Slicing can work if the ball is low. I just never practice slicing off a high ball so I'm leery about trying it in the match. Yes, we're both about 4.5 level. When I lost to him before it was about tactics and fitness. Both of us can hit all the shots
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Then the DTL is something that you should work on. I'm sure that a strong DTL will be a useful weapon in your arsenal against many players.
 

Lukhas

Legend
Hit better CC shots to his BH (speed/spin/placement) so he can't run around as easily and/or has to take more risks to run around then counter him. Learn how to play a BH DTL: it doesn't have to be on the lines; just enough to make him run and at the very least reset the point.
 

LuckyR

Legend
Yes, he is quick to the net, but he volleys aren't that great.

If I put the ball short and high he'll put it away, but he generally likes to be consistent and wear people down with this fitness.

I can hit down the line with my backhand, it just doesn't have the placement or pace as my other shots. Slicing can work if the ball is low. I just never practice slicing off a high ball so I'm leery about trying it in the match. Yes, we're both about 4.5 level. When I lost to him before it was about tactics and fitness. Both of us can hit all the shots

Thanks, that helps. To my mind you have two general options:

1) take on his strength, ie the fitness, by running him around without you having the pressure to hit winners (thus improving your own consistancy). He is likely to be camping out on the backhand side of the hash, which is correct when you are hitting BHs but an error when you are hitting FHs. Take the opportunity to hit FHs CC to his FH. This will do two things, make him expend more energy to get to the ball with all of the issues associated with that. Also it makes him have to make a decision once he hits his FH: do I try to recover back to camping out on the BH side of the hash which he prefers, or does he play from the correct position, tactically? If he chooses the former he will be running his butt off to get back across the hash, which makes him vulnerable to another shot to the FH side, or if he plays correctly, it makes it more difficult (and energy expensive) to run around his BH from there.

2) try to make him play his weakness, ie volleys. You know how comfortable you would be hitting low, short slices up the middle then trying pass him. If you do, I would advise not trying to actually "pass" him ie hit winners, rather, since he doesn't volley well, hit "passing" shots in a zone where he can actually hit a volley, but a stretching, off balance volley. This will increase your consistancy, lower your errors and give you a likely short ball to put away on the next shot.
 

GoudX

Professional
A few things spring to mind, depending on both of your skills/styles:

Plan A - for counterpunchers:
  1. Slow loopy shot to the backhand sideline which tempts the player to run around the shot
  2. Opponent runs around ball and hits it hard CC / DTL
  3. You either slice the ball low back to his forehand, put a backhand down the line, or hit a CC forehand depending on where he placed his last shot.
  4. The opponent is out of positon and fails to hit the shot next correctly.

Plan B - for big hitters
  1. Hit big shots at the opponents backhand
  2. He will not have time to run around the vast majority
  3. If he attempts to run around it, he will be rushed and hit a poor shot.
  4. His attempts to run around result in a UE on his part or a sitter for you

Plan C - for grinders
  1. Keep the ball nice and deep, hitting from side to side
  2. Running around the shot is very difficult if you are already on the run
  3. If he attempts to run around it, he will be off balance and hit a poor shot.
  4. His attempts to run around result in a UE on his part or a sitter for you

Plan D - for junk ballers

  1. Deep shots with lots of sidespin are a nightmare to attack, so the I/O forehand will be much less effective
  2. Low skidders leave no time for the opponent to run around
  3. he will leave sitters for you to dictate from

Plan E - for S&V

  1. Hit low slices and big flat shots
  2. Run at the net
  3. ?
  4. Profit
 
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TennisCJC

Legend
As others have already stated, if the opponent is fast and runs around their BH, you need to open up his BH court by A. going wide and preferable hard to their FH, and B. going DTL to the FH.

Try serving wide on the deuce court and then taking their reply to their BH.

Hit your FH firm CC into their BH, and then either hit an aggressive ball into their BH corner, or hit an approach shot into their BH corner.

You might have to hit into their stronger FH for a ball or 2 to open up their BH corner.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
Have you seen his backhand? Is it actually useless or just not aggressive? Just playing it to his backhand is no guarantee of winning the point, it could be his most consistent shot. Nadal and Courier both dodge their backhands and both are very solid.

If you think his BH is the weakness you're going to have to play his FH to exploit it. Play down the line more often. Other option is short on BH which is dangerous but forces the opposition if they run around to have to play a winner.

Remember you don't win the point making him hit a BH, the aim is still to win the point.
 
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