Strategy vs. tall player whose FH is blasting me off the court?

EddieBrock

Hall of Fame
Similar to my predicament with this player from years ago, but this guy I'm playing is a whole other level


So far I've lost a close 1st set and am down a break and serving in the 2nd and the match was delayed.

He is over 6', has a strong serve that he doesn't place very well so I can get it back and a decent 2nd serve I can attack. What's killing me is his FH that seems to be taken from the pro tour. I've blasted my FH return as hard as I could deep into his body and he gets out of the way and hits a powerful winner again and again. Seems like no matter what I hit he is able to get around his BH and blast a FH either for a winner or to setup a winner so we have very short points.

All the games I've won have been on my serve when I get a 1st serve in that gets a short reply or a missed return. Other than that every point seems to end with him hitting a FH winner. With my kick 2nd serve he's getting me on the defensive then attacking.

I started out trying to chip return deep off his 1st serve and of course he just rips winners on those. So I started taking big cuts and if I get it far enough away from him that works, but pace and depth don't bother him. I tried a few slice returns to his BH side and he moved up and hit short slices right back at me. I also noticed on my 2nd serve he takes a step towards his BH side.

Considering he's not on the pro tour there's got to be a way to beat him at the BL. What do you think I should try? My thoughts...

  • Attack the FH wing first since he's probably cheating over to the BH since everyone is afraid of his FH. I noticed I could get him with a short angle FH, but it wasn't often I was in position to hit that shot. Also instead of trying to blast returns to his BH chip and charge short to his FH.
  • Instead of blasting 1st serves and having to hit 2nd that kick up for him, heavy slice 1st that bounces low.
  • Try some moonballs to both sides.
Also wish I could do something when I'm in trouble off his 1st serve or in general during the points. Seems like he gets me slicing my BH, which always floats up for him. I wish I could keep it low. Same thing with the stretch return.
 

Jono123

Semi-Pro
You need to take time away from him by moving him wide and using the wings. Slice for angles and bring him into the net with drop shots.
 

fecund345

Rookie
I would use feathered hard slices to throw him off of his game. Use feathered inside out forehand and backhand slices ( that you sneak into the net with just as it bounces) as well to throw him off his rhythm. They jump hard to left or right after bounce. He can't look at you and read that funky bounce at the same time. Feathering involves hitting slice with more of a fingers only grip with a tiny bit of space between the palm and the racket. Kind of a stop volley type loose grip,but instead of stop volleying you slice with that loose grip. It takes practice but it can be done without fear of dropping the racket. It skims the net and stays low.

 

PRS

Semi-Pro
A few different ideas.

1) If you're unable to get to his backhand, try attacking to the forehand first to open up the court, then it should be easier to hit you his backend on the next shot. You may be getting too predictable trying to reach his backhand.

2) Slice and dice, keeping the ball low.

3) Moon ball him, keeping it deep with no pace so he has to generate his own and doesn't have the angles to hit to

4) Drop shot him to get him to the net. If he's good at the net, hit him with the drop shot/lob combo.

5) Go to net yourself. Throw in the chip and charge or even the SABR occasionally. Even if he's got a good forehand, just being at the net might force some errors.
 

tendency

Rookie
Similar to my predicament with this player from years ago, but this guy I'm playing is a whole other level


So far I've lost a close 1st set and am down a break and serving in the 2nd and the match was delayed.

He is over 6', has a strong serve that he doesn't place very well so I can get it back and a decent 2nd serve I can attack. What's killing me is his FH that seems to be taken from the pro tour. I've blasted my FH return as hard as I could deep into his body and he gets out of the way and hits a powerful winner again and again. Seems like no matter what I hit he is able to get around his BH and blast a FH either for a winner or to setup a winner so we have very short points.

All the games I've won have been on my serve when I get a 1st serve in that gets a short reply or a missed return. Other than that every point seems to end with him hitting a FH winner. With my kick 2nd serve he's getting me on the defensive then attacking.

I started out trying to chip return deep off his 1st serve and of course he just rips winners on those. So I started taking big cuts and if I get it far enough away from him that works, but pace and depth don't bother him. I tried a few slice returns to his BH side and he moved up and hit short slices right back at me. I also noticed on my 2nd serve he takes a step towards his BH side.

Considering he's not on the pro tour there's got to be a way to beat him at the BL. What do you think I should try? My thoughts...

  • Attack the FH wing first since he's probably cheating over to the BH since everyone is afraid of his FH. I noticed I could get him with a short angle FH, but it wasn't often I was in position to hit that shot. Also instead of trying to blast returns to his BH chip and charge short to his FH.
  • Instead of blasting 1st serves and having to hit 2nd that kick up for him, heavy slice 1st that bounces low.
  • Try some moonballs to both sides.
Also wish I could do something when I'm in trouble off his 1st serve or in general during the points. Seems like he gets me slicing my BH, which always floats up for him. I wish I could keep it low. Same thing with the stretch return.

Either you out hit him - which it sounds like you cannot considering he has time to run around and hit FHs on almost all your shots - or, as others have mentioned, give him lots of well placed slices with no pace. Frustrate and out-grind him.

Watch Brad Gilbert's match from '87 where he shocked Boris Becker at the US open. That should give you some ideas..
 
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EddieBrock

Hall of Fame
You need to take time away from him by moving him wide and using the wings. Slice for angles and bring him into the net with drop shots.

That's what I started trying to do, but my return always pops up when I try to slice. Wish I could hit a short return that forced him to move up. Once I float the return it's all over for me. I could do slice angles on the 2nd serve return instead of my usual aggressive topspin that isn't getting me anywhere.

I would use feathered hard slices to throw him off of his game. Use feathered inside out forehand and backhand slices ( that you sneak into the net with just as it bounces) as well to throw him off his rhythm. They jump hard to left or right after bounce. He can't look at you and read that funky bounce at the same time. Feathering involves hitting slice with more of a fingers only grip with a tiny bit of space between the palm and the racket. Kind of a stop volley type loose grip,but instead of stop volleying you slice with that loose grip. It takes practice but it can be done without fear of dropping the racket. It skims the net and stays low.

I'm going to go out and practice hitting low slices tomorrow. My usual game is TP or flat and I very rarely slice so I'd need to practice before trying in a match.
A few different ideas.

1) If you're unable to get to his backhand, try attacking to the forehand first to open up the court, then it should be easier to hit you his backend on the next shot. You may be getting too predictable trying to reach his backhand.

2) Slice and dice, keeping the ball low.

3) Moon ball him, keeping it deep with no pace so he has to generate his own and doesn't have the angles to hit to

4) Drop shot him to get him to the net. If he's good at the net, hit him with the drop shot/lob combo.

5) Go to net yourself. Throw in the chip and charge or even the SABR occasionally. Even if he's got a good forehand, just being at the net might force some errors.
All great ideas. Even though most people say rec tennis is about avoiding errors I need to get him in a position where he can't setup that FH, even if it means I make some errors myself in the process and am not hitting my usual shots.

I played a guy years ago who beat me like 1 and 0 and was super consistent. Next year I played him again and pretended I was playing the borg from Star Trek and mixed up my shots as much as possible so he couldn't adapt and I beat him 1 and 0. With this opponent I remember the closest I came to breaking him was when I did chip and charge off his 2nd serve and I've had success with low balls to his forehand on the deuce side.

With the going to his FH idea I saw this part of the video. Makes sense if he's tall and doesn't like running that far I should be able to get him with a shot to his FH to mix things up as he's trying to run around his BH

Either you out hit him - which it sounds like you cannot considering he has time to run around and hit FHs on almost all your shots - or, as others have mentioned, give him lots of well placed slices with no pace. Frustrate and out-grind him.

Watch Brad Gilbert's match from '87 where he shocked Boris Becker at the US open. That should give you some ideas..
Yep. Mix up my shots and get him feeling uncomfortable out there where he can't just blast a FH winner. He says he's not in the best shape and doesn't want to move that much. So far I just couldn't get any kind of rally going
 
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Hit 'em clean

Semi-Pro
I would try hitting wide to get him on the move. If you can try to slice to keep ball low. And try the Fed short slice to the backhand. Sounds like your options are to battle his slice backhand as much as possible or get him off court to ad side so you can then hit wide to the duece court. Final option is hard up the middle, deep. He might blast it but will have harder time creating an angle
 

LuckyR

Legend
Similar to my predicament with this player from years ago, but this guy I'm playing is a whole other level


So far I've lost a close 1st set and am down a break and serving in the 2nd and the match was delayed.

He is over 6', has a strong serve that he doesn't place very well so I can get it back and a decent 2nd serve I can attack. What's killing me is his FH that seems to be taken from the pro tour. I've blasted my FH return as hard as I could deep into his body and he gets out of the way and hits a powerful winner again and again. Seems like no matter what I hit he is able to get around his BH and blast a FH either for a winner or to setup a winner so we have very short points.

All the games I've won have been on my serve when I get a 1st serve in that gets a short reply or a missed return. Other than that every point seems to end with him hitting a FH winner. With my kick 2nd serve he's getting me on the defensive then attacking.

I started out trying to chip return deep off his 1st serve and of course he just rips winners on those. So I started taking big cuts and if I get it far enough away from him that works, but pace and depth don't bother him. I tried a few slice returns to his BH side and he moved up and hit short slices right back at me. I also noticed on my 2nd serve he takes a step towards his BH side.

Considering he's not on the pro tour there's got to be a way to beat him at the BL. What do you think I should try? My thoughts...

  • Attack the FH wing first since he's probably cheating over to the BH since everyone is afraid of his FH. I noticed I could get him with a short angle FH, but it wasn't often I was in position to hit that shot. Also instead of trying to blast returns to his BH chip and charge short to his FH.
  • Instead of blasting 1st serves and having to hit 2nd that kick up for him, heavy slice 1st that bounces low.
  • Try some moonballs to both sides.
Also wish I could do something when I'm in trouble off his 1st serve or in general during the points. Seems like he gets me slicing my BH, which always floats up for him. I wish I could keep it low. Same thing with the stretch return.
Interesting. He can't handle your serve pace but hits winners off of your groundstroke pace.

Anyway, if everything in your post is accurate, I'd drop him or at least hit short slices and drill him in the R hip once he's at the net, since he won't be hitting any FH winners from the baseline, which is apparantly how he's beating you.
 

EddieBrock

Hall of Fame
Interesting. He can't handle your serve pace but hits winners off of your groundstroke pace.

Anyway, if everything in your post is accurate, I'd drop him or at least hit short slices and drill him in the R hip once he's at the net, since he won't be hitting any FH winners from the baseline, which is apparantly how he's beating you.

Think it's that some of my 1st serve has slice on it so it says low and curves and others I can hit flatter and can jam him or otherwise surprise him. If I serve hard right into his FH I think he could handle it. The serve he had the most trouble with was my slice on the deuce side into his body. I'm actually thinking of trying for a slice 2nd serve instead of a kick.

Definitely short slices and mixing things up are the way to go. I think I was stubborn trying to beat him with my normal game from the BL and couldn't believe he could keep doing what he was doing.
 

JediMindTrick

Hall of Fame
I don't think these ideas address the fundamental problem. The cannon forehand only works when the ball is low and it's after the top of the bounce, so your shots should be deep enough or have enough topspin so that when the ball reaches the baseline, it's either still rising or it's high enough so he won't be able to hit his cannon forehand without retreating deep behind the baseline in which case his forehand will lose it's sting. Basically you have to improve your shots, hit deep and/or add topspin. A shot which leads to a ball that is low and dropping at the baseline is not a good shot and it will get punished at a higher level. You just encountered a player who can do it.
 

nyta2

Hall of Fame
Similar to my predicament with this player from years ago, but this guy I'm playing is a whole other level


So far I've lost a close 1st set and am down a break and serving in the 2nd and the match was delayed.

He is over 6', has a strong serve that he doesn't place very well so I can get it back and a decent 2nd serve I can attack. What's killing me is his FH that seems to be taken from the pro tour. I've blasted my FH return as hard as I could deep into his body and he gets out of the way and hits a powerful winner again and again. Seems like no matter what I hit he is able to get around his BH and blast a FH either for a winner or to setup a winner so we have very short points.

All the games I've won have been on my serve when I get a 1st serve in that gets a short reply or a missed return. Other than that every point seems to end with him hitting a FH winner. With my kick 2nd serve he's getting me on the defensive then attacking.

I started out trying to chip return deep off his 1st serve and of course he just rips winners on those. So I started taking big cuts and if I get it far enough away from him that works, but pace and depth don't bother him. I tried a few slice returns to his BH side and he moved up and hit short slices right back at me. I also noticed on my 2nd serve he takes a step towards his BH side.

Considering he's not on the pro tour there's got to be a way to beat him at the BL. What do you think I should try? My thoughts...

  • Attack the FH wing first since he's probably cheating over to the BH since everyone is afraid of his FH. I noticed I could get him with a short angle FH, but it wasn't often I was in position to hit that shot. Also instead of trying to blast returns to his BH chip and charge short to his FH.
  • Instead of blasting 1st serves and having to hit 2nd that kick up for him, heavy slice 1st that bounces low.
  • Try some moonballs to both sides.
Also wish I could do something when I'm in trouble off his 1st serve or in general during the points. Seems like he gets me slicing my BH, which always floats up for him. I wish I could keep it low. Same thing with the stretch return.
in general he just sounds better than you... but ignoring any specific knowledge of a player... when i think tall, my 2 goto strategies typically start with:
1. body shots... make him get out of his own way... typically tall people don't even need to be fast, but still cover alot of court with their reach, and if you don't get the ball far enough away, it ends up being right in their strikezone....
2. keep the ball low... make him bend over on every shot... prefer heavy slice serve over kicker, prefer slice over topspin... even if he can slice, i'd keep slicing, and make it a game of attrition (especially short and low to the bh)
 
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JediMindTrick

Hall of Fame
I don't think keeping the ball low is a good idea because the scooping forehand a la Del Potro works exactly on low balls and you don't have to bend to hit it. It also works especially well against slices, against short slices not so much, but can you hit short slices like Federer?
The best strategy is to hit deeper and heavier.
 

McGradey

Hall of Fame
Get him moving and keep him off balance, and having to hit on the run. Tall guys often are slower to change direction. If you can’t do that with the shots you have in your arsenal, he may just be too good for you right now.
 

EddieBrock

Hall of Fame
Get him moving and keep him off balance, and having to hit on the run. Tall guys often are slower to change direction. If you can’t do that with the shots you have in your arsenal, he may just be too good for you right now.

The main problem I have is getting a chance to do that on his serve. Seems like he takes my returns and gets me on the run with 1 swing. So I need to figure out how to get him moving with my returns in a way I can take control of the point. So I'm planning on using short slice or angle returns when I can instead of blocking returns deep with no pace or trying to hit hard returns.

If I can get the rally to neutral and have shots I can setup for I can get him on the run. On my 2nd serve that's also tough since he attacks them
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Get him moving and keep him off balance, and having to hit on the run. Tall guys often are slower to change direction. If you can’t do that with the shots you have in your arsenal, he may just be too good for you right now.

This is the answer along with different height and pace of shot. You don't want him grooving that forehand by returning the same ball time and again.
 

Jono123

Semi-Pro
I suspect he'll be cheating wide so his FH should be pretty open. It sounds to me like you're playing too conservative up the middle and not pushing the angles. Tall people are generally very good at covering the wings due to their wing span. However they dont like lunging forward much though so use drop shots and let see how he volleys.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
I don't have an ATP FH but it's big enough where better players strategize against it. One thing that took me a while to adjust to was they would hit short balls inside the service box to my BH side, or just hit short balls in general. It is a good test of fitness and net skills.

So definitley bring the guy in. And also keep hitting to his BH regardless if he runs around it. It's tough to imagine he hits a winner off every shot to his BH side so if you can just angle him off the court more and more, it will set up a short DTL slice to his FH side.

Assumiing righty I'd return to ad side and basically try and open the court up since he will run around it. Hit your next shot DTL and short to duece side. Bonus if you can sidepsin it a little to kick to the left. Make the guy run. If you have to run a lot it is tough to hit big winners after a while unless you are Alcaraz.
 

travlerajm

Talk Tennis Guru
Similar to my predicament with this player from years ago, but this guy I'm playing is a whole other level


So far I've lost a close 1st set and am down a break and serving in the 2nd and the match was delayed.

He is over 6', has a strong serve that he doesn't place very well so I can get it back and a decent 2nd serve I can attack. What's killing me is his FH that seems to be taken from the pro tour. I've blasted my FH return as hard as I could deep into his body and he gets out of the way and hits a powerful winner again and again. Seems like no matter what I hit he is able to get around his BH and blast a FH either for a winner or to setup a winner so we have very short points.

All the games I've won have been on my serve when I get a 1st serve in that gets a short reply or a missed return. Other than that every point seems to end with him hitting a FH winner. With my kick 2nd serve he's getting me on the defensive then attacking.

I started out trying to chip return deep off his 1st serve and of course he just rips winners on those. So I started taking big cuts and if I get it far enough away from him that works, but pace and depth don't bother him. I tried a few slice returns to his BH side and he moved up and hit short slices right back at me. I also noticed on my 2nd serve he takes a step towards his BH side.

Considering he's not on the pro tour there's got to be a way to beat him at the BL. What do you think I should try? My thoughts...

  • Attack the FH wing first since he's probably cheating over to the BH since everyone is afraid of his FH. I noticed I could get him with a short angle FH, but it wasn't often I was in position to hit that shot. Also instead of trying to blast returns to his BH chip and charge short to his FH.
  • Instead of blasting 1st serves and having to hit 2nd that kick up for him, heavy slice 1st that bounces low.
  • Try some moonballs to both sides.
Also wish I could do something when I'm in trouble off his 1st serve or in general during the points. Seems like he gets me slicing my BH, which always floats up for him. I wish I could keep it low. Same thing with the stretch return.
Did he look like this?
 

artdeco

Semi-Pro
I would imagine if you try to hit hard he will like that because he'll be able to tee off on those balls.
Try junk balls with no pace, and very loopy spinny balls that kick up even if they don't go that deep in the court.
 

Junioradae

New User
Some of us tall people ( 6'6") will turn into your worst nightmare should you follow the " tall people don't like this so do that" recommendations ( usually from people who don't consider themselves tall or have just witnessed one or two tall persons).....the worst thing to do against someone like me is allowing me to come forward...I can also go as low as possible.....infact you rather have a chance by keeping me to the baseline...

Instead of assuming generalized disadvantages tall people , and finding out to be very wrong, take the time to learn a variety of shots and keep trying them against this person....you will lose a few but in the end discover what'll work and what won't....
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Some of us tall people ( 6'6") will turn into your worst nightmare should you follow the " tall people don't like this so do that" recommendations ( usually from people who don't consider themselves tall or have just witnessed one or two tall persons).....the worst thing to do against someone like me is allowing me to come forward...I can also go as low as possible.....infact you rather have a chance by keeping me to the baseline...

Instead of assuming generalized disadvantages tall people , and finding out to be very wrong, take the time to learn a variety of shots and keep trying them against this person....you will lose a few but in the end discover what'll work and what won't....

Yes, I am not sure bringing a tall guy to the net is a great idea. I have seen a lot of tall guys with decent hands and I have seen a lot of tall juniors that are taught to move forward to leverage their big serve and height and minimize exposure to weaknesses in movement.

In the end these are generalizations and I do believe in general bigger guys struggle with movement and changing direction due their size and the best approach is to probe this facet of their game first to see if can be taken advantage of. It is a pretty safe generalization but certainly just that and if a big guy is simply a better athlete/player than a smaller guy it is simply just a mater of that.
 

LuckyR

Legend
Some of us tall people ( 6'6") will turn into your worst nightmare should you follow the " tall people don't like this so do that" recommendations ( usually from people who don't consider themselves tall or have just witnessed one or two tall persons).....the worst thing to do against someone like me is allowing me to come forward...I can also go as low as possible.....infact you rather have a chance by keeping me to the baseline...

Instead of assuming generalized disadvantages tall people , and finding out to be very wrong, take the time to learn a variety of shots and keep trying them against this person....you will lose a few but in the end discover what'll work and what won't....
That's you, the OP's opponent blasted winners from the baseline, it doesn't make sense that his net game is even better.
 

EddieBrock

Hall of Fame
That's you, the OP's opponent blasted winners from the baseline, it doesn't make sense that his net game is even better.
He didn't take many volleys in the warmup and hasn't come in very often. If I can bring him in on a low ball to his BH that might work.

I can't be stubborn and try to outhit him at the BL. If we were just hitting cross court in doubles maybe I could manage it, but he either blasts a winner or gets me to pop the ball up and puts the next one away
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Tall people and the shots scenario you described, my first thought was counter exactly opposite of what they are doing. So slice low to their forehand (I like low balls for tall players anyway), and then hit with pace deep to their backhand.

Over 6' isn't really THAT tall though, but at least keeping the ball lower t the FH makes them have to bring the ball up and down, and usually 'blasters' are hitting more flat so I tend to see net and long balls with that. The paced deeper ball might not complete negate their BH slice, but making them hit it further back means they most likely will need to slice higher and give you opportunities to close the net or get you a high slice to get under.

Just first things I would try.
 

LuckyR

Legend
He didn't take many volleys in the warmup and hasn't come in very often. If I can bring him in on a low ball to his BH that might work.

I can't be stubborn and try to outhit him at the BL. If we were just hitting cross court in doubles maybe I could manage it, but he either blasts a winner or gets me to pop the ball up and puts the next one away
Exactly. Once you figure out what doesn't work, continuing to set up points that way is a sure fire way of losing.
 

Airspun

Professional
this is easy. just drop shot constantly and then lop, and then hit always to his backhand. take out his legs then his confidence
 
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