The Most Exhausting Opponent to Play Against

Space_D

Rookie
I think some of TennisTroll's videos have been posted here before. I found this one pretty interesting. From the video's caption:

USTA 4.5 Tennis: Self-taught player in green shirt is 7-4 in singles competition in the USTA 4.5 / NTRP 4.5 league for 2019 and 1-0 in 2020 in Atlanta. He played USTA 4.5 league in both Atlanta and Virginia. He also reached the final of a 300 points NTRP 4.5 Championship tournament in Virginia by defeating the #1 and #3 seeds in the second and third rounds. Green shirt played in the 3.5 league in 2012, 4.0 in 2014, and 4.5 since 2015. He started playing tennis at 32 years old.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
I LOVE the way the guy in the green shirt plays. He understands that it is about racquethead control. Doesn't matter if you calf forms a 82 degree angle with your foot, or anything like that, you have to be able to use the racquet to direct the ball.

So he has a good won-loss record in 4.5. I bet if he got rated by observation, they'd say he's 3.0 at best. Strokes aren't pretty, but effective.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
At 8:21 they have a 34 shot long rally. I'm not even sure is that's the longest one. Lots of lobs and overheads too. Not just poking it over the net. Very consistent players.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Let me jump in and say that anyone who calls green shirt a pusher, yhey have no idea what they are talking about. Does he hit hard? No. Does he play smart? Yes. Does he hit lobs? Yes, but imo he is definitely NOT a pusher.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
This was interesting, I became the green shirt guy in a match yesterday, while beating a guy who stood exactly where green shirt was standing when he served. So, this is the strategy I came up with to win almost double bagelling the guy. Watch the video at the 16 second mark where green shirt stands and serves, the guy I was playing had a pretty weak serve like green shirt guy, but what the heck is the opponent doing?!!? He hits the return right back to green shirt, why do that?! My strategy that worked was I would chip down the line on both sides very deep, with a serve like that I can chip a return 100% of the time within half an inch of the baseline very close to the corner and come into the net after that. My opponent was more of a topspin hitter and wouldn't lob often so I would just eat up the point after that since he would be on the run to one side of the court. Anyway, I see your point and I bet anyone watching me play might have thought I was worse than I was, but I can slice and charge (one handed backhand) or hit a blistering one hander. If I don't need to hit with topspin though, no need to risk it, I can just morph into a more aggressive green shirt guy.

I will admit though, most singles playing 4.5s I know would not lose easily to green shirt guy or that style, it works more at 4.0. But, that consistency at 4.0, especially in USTA line 2 singles would be a great team asset. Most 4.0 teams I play on or have played against will have a ringer #1 singles player that would be able to overcome this with strategy.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Let me jump in and say that anyone who calls green shirt a pusher, yhey have no idea what they are talking about. Does he hit hard? No. Does he play smart? Yes. Does he hit lobs? Yes, but imo he is definitely NOT a pusher.
I understand you mean he plays smart overall, but after seeing where he serves and how he stays there after he serves, that's not smart at all, he's mimicking a doubles match when he serves there and stays there afterwards. Kudos to him for being self taught and being good, but that would be such a basic tenet of singles play, he can't be "smart" and leave that much court open like that.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
I understand you mean he plays smart overall, but after seeing where he serves and how he stays there after he serves, that's not smart at all, he's mimicking a doubles match when he serves there and stays there afterwards. Kudos to him for being self taught and being good, but that would be such a basic tenet of singles play, he can't be "smart" and leave that much court open like that.
Let me say one thing about his serve. He has a very low toss and hits it on a path almost parallel to the ground. This is like when you try to skip stones on a pond. It bounces very low and is almost impossible to attack. Will he get many aces with this? No. But he'll also serve very few faults with it. With that low toss you don't have to look into the sun. Nor is it in the air enough for a wind to mess with it. It looks lame, but it's really a shrewd way to serve.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Let me say one thing about his serve. He has a very low toss and hits it on a path almost parallel to the ground. This is like when you try to skip stones on a pond. It bounces very low and is almost impossible to attack. Will he get many aces with this? No. But he'll also serve very few faults with it. With that low toss you don't have to look into the sun. Nor is it in the air enough for a wind to mess with it. It looks lame, but it's really a shrewd way to serve.
I understand, it's not entirely different than one of my second serves, trust me, I'm not saying it's horrible, but look at where he is standing and what happens after he serves. I don't know many 4.5 players that wouldn't be able to do almost whatever they want with that serve and like I said he is leaving quite a lot of real estate open. Furthermore, there is no reason for him to stand where he is, he isn't using that standing position to serve wide or anything, his tennis buddies should tell him!

Edit:
I decided to watch more, I've seen this before in singles for some reason, the opponent seems to always hit the serve return right back to green shirt guy, like a ball machine or a robot, not sure why people do this in singles, if the serve is that "returnable" do they just want to start the point and try to win later on?!
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
I understand, it's not entirely different than one of my second serves, trust me, I'm not saying it's horrible, but look at where he is standing and what happens after he serves. I don't know many 4.5 players that wouldn't be able to do almost whatever they want with that serve and like I said he is leaving quite a lot of real estate open. Furthermore, there is no reason for him to stand where he is, he isn't using that standing position to serve wide or anything, his tennis buddies should tell him!
Makes me think he's more used to doubles and it just hasn't occurred to him to move closer to the center slash. How come his opponent isn't taking better advantage of it? After all, he's a very good player.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Steady, sorry I edited my post above, we are thinking alike, and that is why I commented, it was easy for me yesterday to place the serve return wherever I wanted and setup myself for an easy win point after point. I won the first 10 service returns points of the match I had against my server, it was too easy.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Green shirt would absolutely destroy most 4.0 players, so it is no surprise that he is rated 4.5. I am indeed surprised, however, that he is 7-4 in 4.5 singles for the Atlanta metro. Is this actual USTA league play? Or is it Ultimate league? Because 4.5 Ultimate is only equivalent to USTA 4.0.
 

Crazy Finn

Hall of Fame
There is amusing decisions so far. I think orange shirt learned his approach and net game from Roddick. Should have chosen a better example.

I like playing people like this who hit accessible approaches with nice passing targets. My fav...
 

denoted

Semi-Pro
It's rare that you see such a clear demonstration of the fundamental truth of recreational tennis: errors lose matches. As sad as it is, it's much better to make fewer errors chopping and poking than to make many hitting with full strokes. Even, if the information here is correct, at 4.5.
 

ohplease

Professional
Green shirt basically never lets orange come into the net on orange's terms. Orange will rightfully come in when green gives him a short slice, but that's just green setting orange up for a pass or lob. In fact, green rarely lets orange hit anything with his feet under him. Orange was yo-yo'ed through I think 4 or 5 drop shot/lobs in a single point somewhere in there.

Green also defends his backhand pretty well with that slice. There were some definite moments, however, where orange rolled a ball deep to that side and green would both cough up a relatively weaker ball and also be out of position to defend the next shot to his forehand corner. Also a surprising amount of times where green changed hands and tried to hit a right handed forehand - that's probably an an approach situation, as well.

Ultimately, green doesn't look like much, but he'd give lots of players fits. You'd need to be pretty mentally strong and tactically solid to beat him easily.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Green shirt basically never lets orange come into the net on orange's terms. Orange will rightfully come in when green gives him a short slice, but that's just green setting orange up for a pass or lob. In fact, green rarely lets orange hit anything with his feet under him. Orange was yo-yo'ed through I think 4 or 5 drop shot/lobs in a single point somewhere in there.

Green also defends his backhand pretty well with that slice. There were some definite moments, however, where orange rolled a ball deep to that side and green would both cough up a relatively weaker ball and also be out of position to defend the next shot to his forehand corner. Also a surprising amount of times where green changed hands and tried to hit a right handed forehand - that's probably an an approach situation, as well.

Ultimately, green doesn't look like much, but he'd give lots of players fits. You'd need to be pretty mentally strong and tactically solid to beat him easily.
Do people just skip to commenting without reading other's comments. I explained how I played the green shirt guy pretty much (the way he serves) and how easy it is to come to the net on your own terms against that serve. As I said above, look at the 16 second mark and look at every return of serve, the opponent of green shirt ALWAYS returns the serve right to him! At the 18 second mark he could have slice approached deep down the line and easily won the point at the net, on that serve you can come to the net with a return at a major advantage, it's too easy. I just gave anyone the playbook on how to beat him watching only 20 seconds of how he serves.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
Let me jump in and say that anyone who calls green shirt a pusher, yhey have no idea what they are talking about. Does he hit hard? No. Does he play smart? Yes. Does he hit lobs? Yes, but imo he is definitely NOT a pusher.
Green shirt is a pusher. Please describe his offensive shots. He's 100% defense, 100% pusher. He wins by frustrating his opponents. I'm not mentally strong enough. He'd beat me. I'm not disputing that. He is a pusher.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I just gave anyone the playbook on how to beat him watching only 20 seconds of how he serves.
In theory, yes. But if someone is not comfortable with the game style or tactics you suggest, then implementing the plan won't be so easy.

I happen to agree with you on the tactics but it plays to my strengths so it likely would have been my plan A anyway.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Green shirt is definitely a pusher. Whether or not that offends you is up to you. It’s a solid game that will beat many rec players, but it’s pushing nonetheless. And kudos to green shirt for being able to win by pushing at 4.5. It takes athleticism to do that.
I have in mind a friend with a similar game style but a better serve, more aggressive slices, but not as consistent or mobile. Playing him is a challenge because I have to mentally switch gears.

Still, attacking the net is still my best bet.
 

1stVolley

Professional
I LOVE the way the guy in the green shirt plays. He understands that it is about racquethead control. Doesn't matter if you calf forms a 82 degree angle with your foot, or anything like that, you have to be able to use the racquet to direct the ball.

So he has a good won-loss record in 4.5. I bet if he got rated by observation, they'd say he's 3.0 at best. Strokes aren't pretty, but effective.
The guy is consistent but the vast majority of his shots land short, around the service line. Pushers can consistently hit deep if they want to. What kills me watching this guy and certainly greatly lowers his tennis potential is that he has an absolutely dead non-dominant arm. Perhaps he has a medical issue but it is almost sad to watch as it really limits his strokes, apart from their lateral accuracy.
 
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FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
In theory, yes. But if someone is not comfortable with the game style or tactics you suggest, then implementing the plan won't be so easy.

I happen to agree with you on the tactics but it plays to my strengths so it likely would have been my plan A anyway.
I hear you, I guess I take for granted I've played my whole life and can automatically chip and charge off both wings without making an error for an entire match, off a serve like that. I suppose it isn't as easy for those who are absolutely in love with topspin and never come to the net. Their topspin game would have to be available at different gears (not overhitting from mid-court)
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Green shirt is definitely a pusher. Whether or not that offends you is up to you. It’s a solid game that will beat many rec players, but it’s pushing nonetheless. And kudos to green shirt for being able to win by pushing at 4.5. It takes athleticism to do that.
I’d refer to him as a classic junk baller. Slices, drop shot, lobs, chop shots. And he goes for lines. Orange shirt does just as much “pushing” with his moderate paced topspin down the middle.

orange shirt needs two skills to make this an easier match: anticipation at the net and a solid overhead. He got lobbed and passed too easily and never once read his opponent right.

green shirt clearly has hand eye coordination oozing from his pores. You don’t get to 4.5 with those strokes and not be incredibly consistent.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Green shirt is a pusher. Please describe his offensive shots. He's 100% defense, 100% pusher. He wins by frustrating his opponents. I'm not mentally strong enough. He'd beat me. I'm not disputing that. He is a pusher.
Again, it goes to an individuals definition of "pusher".

My definition includes all of the following:
1-weak serve. No big serve for fear of faulting (green shirt - yes)
2-every shot is a defensive lob from his baseline (green shirt - not true)
3-will retreat from the net back to baseline, even when pulled in (green shirt - not true)
4-no offensive shots (green shirt - not true)
5-severe aversion to mistakes (green shirt - yes)

That's it. That is my total definition of pusher. To me, it has nothing to do with pace of strokes or serve.
I would say the green shirt is a defensive player. He does try slices, and occasionally will try to hit passing shots, but just because he is waiting for the opponent to make mistakes does not (imo) alone make him a pusher.

Just saying someone who doesn't hit pace, but still beats you (not YOU in particular, but "you" in general) is a pusher is worse than being a pusher himself. They beat "you". They are better than you. Whether it was from patience, or shot selection, or tactics.... they won. Own it.
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
Other than the groundstroke swing is "pushy", green shirt player is really good.
The footwork, the shot selection, the consistency, the defense.
I tried watch the video but ignore how green shirt player hit the ball.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
I guess my analysis never caught on, pusher nor not, 4.5 or not, green shirt serves as if he is playing doubles and STANDS AND WATCHES HIS SERVE lol, I know he is lobbing and slicing and um he isn't "painting any lines" his serve should be eaten up when you combine it with him serving so far out and just waiting. Now, again, his opponent always, every....single....time returns that serve right back to green shirt. Is there anyone else here that finds that really odd? I know it is a strategy to feel out your opponent and set up a shot, but I never just decide to hand over a return of serve to the server time after time right where he doesn't even need to run for it.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I guess my analysis never caught on, pusher nor not, 4.5 or not, green shirt serves as if he is playing doubles and STANDS AND WATCHES HIS SERVE lol, I know he is lobbing and slicing and um he isn't "painting any lines" his serve should be eaten up when you combine it with him serving so far out and just waiting. Now, again, his opponent always, every....single....time returns that serve right back to green shirt. Is there anyone else here that finds that really odd? I know it is a strategy to feel out your opponent and set up a shot, but I never just decide to hand over a return of serve to the server time after time right where he doesn't even need to run for it.
No, you are correct. Orange shirt is hitting it right back to green shirt, and not just on serve returns. The price you pay for pushing should be running, but green shirt is barely having to run or even move at all.
 

ohplease

Professional
So let's log the points. Orange wins about half his net points. Most of the time, he's only there because green wants him there via intentional short ball or drop shot baiting. Once orange is up there, green can pass him cross court or down the line off either side, and almost every lob is intentionally directed deep over orange's backhand side.

Tellingly, of the 27 times orange approaches, he only approaches down the middle once (which gets him passed), and down the line twice (where he's 1-1). Every other time he chooses or has no choice but to approach cross court because green baits him in with something short and low.

Call green a pusher all you want, but in terms of "who's doing what to whom?" orange in mostly on green's string. He's getting brought in on green's terms, orange's approaches are consequently mostly off balance and reliably cross court, and if orange doesn't hit a winner on the approach or a follow up volley, green is ready to pass or lob-then-pass him effectively at will. Green also basically gives up no free points - he makes *one* passing shot error, and there are two occasions where pressure to his backhand side results in an unintentional short ball that can be put away - every other ball to green's backhand gets a decently neutral ball back (or intentionally provoking short ball or drop shot) and resets the point - or shifts the positioning/balance advantage to green.

People are assuming they could easily put away those neutral reset balls - that assumes that green would give you that ball in the first place (spoiler: if he sees orange coming, he's almost always hitting a different, more awkward to handle ball). I have no issue buying the stat line in the op - green would be a difficult out for many players.

Orange net/approach point log:
  1. :25 - orange wins, cross court volley winner
  2. :50 - orange wins, short cross court putaway
  3. 1:10 - orange wins, forehand crosscourt approach shot winner
  4. 1:20 - orange loses, baited with short ball, slice backhand cross court approach, passed down the line
  5. 1:30 - orange loses, baited with short ball, deep forehand cross court approach, passed down the line
  6. 1:45 - orange loses, baited with short ball, deep slice backhand down the middle, passed cross court
  7. 2:10 - orange wins, baited with short ball, lobbed, restarted, baited again, winning drop shot
  8. 2:40 - orange wins, baited with short ball, forehand crosscourt winner
  9. 2:45 - orange loses, backhand cross court chip and charge, passed down the line
  10. 3:05 - orange loses, baited with short ball, pushed back with lob, green takes net and puts away high volley
  11. 3:25 - orange loses, baited with drop shot, good volley off pass attempt, pushed back and can’t return lob
  12. 3:55 - orange wins, baited with drop shot, puts away follow-up volley
  13. 4:05 - orange wins, baited with drop return, slice backhand down the line approach, put away volley
  14. 4:20 - orange wins, baited with drop shot, cross court backhand approach winner
  15. 5:00 - orange wins, baited with drop shot, responds with drop shot winner
  16. 5:10 - orange loses, baited with short ball, slice backhand approach down the line, passed crosscourt
  17. 5:35 - orange loses, baited with drop shot, can’t return follow up lob over backhand side
  18. 6:05 - orange wins, backhand crosscourt approach winner after drawing a short ball with deep roller to green backhand
  19. 6:35 - orange wins, forehand cross court approach draws an error
  20. 6:50 - orange loses, baited with drop shot, passed cross court
  21. 7:05 - orange wins, inside out backhand return, needs to make several reasonable tough volleys to win point
  22. 7:15 - orange loses, baited with drop shot, slice backhand cross court return, passed down the line
  23. 7:35 - orange loses, baited with drop shot, gets hit with lob, then another drop shot/lob - both lobs over backhand shoulder, loses after driven back and trying to pass
  24. 9:15 - orange loses - short ball/lobbed three times, tries his own drop shot, which green hits for a winner
  25. 9:40 - orange wins - forehand cross court winner after drop shot
  26. 10:00 - orange loses, baited with drop shot, passed after drop response
  27. 10:35 - orange wins, deep forehand gets a short, wrong handed forehand from green, winner approach shot
 
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DeathStrike

Guest
Do people just skip to commenting without reading other's comments. I explained how I played the green shirt guy pretty much (the way he serves) and how easy it is to come to the net on your own terms against that serve. As I said above, look at the 16 second mark and look at every return of serve, the opponent of green shirt ALWAYS returns the serve right to him! At the 18 second mark he could have slice approached deep down the line and easily won the point at the net, on that serve you can come to the net with a return at a major advantage, it's too easy. I just gave anyone the playbook on how to beat him watching only 20 seconds of how he serves.
I guess my analysis never caught on, pusher nor not, 4.5 or not, green shirt serves as if he is playing doubles and STANDS AND WATCHES HIS SERVE lol, I know he is lobbing and slicing and um he isn't "painting any lines" his serve should be eaten up when you combine it with him serving so far out and just waiting. Now, again, his opponent always, every....single....time returns that serve right back to green shirt. Is there anyone else here that finds that really odd? I know it is a strategy to feel out your opponent and set up a shot, but I never just decide to hand over a return of serve to the server time after time right where he doesn't even need to run for it.
This is the key point, you don't have to whip his lame serve for a winner everytime but it's so average you should be able to direct it in the opposite corner away from the pusher pretty consistently putting you on the front foot. I'd be stepping in and taking that return early as well, orange guy seriously needs to up his return game.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Orange wins about half his net points.
To me that is a problem. Orange should be winning about 70% of his net points to take a guy like this down easily. In the old days, Green guy would be crushed by serve and volleyers who could serve you to death with slice, hit great volleys and overheads and their approach shots were always low and hard to hit a good pass with.

Baseline counter punchers can't put enough pressure on this junk baller to easily win points. He keeps balls out of their strike zone with ease.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
That guy is me minus a bh. I didn’t start learning how to hit a forehand until I was in my 30’s, so it’s not surprising that my most effective forehands look exactly like that guy’s slice and dices.
 
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DeathStrike

Guest
To me that is a problem. Orange should be winning about 70% of his net points to take a guy like this down easily. In the old days, Green guy would be crushed by serve and volleyers who could serve you to death with slice, hit great volleys and overheads and their approach shots were always low and hard to hit a good pass with.

Baseline counter punchers can't put enough pressure on this junk baller to easily win points. He keeps balls out of their strike zone with ease.
This is really spot on and I mentioned in the post about 'Pushers at 4.0' or something, you need to just hit something with pace and power away from them and then come in behind it. Backhand side worked a treat for me against pushers
 

Pctopcool

Rookie
The guy is consistent but the vast majority of his shots land short, around the service line. Pushers can consistently hit deep if they want to. What kills me watching this guy and certainly greatly lowers his tennis potential is that he has an absolutely dead non-dominant arm. Perhaps he has a medical issue but it is almost sad to watch as it really limits his strokes, apart from their lateral accuracy.
Agree with you that he could use more his none dominant hand when. But I have to point out that he actually hit forehand from both hands.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Agree with you that he could use more his none dominant hand when. But I have to point out that he actually hit forehand from both hands.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
He reminds me of the “I know something you do not know” sword duel scene from the Princess Bride. I think green is much more skilled than he appears at first glance, and can do other things with the ball that he hides until he he needs to use them.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I’d refer to him as a classic junk baller. Slices, drop shot, lobs, chop shots. And he goes for lines. Orange shirt does just as much “pushing” with his moderate paced topspin down the middle.

orange shirt needs two skills to make this an easier match: anticipation at the net and a solid overhead. He got lobbed and passed too easily and never once read his opponent right.

green shirt clearly has hand eye coordination oozing from his pores. You don’t get to 4.5 with those strokes and not be incredibly consistent.
Yeah, I'd call that style "junkball" instead of pusher, although some people don't make that distinction.
 
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