The Most Exhausting Opponent to Play Against

Jono123

Rookie
NTRP Rating:
  • 4.5 Starting to master the use of power and spins and beginning to handle pace, has sound footwork, can control depth of shots and is beginning to vary game plan according to opponents. Can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. Tends to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.
With possible exception of varying his game plan (hard to tell) he does not meet the 4.5 criteria. However 3.5 is more accurate:
  • 3.5 Has achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but still lacks depth and variety. Starting to exhibit more aggressive net play, has improved court coverage and is developing teamwork in doubles.
So in summary , he is a solid 4.0 Pusher taking weak 4.5 scalps.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
NTRP Rating:
  • 4.5 Starting to master the use of power and spins and beginning to handle pace, has sound footwork, can control depth of shots and is beginning to vary game plan according to opponents. Can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. Tends to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.
With possible exception of varying his game plan (hard to tell) he does not meet the 4.5 criteria. However 3.5 is more accurate:
  • 3.5 Has achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but still lacks depth and variety. Starting to exhibit more aggressive net play, has improved court coverage and is developing teamwork in doubles.
So in summary , he is a solid 4.0 Pusher taking weak 4.5 scalps.
No, that description is just a guideline for people who don't have a rating to help them determine where to start. This is a mistake that is somewhat common in here, typically among people who are fairly arrogant and like to think they couldn't possibly be lower level than someone with inelegant looking strokes.

The actual definition of NTRP levels is based on results. A 4.5 is a player who is competitive with other 4.5s, consistently beats lower level players, and consistently loses to higher level players. He has a winning record vs other 4.5 level players. Therefore, he is clearly a 4.5 level player, probably in the top half or so of 4.5 since he wins more than he loses vs 4.5 competition. Tennis is based on winning and losing. There are no style points.
 

Jono123

Rookie
I couldn't say without seeing his record, perhaps you can post it? I still dont see anything resembling 4.5 tennis. Yes, you dont need great strokes to win every game but any decent 4.5 player would have the agility to adapt and win. I have played in that bracket for a long time and have never once encountered a player like that.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I couldn't say without seeing his record, perhaps you can post it? I still dont see anything resembling 4.5 tennis. Yes, you dont need great strokes to win every game but any decent 4.5 player would have the agility to adapt and win. I have played in that bracket for a long time and have never once encountered a player like that.
I have played in that bracket for a long time too, and I sometimes play just like him, depending on the opponent.
 

Jono123

Rookie
Fair enough . If he consistently beats 4.5's then I have to concede, he is one . Cant argue with a win no matter how ugly. Love to play him though.
Actually, when I think about it, I mostly play men's team doubles. Probably explains why I haven't seen that style of player.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
I lost a ranking match to a similar guy today, and it's bugging me big time. I know that if you're not good enough to beat him, then you're not good enough. But low net clearance, squash shots landing short or deep, with little intent, disrupting any rythm. And a slow, windy, completely uneven clay court to boot, which made me play more safe - and into his comfort zone. And he had 7 or 8 first serves skid on the (plastic) lines. I am so going to crush him next time we meet on hardcourt. :mad: Sorry, had to get that off my chest.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
This type of game style is very effective, for sure, but there is a clear downside to it as well: you are _never_ going to progress past USTA 4.5 / UTR 7-8, as beyond that you will need to be able to meet heavy topspin with heavy topspin. When I lose these type of matches (bitterness!), it's often a question of meeting a type of player I rarely do, like a crafty leftie or a "skilled" pusher. Or my arch nemesis on the court, a guy with an incredibly fast serve motion, which I find very unnatural to time my split step to. And the answer is obvious: I should train more with those players. Not an inspiring thought, I have to honest, but maybe it can be rewarding.

But I have trained with a few of those type of players, and the ones with slices and ohbh, all break down against heavy topspin. And in any type of drill situation (half court, cross court, doubles, etc) I demolish these players. So why is it so darn difficult to handle their shenanigans in a match? Frustration bonanza :-D
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
I couldn't say without seeing his record, perhaps you can post it? I still dont see anything resembling 4.5 tennis. Yes, you dont need great strokes to win every game but any decent 4.5 player would have the agility to adapt and win. I have played in that bracket for a long time and have never once encountered a player like that.
"the tape measure doesn't lie"
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
This type of game style is very effective, for sure, but there is a clear downside to it as well: you are _never_ going to progress past USTA 4.5 / UTR 7-8, as beyond that you will need to be able to meet heavy topspin with heavy topspin. When I lose these type of matches (bitterness!), it's often a question of meeting a type of player I rarely do, like a crafty leftie or a "skilled" pusher. Or my arch nemesis on the court, a guy with an incredibly fast serve motion, which I find very unnatural to time my split step to. And the answer is obvious: I should train more with those players. Not an inspiring thought, I have to honest, but maybe it can be rewarding.

But I have trained with a few of those type of players, and the ones with slices and ohbh, all break down against heavy topspin. And in any type of drill situation (half court, cross court, doubles, etc) I demolish these players. So why is it so darn difficult to handle their shenanigans in a match? Frustration bonanza :-D
Exactly what happens to me. Exactly. I struggle with some really average servers some times, I couldn't understand why for the longest time, until I realized what you did.
Also, their rapid action gives you the illusion that their serve speed itself is faster than what it is, so you rush your return. I have also found that if a stay lower than I think I have to (as their serves tend to skid through), and stay calm/keep breathing/remember I have more time than I think I do, then it isn't so hard to drive through their serve for a reliable and effective return.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
Exactly what happens to me. Exactly. I struggle with some really average servers some times, I couldn't understand why for the longest time, until I realized what you did.
Also, their rapid action gives you the illusion that their serve speed itself is faster than what it is, so you rush your return. I have also found that if a stay lower than I think I have to (as their serves tend to skid through), and stay calm/keep breathing/remember I have more time than I think I do, then it isn't so hard to drive through their serve for a reliable and effective return.
Exactly. Because I handle big servers much easier than that guy, as almost all of them have big, fluid motions that are much, much easier to time. But of course, they do _serve_ better, so it's not like it's a walk in the park for sure, but it's easier to read and react.

I just found this on YouTube, which seems like a good plan for handling _that_ type of junkball player: hard through the middle, then if needed, approach the net. In retrospect, I see that stretching them wide is not as effective as it should be, as it gives them more confidence because of the added (diagonal) court length (which is handy when you're hitting flat or moonballing).

Btw. I have lost to really good players using short stop slices, and high and long slices with massive underspin, but those have been deliberately constructed points, which is a totally different ball game. Very frustrating as well, but much easier to acknowledge the difficulty of handling those type of shots

 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
I have played in that bracket for a long time and have never once encountered a player like that.
That's why they win. If I trained with that type of player twice a week, it'd take me a couple of weeks to figure how to adapt - and never lose again, seriously. But they are rare and far between, because it's not a question of finding a random 3.5 junkballer, that doesn't present any overall challenge, you have to play against _that_ guy to figure these things out. Just as with lefties or serve and volleyers or "niche" players. Which is also why top youth players often struggle big time against players that play differently.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
I lost a ranking match to a similar guy today, and it's bugging me big time. I know that if you're not good enough to beat him, then you're not good enough. But low net clearance, squash shots landing short or deep, with little intent, disrupting any rythm. And a slow, windy, completely uneven clay court to boot, which made me play more safe - and into his comfort zone. And he had 7 or 8 first serves skid on the (plastic) lines. I am so going to crush him next time we meet on hardcourt. :mad: Sorry, had to get that off my chest.
If it is any consolation, a guy like green shirt is an immensely talented athlete. Hitting such poorly-developed strokes well enough to win matches at this level requires insane hand-eye coordination.

Had he been taught to play properly, he would undoubtably be a very high-level player.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
If it is any consolation, a guy like green shirt is an immensely talented athlete. Hitting such poorly-developed strokes well enough to win matches at this level requires insane hand-eye coordination.
Some opponents will then think "Well, he didn't really beat me. He's just a better athlete." As if athleticism played no role in the outcome. Or that somehow counts for less than technique.

No, some people will always have sour grapes. If their opponent's style doesn't match their perception of good tennis, they will find excuses as to why they lost.

Another counter is "Well, if I really wanted to practice against that style I could beat him no problem. But I hate that style and it's a waste of time so I'm not going to bother."

Perhaps. And maybe they're afraid they actually won't be able to beat that style and don't want to put themselves in a position to potentially fail. So they walk away.
 

Johnr

Rookie
Some opponents will then think "Well, he didn't really beat me. He's just a better athlete." As if athleticism played no role in the outcome. Or that somehow counts for less than technique.

No, some people will always have sour grapes. If their opponent's style doesn't match their perception of good tennis, they will find excuses as to why they lost.

Another counter is "Well, if I really wanted to practice against that style I could beat him no problem. But I hate that style and it's a waste of time so I'm not going to bother."

Perhaps. And maybe they're afraid they actually won't be able to beat that style and don't want to put themselves in a position to potentially fail. So they walk away.
That style exposes all weaknesses in opponents game, some people can’t handle that truth.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
That style exposes all weaknesses in opponents game, some people can’t handle that truth.
Big hitters expose weaknesses also. But this category of people I'm thinking of have no problem losing to a big hitter but have a breakdown losing to a pusher.

I think it's because the big hitter actively wins whereas the pusher lets the opponent self-destruct: if the big hitter hits.a winner, I can think "That shot was too good. Nothing I could do about it." [I conveniently overlook the fact that I hit a weak, short ball that set up the winner]. But the pusher hits a safe, low-paced ball into the fat part of the court and I overhit and err, that results in a completely different reaction like "How could I miss such an easy shot?" [conveniently overlooking the fact that my footwork was crap and I tried to hit a shot that I never practice].
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I just came up with an analogy.

Let's say I have a museum with several rooms. The vast majority of the visitors go to a few select rooms and ignore the others. Being the efficient and lazy person that I am, I spend all of my effort maintaining those select rooms. After all, that's where everyone goes.

Every now and then, a visitor goes into one of the neglected rooms and I'm embarrassed because it's dusty, the lighting is poor, there are cobwebs on the ceiling, etc.

But the embarrassment is short-lived. As soon as he leaves, I go back to my usual habit of ignoring that room and paying attention to the popular ones.

My set of tennis skills is like that museum. Certain areas are well-used and practiced but others, not so much. If I play a pusher, he may concentrate mostly on the areas that I'm lacking, which accounts for why I might react so negatively. "Look at my great technique! Look at how many RPMs my FH is generating! Look at how good my trophy pose is!"

That's like the museum curator bragging about how well-maintained his popular rooms are while the visitor thinks "This guy must not care about his museum: look how poorly maintained this [unpopular] room is!".

In the end, the lazy curator might be justified in only paying attention to his popular rooms; after all, that's where the money is. But he shouldn't get mad at the occasional visitor who wants to go on the road less travelled.

Similarly, the player who neglects the skills needed to defeat pushers shouldn't get mad at the pusher for exposing those weaknesses. He should just accept it as a consequence of his choice to ignore those areas.

But he wants to have his cake and eat it too: not only does he want to neglect those areas but he also wants a ready excuse for why he lost ["My opponent isn't playing tennis." or some delusional thought like that.].
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I just came up with an analogy.

Let's say I have a museum with several rooms. The vast majority of the visitors go to a few select rooms and ignore the others. Being the efficient and lazy person that I am, I spend all of my effort maintaining those select rooms. After all, that's where everyone goes.

Every now and then, a visitor goes into one of the neglected rooms and I'm embarrassed because it's dusty, the lighting is poor, there are cobwebs on the ceiling, etc.

But the embarrassment is short-lived. As soon as he leaves, I go back to my usual habit of ignoring that room and paying attention to the popular ones.

My set of tennis skills is like that museum. Certain areas are well-used and practiced but others, not so much. If I play a pusher, he may concentrate mostly on the areas that I'm lacking, which accounts for why I might react so negatively. "Look at my great technique! Look at how many RPMs my FH is generating! Look at how good my trophy pose is!"

That's like the museum curator bragging about how well-maintained his popular rooms are while the visitor thinks "This guy must not care about his museum: look how poorly maintained this [unpopular] room is!".

In the end, the lazy curator might be justified in only paying attention to his popular rooms; after all, that's where the money is. But he shouldn't get mad at the occasional visitor who wants to go on the road less travelled.

Similarly, the player who neglects the skills needed to defeat pushers shouldn't get mad at the pusher for exposing those weaknesses. He should just accept it as a consequence of his choice to ignore those areas.

But he wants to have his cake and eat it too: not only does he want to neglect those areas but he also wants a ready excuse for why he lost ["My opponent isn't playing tennis." or some delusional thought like that.].
I’ve been working on boarding up my cellar so that no one is tempted to explore it.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Pushers win by exploiting the error system of scoring in tennis, and the under developed strokes of rec players. Primarily the latter, as evidenced by the fact that as soon as you hit the 5.0 region, where players have developed /reliable strokes and can hit aggressive shots to safe targets all day long off the nothing and junk pushers feed them, there are no pushers to be seen anymore.

Pushers surrender the point on nearly every shot to players with the strokes to take the opportunity and begin constructing the winner or forced error. Someone here called them gatekeepers to 4.0 iirc which is a good description.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
There's a local guy that plays a lot like green shirt. He drives 4.0's crazy but loses easily to 4.5's. He keeps getting bumped up and down pretty much every other year. His favorite opponent to play is the hard hitting baseliner that doesn't like to come to net. This is the guy he tortures. And lucky for him, lots of guys play this style. He even wins 4.5 matches against this style. But most 4.5's are smart enough and have enough game to adapt.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
It's actually fun to troll guys like green shirt if you're looking for a good workout. Just make sure you put a fair amount of air under your push shots so you don't leave open court. Usually a good a idea to keep the ball centered in the court so you don't open up angles. Essentially just think about restarting the point on every shot. Don't try to win any points. Even against the cut/drop shot - lob combo. Just push it back slow, high and deep whenever possible and retreat to the baseline.

I trolled one guy in a league match this year doing this, with the express intent of torturing him. It was so ugly, the guys watching us were laughing out loud. I only did it because I'd lost to him a few times several years ago ball bashing and he was pretty arrogant about winning with his push/chop style. I told him then that I could do the same thing, but he just gave me one of those arrogant pusher smirks. So I just couldn't resist trolling him when we got matched up in league a few months ago. I even got him to comment/complain to his teammates pretty early on in the first set about how miserable it was to play a worthless pusher like me. Which was interesting because it told me that he doesn't actually see himself as a pusher (I think he must see himself as a counter puncher).

After the match, the poor guy that worked there and had to wait for us to finish basically asked me why I even bother to play tennis if that was all I was going to do. I told him I almost never play that way and that I'm actually a hard hitting baseliner. He just shook his head and gave me an arrogant smirk. Which was pretty funny.
 
Last edited:

r2473

G.O.A.T.
I don't really like green shirts all arm pusher style. You can push a lot better (more consistency and accuracy) using your body instead of your arm.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Another video:
maybe OP should put all the videos on the first post?

I find it funny some of us here got all type of strategies and tips against this player but he has a winning % against 4.5.
It is like everyone lost to him are newbies or stupid. Are we all high 5.0 here?
Another match, another MEP routine win. Eventually, someone is going to solve the puzzle and beat him like 6-1 6-0, but it's going to be someone who is REALLY good, not some yahoo wannabe 4.5 on a message board.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Another video:
maybe OP should put all the videos on the first post?

I find it funny some of us here got all type of strategies and tips against this player but he has a winning % against 4.5.
It is like everyone lost to him are newbies or stupid. Are we all high 5.0 here?
It's what I call "hypothetical tennis" where you don't actually play but you state what you would have done in the same situation.

- Just hit winners all day long
- Use my massive serve and TS and blow him off the court
- Avoid all of the "silly" errors that MEP's opponents make [again and again]

When I think about the players I've lost to, most of them had very good control on their passing shots and, if they didn't outright pass me, could place the ball low and wide, making me lunge and get down low constantly, which takes a lot of energy over the course of a match.

MEP doesn't have the drive capability that these opponents have but what he does have is the ability to place the ball well [including the lob]. He's also better than average if not excellent at running down shots that many would have given up on.

So while I like my chances, especially if I can bring him to the net, it would certainly be a battle.
 

Humbi_HTX

Rookie
This guy is very good at his level, neither of them are going pro ever at this point. For recreational/club players is very common to see those that have mastered an unconventional style that somehow they make work.

Sometimes I play with my dad or other 70yr guys and they make you learn patience and mental restrain. I enjoy the excersice just as much as when playing with somebody who is smashing every ball that gets played.
 

Papa Mango

Semi-Pro
Another video:
maybe OP should put all the videos on the first post?

I find it funny some of us here got all type of strategies and tips against this player but he has a winning % against 4.5.
It is like everyone lost to him are newbies or stupid. Are we all high 5.0 here?
Dunno about you but I am a 5.0+ (on the keyboard atleast).
I just came to say that just watching his videos makes me want to go break a racket.... :confused:
 

davced1

Hall of Fame
I would love to see Ian from Essential tennis play this guy as he has made videos on how to beat him! I think it will happen and then we will know if MEP is the real deal or not.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Luckily there are not too many players of this style in leagues because, for whatever it is, I just don't enjoy that brand of tennis - watching or playing. I've lost enough and won some against playing them too. I just go to an all or nothing kinda mentality, so being able to really play through them is fun in itself, and if I am on it is good, but most the time I will lose. Some of it is mental, but in the scheme of things, doesn't matter to me. Especially whatever rating they achieved playing it. More power to them to just do their own game.
 

davced1

Hall of Fame
Am I right in saying that a player like MEP is stuck at that level and will not progress any further without learning some proper technique? I know tennis is all about results and blah blah but it's not all true. Many of the players he beats now has better technique and the potential to succeed at higher levels in the future. MEP can't hit a normal top spin forehand, at least not with any pace, or can he but choose not to?
 
Last edited:

r2473

G.O.A.T.
Another match, another MEP routine win. Eventually, someone is going to solve the puzzle and beat him like 6-1 6-0, but it's going to be someone who is REALLY good, not some yahoo wannabe 4.5 on a message board.
You've got 2 basic choices against a player like this:

1) If you're good enough at net, your strategy is to work the point until you can get in. But you have to be good up there. Otherwise you'll get lobbed and passed (like we saw in the video many times).

2) Otherwise, just "reset the point" on every shot. Don't ever try to win the point. If you "think" you have an opening, don't take it. Don't fall for the bait. All you'll do is open up the court and have to run a lot. Just push or slice it back in the middle and deep enough. Retreat to just inside the baseline (to guard against drop shots) and "lock down" the court. The match will last about 5 hours.
 
Last edited:

davced1

Hall of Fame
You've got 2 basic choices against a player like this:

1) If you're good enough at net, your strategy is to work the point until you can get in. But you have to be good up there. Otherwise you'll get lobbed and passed (like we saw in the video many times).

2) Otherwise, just "reset the point" on every shot. Don't ever try to win the point. If you "think" you have an opening, don't take it. Don't fall for the bait. All you'll do is open up the court and have to run a lot. Just push or slice it back in the middle and deep enough. Retreat to the baseline and "lock down" the court. The match will last about 5 hours.
One big issue when playing them is that they are boring to watch and even more boring to play so the mind has to be strong not to lose focus on the "easy" shots.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
One big issue when playing them is that they are boring to watch and even more boring to play so the mind has to be strong not to lose focus on the "easy" shots.
Right. If you can't execute a winning game plan (like 1 above), a guy like this is betting that you won't have the desire (or the ability) to do option 2. Almost nobody does. Eventually most people will say "screw it, I don't care, I'm just going to ball bash".

The guys I know that play like MEP, can't find a match outside of tournaments and league. NOBODY wants to play them. If you can execute option 1, it's boring (you're just too good for the guy). If you can't, who wants to voluntarily sign up to do option 2? You'd be crazy.

In the league match I reference playing this summer (in post #173), I wouldn't do anything except push the ball back to the center and lock down the court. Even when I had an opening, I just pushed it back (to preserve my court position). Believe it or not, it really frustrated the guy. But the thing to note is, he didn't do anything either. It isn't like this provoked him into taking offensive shots and making a few errors. He just pushed it back too. Eventually, one of us would just miss. Or we'd get an easy "push winner" based on court position. But I knew I'd win. I went up 5-1 in the match. Then I tried to play a bit more offensively. In the next 3 games, I think I won 2 points. So at 5-4, I locked down the court again and won 6-4. Second set he added a few "twists", but I still ended up winning that set 6-4 as well.

As the match went on, he'd tell me at changeover that this match is going to last a long time and I'd better be prepared for that. He questioned my line calls (as is normal in a pusher match). And on and on. It was miserable. But I just wanted to beat the guy once. If I ever play him again I'll probably play more offensively and get crushed instead of doing this. But it works.
 
Last edited:

sredna42

Hall of Fame
You've got 2 basic choices against a player like this:

1) If you're good enough at net, your strategy is to work the point until you can get in. But you have to be good up there. Otherwise you'll get lobbed and passed (like we saw in the video many times).

2) Otherwise, just "reset the point" on every shot. Don't ever try to win the point. If you "think" you have an opening, don't take it. Don't fall for the bait. All you'll do is open up the court and have to run a lot. Just push or slice it back in the middle and deep enough. Retreat to just inside the baseline (to guard against drop shots) and "lock down" the court. The match will last about 5 hours.
I believe that 5.0+ players win easily against these players, because these players surrender the point with every shot they make basically. Lower players don't have the reliable shots to simply say "thanks" and take control of the point from the first opportunity, while the better players can just start engineering the pusher/junker's destruction with safe & aggressive ground strokes. 5.0+ players all have really solid smashes and put away volleys too, they just don't miss those finishing shots once they are there to be taken. It is why pushers/junkers are nowhere to be seen in levels where players have developed reliable strokes. Pusher/Junkers are the gatekeepers to 5.0 as NYTA said
 

davced1

Hall of Fame
I believe that 5.0+ players win easily against these players, because these players surrender the point with every shot they make basically. Lower players don't have the reliable shots to simply say "thanks" and take control of the point from the first opportunity, while the better players can just start engineering the pusher/junker's destruction with safe & aggressive ground strokes. 5.0+ players all have really solid smashes and put away volleys too, they just don't miss those finishing shots once they are there to be taken. It is why pushers/junkers are nowhere to be seen in levels where players have developed reliable strokes. Pusher/Junkers are the gatekeepers to 5.0 as NYTA said
Yes that's it and that is the main reason why 4.0-4.5 players find it so frustrating to play them. They do set up the points well and see all the oppurtunities to finish them but can't capitalize on it often enough to win and it wears them down in the end.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
I believe that 5.0+ players win easily against these players, because these players surrender the point with every shot they make basically. Lower players don't have the reliable shots to simply say "thanks" and take control of the point from the first opportunity, while the better players can just start engineering the pusher/junker's destruction with safe & aggressive ground strokes. 5.0+ players all have really solid smashes and put away volleys too, they just don't miss those finishing shots once they are there to be taken. It is why pushers/junkers are nowhere to be seen in levels where players have developed reliable strokes. Pusher/Junkers are the gatekeepers to 5.0 as NYTA said
Yup, and I know I'm not good enough.

In our 4.5 local ladder, there's 2 types of players that win most of their matches.

The first is the pusher. They win against all the heavy groundstroking 4.5's. They don't play this ridiculous of pushing, but it's still pushing.

The second are the couple guys that should be on the 5.0 ladder, but can't win any matches at that level. But they are good enough to destroy both the groundstroking 4.5's and the pusher.
 

Johnny505

Semi-Pro
Another video:
maybe OP should put all the videos on the first post?

I find it funny some of us here got all type of strategies and tips against this player but he has a winning % against 4.5.
It is like everyone lost to him are newbies or stupid. Are we all high 5.0 here?
I played against a guy several weeks ago who played very similar to him, got bored after 3 games in. The thought of suing him for violating my human rights for a game on a Sunday morning at 9am came into my mind.
 

jered

Rookie
I just self-destructed to a pusher (very similar to MEP) I regularly play this weekend. I kept amping things up, “more power, more spin!” Things just got worse and worse and he bageled me the second set. My error rate was probably around 80% or felt like it.

We played a bonus set and, at 0-5, I “gave up” and made myself hit no more than 70% power with big margins and the expectation that everything was coming back. I took zero chances and guarded my court position as the #1 priority. He still won 4-6 but those 5 games took longer than the entire previous match although I suddenly felt very much in control of the games.

Next time I’m going to play the whole match with a “no hitting winners or power shots” mentality and see if I can finally crack this. Will probably take 3 hours.o_O
 

socallefty

Legend
Yup, and I know I'm not good enough.

In our 4.5 local ladder, there's 2 types of players that win most of their matches.

The first is the pusher. They win against all the heavy groundstroking 4.5's. They don't play this ridiculous of pushing, but it's still pushing.

The second are the couple guys that should be on the 5.0 ladder, but can't win any matches at that level. But they are good enough to destroy both the groundstroking 4.5's and the pusher.
Why would the couple of guys who don’t win any 5.0 matches be on the 5.0 ladder? Sounds like they should exactly be the kind of guys who should play on the 4.5 ladder??

I think I’m starting to crack the code of the TTW lingo to describe the three categories of rec players at each level.

1. Hits hard, loses a lot and turns into an error-machine in any serious match - ‘Ball-basher‘ or ‘aggressive baseliner‘ or ’heavy ground-stoker’ or ‘Serious tennis player‘. Seems to describe many TTW posters.
2. Does not hit hard or hits at pace appropriate for level, wins a lot and is consistent - ‘Pusher’
3. Hits hard, wins a lot and is consistent - ‘Sand-bagger’

The first category of player plays with a RF97 or a precisely-matched 360 SW racquet that will help him to improve his game eventually (presumably before his hair turns gray or he goes bald) unlike the ‘mugs’ winning most of their matches with lightweight ‘granny sticks’ that will prevent them from ever improving to the next level. Plays only with poly or a poly/gut hybrid, claims he breaks all strings known to man within 5 hours and has experimented with a minimum of 25 strings in the last couple of years. Either is refining his ‘ATP takeback modern-FH’ or has given up on the ‘ATP takeback’ and now argues that it is not appropriate for any coach to teach that to Adults and especially women. Believes that strategy/tactical adjustments are over-rated and are not needed at the rec level.

The second category of player is always described as devilishly fast and does not understand the spirit of how ’true tennis’ should be played. He might be a junker, hacker, moonballer or be able to hit good top-spin only down the middle and can hit 20-25 shots in a rally without missing even though he is always described as having 3.5 level strokes - somehow ‘pushers’ always have magical shot-tolerance powers irrespective of their low level even though they are presumably defending on every ball against the heavy topspin, textbook swing, high-pace balls being hit by our ’serious tennis’ playing poster. They probably have a racquet bought used or for $40 at the nearby big-box sporting goods store and haven’t ever changed their strings or broken them either - might even be playing with the dreaded Babolat PD or PA and doesn’t know that he will get ‘tennis elbow’ soon. Opponent always claims he has no strategy except to wait for their errors - although spectators notice that he can actually locate his serve anywhere within the box, hits short slices/dropshots/lobs and makes his opponent constantly hit shots on the move or draws them to the net and then passes/lobs them.

The third category of player has no business playing at a particular level even though he might have had a computer ranking at that level for a decade and the USTA has never deemed him worthy of being bumped up. He is a sandbagger because ‘I say so‘ - I mean how else could he easily beat me when he is hitting too hard to be a ‘pusher’?

Tongue firmly in cheek:happydevil:
 
Last edited:

r2473

G.O.A.T.
Why would the couple of guys who don’t win any 5.0 matches be on the 5.0 ladder? Sounds like they should exactly be the kind of guys who should play on the 4.5 ladder??
The 5.0's are all former "players". Most played college. Some just played the juniors but didn't play in college (but could have).

The 4.5's are mostly guys that started playing as adults, or played high school tennis. The "sandbagging 4.5" that won our ladder played college tennis. He was on the 5.0 ladder for a few years, but didn't win much. He's got young kids, so doesn't play much these days, so he has trouble against the "big boys". But he's way better than we are. I played him twice. First match was 4&3. I only won games by serving big. When we got into a rally, I had no chance. Second match was 1&1 I think. Didn't take him long to figure me out.

The finals was "sandbagger" vs. the best pusher on our ladder. The pusher actually won their only "regular season" meeting (sandbagger's only loss). A 3 set marathon. I played the "sandbagger" just after he played that match. He told me it was a windy day and they finished basically in the dark. In the finals he won 2&3 or something. And the "pusher" isn't really a pusher like MEP. He's just a guy with a tremendous motor and a seriously willingness to compete. He played high school tennis, so he's actually a good player. Probably pretty unfair to call him a pusher really. But he does rely on his legs and his heart to win matches. I hate to play him because he just tries too damn hard for every ball on every point :)

This is coming from a self-taught adult, so take it for what it's worth. I didn't pick up a racquet until I was in my mid-30's. I'm not really a tennis player in the sense that the guys on the 5.0 ladder are. I'm just decent athlete holding a tennis racquet.
 
Last edited:

pencilcheck

Hall of Fame
Why would the couple of guys who don’t win any 5.0 matches be on the 5.0 ladder? Sounds like they should exactly be the kind of guys who should play on the 4.5 ladder??

I think I’m starting to crack the code of the TTW lingo to describe the three categories of rec players at each level.

1. Hits hard, loses a lot and turns into an error-machine in any serious match - ‘Ball-basher‘ or ‘aggressive baseliner‘ or ’heavy ground-stoker’ or ‘Serious tennis player‘. Seems to describe many TTW posters.
2. Does not hit hard or hits at pace appropriate for level, wins a lot and is consistent - ‘Pusher’
3. Hits hard, wins a lot and is consistent - ‘Sand-bagger’

The first category of player plays with a RF97 or a precisely-matched 360 SW racquet that will help him to improve his game eventually (presumably before his hair turns gray or he goes bald) unlike the ‘mugs’ winning most of their matches with lightweight ‘granny sticks’ that will prevent them from ever improving to the next level. Plays only with poly or a poly/gut hybrid, claims he breaks all strings known to man within 5 hours and has experimented with a minimum of 25 strings in the last couple of years. Either is refining his ‘ATP takeback modern-FH’ or has given up on the ‘ATP takeback’ and now argues that it is not appropriate for any coach to teach that to Adults and especially women. Believes that strategy/tactical adjustments are over-rated and are not needed at the rec level.

The second category of player is always described as devilishly fast and does not understand the spirit of how ’true tennis’ should be played. He might be a junker, hacker, moonballer or be able to hit good top-spin only down the middle and can hit 20-25 shots in a rally without missing even though he is always described as having 3.5 level strokes - somehow ‘pushers’ always have magical shot-tolerance powers irrespective of their low level even though they are presumably defending on every ball against the heavy topspin, textbook swing, high-pace balls being hit by our ’serious tennis’ playing poster. They probably have a racquet bought used or for $40 at the nearby big-box sporting goods store and haven’t ever changed their strings or broken them either - might even be playing with the dreaded Babolat PD or PA and doesn’t know that he will get ‘tennis elbow’ soon. Opponent always claims he has no strategy except to wait for their errors - although spectators notice that he can actually locate his serve anywhere within the box, hits short slices/dropshots/lobs and makes his opponent constantly hit shots on the move or draws them to the net and then passes/lobs them.

The third category of player has no business playing at a particular level even though he might have had a computer ranking at that level for a decade and the USTA has never deemed him worthy of being bumped up. He is a sandbagger because ‘I say so‘ - I mean how else could he easily beat me when he is hitting too hard to be a ‘pusher’?

Tongue firmly in cheek:happydevil:
Sounds like you have a lot of experience, I wonder which category are you in?
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
So .... Ian at ET will be playing MEP it seems in a few weeks .... should be a good video to watch!
That's cool. I'll definitely watch the video!

It will certainly be an interesting matchup. I think Ian's breakdown of the best strategy to beat MEP is spot on, but now we'll see if his game can execute it. From what I've seen, Ian's groundstrokes and return are the weakest parts of his game (especially when he has to generate his own pace), while his serve and net game are his best aspects. He's going to have to hit a lot of groundstrokes against MEP. Another thing is that he's got to position himself at the baseline or just inside it for the rallies because MEP likes the drop shot so much. In the recent video where Ian played the 4.0 from Chicago, he spent a lot of time 5 to 10 feet behind the baseline, which I thought was strange. He won that match pretty easily because the 4.0 couldn't handle his serve or topspin on the forehand, but MEP isn't going to give away as many errors. Anyway, gutsy to put yourself out there on video for the scrutiny of the internet!
 
Top