The Six Playing Styles Described

tbini87

Hall of Fame
what type of style does nadal play? his style seems to be all of them other than s&v or net attacker. he plays well from the baseline (both aggresive and defensive at times) and he can run down just about everything. sometimes he even seems like a counterpuncher. anyone care to fill me in? thanks!
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Li Na crushes the ball. I mean destroys it. No soft-baller.
Okay. This is one reason some TT-ers have suggested it's a bad idea to use particular Pros' playing styles as "types" for these styles. The Pros sometimes change their games.

When I put Na up as a type it was certainly descriptive. (But I haven't seen her play in many months.)


what about moonballers?
Depending on what you mean by "moonballer," they are probably covered by one of the other styles. (Moonballer is a label I don't see a lot of agreement on, so how can it be its own style?)


what type of style does nadal play? his style seems to be all of them other than s&v or net attacker. he plays well from the baseline (both aggresive and defensive at times) and he can run down just about everything. sometimes he even seems like a counterpuncher. anyone care to fill me in? thanks!
Nadal is a good example of a Pro who is still adapting his game. I think it used to be legit to say he was almost exclusively an Aggressive Baseliner. But he is certainly Counter Punching and even playing All Court tennis (depending on the surface / opponent.)

I'd say he's moving into the All Court category. (If his serve improved a bit more I think fewer people would think to argue.)


dang this was so interesting to read
Yeah. I'm still enjoying peoples' comments and questions. (And "Welcome to TT.")

- KK
 
T

Tennisbum4683

Guest
I don't get where, people are saying that Rafa Nadal is an aggressive baseliner. At times, he might resemble an aggresive baseliner, but he doesn't play that kind of game all the time. He adapts that style of play when he plays counter-punchers himself, i.e. Hewitt and adapts an all-court game when he plays Federer, but his typical style is a counter-punching game. He doesn't make big returns of serves, which is a classic characteristic of an aggresive baseliner. Blake is an aggresive baseliner, staying at the baseline and trying to win the point from the baseline. Really any American player is that style...big serve, big forehand, typically slices the backhand.
Aggressive Baseliners don't really do well on clay, which as we all know is quite the opposite for Nadal. Nadal is a grinder
 

guygee

New User
4 a. - Spin Doctor players are the highest developed of the Junk Ballers. They stroke the ball with pace (when they wish) but also with crazy slices, side spins, topspins and some spins we don’t yet have names for. Spin Doctors keep you off-balance, wrong footed and clumsily compensating for their shots by altering your own strokes. They are serious threats to both players who Attack the Net and Baseliners.

Most players would rather have a root canal than play these guys. Their tennis seems as much “psychological warfare” as it is “real tennis” competition. While Spin Doctors’ opponents frequently “lose their cool” during matches, the Doctors themselves tend to be some of the most unflappable players you will encounter.

Pro examples: I cannot think of any WTA players. Fabrice Santoro is a “model” of the Spin Doctor.
Interesting post, thank you! Perhaps Emilie Loit (current rank 39), is the closest thing to a WTA example of "Spin Doctor".
 
These are the six "playing styles" that I saw predominate at the US Open.
1. Baseliner*
2. Baseliner*
3. Baseliner*
4. Baseliner*
5. Baseliner*
6. Baseliner* who "sometimes" goes to the net

*Please don't misunderstand what I mean by baseliner. All of these guys/gals would go the
net to finish a point off IF they had their opponent on the defensive. But rarely would they
go in if their opponent was not in a defensive position.
 
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i like to consider myself as an aggressive baseliner, yet when im playing stronger people or fellow even harder-hitters, i seem to switch to defensive. Also, recently, ive been hesitating and getting a bit cautious with my forehand cross court (my biggest weapon), i know i shoudnt do this, but ill have to work on mentally blocking that fear out, and just going for it.
 

rec2000

New User
Everything seems to go in cycles. Serve & Volley will be back ... at least at Wimby....
- KK
I couldn't agree more. The more baseliners there are, the more net players will be successful (after all, the all these baseliners won't be used to hitting so many passing shots).

I hope there will be a resurgence of the exclusive net player now that henman is gone.
 
ive never really experienced these styles before in person. The fellow teens at my club are pretty much all baseliners.
Either counter punchers or bashers.
Im probably in between a basher and a counter punccher baseliner myself. (but i do make lots of errors.) I like to defend and retrieve when i have to but like to hit hard myslef when i get the chance.
I really hate net players because i seem to have some sub consious fear when playing them and i usually have trouble with them. Apart from that , i havnt really played pushers/ junk ballers/ variious s+v's etc.lol
 

xnarek

Rookie
Very nice list. I read most of them and the opponent i played has like 4 different names lol. He wins in different ways almost every points
 

Mansewerz

Legend
Would you consider Nadal a spin doctor, soft baller, or retriever?

And I like what you did w/ the Attack the Net. It gives the defintion for both an offensive and defensive Net game, like Sampras did with his chip & charge when returning serve
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
I'd say Nadal's predominant style is Baseline Blaster. But he is versatile and has shown us Machine Baselining ... Retrieving ... Counter-punching. Some might even say "All Court," but that's stretching it, IMO.

- KK
 

greekfire

New User
Im impressed with the research kk, a good reference point, but in theory tennis and one's game is affected by what your opponent does and vice versa, therefore, in my opinion, one has to be willing to adapt to one's opponent. The trick is, while you've drifted from your comfort zone to compensate for their strengths, they should adapt to you, and if there is a weakness in their adaptation, exploit it. Much like a good boxing match, we have to work on our weaknesses to exploit our opponents strengths. So, by putting a label on our style of play, I believe that we actually box ourselves in and have already conceited defeat. Still though, great job.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Can anyone see Federer as an "all court" counter puncher?
A counter puncher is working off what you do and I see Fed doing that all the time. He usually only attacks net after setting it up by working the point or by not coming in for 5-10 points and then using it to surprise.

I don't see him hitting that big (for him) that often except when he is addressing a weakness that he has first exposed. For him that can even be on the 1st shot of a point, as he may have set up a certain serve of return with what he did on the last five points.
 

Mansewerz

Legend
KK, what tips do you have on facing a guy that hits with no power what so ever? I can't stand that at all. I fair better when given pace.
 

x5150

Rookie
how do you beat the machine baseliner? I can't figure out how to beat this guy. I think I have the tools. I have a better serve, way more power from both sides, I'm quicker but he does have more endurance than me though. He will place the ball from side to side and wear me down. I try to wait for short balls to approach on but he doesn't give me too many. By the time I do get an approach shot I'm too tired to setup for a proper shot and prob hit it out or give him something weak he can just lob or angle back.
 

Fay

Professional
how do you beat the machine baseliner? I can't figure out how to beat this guy. I think I have the tools. I have a better serve, way more power from both sides, I'm quicker but he does have more endurance than me though. He will place the ball from side to side and wear me down. I try to wait for short balls to approach on but he doesn't give me too many. By the time I do get an approach shot I'm too tired to setup for a proper shot and prob hit it out or give him something weak he can just lob or angle back.
This brings to mind my question ... my coach says a great serve and volley player / chip & charger will always beat a great baseliner.

I watched one of the Men's Open in Arizona recently and the man who beat everyone fairly handily did move to the net more often than the people he beat. Beat people much younger who played the baseline with powerful strokes.

What do you all think?
 
This brings to mind my question ... my coach says a great serve and volley player / chip & charger will always beat a great baseliner.

I watched one of the Men's Open in Arizona recently and the man who beat everyone fairly handily did move to the net more often than the people he beat. Beat people much younger who played the baseline with powerful strokes.

What do you all think?
Well...not necessarily. Its more like really good/great serve and volley style tennis players are less common than really good/great baseline type players.

This means that the serve and volleyers are used to playing good baseliners, while the baseliners aren't that used to playing good serve and volley/chip & charge style tennis players.

Kind of the same thing with some righties finding it harder to beat a lefty than a righty.

Also, the players who are really good at serving and volleying are as you said quite a bit older than those with just powerful groundstrokes, so they have a lot more experience, play a more varied game, and have a better mental/court sense.
 
KK, what tips do you have on facing a guy that hits with no power what so ever? I can't stand that at all. I fair better when given pace.
Your opponent is called a pusher. Lots of tips and strategies on this...at the second sticky called "Pusher" ... Playing This (Dreaded) Opponent at the top of the Tennis Tips/Instruction sub-forum.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=126199

Pages and pages of strategies, tips, and pointers.
 

Fay

Professional
Well...not necessarily. Its more like really good/great serve and volley style tennis players are less common than really good/great baseline type players.

This means that the serve and volleyers are used to playing good baseliners, while the baseliners aren't that used to playing good serve and volley/chip & charge style tennis players.

Kind of the same thing with some righties finding it harder to beat a lefty than a righty.

Also, the players who are really good at serving and volleying are as you said quite a bit older than those with just powerful groundstrokes, so they have a lot more experience, play a more varied game, and have a better mental/court sense.

Great clarifying answer ! Thanks so much ... makes sense that it takes a few years of experience to play a more varied game ... really fun to watch!
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
Of course there are professional tennis players who are pushers. What would you call Gilles Simon?
Hello Josh,

Hard for me to agree with this after seeing so many video clips and reviewing their strokes so that they can be broken down into instruction.

Do you have a player in mind? The true definition of a pusher type player do not make it beyond the advanced level of play. There may be a few floundering around, but they are few and far between.

Now, I will agree that a pro may push a ball in a point or rally in order to do something. However, they are not considered pushers.

An example of a pro pushing a ball is like when they are sprinting to the net and they "bump" the ball to the other side. Or they can "push" the ball when they are out of balance or position just to stay in the point. However, once they get their bearings, they will take a full swing.

Perhaps you are getting a counter-punchers style mixed up with a player that pushes the ball?
 

oest10

Semi-Pro
I think the best example of a machine baseliner is Davydenko... Besides that you did great Kaptain Karl !
 

Fay

Professional
I don't get where, people are saying that Rafa Nadal is an aggressive baseliner. At times, he might resemble an aggresive baseliner, but he doesn't play that kind of game all the time. He adapts that style of play when he plays counter-punchers himself, i.e. Hewitt and adapts an all-court game when he plays Federer, but his typical style is a counter-punching game. He doesn't make big returns of serves, which is a classic characteristic of an aggresive baseliner. Blake is an aggresive baseliner, staying at the baseline and trying to win the point from the baseline. Really any American player is that style...big serve, big forehand, typically slices the backhand.
Aggressive Baseliners don't really do well on clay, which as we all know is quite the opposite for Nadal. Nadal is a grinder
I agree with this analysis ... players who get into the top 3 or 4 will adjust their game to whomever they are playing. I take exceptions with the idea though that all Americans are this way ... there are tons of serve and volley people, who can play an all court game ... McEnroe, Samprass, etc., etc.

Any really good player will adjust from point to point!
 
Karl,
I like your saying PUT-OFF. Several days ago I wrote a quick piece about that subject! You should read some of the immature/lazy comments. I was shocked at how many players had a "no big deal attitude" about foot faulting.
 
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