USTA 4.5 Singles Help?

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
I am a USTA 4.5C (I am in the nike sleeveless) and exclusively play doubles. I have been wanting to play more singles and my opponent from last week asked me to play singles today. He beat me (cut offs) 6-1 6-3. Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing on the singles court so I was just trying to be consistent and make him play balls. In watching the video, I realized I was not taking big cuts at the balls and he could dictate almost all the balls. But the few times I went for it, I think I was hitting the balls into the alley. I am probably just too used to playing doubles and just hitting there when I want to be aggressive. So I am here asking you guys, what I could have done better and what I should do in the future.


Also, my opponent is a 4.5A (appeal down from 5.0). I played him and another former 5.0 in a doubles match last week. My partner and I lost in a 3rd set tb like 3-6 6-4 1-0 giving my opponent his only set lost for the year in mens doubles. Just to give reference that I am indeed a doubles player. My partner that day was a relatively new 4.5 but we gelled pretty well and he let me dictate points and call the strategies. In doubles, my strengths are that I am good at neutralizing serves and returning them with extra umph. I am also quick at the net and relatively good at poaching. None of that is apparent in this match. I think I should have gone for more on my returns. Not sure.

Edit: Part 2

So my friend @BallBag wanted to hit tonight so I figured I would give all the comments a go. I tried to do the following things.
1. Be more aggressive on serves
2. Be more aggressive on serve returns
3. Less neutral balls and hit deeper with more angles
4. Attack the backhand when I can

I ended up winning our friendly match 6-4 6-1. I was up 5-2 in the first set but ballbag battled back to 5-4.

 
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Sintherius

Semi-Pro
Definitely should attack his backhand, seems he would only hit a driven slice unless the ball was perfect for his regular backhand. Deep, topspin to his backhand side & second serves there would give you a lot more weak responses.
 

vex

Legend
Lets start with praise! You're a fantastic defender! Now, to beat a strong guy like your opponent you need to be a bit more assertive with your FH. You let him dictate a bit too much. The loopy FH is only effective to the BH corner, anywhere else its a mild liability.

Also.... needs to be said... dat serve doh... no one ever got you to fix that lol? Your second serve looked a bit powderpuff compared to your opponents.
 
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Curious

G.O.A.T.
I am a USTA 4.5C (I am in the nike sleeveless) and exclusively play doubles. I have been wanting to play more singles and my opponent from last week asked me to play singles today. He beat me (cut offs) 6-1 6-3. Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing on the singles court so I was just trying to be consistent and make him play balls. In watching the video, I realized I was not taking big cuts at the balls and he could dictate almost all the balls. But the few times I went for it, I think I was hitting the balls into the alley. I am probably just too used to playing doubles and just hitting there when I want to be aggressive. So I am here asking you guys, what I could have done better and what I should do in the future.


Also, my opponent is a 4.5A (appeal down from 5.0). I played him and another former 5.0 in a doubles match last week. My partner and I lost in a 3rd set tb like 3-6 6-4 1-0 giving my opponent his only set lost for the year in mens doubles. Just to give reference that I am indeed a doubles player. My partner that day was a relatively new 4.5 but we gelled pretty well and he let me dictate points and call the strategies. In doubles, my strengths are that I am good at neutralizing serves and returning them with extra umph. I am also quick at the net and relatively good at poaching. None of that is apparent in this match. I think I should have gone for more on my returns. Not sure.
This is so nice tennis it makes me more hungry to improve! (y) (y)
 

Curious

G.O.A.T.
Opponent has a better version of my own FH haha
I keep thinking about how amazing his forehand is. Slaps the sh1t out of the ball with no hesitation!
That forward swing starting from a complete standstill busts a lot of myths imo .
 
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Curious

G.O.A.T.
Yes. What I have been promoting all along on this site.
The amazing part for me is the absence of continuity in his stroke ie takes back, stops and then swings. I agree with the drop happening with forward swing although I still think Federer frequently drops before forward swing starts. And it’s a rare thing among pros.
 

Torque

New User
I have the same problems when going to singles. You have to play more singles and look for the pattens to exploit against the opponent. He had a strong forehand and he dominated with it. You needed to get it on his slice backhand and come in more- you play doubles - you should be volleying. You have good athletic ability, but you need to clean up your strokes- especially your serve. Your jump serve is not a smooth consistent motion- if more traditional you should have better control and speed.
 

ballmachineguy

Hall of Fame
The amazing part for me is the absence of continuity in his stroke ie takes back, stops and then swings. I agree with the drop happening with forward swing although I still think Federer frequently drops before forward swing starts. And it’s a rare thing among pros.
As long as your elbow stays up, you can stay in “ take back” mode for as long as you like.
It is an impossibility to drop fully and pause. With RF, his racquet typically drops straight down, but the arm doesn’t fully straighten until he has started toward contact. I defy anyone to post a video of RF having a completely straight arm before the hitting shoulder has started forward. Can’t happen.
 

Curious

G.O.A.T.
Blue short fellow does something else on his forehand which is also interesting.
He lowers the racket from ready position every time before lifting it up during take back.
Watch in slow motion the first minute.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Lets start with praise! You're a fantastic defender! Now, to beat a strong guy like your opponent you need to be a bit more assertive with your FH. You let him dictate a bit too much. The loopy FH is only effective to the BH corner, anywhere else its a mild liability.

Also.... needs to be said... dat serve doh... no one ever got you to fix that lol? Your second serve looked a bit powderpuff compared to your opponents.

Thanks. I realized after the match that I was not swinging out and really hitting my forehand and backhand. I think I was too focused on being consistent and trying to let my opponent make the errors. Guess I devolved into a pusher.

Heh, my serve has been getting over time. Probably the weaker part of my game but I dont actually get any lessons etc. So it is what it is.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Btw your opponent has a great serve. And you seem to have no forward momentum of your body into the court on yours. You land exactly where you take off!

I think I was so focused on trying to recover and get back after my serve that I forgot to put my weight and body into my serve. Too worried about the open court and recovering so I could get to the balls in time. I guess I had the wrong mentality.
 

Curious

G.O.A.T.
I think I was so focused on trying to recover and get back after my serve that I forgot to put my weight and body into my serve. Too worried about the open court and recovering so I could get to the balls in time. I guess I had the wrong mentality.
Are you saying that you jumped up and down perpendicular on purpose?
Some people do that on the serve. I thought that was the case. Anyway, how do you lean/move your body into the court on the serve? One sure way is to toss more into the court. I guess you already know that though given your level in tennis.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Are you saying that you jumped up and down perpendicular on purpose?
Some people do that on the serve. I thought that was the case. Anyway, how do you lean/move your body into the court on the serve? One sure way is to toss more into the court. I guess you already know that though given your level in tennis.

I used to have a bad habit where I would not recover back behind the baseline after my serve. When I am too focused on that, I start to toss less into the court and more above or even behind my head. I think in this specific match, I was so focused on recovering back behind the baseline, I started to toss the ball less into the court.

So no, its not on purpose but just a side effect.
 

Curious

G.O.A.T.
I used to have a bad habit where I would not recover back behind the baseline after my serve. When I am too focused on that, I start to toss less into the court and more above or even behind my head. I think in this specific match, I was so focused on recovering back behind the baseline, I started to toss the ball less into the court.

So no, its not on purpose but just a side effect.
Don't make me go to your channel and watch your doubles match serves!:p
 

onehandbh

G.O.A.T.
I am a USTA 4.5C (I am in the nike sleeveless) and exclusively play doubles. I have been wanting to play more singles and my opponent from last week asked me to play singles today. He beat me (cut offs) 6-1 6-3. Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing on the singles court so I was just trying to be consistent and make him play balls. In watching the video, I realized I was not taking big cuts at the balls and he could dictate almost all the balls. But the few times I went for it, I think I was hitting the balls into the alley. I am probably just too used to playing doubles and just hitting there when I want to be aggressive. So I am here asking you guys, what I could have done better and what I should do in the future.


Also, my opponent is a 4.5A (appeal down from 5.0). I played him and another former 5.0 in a doubles match last week. My partner and I lost in a 3rd set tb like 3-6 6-4 1-0 giving my opponent his only set lost for the year in mens doubles. Just to give reference that I am indeed a doubles player. My partner that day was a relatively new 4.5 but we gelled pretty well and he let me dictate points and call the strategies. In doubles, my strengths are that I am good at neutralizing serves and returning them with extra umph. I am also quick at the net and relatively good at poaching. None of that is apparent in this match. I think I should have gone for more on my returns. Not sure.
IMO, you hit way too many wide serves on the deuce court. He has a good forehand and can dictate points with it.

He's a tough opponent b/c he can take your tospin shots on-the-rise. From the video, he just looked to be a better singles player and dictated most of the points. Your movement and court coverage is pretty good, though. Maybe just keep hitting to his backhand and hope for a weaker, shorter shot and then be more aggressive.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
In watching the video, I realized I was not taking big cuts at the balls and he could dictate almost all the balls.
I completely disagree. Your opponent's 'strengths' are his consistency from the baseline, and his speed. VERY few of his shots put you on the defensive. For his level, your opponent is not able to generate his own pace well. His least-offensive shots were after you hit your slice (also, your slice is really good). You were hitting with plenty of pace, and I would certainly say you were dictating almost every point. I would have told you to even consider hitting the balls with less pace and putting more emphasis on making him run more, knowing he will still get to basically every shot, and wait for a shorter ball for you to approach the net and finish the point with your confident volleys.

Additionally, he did not like moving into the court, so even your un/intentional short slices were advantageous for you.

You had more weapons in this match up.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
I completely disagree. Your opponent's 'strengths' are his consistency from the baseline, and his speed. VERY few of his shots put you on the defensive. For his level, your opponent is not able to generate his own pace well. His least-offensive shots were after you hit your slice (also, your slice is really good). You were hitting with plenty of pace, and I would certainly say you were dictating almost every point. I would have told you to even consider hitting the balls with less pace and putting more emphasis on making him run more, knowing he will still get to basically every shot, and wait for a shorter ball for you to approach the net and finish the point with your confident volleys.

Additionally, he did not like moving into the court, so even your un/intentional short slices were advantageous for you.

You had more weapons in this match up.

Are you sure you aren't confusing who is who?
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
IMO, you hit way too many wide serves on the deuce court. He has a good forehand and can dictate points with it.

He's a tough opponent b/c he can take your tospin shots on-the-rise. From the video, he just looked to be a better singles player and dictated most of the points. Your movement and court coverage is pretty good, though. Maybe just keep hitting to his backhand and hope for a weaker, shorter shot and then be more aggressive.

This was intentional but in hindsight I should have done something differently as everyone is saying. I just didn't like hitting his slice backhand so I was trying to avoid it. I don't run into very many slicers in dubs as it's usually easy to pick on at the net.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
How dare you consider I might have misread who was who? Yes that is exactly what happened :laughing:

Lol I figured. I was like dang, my opponent was hitting way harder then me and I was just looping the balls back into the middle of the court. Definitely sounds like you are describing me and not my opponent
 
First off, very enjoyable video and you have the right idea I think in how you should start your singles matches, you personally, since you move well and can get balls back, start matches doing that, say first 2-3 games and see how it goes, see if you can win off unforced errors etc.. I don't think you were hitting too much in the alley, that's just a mental crutch so to speak, you weren't doing it either. So, get this mental attitude when you play singles "I'm a tennis player and today I am a singles player". Ok, so just don't let yourself fall into that rut. Now, I also don't think he was going for it and you weren't power-wise, the issue was you hit too many balls close to the "T", too many groundstrokes that allowed him to comfortably drop shot or push you around with angles. In singles, you need to go for depth, once you have the depth thing down, then go for moving around and hitting to backhands, etc.

Also, he's a very good player, so it was going to be a tough match no matter what. I liked some of your service game points around the 4 minute mark where you showed some more variety and skills, do more of that, loved that lob.

Just like in doubles, keep your mind active during the match, adjust. Notice how you are losing points, notice what is happening, adjust. I'm sure being a high level doubles player you do that, just be more mentally active and use your talents. (maybe get to the net some?)
 

a10best

Hall of Fame
Nice video and good rallies.
1. Since his FH was his strength (the guy w/sleeves) why were most of your service returns going there ?
2. Why were most of your serves going to his FH?
3. if you want to dictate more points hit to his weakness, the slice BH. hit a few wide and shallow and see how he does.
He did miss a few running FH's too. But he got you with his FH when he had time to set up.
His slice BH is not extremely low which could give you time to sneak in to the net and volley it away like they do in doubles.

I did notice you won more points hitting towards the BH center or ad side deuce court.
losing 6-3 is just one break.

I know a heavy slice BH can be tough to handle because I use that on some of my approach shots.

You seemed very comfortable staying back as a backboard and almost never approaching the net. I'm from the mid-90s and to see no serve & volley points from a doubles player or chip shots wide even though it's singles is strange but again you were hurt by hitting to his FH too much. Your FH is steady enough to not always hit it cross court.

You said you're a doubles player but if I'm not mistaken your first net point was at 14:00 in the video and the video is 14:17 long. You hit a few nice lob winners but few overheads and volleys.
Hope you win next time with the tips given. Of course he may figure out since you stayed back a lot and he'll come to the net even more in the next match. He certainly did towards the end.
 
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ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Others mentioned it. You obviously have the ability to be more offensive, especially with the FH or attacking the net, but I saw a lot of more neutral balls in the first games (didn't watch the whole thing). Might be worth trying be more offensive in placement of shots, no necessarily flattening out, but that is also something to consider. Take some time away and don't get into that rhythm as much.

Would be curious how that works against the same opponent.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Added to the top post.

So my friend @BallBag wanted to hit tonight so I figured I would give all the comments a go. I tried to do the following things.
1. Be more aggressive on serves
2. Be more aggressive on serve returns
3. Less neutral balls and hit deeper with more angles
4. Attack the backhand when I can

I ended up winning our friendly match 6-4 6-1. I was up 5-2 in the first set but ballbag battled back to 5-4.


I broke my strings on the very first point. I tried to rip the return on ballbag's second serve but I ripped my strings instead.

When the opportunity presented itself, I tried to come up to the net but the singles court feels HUGE! I dont know how you singles players out there get to the net. I am probably mentally panicking because I am just like omg, he could pass me on the left right, over my head, etc etc. Unfortunately, I rarely came up.

Around 11:14 was my favorite point of the match. A long rally followed by a sharp cross court winner by me. I rarely hit winners from the baseline so this felt pretty good.
 
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ballmachineguy

Hall of Fame
There’s no shortage of players that feel rotating the upper body is going to add to their serve when it actually subtracts (yeah I’m talking to you guy in blue). The other guy’s serve, yikes, fun to watch though. ; )
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Added to the top post.

So my friend @BallBag wanted to hit tonight so I figured I would give all the comments a go. I tried to do the following things.
1. Be more aggressive on serves
2. Be more aggressive on serve returns
3. Less neutral balls and hit deeper with more angles
4. Attack the backhand when I can

I ended up winning our friendly match 6-4 6-1. I was up 5-2 in the first set but ballbag battled back to 5-4.


I broke my strings on the very first point. I tried to rip the return on ballbag's second serve but I ripped my strings instead.

When the opportunity presented itself, I tried to come up to the net but the singles court feels HUGE! I dont know how you singles players out there get to the net. I am probably mentally panicking because I am just like omg, he could pass me on the left right, over my head, etc etc. Unfortunately, I rarely came up.

Around 11:14 was my favorite point of the match. A long rally followed by a sharp cross court winner by me. I rarely hit winners from the baseline so this felt pretty good.


Awesome. Solid play from both. Thanks for posting.
 

Pumpkin

Professional
Your opponent seems to have more firepower than you and he doesn't miss much, so I don't think there is much you can do. Only to improve to his level.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
...................

It looks as if you have what I call 'a barn door forehand' - that means the line between your two shoulders and the line between your two hips turn more together without separation - Separation means those two lines turn independently and cause the trunk to twist.

Compare your forehand separation to Djokovic one above the other and single frame in this post.

For instructions on similar comparisons search my posts
Forum Search: Djokovic one above other single frame post
Member: Chas Tennis

Swaitek would also be an excellent example of energetic separation.

Separation Angle - Imagine viewing the player from above and seeing the angle between the the line of two shoulders and the line of the two hips two hips.

Djokovic displays separation very well but his flexibility is great and most players should not try to copy his range of trunk twisting at its more extreme ranges. Be very cautious with your trunk twisting and consider your back's history.

You can see separation on nearly all forehands and backhands by watching TV broadcasts of ATP & WTA tournaments.

Do comparisons and find differences between your strokes and the pros'. Ask questions about the differences.
 
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dsp9753

Semi-Pro
It looks as if you have what I call 'a barn door forehand' - that means the line between your two shoulders and the line between your two hips turn more together without separation - Separation means those two lines turn independently and cause the trunk to twist.

Compare your forehand separation to Djokovic one above the other and single frame in this post.

For instructions on similar comparisons search my posts
Forum Search: Djokovic one above other single frame post
Member: Chas Tennis

Swaitek would also be an excellent example of energetic separation.

Separation Angle - Imagine viewing the player from above and seeing the angle between the the line of two shoulders and the line of the two hips two hips.

Djokovic displays separation very well but his flexibility is great and most players should not try to copy his range of trunk twisting at its more extreme ranges. Be very cautious with your trunk twisting and consider your back's history.

You can see separation on nearly all forehands and backhands by watching TV broadcasts of ATP & WTA tournaments.

Do comparisons and find differences between your strokes and the pros'. Ask questions about the differences.

Thanks for the feedback but honestly I am not trying to modify/change my groundstroke technique. I dont really have the time or effort level to really modify/change. I have deemed my own technique to be "good enough" and will help me get to my end goal. I am just trying to do the best with what I have. I personally feel that my time would be better spent on strategy and fitness. Getting to the shot with enough time to swing out and picking smart targets etc.
 

Pumpkin

Professional
After watching again I am blown away by the opponent of the OPS tennis IQ. He never lets up with the pressure he applies . He hardly ever makes a mistake. He is just a sublime match player. The OP did a great job getting balls back as best he could but there's no way he could win. Not against this guy. This guy is really good. Really smart.
 
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