Tennis opponents vary in tactics, size, strength, ability and mental agility. Every opponent you face will be different than the last player you played against.
However, there are four basic categories of tennis players which most people fit into.
The Dinker also known as “The Pusher” almost never hits the ball hard, but he gets nearly everything back over the net. The most adroit of these types of players can keep most shots deep, lob effectively and aim fairly well.
Dinkers drive a lot of opponents crazy because they frustrate opponents and force them to make mistakes.
When playing against a Dinker attack the net at every opportunity. Make your opponent play a short ball, but mostly be patient. You could play a drop shot to bring him nearer the net or a low short ball.
The Moonballer is a popular feature in the women’s game. The Moonballer is like a highly skilled and specialised backboard.
Often the player won’t hit hard but they will hit high, deep and with strong topspin. If you are not used to this type of opponent, it can be tough to handle, and the moonballer will continue to hit these shots all day long.
To beat such an opponent attack at the net, and prepare to hit loads of overheads and to chase a lot of balls back toward the baseline. Try playing some sneaky volleys and learn to hit on the rise.
Above all try to lure the moonballer towards the net, get them off the baseline.
The Power Baseliner
This is how the modern pro now plays the game. As opposed to an all-court player, the power baseliner would much rather go for winners from near his baseline than at the net.
To defeat such an opponent keep your shots deep. Try to keep the ball out of his comfort “wheelhouse” the area he can comfortably reach and hit the ball. Use slice and topspin as much as possible so the ball kicks up high and past his shoulders.
Also make your opponent hit a lot of balls, forcing him to make errors. And finally pull him into the net as a lot of baseliners do not volley well.
Serve and Volleyer
A good serve and volleyer has a big advantage as they are able to come in behind virtually every first serve and most second serves. When you are serving they usually attempt to come in behind every service return to win the point.
To defeat such an opponent concentrate on your aim. Try to fox your opponent by not looking at them or where you want the ball to go. Keep looking at the ball while you aim down the line or wherever else you are playing the ball.
Use topspin to make your returns drop into play. Topspin allows you to hit harder at a given height without hitting long.
Although the above players are not exclusively the only type of players you will come against it is common most opponents will fit into one of these categories.
We hope that by reading this post you will have gained additional knowledge to tackle Four of the most common opponent types.
For even more assistance in improving your game, why not think about private adult tennis lessons from our team of professional coaches.