How to play a baseliner

How to play a baseliner Today’s singles match was in the fourth of the four tournaments (are you/we/i happy the month is over?) against Jay Parker of Longboat Key, Florida, a solid baseliner.

On Monday, I went over to Naples Bath & Tennis to scout the match between Parker and one of my former opponents, Bob Royden (he of San Diego, who has the mobile home that he leaves in Florida to drive around to all the tournaments). Parker won 6-2, 6-3; and what I saw was a solid baseliner, who hit good topspin shots angled cross-court off both forehand and backhand; but could go down the line as well.

Coincidentally, that night I was watching a Tennis Channel episode of Tactical Tennis, with Paul Annacone discussing on How to play against a baseliner. His advice was to come to the net against him – and do it early in the rally, so he cannot get into a rhythm.

So, my game plan was: hit deep to his backhand and come into the net; and to also draw him to the net, where he would be uncomfortable.

The plan was better than my execution of it! I guess I did not come in often enough and frequently on good enough shots. He won 6-4, 6-2.

I did come in a lot – I would guess 30 times – and won a majority of those points. But after the match, Parker suggested I should have served and volleyed more against him. He was such a committed baseliner, when I tried to draw him in with a short ball, he would hit it and then back up to return to the baseline! I think he hit only one volley the whole match.

Doubles: After the match, I watched my doubles partner Tom McCune on the next court re-injure his hamstring as he was leading in his singles match 7-5, 3-3 – and have to default and drop out of the doubles this week. I am now paired with a good player, Mike Dahm of Dayton (OH), who was also a doubles widow due to his partner pulling his hamstring. Our first match will be Thursday afternoon (after a first round bye on Wednesday).

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