When playing a singles opponent who camps out on the baseline and gets everything back in play, you need to have a specific strategy. But you also need to recognize there are THREE different styles of baseline players…
• The Pusher – This is the player who hits the ball “softly” and under total control. He relies on his consistency, his ability to run down your shots and a frustrating mix of moonballs, lobs, and drop shots.
• The Baseliner – Similar to the pusher, he relies on his consistency and ability to roam the baseline; but he hits more of a “traditional” groundstroke and hopes to primarily out rally you from the baseline.
• The Aggressive Baseliner – This player is most comfortable on the baseline; but he is looking for the short ball to attack and really drive you side to side; and he may even come to the net behind his shots.
As with most tennis strategies, you want to not let your opponent play “their game.” So, especially with the first two styles, you do not want to get into a game of who is the most consistent; because that is their strength.
Instead, you need to put gradual pressure on them. In a Tennis Channel episode of Tactical Tennis, with Paul Annacone, he discussed 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.
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