Let me clarify that this discussion excludes situations that are injury related. (Bad ankle = drop shots,etc. Also, this question does not pertain a "friendly", non tencap rated match. I recently played a ladder match against a player of similar strength (5.0), and was struggling. I lost the first set 2-6. At the beginning of the second set, I happened to hit a heavy topspin shot, very deep, directly at him . It probably landed a foot from the baseline. His normal robotic, groomed stroke left the building....he hit his return into the back fence. WTF? So the next shot I had the opportunity to repeat my return in that fashion, I did. This time he stepped back, as if he hoped it would go out. It did not. Two points later, I repeated the shot in question, and this time he stepped forward, attempting to take it as a volley. That shot he dumped in the net. At this time I have to mention he usually positioned himself almost directly on the baseline for most shots, if not maybe a foot back. The player that no problem with my angled returns, slices, flat shots, etc. was now basically falling apart in front of me. Like any smart player, I exploited this new found weakness. Over and over. Lather, rinse, repeat. When he decided to take two big steps back to deal with my deep topspin returns, I broke out drop shots, and short, feathery soft angled slices to the service box corners. When that brought him back to his usual position, he got the deep ball at his feet again. I literally hit nothing but those three shots for the rest of the match. (75% of them were the deep topspin ball). after dropping the next set to me 1-6 he asked "Do I know how to hit any other shots?" I replied "Absolutely". His frustration escalated over the course of the third set which he lost 0-6. When he shook my hand, he asked me how I felt about being a "one trick pony". I have always considered myself a good sportsman in a gentlemens game. So my question is : Was I unsportsmanlike by repeatedly capitalizing on his weakness with my shot selection? I did not even attempt any other shots, other than the ones I described. I assumed he would adapt, and learn how to overcome it, but he did not. Was I a jerk? Or just a smart player? After the match, in retrospect, I wondered how I would feel if someone did something similar to me. I came to the conclusion, that even I would be upset if the tables were turned. I have unfortunately come to an ethical tennis quandary....... I would love to hear some other peoples opinions on this matter, and thank you very much in advance for your help. May your dreams tonight be of bagels, the good kind!
Replies to This Discussion
Moonballs away! I would keep doing it and tell him to keep his comments to himself and get a game.
How do I feel about being a "one trick pony"? How does it feel to have an Achilles heel? ;-)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this strategy; it is what tennis is all about. Find a way to win. He now knows what he needs to work on; it is up to him whether he will set aside some time to develop a response shot, or if he is going to be in denial about his shortcomings.
"One trick pony," he says? Tell him he needs to earn the right to see your other shots. In almost every competitive sports this holds true; attack your opponent's weakness. Heck, if I had the ability to execute shots with the same consistency, I'd do the same. If not you, it would be somebody else, so he needs to learn to overcome that weakness just like Mark said. The opponent is a sore loser, plain and simple.
I would totally do as the previous three esteemed gentlemen mentioned. Throw nothing but those shots at him. The fact that he comented the way he did afterwards just goes to show how big of a sore loser he is. As Mark/Mayor mentioned, this is a perfect opportunity for him to learn his weakness and give him something to work on. I say well done. I totally try to find a players weakness when I play them and exploit it until they do something different. When I notice the same being done to me, then I make the adjustment. Good form, my friend.
Thanks Mark T....everyones responses make me feel a lot better about myself as a player. Grazi :)
Part if being a great tennis player is identifying and taking advantage of weaknesses.
I use to play older gents in high school,and they use to kill me because I would go "soft" I finally realized I had the had So, disadvantage, they were the ones with tons of game experience. The only way to beat them at that time was to hit with good pace to their slicing backhands and go to the net to put the ball away.
Tennis is about finding a way to win no matter what. Pros do it all the time to players who have injuries, why can't rec players do it as well.
Because it's not nice and an antisocial thing to do! hehehe