I’ve played thousands of matches, talked with hundreds of coaches and mentors. I’ve played against every different playing style. I will teach you how to beat any type of opponent. You can usually classify players into different groups depending on their particular playing style. When you warm up with your opponent, you can usually find out what you’re dealing with and prepare a game plan accordingly. These players are: baseline players, net players, moon ballers and aggressive types.
Baseline players like to dictate play from deep in their own court. They rarely come to the net. When they do it’s usually because they are responding to a weak ball and you’ve given them a good opportunity to come to the net through an approach shot. The key to beating these types of people are with keeping them off balance. If they don’t want to come to the net, then force them to become net players. Just don’t give them the opportunity to land a comfortable drop shot. Be patient and pick your spot when they are deep in their own court and cannot easily reach your drop shot. If you are playing against a shorter player, lob some balls over their head after they come to the net. It will tire them out.
Net players will come up to the net at any opportunity. These guys are usually very aggressive and you have to force them to stay deep in their own court. If you are playing a serve and volley type player then keep your returns low enough so they cannot get a good angle on a volley. A lot of people will try to aim for their feet. When you are warming up, try to see which types of balls they have trouble responding to. Make them beat you with their biggest weakness.
Moon ballers will try to lob you to death. These guys are the most annoying, but they can also be very intelligent with how they play. The key to beating these guys is being patient. Wait for them to make a mistake and then move in for the kill. Don’t get caught up in their game.
Aggressive players hit the ball hard but also make the most mistakes. You have to keep the ball deep against these guys and stay away from their best shot, which is usually their forehand. Hit a bunch of lobs to their backhand side and watch them struggle. They will have a lot of trouble generating a lot of offense with that shot. Most of the time they will become frustrated and end up making a bunch of unforced errors.
The game of tennis is knowing your opponents strengths and weaknesses. You must find their weakness before they find yours. Whoever wins this mental battle will usually win the match.