A singles player without a plan is a player in trouble.
Eventually, you’ll encounter an underspin specialist. His balls are chopped and sliced and the resulting backward spin makes his groundstrokes hover and float deep into your court and then stick to the court with a very low bounce.
This player is steady and can keep the ball in play all day. His economical backswing disguises his shots but limits his speed. Beware of his drop-shot/lob combination and his curving, swerving slice serve which can pull you very wide in the first court.
Come to the net often; he can’t produce fast dipping, angled topspin passing shots so expect a straight shot or a lob. Cover these. Expect to hit a lot of smashes.
His low-bouncing balls are unusual (some even bounce backward!). Don’t expect the balls to bounce forward with normal pace; instead, move in on them. Play the ball - don’t let it play you!
Power works well against these players; just don’t make too many unforced errors. You know, that’s when you beat yourself.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.