This article is not to be read by right-handed players, our opponents!
After my last article in the July/August 2013 issue revealing my “lefty insecurities,” I am hereby reaching out to my lefty compadres to deliver some lefty power tips.
Lefties have an advantage in the game of tennis. Actually two of them. First of all, since a mere 10 percent of the population is left-handed, we get to practice against our right-handed opponents much more often than vice-versa. We get used to their favorite patterns and their spins become very predictable after seeing them so often. Second of all, the unusual scoring system in tennis is made for us! The more important points in every game are started from the left (ad) side, which perfectly suits our eye, and the more creative and dominant shot in tennis, the forehand (our forehand side).
If there is any doubt or discussion on this second point, think of some of the classic matches between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. If you have watched several of these matches, with Nadal coming out on top more often than not, you get the feeling that whenever Nadal really needs to win a point, he pins Federer in the backhand corner and keeps pounding him with his topspin cross-court forehands. When this happens on the more important ad-side points, 40-30, 30-40, ad in/out, it happens on the first ball and Nadal’s winning percentage on those points is very high. Both players seem to be aware of this pattern, which makes the outcome even more predictable.
There are three important skill shots every lefty should possess to take full advantage of the lefty edge:
►A strong running cross-court forehand: This shot will allow you to “cheat” over to your backhand side a little more and still be able to counter the initiative if you are forced to do so.
►A backhand slice down the line: This shot will get you out of unfavorable (their) forehand to (your) backhand rallies and will tempt your right-handed opponent to hit the backhand crosscourt (to your forehand)!
►A slice serve to the backhand: This shot, the “McEnroe Can-Opener” if you will, will set you up for the most favorable (your) forehand to (their) backhand rallies. Keep pounding them like Nadal!
To summarize, my fellow lefties, understand your edge, use these skill shots to your advantage, and use them on the more significant points!
Tonny van de Pieterman … a proud lefty.
Tonny van de Pieterman
Tonny van de Pieterman is a tennis professional at Point Set Indoor Racquet Club in Oceanside, N.Y.. He was recently named USTA Tennis Professional of the Year for the USTA/Eastern-Long Island Region and helped the Eastern Section win this year’s Talbert Cup. He may be reached by phone at (516) 536-2323 or e-mail Tonny@PointSetTennis.com.