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Outfoxing a Lefty on the Tennis Court

Lefties are a real pain in the neck for righties on the tennis court. Left-handed players enjoy certain natural advantages. The biggest one is that for reasons nobody can really explain — at least not in lay terms — lefty spin serves are especially deadly.

Lefties also serve more comfortably in the ad court while righties naturally prefer the deuce court With most of the key break points contested in the ad court, lefties enjoy a slight advantage over righties, provided they can exploit it.

On the other hand (no pun intended), the most powerful and natural shot that most righties have — the cross-court forehand — goes to a lefty's backhand. Advantage, righties. And for some reason, many left-handers seem to be a little stronger on the backhand than the forehand side. That makes them more versatile but less likely to blow you off the court with the most basic of weapons, the strong forehand.

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Keep these simple tactics in mind when facing a lefty:

  • Use your cross-court forehand. Unless your opponent has a terrific backhand, or you have a shaky forehand, this bread-and-butter shot can really level the playing field.

  • Protect the wide side of the ad court during the serve. Lefties really like to go for angled, spin serves in the ad court. If you're a righty, that's also your backhand side. Make sure that you cover the wide angle, even at the expense of giving up the center of the service box. If your opponent can hit aces or unreturnable serves there consistently, so be it.

  • Serve down the middle. Because so many lefties like the backhand, take away her cross-court backhand return in the deuce court. Let her hit the backhand from the ad court, where creating a good angle is harder.

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