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What You Need To Know To Beat A Lefty

left handed rafael nadal

Strategy & Tactics

What You Need To Know To Beat A Lefty

There’s nothing like warming up with opponents for the first time, and watching them freak out when they see my partner. She’s what most tennis players don’t want to have on their court. She’s a lefty.

For ever, tennis players have dreaded playing lefties because of their uncanny ability to generate wicked spin on balls that always seem to aim for our backhands – but don’t let that get to you. Lefties can be beaten!

Think of them this way: Lefties are really like righties with weaker forehands.

It’s true! And what would you do if you were playing a righty with a weaker forehand? You’d attack the forehand, right? Right! So turn the tables on those lefties and beat them with your mad righty skillz!

Now, I’m not saying that you won’t have any backhands, because you will. But with these tips, you can make it more difficult for your opponent to give them to you:

  • Expect their serves to have a left-spin to them (which is the opposite to what you’re used to.)
  • When receiving in the ad court, expect them to slice their serve out wide, so take a step or two to the left so you’ll be in better position to return the ball. Then, when they serve, step in and take the ball early on the rise, which will cut their reaction time short. And for balls that don’t have much pace, run around them and try ripping a forehand down the line. In singles, that return will go to their backhand, and in doubles, it will shake up the net player, who probably wasn’t expecting it to come their way.
  • When serving from the ad court, slice down the T to their backhand, and if you’re playing doubles, make sure your partner knows beforehand so she’ll be ready to poach on the return.
  • When receiving in the deuce court, expect them to go down the T and stand accordingly. I like to stand a little closer to the T, and try to force them to serve to my forehand. Going out wide in this court is not a favorite serve for lefties, and it really messes with them when I’m standing close to where they want to put the ball :-)
  • When serving from the deuce court, use slice and go out wide. The further you can stretch them out, the better. And if you’re playing doubles, make sure your partner knows beforehand so she’ll be ready to poach on the return.
  • Make a conscious effort to hit your shots to their backhand…ESPECIALLY the lobs.
Liam Gough’s Top 10 Tips When Playing Grass Court Tennis

These tips really work, but honestly, the best way to learn how to beat a lefty, is to actually play against one. Then you can see first-hand how they react to your shots, and how you react to theirs.

Just know that no matter what you’ve heard, lefties are NOT superior to righties. They’re simply like righties with weaker forehands :-)

What strategies do you use when playing lefties? If you’re a lefty, do you have different strategies when playing lefties? Inquiring minds wanna know!

4.5 USTA rated/open champion level tennis player, vegan, fitness freak, animal lover, and smart ass who firmly believes that champagne is anathema for all ills. Right now I'm either up to my eyeballs in paint swatches and fabric samples, or kicking some butt on a tennis court (hopefully the latter).



  1. Karen A Freiman- Fishman

    April 30, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Just so ya know, I love your articles, too! We make a great team!! Luv ya!!


    • Jen

      April 30, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Awww… thanks Karen :-) Your wonderful positivism and wellness expertise was just what this blog needed! We’re a great team, indeed! XO

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