One of my students recently asked me:
“What are my options when my opponent attacks at the net?”
The answer is not an easy one because it depends on many variables that must be taken into consideration:
– your position on the court
– are you on the run, stretching to the ball, or in balance?
– is the ball coming to your stronger or weaker side?
As general rules, aside from the before-mentioned situations, you should remember the following:
1. Try to pass with a topspin cross-court shot aimed at the corner of the service line.
The topspin and shallow trajectory of the ball will make it difficult for the net player to pick it up.
2. A lob is always very effective if executed properly: over the attacker’s weak side (e.g. backhand) or deep cross-court.
3. The down-the-line shot can pass the net player a lot quicker, but it could be risky because of the higher net, less margin for an error, and, besides, if your opponent gets the racquet behind the ball, they’ll have a nice opening for a cross-court put-away.
In my opinion, to keep things simple, I’d try to stick with the first two options as my overall tactics when my opponent attacks at the net.
You should though vary and surprise your opponent with a different tactic once in a while to keep them from finding you predictable.