YES! “South Paw players do have an advantage over right handed players and I’d be backing my argument with some facts and logic.”
Federer has won an all-time record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, tied with Rafael Nadal for the most ever in men’s tennis.Wiki
Hello everyone! Today we’d be answering one of the most asked questions in the world of Tennis, i.e. “Do Left Handed Tennis Players have an Advantage?”
To make the question easier to understand, I’d choose Rafael Nadal as my Left-Handed Player and Roger Federer as the Right Handed one.
Well, it’s indeed a fact that Nadal doesn’t let Federer win with ease. The head to head record of Roger Federer (16 wins) vs Rafael Nadal (24 wins) speaks for itself here.
Left Handed Tennis Players On Advantage
With this basic fact, let us move on, to dig deep into why left-handed players cause problems for right handed players while playing tennis.
Starting with the Statistical Analysis
Well, as per the statistical data provided by the United States Tennis Association, “Only 10% Tennis Players in the World are Left-Handed.”
This leaves us with the rest of the 90% of players who are right handed.
Now, what does it mean?
Right handed tennis players are used to playing other right-handed players as they are in abundance. Therefore, they know their playing styles, how they are going to serve, and their weak spots as well.
That’s one of the reasons Roger Federer didn’t face any problems winning 20 Grand Slams throughout his career.
Now, you might ask, “Why does he struggle against Rafael Nadal?”
Well, it’s simple. Nadal is a left-handed player. That said, his serving style, footwork, and tactics could not be broken down easily.
You’d also relate to this phenomenon as dealing with right handed players is far too easy. That’s because you are used to how they are going to serve and play.
That’s, however, not the case when you face a left-handed tennis player.
The argument doesn’t end here!
Playing Cross Court Rallies
The struggle of playing a left-handed tennis player becomes more highlighted when we analyze the cross court rallying perspective of both players.
Yet again, I’d be taking Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal in perspective.
When they play each other in a cross court rally, Nadal’s forehand shot will automatically become Federer’s backhand shot. As a result, what happens is that Nadal takes advantage of the return ball and tries to kill it with a smash, thus gaining points.
Now one could wonder, “If a lefty’s forehand is a righty’s backhand, then it must also happen vice versa.”
I agree with that. It’s a legit thought to ponder. However, the basic logic here is that lefties have been facing right handed players throughout their career.
In short, they know how to tackle a right handed player’s forehand shot with ease. That’s the reason you’d often see the dominance of Nadal over Federer in cross court rallies.
Serving Out Wide – “Another Weapon for the Lefties”
If you are a tennis lover, you must have noticed that righties don’t have a chance against left-handed players when it comes to serving in the “Ad side” of the court.
That’s the secret weapon that left-handed players like Rafael Nadal love to deploy while playing an intense tennis match.
Basically, what happens is that while serving on the Ad Side of the court, left-handed players slice the serve as much as they can to wing the ball out wide.
As a result, the opponent (Obviously the Right Handed Player) faces issue as it becomes a backhand returning shot for him.
So, right after he returns the ball weakly, the left-handed player has already adjusted himself to take advantage.
Hence, a lefty gets advantage and a point whenever he faces a right-handed tennis player.
Using Immense Spin
One could say that it’s a natural instinct that lefties have got an advantage over the right handed tennis players in terms of spinning the ball.
If you are a fan of Rafael Nadal and you never miss his games, you’d notice that he adds a lot of spin to his shots thus confusing his opponents and winning points conveniently.
What actually happens is that right-handed players are not familiar with tackling the weird spinning angles that left-handed players add.
That’s a fantastic weapon that Nadal often uses against tough opponents.
Another use of extra spin that I’ve noticed in a left-handed player’s gameplay is taking advantage of the forehand serve.
While serving a forehand shot, a lefty adds top-spin to the high-looping ball, which when touches the ground is always difficult to defend for a right handed player.
Weak defended returning ball is thus easier to kill with an instant smash to leave the opponent in awe!
Scoring System and Advantage to the Lefties
Let us now discuss the scoring system in Tennis and how lefties take advantage of it.
First off, I’d simply elaborate two terms, “Deuce Side” and “Ad Side”
Deuce Side: It’s the right side of the tennis court. Right Handed Players are more comfortable in opening the play from Deuce Side.
Ad Side: Ad side is the left side of the court and lefties take advantage of it perfectly.
Coming to the main point, four possible scenarios arise for a player to close a set, i.e. 40-0, 40-15, 40-30, and A-40. Similarly, for the opponent to break the serving player’s set, he must win either 0-40, 15-40, 30-40, or 40-A.
From the 8 possible winning situations mentioned above, 6 of them actually benefit the Ad or Advantage side, whereas only two of them benefit from the Deuce Side.
Now, I’ve already mentioned that Lefties gets the most out of Ad-Side, hence, they can make use of it to get early set wins from right-handed players.
All in all, a right-handed player won’t stand a chance against a left-handed tennis player if we talk about the possible winning situations. But, you can still avoid losing from your left opponent by considering these simple guidelines
How to Beat a Left Handed Tennis Player
Number one is to be aware especially when Lefty is making the serve. You should know that he’ll try to add as much spin as possible, so keep this thing in mind and tackle it accordingly.
Secondly, practice improving your backhand shots. Ask your coach to practice the backhand shot drills with you, especially if you have to play against a southpaw.
Finally, Apply the slice if you can and serve the lefty out wide on a Deuce court to make it difficult for him to defend the serving shots.
To Sum Up
Lefties surely have an advantage over the right-handed players as I’ve already proved this statement with facts and logic.
However, it doesn’t mean that right-handed players don’t have a chance to win against them. For starters, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the prime examples as they have a splendid record against left-handed players.
Nadal, however, is an exception, because not only he’s a lefty, he is extremely consistent and has strong footwork as well.
With that, I’d bid you farewell. Just keep on practicing with consistency and don’t bother yourself about lefties as with practice and patience comes inevitable success.