How to Beat a Counter Puncher in Tennis

How to beat a counter puncher in tennis

In the world of tennis there is one kind of player that you want to avoid but you’ll find sooner or later in your road to success. The Counter puncher. One of the most challenging athletes in the tennis as they are fit, fast and trained to create problems to your game. Below you will see what is a counter puncher and how to beat a counter puncher in tennis.


The counter puncher is a tennis player who plays extremely aggressively from the baseline. They are also called percentage players as their only aim is to return every single shot. There is a main difference between this kind of player and the pusher. 

The counter puncher chooses to play this way even if they can attack you whenever they want while the pusher has no other skills rather than returning every shot. The counter puncher almost never go for the point too hard and just hit the return, pushing you to make a mistake. 

Normally they are fast and have a good sense on how to cover the court. They are particularly difficult to beat from the beginner to the intermediate level as these players do not have an effective weapon to beat them. So this is what a counter puncher is and how to know them.


The counter puncher enjoys to get powerful shots as they return them quite easily and suits their style of play. So harder you hit and ‘’easier’’ for them to return without putting power on their shot. They know well how many times you have to hit a winner and try to play on your errors, forcing them. So this is how they use your pace in the service or on your hits to beat you. They tend to get on your nerves and you need a strong mental preparation as well to beat them.


The main strategies to beat them are listed below, take note and get ready to beat a counter puncher:

1. Attack the net

The counter puncher player doesn’t like to be rush, so applying pressure to them it’s a great technique. Try to attack quite often and see the result  of letting them move around the court and try to close the point aggressively at the net

2. Be patient

Most of the points you will be able to make will take longer time than the one you wanted. If you will get nervous and start to hit stronger than usual or trying difficult shots the opponent will gain advantage from this

3. Hit behind them

Lot of the counter puncher players enjoy to run over an open court but if you can hit behind them this changes the game.

4. Don’t’ get lobbed all the times

This is definitely one of the things the counter puncher loves to do. Getting lobbed is quite frustrating but more it is to miss overhead so take your time and if that’s the case, let it bounce and hit it after that.

5. Try to move them forward and backward

The technique is very simple as you should use drop shots quite often, and later on lob them and make them go backwards. Do it as much as you can to avoid them to stay in their comfort zone behind the backline and you’ll get a good result.


Nowadays still some counter punchers are right there in the ATP and WTA circuit however they are decreasing in comparison to the past.

In the ATP we can find Andy Murray, former number 1 and Gaël Monfils one of the top French players in the last 10 years. Another French coming from the similar background of Monfils and great interpreter of the counter puncher style is Gilles Simon

While in the WTA circuit instead Martina Navratilova is one of the previous generation leader counter puncher while today Emma Raducanu, Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki showing that in the female world this style of play is often played even at the highest level due to the fact that women don’t have the power force of the strong shots happening in the male, ATP circuit.


Beating counter puncher players is not an easy task for any professional player and it gets more difficult if you are a beginner or intermediate. Take your time, be patient and start to develop a strong shot (this can be very helpful as it will allow you to complete the point without tiring rallies). 

In other words, have a weapon to fight them or you’ll lose lot of games against this style of players. Another type of action against them is to maintain strong, consistent first serve as they always have it so you can’t compete without the help of the service with the counter-puncher players.

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