More and more players these days are coming out swinging and swinging hard. Though playing against these hard hitters can be intimidating, the truth is that there will always be players who hit bigger than you and are more consistent. The good news is that many of these players take big, inaccurate swings and can only hit one or two balls in the court in a row.
When battling a big hitter, there are things you can do to throw your opponent off their groove and neutralize their power. There are also things you can do to return the hard-hit strokes.
Don't Try to Match Their Power
There's no need to match a big hitter's power with your own. Most of the big hitters like it when their opponent hits the ball hard because it helps them generate power as well. If you try to match power for power and that's not your normal game plan, you will fall right into the hands of your opponent. Take some place off of the ball and use placement.
Force your opponent to generate all the pace off of their shots. This can help you draw more errors out of your opponent if you can place the ball well.
Keep Them Away From the Strike Zone
One of the best things you can do against power hitters is to keep them from hitting the ball in their strike zone. The strike zone is where your opponent would naturally swing the racquet and come into contact with the ball.
The last thing you want to do is to hit the ball with little spin landing a couple feet behind the service line. If your opponent is able to step in to hit his/her shots they will definitely be in their comfort zone. Using spin is a big help against power players. Try slicing the ball to keep the ball low. This forces your opponent to have to hit up on the ball and makes it tougher to take a big swing. Lots of topspin also makes it more difficult for your opponent, if you hit the ball deep enough in the court.
The Power of Placement
Placement is also key. If you can keep your opponent deep in the court it will be harder for them to generate power and will give you more time to react to their shots. Hitting short angled slices will also force them to move forward and have to hit up. Keeping your opponent moving side-to-side is usually a good play so they have less time to prepare and they will have fewer opportunities to step into the ball to take a big swing.
That covers what you can do to try to neutralize your opponent's power. However, they will still hit plenty of hard shots and you need to be prepared to return them.