Left-handed Tennis Strategy: A Beginner’s Guide

While the tennis game seems to be best suited for right-handers, it is not exclusive to them.

Only about 85 to 90 percent of the players are right-handed tennis players, the remaining10 to 15 percent are left-handed tennis players.

While the lefties, as they are commonly called in the tennis industry, are uncommon in the tennis game, they are not at a disadvantage in the game.

Nadal, left hand tennis player

According to Angela Haynes, former 95th world tennis player and current WTA Tour coach, being a lefty was one of the top weapons she used to her benefit during her tennis career.

For lefties, their opponents are mostly righties and their default and safety shots and tactics are mostly geared to attack their opponents’ weaker side, which is the backhand side, or the left-hand side of the tennis court.

While doing this will be relatively easy for the lefties because it’s their forehand, right-hander tennis players will feel very uncomfortable.

Professional Left-handed Tennis Players

Left-handed champions, such as Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, and Jimmy Connors have used several left-handed tennis strategies to win several major titles. You too can utilize some of these strategies.

Since the percentage of right-handed players out there is higher, lefties will have to play the game against righties most of the time.

When the two meet to play the tennis game, lefties automatically have an experience advantage over the righties. For instance, most righties’ strength is their forehand and most of their shots in a rally are cross-court.

Obviously, while a righty would play to his/her lefty opponent’s forehand, a lefty would play to his/her righty opponent’s backhand, which is not comfortable for them

While you may say that a righty’s forehand is also a lefty’s backhand, the lefties are more comfortable because they play most of their tennis against righties. Lefties are more prone to having to defend shots from righties on their backhand.

Here are some left-handed strategies you can implement in the tennis game whether you’re left-handed or not. While these strategies will help you to become more effective as a left-handed tennis player, they will help you to effectively combat a lefty if you a righty.

Three very important strategies you should possess as a lefty to take full advantage of the lefty edge:

  • This shot will enable you to “cheat” over to your backhand side a little more and still be able to counter the initiative if you are forced to do so.
  • This shot will get you out of unfavorable forehand of your opponents to your backhand. It will also tempt your righty opponent to hit the backhand crosscourt to your forehand.
  • This shot will set you up for the most favorable forehand to your opponent’s backhand rallies.

Left-handed Tennis Strategy: 4 Strategies That Work:

1). Out-wide Serve

Out-wide serve is a great weapon that lefties can use against the righties. When lefties serve the tennis ball on the ad side of the court, they can make use of the slice serve to swing the ball out wide onto the righties’ backhand.

When this is done, the righties are put at a disadvantage and lefties should expect a weak response from the righties, which will help them to take control of the point.

More so, because righties aren’t familiar with receiving the tennis ball at this angle from their fellow righties, they will find it uncomfortable and have to adapt more before coming up with a good return.

2). Using Spin

Although spin is a major weapon in the tennis game, lefties can take more advantage of it. For instance, lefties can use spin coming in from the side that the righties aren’t familiar with.

This will create a very interesting tactical battle.

A successful left-handed strategy is hitting a forehand crosscourt and applying lots of topspin to a high looping ball. This will make the tennis ball kick up high to the backhand side of the righties, which is always a tough ball to defend.

Another successful strategy for the lefties is to hit a heavy slice off their backhand to the righties’ forehand, so they have to dig up the low ball.

3). Scouting Your Opponent

Though this strategy is not exclusive to left-handed tennis players only, it will work better for them. As a left-handed tennis player, it is always good for you to watch your opponent in action and pay extra attention before you play the game with them.

This is because your opponents’ shots will be coming differently from each direction. Hence, look at your opponents’ shots and see how you can get an edge over them.

Carefully highlight your opponents’ strengths and consider their patterns and shot combinations right from the moment they served. With this, you can find out whether the targets of your opponents are consistent or random and whether they like to get to the net or stay back.

4). Final Tip for A Left-handed Tennis Player

When you’re playing with a right-handed tennis player, always check the direction that your grip is put on.

Most racquets are gripped in line with the contour of the right hand, so always put your grip on upside down. This will make the racket feel much better in your hand and you too will feel much comfortable.

Also, you must give extra attention to your footwork because lefties are prone to go down the line with their backhand side when playing a righty opponent.

Finally, always try to practice the tennis game with other lefties whenever you have the opportunity so that you can perform better prepared in tennis matches.


The tennis game is not exclusive to right-handed tennis players. And there is no advantage that the right-handed tennis players have that left-handed tennis players do not have.

In fact, tennis is an interesting game for left-handed tennis players too. However, with the strategies listed above, left-handed tennis players will not only find the tennis game more interesting but would also have an edge over their righty counterparts.

In summary, all left-handed tennis players should understand their edge, use these strategies above, and use kill shots on the more significant points and to their advantage.

And always remember that as a tennis player, either righty or lefty, your edge lies in using your skills and talents to win the game.