New site coming soon. Preview Now!

Bollettieri Q&A: Two forehands; chip-and-charge rules

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 /by

Hi Nick, I play first singles on my high school team. I have trouble when my opponent serves toward my backhand. My backhand isn’t very good, so I switch to my left hand and hit a forehand (I’m ambidextrous). My left hand is consistent during practice, yet I have trouble with it during real matches. Should I switch back to my one-hand backhand or continue to adjust and progress with my left-handed forehand?—Peter Siv

First thing you can do: Try to force your opponent to serve to your forehand. Change your position when you return serve. Shade toward the middle on the deuce side and see if your opponent can beat you with a wide serve (my guess is he can’t). In the ad court, move toward the alley and tempt him to serve up the middle. The best part about this position: You’ll be moving toward the middle of the court to return. As far as whether you should keep hitting a left-handed forehand or work on your backhand, I’d suggest working on your backhand. You can learn it and it will serve you better in the long run.

Hi Nick, here is my question: Are there any firm rules about chipping and charging?  I figured that you would be an authority on this as Boris Becker used to do it once in a while.—Simon

The chip and charge is a great play, especially at the recreational level. Here are my rules:

—Use an Eastern backhand grip (on your backhand).
—Prepare early and bend down to the level of the ball.
—Drive the ball deep into the backcourt. This gives you time to move in close to the net and gives your opponent a difficult shot.

You could also mix things up by hitting a few short slices that force your opponent to move forward. This can induce them to lunge and hit up on the ball, giving you an easy volley.

Have a question for Nick? Write to him at

Nick Bollettieri of the Bollettieri Tennis Academy has trained many collegiate and professional players, including 10 who reached the world No. 1 ranking.


Want to read more articles like this one? Subscribe to TENNIS today.

Before commenting, please read our Posting Guidelines.

Top Ranked Players
More Rankings