August 7, 2018 9:38 pm

A rare breed: Ambidextrous tennis player at University of Alberta

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Pandas player R.J. Gan doesn't know anyone else who plays like her. Her coach says he's seen players that have two backhands but he's never seen someone hit the ball the way Gan does. Quinn Phillips has more.


Alberta Pandas’ tennis player R.J. Gan doesn’t play like anyone she knows.

Her coach has never seen anyone play her style either.

The 21-year-old doesn’t have a backhand; she plays two forehands, tossing her racket from one hand to the other during the heat of action.

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“It rattles a lot of players at the beginning, especially if they haven’t played her before,” Pandas assistant coach Ivan Quintero said.

And the one-of-a-kind style has certainly worked. By the age of 12, Gan was a B.C. provincial champion. Last season she won the national championship-clinching game for the Alberta Pandas.

Really though, it makes sense to her coach. When you teach a kid a two-handed backhand, you’re usually using your weaker arm.

“Say the kid is right handed, it’s the left hand actually that drives the shot,” Quintero said. “So they’re really hitting a lefty forehand.”

It also helps that Gan is ambidextrous.

“I used to write with two hands and I eat two-handed,” Gan said.

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