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.