These type of players use backspin strokes from both sides, with a shakehand deep grip. The player uses spin variation to force mistakes from his opponent, as well as the ability to retrieve his opponent’s attacks safely. Attacks are usually limited to easy balls, with few risks being taken.
Distance from the Table
Classic defenders typically play at a great distance from the table (8 feet or more), in order to give them more time to deal with their opponent’s attacks. Classic defenders who play close to the table are called pushers, but are almost unknown at high level, due to the difficulty in dealing with opponents powerful attacks.
Thin inverted rubber (1.0mm- 1.5mm sponge) is used on one side of the bat (generally the forehand), with long pimples or antispin on the other side. Long range players will usually have 0.5mm to 1.0mm sponge under the pimples or antispin, while close to the table pushers will often have no sponge underneath the pimples. (Antispin is an inverted rubber, and therefore must have sponge underneath the top sheet.) The blade is usually allround or slower, for better control of the ball.
This style of play is virtually non-existent at high levels, with only 1 player of this style in the top world ranks in recent years. In beginning to intermediate play, it can still be found, generally among older players who began playing before speed glue became popular (mid 1980’s).