Watch Where Your Opponent Stands
Pay attention to the opponent's court position and strike zone at contact.
For example, an opponent who is drifting back 15 feet beyond the baseline meeting the ball, at a head level strike zone, is most likely in a defensive position. You should be moving inside the court preparing to execute an offensive reply.
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What Is Your Opponent's Short Ball Preference?
Pay attention to preferred short ball options. What is the opponent's preference?
For example: one opponent may employ an approach shot/volley pattern, while another opponent may prefer to simply crush a down the line winning groundstroke off of their short balls. Which short ball option is their favorite?
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Remember, if you have effectively handled a crafty veterans favorite short ball option, you will soon be introduced to their second favorite short ball option (or Plan "B").
Think Like a Baseball Pitcher
Yes, you are hitting a ball but your stroke is their incoming pitch. Are you throwing the same 67 mph fastball, 2 feet over the net directly into their wheelhouse over and over again? And then walking away from the match saying, "They were too good! I had no chance!" The reality is you made them look good.
Pay Attention to the Speed of Play
This includes ball speed as well as between point and changeover playing speed. If the opponent prefers an aggressive, quick pace of play, slow it down.
Controlling the pace of the match is called rhythm disruption and it is very much a part of high performance tennis.
More: 5 Speed Training Tips for Tennis Players
Use Your Changeover Wisely
Use the allocated 90 seconds to design or modify the next two game's plan of attack instead of simply getting a Gatorade stain on your new shirt while watching the play over on court No. 6.
Implement a Between-Point Ritual
The proper between point rituals are just as important as change-over rituals in implementing a successful plan of attack.
Defeating a top ranked opponent is a complicated affair. It may require a bit of mental warfare to outsmart a seasoned champion.
Athletes who train correctly perform with a sense of elite composure. They remain poised even when things aren't going well.
Often in tennis, the player who simply loses their cool often loses the close matches. The art of winning requires being unflappable under stress and this skill is earned through proper training.
More: 4 Game-Changing Defensive Tips
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