Every tennis tactic can be applied in a match, depending on the shots of the opponent. Tennis singles tactics depends on the player, the type of opponent, the match situation and the type of court surface.
Below are tennis tactics for singles matches.
Control the game
Being in control of the game means it’s important to avoid being the defensive player. A tennis singles tactic should allow you be the offensive player. When you are on the offensive, you are in a position to make the winning shots, while your opponent is simply returning your shots. The best way to do this is to hit the ball early by stepping up inside the baseline. This tennis tactic will make your opponent move a lot in the court forcing him to hit off balance shots.
Know your opponent’s weaknesses and strengths
Tennis tactics begin with knowing all about your opponent’s game. Try to observe their weaknesses and strengths before every tennis game. This can be categorized into three aspects; technical, physical and mental.
Before you play your tennis match, you have to know what are your own strengths and weaknesses. On one hand, you also have to know the weaknesses and strengths of your opponent. Knowing his weaknesses will enable you to find ways and means to expose them in the game. This is an important tennis singles tactics especially for players looking to gain an advantage over their opponents at the start of the match.
Like for example, if you know that your opponent’s backhand is his weakest point, then in the actual game make sure that you make more shots to his backhand side. To know his strengths is of equal importance, if you know that his forehand is very powerful then you avoid your shots to his forehand as much as possible.
Be mentally ready
To be mentally ready can also be a big factor in tennis match. You have to be mentally positive that you are going to win. Like for example, if someone is playing against Federer and Nadal, the top two best players in the world, be mentally conditioned that you will win so that you will have a chance. However, if before the start of the game you don’t believe you will win, you won’t win the game.
Surprise your opponent
In this tennis singles tactic, you need to think and move fast. When you want to surprise your opponent, your opponent should think the opposite of what you actually do. A very good example in these tennis tactics is when you are going to hit a very high overhead ball. You have to position yourself as if you are going to hit the left side of the court, but in your mind you hit the opposite side. You opponent would normally run to the left side but he will just be surprised that the ball lands in the right side of the court. The element of surprise is absolutely necessary as a tennis singles tactic, because as soon as your opponent begins to become comfortable, then the match is usually going to fall in his or her favor.
Be aggressive on the second serve
This singles tennis tactic is very important if you are playing against a strong server. It is very hard to break a player whose serve is very strong. However, a player does miss his first serve from time to time. Once your opponent misses his first serve, you should be very aggressive in returning his second serve. One very good tactic in returning a second serve is to go down the line and generate more pace and do the chip-and-charge tactic. Winning more points in your opponent’s second serve may even force your opponent to execute less intense but safer first serve and this will result to your advantage.
Play to win
Play to win is among tennis tactics that relates to the mental side of tennis. In any sport, there is always a winner and a loser, but what do you need and what do you have to do in order to win? This situation is to your advantage because he or she has less opportunity to hit aggressive shots. In addition to a flat return, you can also add topspin in your shot to produce a high bounce which can be uncomfortable to your opponent.
The best answer is to use your skills against your opponent and not against you. If you are very good in one part of the game, it does not mean that you can make use of it with every opponent. Like for example, if you are a net player, but your opponent is a player with good passing shots, then your net skill won’t work with him.
On one hand, if you are very good in hitting big groundstrokes, but you opponent is like Nadal who has very powerful groundstrokes and very good in baseline plays, then your powerful weapon becomes neutralized.
You don’t need to change your tactic, but the most important thing is you are able to adjust and counteract your opponent’s play as well as his weapons.
One power tennis singles tactic is to hit the ball with topspin. This tennis tactic is very common in professional tennis. If your opponent has this weapon, you will be left always as the defensive player. One way to counteract this is to prevent your opponent from producing topspin by returning the ball with a gentle slice and a soft backspin into the net. Another way to counteract your opponent’s topspin tactic is take balls early in the baseline.
Panic is always your best enemy when your opponent plays at the net. If you start to panic because you opponent is playing in the net, then your opponent’s tactic worked.
Effective drop shot
A drop shot can be a very effective tennis tactic to win a point if you execute it accurately and perfectly. However, if it is executed poorly, surely you will lose a point. The first thing to consider is your position and your opponent’s position in the court. Your ideal position should be short while your opponent should be deep, way behind the baseline.
Another situation is when your opponent is in the other corner side of the court (left corner) and then you drop shot your ball in the other side of net (right side of the net). This means that your opponent has a very long way to run to be able to return the ball. A very important thing to consider in this single tennis tactic is when you do a drop shot, you should surprise your opponent. Do not give him a hint that a drop shot is coming. This tactic is very fulfilling when you succeed, but it can be addictive and become less effective especially if you do it consecutively.
Don’t play against yourself
Some players get impatient if they are playing with an opponent who likes to play safe tennis. Safe tennis is one of the inevitable tennis singles tactics that you will encounter at the club level. Some tennis enthusiasts calls them ‘moonballers.” These are the players who just wait for their opponent to make unforced errors. Generally they are very good defensive players who do not attack, but prefer to play defense. If you are playing against a player like this, you have to be very careful not to get impatient. When a player gets impatient, he tends to play shots that he never practices before the actual match. If you do this, you will allow your opponent to manipulate you. This can result to your errors and an advantage to your opponent.
Is it right to play safe or be aggressive?
In any of the tennis tactics, you can either play safe or be an aggressor. A safe play means you don’t hit attacking shots or hit winner shots. You just play the safe side of tennis which is to return the ball effectively.
The aggressive player is the one who hits winners. The question is which is a better tennis tactic?
When you play tennis, you can’t play safe all the time because your aggressive opponent will find the best shot to topple you down. Your opponent can vary his or her shots that can force you to move around the court resulting you to make errors. However, it is not right also to hit winners all the time. This means your percentage of errors can increase.
A game plan is the recipe behind every tennis tactic. In every match you play, you play against different types of opponents. So before the start of the game, you need to evaluate yourself and make out a plan how to play your game based on your weaknesses and strengths as well as your opponent.
Like for example, if your opponent has very good footwork and groundstrokes in the baseline, then the best counter attack on that is your baseline defensive tactic. If your opponent is a very aggressive player in the baseline, then you will outplay him if you play more short balls forcing him to commit errors. Having a game plan is essential as a singles tennis tactic because without one, it is like driving into a highway blindfolded.
It does not mean that you have to have all the weapons in order to win a tennis match. All you need to do is to have some game plan for you to be able to counteract your opponent’s weapon and at the same time make use of your strengths.
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