Think Outside the Tennis Court Box
Your opponent won’t on purpose come out and tell you to hit to their backhand because it’s weaker, but you can observe that on your own. Same with the singles player who doesn’t come to net. It’s pretty obvious they prefer to stay back, so your job would be to bring them in.
Winning tennis is about taking your opponent out of their comfort zone. Listen to what they’re saying in between points and on changeovers. You might also pick up on what they say to their partner. Smart tennis players use all of this information to make adjustments in their own game.
Here are some comments that can be heard pretty regularly on the tennis court.
I hate your spin!
Your opponent is giving you a gift. They’re coming out and telling you how to beat them. From the moment you hear them say it, the rest of the match all you should do is hit spin. Extra spin if you can. They may have a hard time judging the trajectory of the ball, or just don’t have much experience with it, but whatever it is, they don’t like spin, so that’s exactly what you should give them.
Those short balls are hard to get!
Short balls are hard to get when you’re expecting it to come to you on the baseline. This opponent is probably really good hitting groundstrokes, maybe even good enough to beat you, but running in for a short ball is another tennis skill that they might not have. It may be that you've just exposed their weakness in lack of mobility. They just plain can't run. In this case, hitting with variety and depth will win you the match.
It’s more fun to hit with pace!
Most players get grooved in with a certain speed and pace of the ball. Receiving constant balls at the same pace makes it easier to repeat a good stroke. Soft balls require an adjustment to your timing, and that adjustment is hard for some players to make. If they’d rather hit with pace, then your job is to give them off pace and throw in some moon balls. It works for the pros.
Be sure to listen on the tennis court, during games and in between, even casual comments can give you a clue how to take your opponent out of their comfort zone and win.
Have fun on the courts!
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