I'd just like to relay a little story about a match I had with a friend of mine. She's a 5.0-5.5+ lefty and I've known her for years and it was just a friendly match so I was looking forward to it. So, we started out and I was just playing my usual game keeping the ball deep and with lots of topspin. Basically trying to massage the ball around the court and force her into errors by moving her from side to side front to back. This is exactly what she liked. She had no trouble spanking high forehand and backhands and even drops shots that I executed well we're retrieved with what I considered little problem. She didn't serve that hard but she placed it well and I was still in the mode of just getting the ball deep and moving her around so I wasn't really attacking them. I'm 35 years old and not in same shape I was when I played college tennis so the long rallies began to wore me down. I had a bad service game and I lost the first set 6-3. I wasn't terribly disappointed considering she is consider one of the best single players at the club. Now this is where it gets interesting. She asked me to play another and I agreed but I knew I couldn't play the same game. So what did I do? I started to blast the ball as hard as I could. She was 3-4 inches shorter then me and I outweighed her by probably 50-60 pounds so I knew I could hit the ball harder then her but I just wasn't. It was odd because before I knew it I was up 3-0. She couldn't handle the pace. The high balls she was spanking on the rise we're suddenly all coming back short where I followed them in and hit them for winners. All at 100%+ effort. The second set lasted half an hour. I won it 6-0. I was like WTF? How did I just bagel her after losing a tough 1st set. It gets more interesting. The next match I wanted to see what would happen if I started with that type of intensity again. It was against my friend Dave, 5.0+, plays majors, I tore through him 6-1,6-2. Then I did to my friend Brian and then Stuart all pretty close to love sets. These are all 4.5-5.0 players. What the heck is going on? Did I just stop hitting it this hard because I started playing all this social tennis or have I ever hit this hard? Ok. So here's the catch though. My body was taking a beating. After every match I'd spend 20 mins in the whirl pool and 10-15 min in the steam room and I was still really sore. Each match seem to take a little more out of me . Come to my latest match against Stuart. I wasn't able to muster that intensity again. My legs lost their spring and my shoulder wasn't 100%. The same shots I was drilling before I was hitting off balanced and catching the frame. I was still trying to drill the ball but the gusto was gone. More over my focus wasn't were it needed to be. I'd hit one shot great but the next one horribly. I just felt worn out. We didn't even finish the set, it was 5-5 and it took us over 80 mins to get there (one winner/one error at a time). What I realized, for me that level of hitting the ball was in essence, unsustainable. I could do for a number of matches in a stretch but in the end it really burned me out. It just made me think about some players on the pro tour who probably max out their intensity on every match. And how some players just play good enough to win and save their best tennis. Moreover, there's are some players who play the match of thier lives, beat the number seed and then fall the next round with nothing left in the tank. I realized it might have something to due with fitness and my age but it wasn't only my mechanics, it was in my head too, I was getting impatient and over zealous. The fire that burns brightest burns quickest they say. I realized that over the last stretch of matches. So has anyone had a similar experience as this? Is there a secret to playing out of your mind and sustaining it? I guess I'll keep experimenting. I set that you win 6-4 is worth as much as you win 6-0. I guess I'll keep experimenting trying to find a happy medium so I don't burn out so quickly. I hope you enjoyed my perspective.