Do you play TBs differently? If so, how?

beltsman

Legend
Do you have a different mindset/strategy in TBs? Do you play safer? Or with a more defined gameplan? I find myself playing higher percentage "smart" tennis during TBs. During games I freewheel a bit more and try different things out. Do you think this is bad practice? Should we play all points like they are a TB? Or is it good to push some boundaries, get creative, and maybe see what is most effective during games when you have a little more freedom, so to speak?
 
Do you have a different mindset/strategy in TBs? Do you play safer? Or with a more defined gameplan? I find myself playing higher percentage "smart" tennis during TBs. During games I freewheel a bit more and try different things out. Do you think this is bad practice? Should we play all points like they are a TB? Or is it good to push some boundaries, get creative, and maybe see what is most effective during games when you have a little more freedom, so to speak?
I keep doing what got me there if I have the momentum.

I change things up if my opponent has the momentum.

I don't usually play safer unless I sense my opponent is making a lot of errors.

Then again, my TB record is sub-.500 so I'm not the font of knowledge.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I tend to be more conservative when serving a TB as DF's are lethal. But I'm not sure I play out the point less aggressively.

TB points are like 15-15, 30-30 and Deuce points. Play them a bit bigger. Unless pressure makes you tight. Then don't. I tend to focus better on big points and play them better, so a lot depends on your mental strength.
 
I tend to be more conservative when serving a TB as DF's are lethal. But I'm not sure I play out the point less aggressively.
But aren't UEs just as lethal as DFs?

If so, shouldn't you be more conservative on everything?

If not, then shouldn't you serve just as aggressively as in the regular set?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I will agree with OP .... play the entire match like it was a TB. Every single point, ball counts.
That is at least in my ideal world.

I play TB with a bit more focus ... which means sometimes I get a bit tight. But in general I play smarter tennis ... not going for too much, safe targets, 70% power. I win better than 50% of TBs

Wish I could pull off that level of focus for an entire match ... but my brain goes on walkabout for a game or two (or 3) :rolleyes:
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
But aren't UEs just as lethal as DFs?

If so, shouldn't you be more conservative on everything?

If not, then shouldn't you serve just as aggressively as in the regular set?
It's as much a mental thing as anything. DF's tend to sag your confidence far more than a UE. You never even gave the opponent a chance to miss. At my level where shot tolerance is borderline, that's hard to take.
 
It's as much a mental thing as anything. DF's tend to sag your confidence far more than a UE. You never even gave the opponent a chance to miss. At my level where shot tolerance is borderline, that's hard to take.
I see where you're coming from and was thinking along the same lines.

But if DFs are more lethal, aren't points gained from aggressive serving also more lethal to one's opponent?
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
I usually increase my 1st serve if there is evidence during the set that a great 1st serve will get me a free point, ['m talking a serve that is 50-60% chance of going in. I'll miss more, but I have a 2nd serve that I just don't double fault with, I can go a few matches without 1 double fault, but no, it's not a weapon, just a good point starter. On return of serve, I make my opponent win the points, I don't go for a winner on return, just something to make my opponent move and "win" it.

I'm more likely to get free points from 1st serve and serve and volley, so I do that. I hope my opponent has nerves if I get ahead and so I make him try to hit a winner or out rally me while hitting solid shots. If I am up even by 2, I'm counting on the opponent getting inside his head and making a mistake. I try the same strat if I am behind, I will lose the tie break to winners from my opponent and patiently wait for a winner opportunity, not go for broke on the first or second shot. No, I don't win every tie break, but that's how I approach it.

Something kind of on topic, like was said before, don't change what was working. I played a doubles match last week and my partner was serving 40-0, we got there with really well placed serves and then he goes for a 100 mile serve totally out of his character and misses, almost double faults. I was just thinking to myself, why are you doing that at 40-0?! He almost double faulted, I've seen too many 40-0 doubles games go to deuce from 40-15 when the receiving team gets some confidence. Anyway, point is be flexible....It goes to what I wrote before about my serve in tie breaks, if I played a match where a different first serve was giving me 40-0 results, I wouldn't do that strategy above.
 
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Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
In doubles, I have had remarkable success by switching receiving sides for the match tiebreak if we lost the second set.

it works because if you lost the second set, that often means the opponents figured you out. Switching sides disrupts their momentum.

I also think it can get in their heads and make them doubt themselves a bit. Say the have been picking on the deuce returners BH. Then we switch sides and she has a different returner on the deuce. Should she still serve up the middle? And should she target the weak BH returner, who is now playing ad?

By the time the opponents figure out what works, the tiebreak is almost over.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I see where you're coming from and was thinking along the same lines.

But if DFs are more lethal, aren't points gained from aggressive serving also more lethal to one's opponent?
Aces at my level are mostly lucky. I don’t lose confidence if I’m aced. I don’t gain confidence I ace someone. They are the equivalent of nailing the line.
 
Aces at my level are mostly lucky. I don’t lose confidence if I’m aced. I don’t gain confidence I ace someone. They are the equivalent of nailing the line.
I wasn't limiting aggressive serving to aces; it also includes service winners that don't come back or weak returns that get put away.
 

beltsman

Legend
I wasn't limiting aggressive serving to aces; it also includes service winners that don't come back or weak returns that get put away.
It never really bothers me because in my mind I know I will get second serve looks eventually. Plus, if the opponent is on fire serving, I just say too good.
 

blakesq

Hall of Fame
what is TB?

Do you have a different mindset/strategy in TBs? Do you play safer? Or with a more defined gameplan? I find myself playing higher percentage "smart" tennis during TBs. During games I freewheel a bit more and try different things out. Do you think this is bad practice? Should we play all points like they are a TB? Or is it good to push some boundaries, get creative, and maybe see what is most effective during games when you have a little more freedom, so to speak?
 

Crazy Finn

Professional
Just play smart, confident tennis. Do try to win point, but win them with good shot selection and smart play, not the highlight reel shot. Don't give up on any balls. Let the other team or guy feel the pressure, not you.

Otherwise, keep doing what you're doing.

If the other team was on a streak to get to the TB, consider mixing things up for the TB. Play more I-formation or Australian, if you haven't. Maybe it'll throw them off they'll take several points to adjust. That's enough to win a TB.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I wasn't limiting aggressive serving to aces; it also includes service winners that don't come back or weak returns that get put away.
At my level weak serves get errors almost as much as aggressive serves.

I'm not talking just bunting a ball into play. But rather not going for the corners as much on first serve and really focusing on the ball on second serve.

At my level most points end in an error, often unforced or minimally forced. You just want to make sure you give the opponent an opportunity to make that error.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Exactly!

I do like to throw in the S&V on occasional points to throw the opponent off guard. No returner wants to see a server rush in when playing a tight tiebreaker.
Depends on the returner. As a seasoned doubles player I've developed oodles of defensive returns to avoid net people. Lob returns, dipping returns, moonball DTL returns. A S&V tactic rarely fazes me.

I guess it also depends on the quality of the serve too. But I don't face too many guys that are blasting 100 mph serves with any degree of accuracy. Those guys already beat me before we ever get to a TB :D.
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
By the time you get to a tie-breaker, you have played at least one set
and have some feeling for what has been working and what has been not.

A TB is a good opportunity to put that knowledge of your opponent's
vulnerabilities and how you are feeling about what has been working for you
into practice. Not saying to "play it safe"- but rather to not change what works and
to aviod a suddent desire to experiment with something completely new.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
and
to aviod a suddent desire to experiment with something completely new.
Matches are rarely a good time to experiment with something new. Generally if you are doing that, you either coasted to an easy victory or were soundly being thrashed.

If you've got to a TB, you've been pretty even playing to your strengths. Keep playing your game but recognize that pressure exists for both players. Give the opponent a chance to show their nerves by keeping the margins for error low and the focus high.
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
Matches are rarely a good time to experiment with something new. Generally if you are doing that, you either coasted to an easy victory or were soundly being thrashed.

If you've got to a TB, you've been pretty even playing to your strengths. Keep playing your game but recognize that pressure exists for both players. Give the opponent a chance to show their nerves by keeping the margins for error low and the focus high.
Exactly.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Hopefully by the time a TB rolls around, it’s clear to me what my opponents weaknesses are. TB is high time to for me to get as many looks with my strengths as possible, and make them beat me with their weakness.

I’m also a big believer in playing the score in a tiebreaker:

- Behind by a lot? Take some chances to get back in it
- Ahead by a lot? Step on the gas pedal
- Close? Play smart
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
- Behind by a lot? Take some chances to get back in it
- Ahead by a lot? Step on the gas pedal
- Close? Play smart
I agree. I'm more prone to take a shot at a big serve or winner DTL if I'm up 6-2 in a TB than at 4-4.
If I'm way down in a TB, sometimes the best thing I can do is play to my opponents overconfidence and give him some junk to try to hit winners off of. Throw some moonballs and short slices in there. Stand inside the baseline on serve return to get him to try the big serve.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
In doubles, I have had remarkable success by switching receiving sides for the match tiebreak if we lost the second set.

it works because if you lost the second set, that often means the opponents figured you out. Switching sides disrupts their momentum.

I also think it can get in their heads and make them doubt themselves a bit. Say the have been picking on the deuce returners BH. Then we switch sides and she has a different returner on the deuce. Should she still serve up the middle? And should she target the weak BH returner, who is now playing ad?

By the time the opponents figure out what works, the tiebreak is almost over.
Hey Cindy welcome back. I thought you had quit tennis?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
If a set gets to a tiebreak, I am just looking forward to quickly losing it. The set has taken too much effort, and it is time to think of lunch/dinner whatever follows and get out of the place fast.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
For a match tiebreak in lieu of the third set, I usually tell myself to play aggressively and look to attack the ball. This is advice that specifically works for me, I would not tell everyone to do this. It works for me because I tend to slow down a little throughout the match and I may not be playing aggressive as I should be any more. Also, in general people tend to not want to lose the tiebreak (it seems to me) so they go for higher margin plays that can be attacked sometimes. In normal set tiebreaks I dont change much, try to focus more but nothing different, go for my shots, dont play to not lose and all that.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
How do you define, "step on the gas pedal" and "play smart"

I guess I'm asking, what are the parameters for yourself when you say these statements.
Take serving in doubles, for example. If my partner and I were way up, and I was serving, it would be a great time to go for an ace on a first serve.

If the score was much tighter, I wouldn’t go for an ace. Instead I would hit a high percentage first serve, utilizing spin and direction. If I make it, I’ve given my partner a chance to be active at the net.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
I don’t think about it to be honest. Maybe I should, maybe I shouldn’t. Tons of times I’ve nuked a pretty brave FH winner to a line only to realize “Damn that was set point for him and I probably miss that finisher 30-40% of the time”... but on the flip side because I don’t think about it, I don’t have any increased chance to miss from stressing it.

Honestly the best advice in tennis is to play the game you’ve trained to play and accept you’ll make random errors without dwelling on them.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I play much more conservative in a tie breaker. Tie breakers can get out of hand quickly, and unforced errors and double faults will absolutely kill you. It’s not like regular game scoring where you can force deuce points and then go back and forth with mistakes getting covered up if you play the next point well.

Also, everybody gets tight in a tie breaker. I’ve seen it a million times. Guys start missing routine balls that they almost never miss, overheads don’t find the court, drop shots fall short into the net, etc. If you just simply play solid high percentage tennis, you will win more breakers than you lose.
 
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