Frustration! Lost to a player on the weekend, not really sure what to do.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by StringSnapper, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    So I played this guy for a league match. He was ranked higher than me slightly. But he's at the rank i'm aspiring to get to. A win would of really boosted my confidence.

    Anyway, he had a strong game. No weaknesses. Good bh. Good serves. Good volleys. Everything was good. My game comparatively is good fh, bh, serve, but i'm bad at the net so i tend to stay on the baseline.

    The score was 6-4, 6-2

    We must of gotten to deuce in about 12 times no joke, and he must of won about 10 of them. At 4-4 i was serving, it went to deuce, he won. At 4-5 he was serving, it went to deuce, he won. Then more of the same in the next set.

    But he was a better player, if only slightly. I have to give him that. He earnt those deuces. I didn't feel in control anyway. He wasn't a massive rip the ball type player, but his shots had decent heat. They kicked off the court and were mostly deep. If they landed short, they werent super short and I couldn't just gun him off the court because he had good movement too.

    I made a few errors at the net, he made none.

    It remined me of the french final. I was Thiem, he was Nadal. I was trying to hit through him and do some damage from the back of the court, because i couldn't do it elsewhere. But he had the defense and movement to hang on before i made an error.

    Anything i hit short he'd punish.
    Argh... it was a painful loss.

    A team mate of mine was watching, he's a lot older but still a great player. Better than me. He said i have the game to win, but i needed to add some more variety - that i was I hitting too nice and too clean, too consistent for the opponent to get used to it. I'm interpreting this as meaning vary the pace, go for some angles, hit more slices on my bh.

    When I was playing i was thinking differently - "Okay, in these long topspin rallies he seems to be getting the better of me. I need to get it back deep and fast and get a strangle hold on the rallies" - so id try and hit a hard flat deep serve and serve return to put him on the back foot. He seemed to handle this pretty well, but i did earn a few points like this. Comparatively it felt like i was losing the longer rallies because we'd eventually put one short, but he was better at finishing it off with an approach shot or a volley.

    Perhaps it would have been better to vary my strategy? Some flat deep returns, some deep loopy returns? I'm wary about varying it too much though, because I might make an error too. Like if i'm serving mostly topspin and kickers, its difficult to start serving mostly flat and slice. I didn't feel comfortable slicing this guys serves for instance. He had a lot of juice on them, and i feel like my flat or topspin serve return is much more consistent especially on hard court (what we played on).


    What are your opinions guys? This guy was beatable. I know it. I could feel it in the first set, it was so even. I got a bit frustrated, but I reigned myself back in pretty well too. I guess he did the same. Maybe it did come down to tactics.
     
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  2. MisterP

    MisterP Hall of Fame

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    You’re saying he’s beatable but you’re also saying he’s a better player. So what do you want to hear? Minimize his strengths and maximize your weaknesses. Whatever that is.
     
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  3. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    You're thinking about changing tactics, I'm not sure that's a good idea. The score was close, and you said he's rated a bit higher. The only thing is, you said he's better at the net. That could be the difference. See if you can't get into more doubles. That will improve your net game.

    Another thing to practice, is you and your practice partner each stand between the service line and the net. Keep a rally going without letting the ball bounce. If forces you to get alot quicker with your hands.
     
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  4. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Hall of Fame

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    Work on your net game. You have to be able to put it away and vary your opponents’ comfort in a rally. If you never approach, you never pressure your opponent and he’s playing comfortably the entire time. Any decent player can return hard hit or off pace shots. It’s a whole new ballgame to do it when a player approaches, shortens their prep time, and takes away angles.
     
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  5. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I've never been accused of hitting too nice and too clean. It remains to be seen whether hitting meaner and dirtier would have helped.

    It sounds like he was just a little better than you in most areas which means it's a poor matchup for you because there's no one area you can concentrate on where you're clearly better.

    For example, a counterpuncher like Ferrer might beat a power player like Isner by being more consistent but have a tougher time against Goffin because Goffin can be just as consistent but has more power.

    After losing the first set 6-4, that's not a clear indicator that your strategy is wrong; it could just be that he executed better than you. That's a tough call to make about whether you should switch strategy. I'd say by the middle of the 2nd set you should have altered something, even if it was too late for that particular match because it could benefit you down the road.

    I can't see any glaring errors in your approach. If you played him 10 times, how often do you think you'd win with your Plan A?
     
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  6. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    Not to be a jerk, but when I hear someone say that they could beat a person because there were so many deuce points or even break points (or game points) as a reason that they should be able to beat the opponent, I just shake my head. Losing from deuce or never being able to win a break point is a sign not that you two are close but that you two are far. Your opponent most likely has a pattern that wins points against you. He may not have the discipline to use it always, but he does use it when it counts and it is very effective. You need to identify these patterns and practice in such a way that you eliminate this pattern as an easy way to win a point from you.
     
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  7. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Go to the net on every point, whether you are serving or returning. Make him sick of seeing your face!
     
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  8. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Professional

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    If you are not good with varying pace, don't try it.
     
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  9. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I disagree. All other things being equal, if I beat my opponent 6-0 but he got Deuce every game, I'd consider him a better opponent than if I won at love every game.

    Now, it may be a stretch to jump from achieving Deuce to winning but it's certainly a start: at least he had some chances.
     
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  10. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    My only exception would be if you've tried other things and they've all failed. At that point, there's no harm in trying. Who knows? I might not be good at it but my opponent might be even worse in dealing with it.
     
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  11. Bender

    Bender G.O.A.T.

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    would of have, must of have, please!

    Other than that, maybe throw in some slices, not necessarily angles. Left to right is a range, but so is short and deep, low and high. If you kept giving him pace nice and deep with penetrating flat shots, you basically give him all the tools he needs to beat you. Either change direction from time to time, wrong foot, or hit slices and drop shots here and there to throw him off balance.
     
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  12. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    Probably only 3 as i am. He was stable. He'd beat me most of the time for sure.

    Yeah you're right. I do like my game. I don't think i want to start junk balling lol. I actually had a hit with the wall today to try and iron some thoughts out, posted my ideas from the hit here: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...ight-fight-to-maintain-contact-height.618791/


    I think the area i was most competitive in was baselining, but i hit one too many short balls and then in the 2nd set i tried to change my plan and hit harder which i think netted me some more errors, probably made it worse. But i still wasn't playing badly. Even though it was 6-2, nearly every game went to deuce in the 2nd. I think because the balls get a bit slower, the rallies go on a bit. Harder to close it out, and his slight edge shone more in the constant deuces.
     
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  13. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    I'm fully agreeing he was the better player lol. I'm just saying, it was within my grasp. I think 6 months ago he would of shut me out completely like 6-1 6-0 or something.
     
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  14. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    +1

    It's like that scene from *Star Trek: Wrath of Khan* where Spock observes that Khan appeared to think only in two dimensions. Tennis players get stuck thinking only in terms of lateral movement and fail to experiment with longitudinal movement as well as ball height.

    As the philosophy goes, find out what your opponent doesn't like and give him as much of that as you can [without completely destroying your own game, of course].
     
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  15. styksnstryngs

    styksnstryngs Professional

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    Look, if you don't want to drastically change your game style, which is imo the right move (to keep your game) then all you can do is steadily improve, work harder than the guy next to you. I just lost a tough final today in the third set tiebreaker, and three hours later I bandaged up my hands for more practice because I knew exactly what I had to work on to round out my game.
     
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  16. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Which was...?
     
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  17. NuBas

    NuBas Hall of Fame

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    Without a video its kind of hard to give specific advice. Reason you lost could be many including footwork, nerves, errors, or whatever but another thing is when a person is in the zone or finds their game and it clicks then its hard to get them off balanced. That particular day, I guess your opponent was more in the zone than you, his game clicked and yours did not. Maybe because it was that particular day or because simply you were not as strong of a player as you thought. Your self belief is there, now just make things click.
     
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  18. Acegame

    Acegame New User

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    If the match was relatively close as you said, I wouldn't dramatically change anything. He had difficulties, otherwise there wouldn't have been that many dueces. Maybe work on your excecution so that you hit less short balls he can finish of or focus on your netgame.

    Tactically you can maybe adjust minor details, based on your experience in the last match. Maybe you can go for the angles a bit more so he has to make more meters. Or once in a while a slice or something different (not too often). It's hard for us to tell since we didn't see the match.
     
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  19. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    Yeah after thinking about it all weekend and today I've finally come to the conclusion: not hitting it short is the key.

    I posted about my thoughts here if you want to check it out. Its only my 2nd year playing league so i'm still developing my game, i think this will be important for hitting it deep consistently going forward: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/take-back-height-fight-to-maintain-contact-height.618791/

    You know i don't think its asking too much of myself to hit it back deeper and harder. I like the baseline game, and I don't like junk balling crap lol. But to hit it deep and hard you need good footwork (which i have already) but also the ability to adapt if you cant defend your strike zone... which i was lacking on the weekend. I think all my short balls were because it was super high and i was swinging from a take-back position from my hip (so an extremely steep swing path) which just floated it over the net and short on those balls. If my take back position is adaptable (i.e. up higher on the high balls, lower on the low balls) i think i will do better hitting deeper.

    I'm happy with this. Sometimes when you lose, you win. I need to hit it like that. If i float back all high bouncing balls, i'll get crushed by better opponents. And if i don't lose to better opponents, i won't know its a weakness of mine. Better to know than put your head in the sand... So now i know, I need to crush those high bouncers, which involves technique mostly but I felt good hitting today with this idea.


     
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  20. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

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    @NuBas is right, without video we can only guess, you should make a video next time, so the pro tactical analyzers of ttw forum can tell you exactly how your tactics are wrong and which shot you should have hit in each situation instead.
     
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  21. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    Yeah but you didn't hit short because you wanted to, but instead because your opponent made you play a weaker ball, right?
    Anyway, not hitting it short without clear intention and plan is the key ;)
     
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  22. chrisb

    chrisb Semi-Pro

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    If you can win 55% of points their is a very high probability of winning match. That means u can lose 45% and still win. Set clear goals and say with them. The match is about holding and breaking Those should be the focus
     
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  23. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    Yeah but i now think it was due to a technical flaw in the takeback of my strokes
     
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  24. Jamesm182

    Jamesm182 Semi-Pro

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    Hitting too nice and clean is another way of saying you let your opponent get into a nice rythmn, you should of alternated the spin , depth and angles like you said. Pull them around instead of giving them consistent balls and pace etc etc

    It sometimes can really co0me down to the odd point so just focus on playing the important points well in future against them if you get another chance , the difference could be mental as much as anything else
     
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  25. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    Possible.
    Funny, what you describe, when I take too vertical swing path on a high ball and take a full swing, my ball usually sails long instead of ending being short.
    Which FH grip do you use?
     
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  26. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    i have a feeling i was swiping across the ball too much (hitting too early). it was happening on both my fh and bh. i use eastern 1hbh grip and semi western forehand
     
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  27. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    why was he making you hit short?
    interpretation: "you hit a ball i like to hit"
    but you can add variety, if you haven't practiced adding variety...(ever do a drill when you are forced to hit variety: drive, slice, heavy moonball, lob... <repeat>
    but more important that variety is deep consistency
    so you were getting short balls, but not finihsing? maybe that's where you need to practice
    maybe need to practice chip returns
    in general, you can only change your game plan with the tools you brought with you (ie. have already practiced)... even if you choose the right tool, but it's not practiced (eg. chip returns, or slice shots), then it's a poor tool, because you hadn't "sharpened" it ahead of time... probably better off using the hammer you've been using... and add variety there (ie. hard/soft, directional changes, high low, etc...)
     
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  28. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Professional

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    there are 2 main paths i can think of. The first one: based on variety of shots, pace, and spin. I usually hate this kind of advice because what people mean is: hit more junk balls. You might get a win or 2 but you won't become a better player. Moreover, hitting different kinds of shots consistently is a sign of a strong complete player. It takes a lot of work to get there.
    The second one: you can build your game around your favourite shot. Lets say your forehand. Give yourself 2 months and practice A LOT OF forehands. Make it so that if you get a forehand in the match, the point is pretty much over (LOL). I think this approach is easier than the previous one.
     
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  29. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

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    I agree, im the type of player who varies my shots alot.

    Topspin backand
    Slice backand
    Topspin forehand

    I vary the height over the net and also vary the spins, what type of spins and how much spins, and how much pace etc

    If you hit the same fh over snd over its easy to adjust and get rhytm and timinf, just like against someone who hits a bomb flat serve, at the start its a bit of a strugle but as time goes on you get the timing and rhytm down and it becomes easy.
     
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  30. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    This is a great view.
    Aside of tools one has, there's some space related to placement tactics variations for constructing points (or for destructing/making harder opponent's construction of points).
     
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  31. styksnstryngs

    styksnstryngs Professional

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    Oh, for me personally, I need to work on being able to use my slice offensively as well as attacking short, low balls so that I don't give them an easy pass or get myself stuck in no man's land. Plus some mental stuff.
     
    #31
  32. samarai

    samarai Semi-Pro

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    everyone is beatable. whether or not u have the skills to beat him is another question. i can rally with players from the baseline but if they cant handle slices and dropshots and lobs then guess what they will get a steady stream of. The object is not to look pretty, in a competitive match the object is to win the points. Beer is so much sweeter when u win.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  33. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I think it's a mistake to differentiate between "important" and "non-important" points. If I get into that habit, I could end up slacking off on enough points that I never get to an important point. Rather than riding that roller coaster, I try to treat each point the same ["try" being the operative word].

    Also, if I think "this is a really important point", what's likely to happen? I'll get nervous, tight, conservative, etc.
     
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  34. Jamesm182

    Jamesm182 Semi-Pro

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    Whilst I admire the theory of what you have said there are more important points in a match than others and how you
    Play should differ on those points
     
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  35. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    I agree with him. Every point you try and win, no? I am Rafa nadal

    Unless you have severe restriction like horrible fitness or an injury. But then should you be playing?
     
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  36. Jamesm182

    Jamesm182 Semi-Pro

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    You obviously want to win each point ,but there are times and points in games which are more pivotal than others. The way you would approach a first point in a service game , and your emotions and gameplan would (or should) differ from how you would look to play a point if you were 15-40 down. This is just common sense.
    Many players come off court and say they thought the game was close and just down to the odd point here and there. In other words the opposition played the big points better.
     
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  37. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    How do you think big, important points should be played?
     
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  38. Jamesm182

    Jamesm182 Semi-Pro

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    It depends on the circumstance. If something has been going well and you have been earning break point chances , I would advise to carry on with whatever is working.
    If defending a break point chance or a key point , I would try to build the point in a more cautious manner , maybe take some pace off the first serve to make sure it goes in etc. Generally try to attack when given a good chance otherwise at the very least make sure the opponent has to do something to beat you.

    Read quite a few books on the game and "big" points is nothing new , helped me a lot of got me some good tournament wins , just my opinion though at the end of the day and how I approach the game.
     
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  39. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    Ok, I agree with this...only, it's my usual approach to most of shots and situations, more or less important. I try to build the point, find a fine line between controlled aggressive play and keeping it in, this is my A plan. I try to get my momentum doing this, if it goes well in a match I start pressing bit harder, pushing that fine line. So I don't have a better plan on big points when they come, I usually just keep my focus the best I can.
     
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  40. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

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    Taking pace away and playing safe is exactly how you should NOT be playing big points because you will end up losing them.

    Federer, Nadal... no big player ever plays cautious and safe on big points, but go for it and try to win it.

    Of course with going for it I dont mean crazy ballbashing, but smart yet aggressive tennis trying to win the point.
     
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  41. Jamesm182

    Jamesm182 Semi-Pro

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    I never said play it safe? I said build the point more cautiously, instead of trying to smash a winner. You have named two players who are super aggressive players for your example.

    I could name Djokovic and Murray as two examples of players who would defend those points and build with more caution. Horses for courses. Djokovic especially is well known for going in lockdown mode on break points, at his best and will just not miss.
     
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  42. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

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    You should take your chances when ur facing break points, and try to play aggressive, but I don't mean super aggressive and bashing the ball, but aiming closer to lines and trying to stretch ur opponent and open the court and win the point.

    Usually it works much better because in most cases someone who is up 40:15 will usually be more tense since he has a chance to win the break, and will play more safe and just try to get the ball in and not make an error, so thats your chance to try to go and win the point with smart aggression.

    But it also depends on the opponent of course, some will play completely opposite.

    Of course playing like Djokovic is aswell good, but you need to still hit nice fast shots with nice topspin and not easy shots, my caution was just that you should not play too passive and slow down your shots, because you will absolutely give the chance to ur opponent to win the point.
     
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  43. StringSnapper

    StringSnapper Professional

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    That sounds exactly like my game lol
     
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  44. mcs1970

    mcs1970 Professional

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    He beat you in straight sets, with you getting 6 games total. Why assume he was beatable or say that he was better, but only slightly? Maybe he had a different gear to go to if you were playing any better. The only time you really know how good an opponent is when you've beaten them a couple of times and they are forced to bring their A game every time they play you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    #44
  45. zalive

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    Well it's a good gameplan, right? :)
     
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  46. jm1980

    jm1980 G.O.A.T.

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    I mean, they got to 4-4 and had deuce in the last two games of the set... That's close enough that with luck alone the set could have swung the other way

    There's very little to go by based on the OP's original post, but saying that is a sign that the two players are "far" is ludicrous IMO
     
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  47. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    Do you think that luck is the reason why Federer has turned it around against Nadal? If you go back to their old matches when Nadal was dominating, Federer would often have terrible break points won percentages against him. Why? Luck? Yeah, if by luck, you mean a slice serve out wide to the backhand.
     
    #47
  48. jm1980

    jm1980 G.O.A.T.

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    Are you saying Federer was not close to Nadal, but far? And conversely, Nadal is not close to Federer now, but far?
     
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  49. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    Far in terms of head to head, yes (obviously, not in terms of level). Not sure about now. At least there doesn't seem to be a "sure thing" pattern that Nadal can keep going back to.
     
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  50. jm1980

    jm1980 G.O.A.T.

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    Their head to head was heavily skewed due to a large number of matches on clay

    And if getting to 4-4 with deuces is not a sign that two players are close, what is? Losing 0-6?
     
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