Mindset once you open up the court?

#1
I just lost a match where I was blown out the 1st set, down a break the 2nd and got back on serve and was up 40-15 at 5-5 where I hit a great approach down the line forcing my opponent to pop the ball up giving me an open court that I hit in the middle of the net. After that I lost the game and he served out the match.

Throughout the match I'd pull him out of the court and then miss the shot into the open court way too often. I can remember 5 or 6 points where I did that. This is something I've noticed I do in real matches I don't do when in clinics or during private lessons. I'm trying to win the point so I think I'm looking to see what the other guy is doing so I know whether to go behind him or not. Seems like I take my eye off the ball and lose timing when I'd going this so I end up missing the shot.

What should you be thinking when you get an "easy" shot and have a wide open court? Ones like the shot Roddick missed vs. Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final at 6:20. Do you just decide as your running up to the ball where you're going to hit it? How much attention to you pay if any to your opponent's position?

 
#2
Once I got a very open court, and, happily, I put the ball in the open court for a winner. The opponent said, "I would have quit tennis if you would have missed that." I'm glad I didn't miss it. I wouldn't want that guilt that I made him quit tennis. Why would he quit because of something I did?

Anyway. Probably best to focus on the ball, and not on your opponent.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
#3
Yup. what he said. Focus on the ball and just hit it over and into the court, preferably not back to the opponent and not into the net. Doesn't matter if it is pretty or awe inspiring, just in is sometimes all it takes.
 
#4
Without the clear intent of a winner, just be prepared to have the shot come back for another open court volley.

When I hit with intent I visit the fence or doubles alley or the net. While I try to figure out the shot, I can powder puff but my quicker opponents get shots back. Now that I prepare for that eventuality, I win more points. Maybe not over 60% but more than when I put the gun away after a good shot b


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#5
I just lost a match where I was blown out the 1st set, down a break the 2nd and got back on serve and was up 40-15 at 5-5 where I hit a great approach down the line forcing my opponent to pop the ball up giving me an open court that I hit in the middle of the net. After that I lost the game and he served out the match.

Throughout the match I'd pull him out of the court and then miss the shot into the open court way too often. I can remember 5 or 6 points where I did that. This is something I've noticed I do in real matches I don't do when in clinics or during private lessons. I'm trying to win the point so I think I'm looking to see what the other guy is doing so I know whether to go behind him or not. Seems like I take my eye off the ball and lose timing when I'd going this so I end up missing the shot.

What should you be thinking when you get an "easy" shot and have a wide open court? Ones like the shot Roddick missed vs. Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final at 6:20. Do you just decide as your running up to the ball where you're going to hit it? How much attention to you pay if any to your opponent's position?

You Basically have 3 targets....hit into the more open court, the court you perceive as behind him, or to try to jam him. This really doesn't change even if the court has not been opened up. The Idea behind the Smart Targets design was to help players be more clear on where these 3 targets always are despite what is going on with your opponent. By intending to hit thru a Smart Lane, you can just about ignore the opponent, thus avoid trying to go too wide or not wide enough along with a host of other things that can go wrong.
 
#6
You Basically have 3 targets....hit into the more open court, the court you perceive as behind him, or to try to jam him. This really doesn't change even if the court has not been opened up. The Idea behind the Smart Targets design was to help players be more clear on where these 3 targets always are despite what is going on with your opponent. By intending to hit thru a Smart Lane, you can just about ignore the opponent, thus avoid trying to go too wide or not wide enough along with a host of other things that can go wrong.
That's very helpful. I think on the 40-15 point I was planning on just guiding the volley into the open court and then saw him running towards my shot and tried to hit it harder and ended up mistiming it. Deciding ahead of time which target to hit makes sense.
 
#7
That's very helpful. I think on the 40-15 point I was planning on just guiding the volley into the open court and then saw him running towards my shot and tried to hit it harder and ended up mistiming it. Deciding ahead of time which target to hit makes sense.
Same idea when returning in doubles with a poaching net man: if you're really good you can change direction and go DTL. More often than not, it causes me to miss. Most conservative option is to hit it where you intended to hit it. Maybe try and dip it more as that's not nearly as radical a change as changing direction. Or I might try going straight at him as he's moving because he may be expecting to have to reach for the ball instead of it jamming him.
 
#8
That's very helpful. I think on the 40-15 point I was planning on just guiding the volley into the open court and then saw him running towards my shot and tried to hit it harder and ended up mistiming it. Deciding ahead of time which target to hit makes sense.
yes, players will hit harder as you say as well as some may try to hit wider to keep it far fromt he charging player and hit wide for their trouble...Imo, selecting in advance and training to hit a Smart target/lane that is as wide as you can 'safely' can make a lot of sense.
 
#9
Definitely concentrate on your shot and not the opponent while hitting the shot. But also do have a clear understanding on what the situation is, when making that decision on shot. Any court situation, you have to automatically have an understanding of the below in the order of importance.

1. Incoming ball. How easy it is, and what you can do on the next shot (how aggressive you can be on the next shot).
2. Your court position. How bad your court position is, in case you are not aggressive enough.
3. Opponents court position. How good opponents court position is in the current shot (your shot).

Take the example of the Roddick you mentioned. Yes that was a bad miss, and yes he definitely should have made it. But lets go a bit more deep on the above mentioned.

(1) Yes the incoming ball was a floater, and he definitey had a high percentage shot, so he can go aggressive (lets say 70% aggressiveness is possible).

(2) Roddick's court recovery position is bad, really bad (for next shot from Federer). So if he does not do enough most probably he will lose control of the point, if not being passed right away. (so lets say 20% recovery/court position advantage for next shot)

(3) Federer, yes looks like totally in bad position, but think hard, if Roddick pops the ball a bit up, he is infact not in such a bad position to stretch and get the ball across to the other side, which is mostly enough to pass Roddick because of his bad court position. The key is that how much Federer has to do for next shot, and to do that much how good his court position is. Actually not that bad as many think (even though it looks like open court, and totally defensive in current point).

If you understand (3), you will know that it was not "the end of the world miss" for Roddick. He did the right thing to be aggressive (going for high percentage shot), and being a human we all miss some easy shots. Just concentrate on the next point. If you miss too many know that you are being over-aggressive and adjust. But couple of misses like that, when you really traded court position for a better shot, no big deal.

Anyway, in your case, if you adjusted your shot after initiating the intented shot based on sneek peak of your opponent, yes that is bad. Once you make a decision, stick with it. Obviously if you are skilled enough, you can hide your intent a bit more longer, but do not change it. If your decision is to go behind, delay your shot, but if you see that it is not going to be "behind" still stick to the basic direction of the shot, especially since you are going to have a good quality on the shot. In your case you see the opponent moving, just understand that he is probably going to reach there, so be ready for next one.

Eitherway, you do not want to make a habit of not doing enough on shots where you traded court recovery position to get advantage on shot quality (an open court is sometimes on both sides, not just one side).

I hit a great approach down the line forcing my opponent to pop the ball up giving me an open court that I hit in the middle of the net
What should you be thinking when you get an "easy" shot and have a wide open court? Ones like the shot Roddick missed vs. Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final at 6:20
 
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