What is your main singles strategy?

My original question was "What is your main singles strategy"?

My answer in it's most basic form is: I prioritize depth of shot above all else.

I can anticipate your response. "Do you mean you try to hit the back fence or even over the fence"? Yes, that's what I try to do and what I mean by depth.
Nothing wrong with your strategy.

But you're crazy if you anticipate that kind of response from me.

In fact, my first response to you was about having sufficient power, to which you said "right".
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Every strategy is tied to skill/fitness anyway. When someone says consistency is the strategy, you should still have the talent to be able to serve well, return good paced shots from your opponent sufficiently well so that he doesn't have a sitter,..etc. When someone says the strategy is to move the player off the court and then hit to the bh followed by an approach to the net, that still takes skill.

So it goes without saying that skill/fitness are the top tools for any strategy. However, within the skillset toolbag, certain skills are easier to acquire than others. It's easier to play the percentages and let your opponent make mistakes, than consistently hit winners. So, asking someone to play the percentages and be consistent is certainly a valid 'strategy'. It is understood that you still need a certain skill level to execute that relatively low level strategy.
Ahh but for a person with limited fitness (talking about a friend here) an aggressive strategy may actually be a higher percentage strategy!

Take Dr. Ivo. He admits his groundstrokes are not good by pro standards and blames it on practicing only what he liked, namely serves, when he was a junior is Croatia. For him, a S&V strategy is perhaps a higher percentage play. For Federer, who doesn't have the groundstroke tolerance or margin of Nadal or Djokovic, his wins over them came through aggression.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
My answer in it's most basic form is: I prioritize depth of shot above all else.
Which is actually low percentage play and contradicts your previous claims. It is hence practiced intensively by pros with cone targets, especially the WTA. I once watched Jankovic at IW asking for the cones to be placed deeper and deeper as she hit harder and harder trying to cross them. High percentage play is less depth and more topspin and easier.
 
Maybe I’m not following, but to me serve and volley requires aggressive serving to begin the points with. In my head it is the serve, that should set a window for coming in.
Not necessarily. It depends on how well he's returning. The poorer he's returning, the less aggressive I need to serve. And that's not an unrealistic scenario: I've played many matches where my opponent just wasn't hitting enough quality returns. And, by the same token, I've played plenty where he was. I start with medium aggressive and adjust from there.
 
@S&V-not_dead_yet

Do you observe the returner first then begin your s&v game? Or, by default, you always s&v?
I don't think I've ever begun a match by serving and staying back, even when I know his returns are better than my net game [unless I'm deliberately working on my ground game]. I guess I'm hoping I can catch him on an off day. Because he knows I'm probably coming in.

How soon I abandon plan A for something else depends on how badly he's smoking the return and if I suspect he'll be able to maintain it.

- In one match, I was down 0-3 but kept to S&V and ended up winning 6-3.
- In another match, I was down 0-3 after losing the first set before I finally threw in the towel and switched to plan B [I ended up squeaking out a win].

But, in several other matches, I just kept going back to the well and won or lost without changing strategy. I'd like to think on the losses I at least made them sweat a bit.
 
I don't think I've ever begun a match by serving and staying back, even when I know his returns are better than my net game [unless I'm deliberately working on my ground game]. I guess I'm hoping I can catch him on an off day. Because he knows I'm probably coming in.

How soon I abandon plan A for something else depends on how badly he's smoking the return and if I suspect he'll be able to maintain it.

- In one match, I was down 0-3 but kept to S&V and ended up winning 6-3.
- In another match, I was down 0-3 after losing the first set before I finally threw in the towel and switched to plan B [I ended up squeaking out a win].

But, in several other matches, I just kept going back to the well and won or lost without changing strategy. I'd like to think on the losses I at least made them sweat a bit.
Haha that sounds a bit crazy and well non-structural. Basically, you just play your games. If you feel like changing, then you change. If not, you don't. No rhyme or reason in the grand scheme. :)

I guess a lot of players are like you. They do what they do. Very hard to detect a structure or system. Do you try harder (with the same things)?
 
Haha that sounds a bit crazy and well non-structural. Basically, you just play your games. If you feel like changing, then you change. If not, you don't. No rhyme or reason in the grand scheme. :)

I guess a lot of players are like you. They do what they do. Very hard to detect a structure or system. Do you try harder (with the same things)?
In general, I do switch to Plan B. I can think of a few times when I did not. *Most* of the time, in those cases, I lost by a small margin [ie 4-6 4-6] so I could be excused for sticking with Plan A. The "no excuse" scenario is when I'm clearly losing and yet still didn't change. Fortunately, I can only think of two incidents of that in the last year.

I don't think I try harder; I don't think that's going to work for me. I try to make better decisions.
 
My main singles strategy has always been to serve to the deuce side, serve to the ad side, serve to the deuce side again, and serve to the ad side again.
My plan is to only hit the ball 4 times.
If I have to do more than that, my winning percentage goes down.
I have won quite a few matches with that strategy, though.
 
What do people think about aggressively attacking the second serve? I know Andy Gerst on one of his recent podcasts advocates for attacking the 2nd serve as a way to put pressure on the server to make their serves and can result in more doublefaults. Recently, I've had success with hitting a few winners off my forehand DTL in the deuce court(I'm a lefty). I know this may not be the highest percentage play but you're really not going to get an easier ball to put away then a relatively weak second serve.
 
What do people think about aggressively attacking the second serve? I know Andy Gerst on one of his recent podcasts advocates for attacking the 2nd serve as a way to put pressure on the server to make their serves and can result in more doublefaults. Recently, I've had success with hitting a few winners off my forehand DTL in the deuce court(I'm a lefty). I know this may not be the highest percentage play but you're really not going to get an easier ball to put away then a relatively weak second serve.
I was having some issues with winning points against light hitters, so I moved up to 3 feet from service line and teed off on the second serves putting pressure on the opponent, usually getting a winner. This helped balance out my ue and made the match more enjoyable for me. I caught it at the apex instead of on the drop close to the court reaching forward.
 
What do people think about aggressively attacking the second serve? I know Andy Gerst on one of his recent podcasts advocates for attacking the 2nd serve as a way to put pressure on the server to make their serves and can result in more doublefaults. Recently, I've had success with hitting a few winners off my forehand DTL in the deuce court(I'm a lefty). I know this may not be the highest percentage play but you're really not going to get an easier ball to put away then a relatively weak second serve.
Agassi recommended it.
 

jhick

Professional
Aggressive mindset. On serve I look for placement, spin, and mix in different speeds. Being a lefty helps me here. Try to get free points on my serve first and foremost. Like to serve and volley though I'm slower than in my youth and first volley is not as strong, so I mix it in about 35-40% of the time. Always looking to move in and exploit angles, before my opponent exposes me. Look to hit on the rise and on or inside the baseline when at all possible. I tend to get into trouble when either my opponent hit heavy topspin balls consistently deep in the court, or he has really good passing shots, or he's really fast and can get to a ton of balls.
 
Very simple: during the warmup, a weak side (forehand or backhand) is usually observed. I hit to that side for the majority of the match, looking for a short ball to attack the net with.

If the person isn't fit, I'll implement the above strategy but will try to move the person side to side with a few more drop shots. The drop shots don't have to be especially good; the point is to tire the person out.
 

TagUrIt

Professional
This thread has been an interesting read. I’m pretty accurate with my serves, I can place it pretty much where I want. I generally “Serve Plus One” (serve wide and attack the return).

If the return is good, I’ll work the point until I can go for the winner. I’ve learned to patient and not always go for the winner just to end the rally soon.
 
It is in-fact more important to go high percentage shots, and less "pushing limits" when the opponent is of equal strength, especially at below pro level. The guy playing low %, will wins some "wow" points. But eventually the percentage plays its part when the "strength" or skills are equal. As many pointed out one player loses eventually, the the one who loose most probably would be the "pushing the limits" lower % guy. The guy who knows to hit "neutral" balls most of the time, would wins against the guy who hits only defense or offense.

Now once you reach pro, both players understand the % game, and then "calculated risks" at specific points rewards the winner, which is infact more of a mental skill than anything else. At rec level, even when players insist that they know the "%" game, they really don't in practice.

Another time you can go for low % game is, against a higher skilled opponent. So theoretically the higher skilled opponent would win most of the "neutral rallies" since his neutral is better than your neutral. In this case, taking some risk, may reward you, and it is not a bad options since you were anyway expected to loose.


If I am equal to my opponent, he'll need to push his limit too, ie going for the lower % shots, to get out of stalemate.
 
One example of this is applying extreme pressure on the 9th or 10th game of the set, when opponent is serving at either 4-4 or 5-4. Depending on the style some examples would be going for a low percentage return winner on first point of that game (if it rewarded, you moved a step in mental battle, if not nothing happened), or inviting a close-combat (net game or inviting to net), or extreme open court battle (extreme angles battle or extreme change of directions).

The key is that even pro players can apply such extreme pressure only for a short period, and they have to time it properly against an equally otherwise skilled opponent.

"calculated risks" at specific points rewards
 
Q1: Is the opponent considered to be same skill level as you?

Q2: Do you have a neutral shot on top of just offensive and defensive shots?

If the answer is "yes" to both, then you know that the below statement has to be re-phrased.

I mean, what if the only good shot that my opponent can't attack is one that's hit powerfully well inside the court
 
My goal is to find out what irritates my opponent and do that repeatedly. Everyone has something they don't like, like maybe some pace taken off shots, or running too much, or someone coming to the net, body serves, too many shots to their weakness, etc. I just like to exploit that stuff. Wind up hearing so many excuses about the wind, sun, etc. It's great. I find in doing that I make the court smaller for my opponent and it drives them even crazier as they just don't know what to do.
 
It is in-fact more important to go high percentage shots, and less "pushing limits" when the opponent is of equal strength, especially at below pro level. The guy playing low %, will wins some "wow" points. But eventually the percentage plays its part when the "strength" or skills are equal. As many pointed out one player loses eventually, the the one who loose most probably would be the "pushing the limits" lower % guy. The guy who knows to hit "neutral" balls most of the time, would wins against the guy who hits only defense or offense.
I specifically said my opponent was equal (in playing). Not equal strength if that makes any different with what you're saying.

I'm comfortable hitting the ball hard well inside the court. With this one opponent, even more so since I wanna take advantage of my better years/strength. And, naturally, he wants to go for the side lines. Much lower % than me. All in all, he's kicking my butt when he's on and when I'm not at my usual level.

I dont' know how else to put this but to think his lower % game play beats my high %.
 
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