When you think of past and current tennis champions such as Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova, Sabine Lisicki, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas, Max Mirnyi, they all share one thing in common. Not only are they all grand slam champions, but they have achieved most of their success under the tutelage of a man named Nick Bollettieri. The IMG academy based in Bradenton, Florida was established by Nick Bollettieri and has been the breeding ground for multiple grand slam champions, particularly during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. He is arguably one of the best tennis coaches the game has seen. I’d never miss an opportunity to hear some tennis tips from this man and I’d recommend his latest set of tips to you.
Nick Bollettieri – Tuesday Tennis Tips (25 November 2015)
1. OK. You’re about to play a match against an opponent that you’ve never seen before. During the first 5 minutes of the warm-‐up try to develop a strategy:
• How do they hit their groundstrokes; flat, spin, aggressive, moderate?
• Are they comfortable at the net?
• Check out their first and second serve.
• How effective is their overhead? If you back them up, is the overhead still as effective?
• Do they move in and back as effectively as they move from side to side?
Using your warm-‐up as an opportunity to evaluate their proficiency at these important parts of the game will allow you to develop a viable strategy before the first point begins.
2. Can you out-‐hit your opponent? First, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and put your ego in your back pocket. Otherwise, you’re making a fatal mistake. If the answer is NO, try to slow down the speed of the rallies with some lobs, drop shots and short angles. Try to avoid playing into your opponents’ hand. As a rule, at the club level, nobody is good at everything. Find the something that they’re not so good at!
3. There’s an old saying that you should “Change a losing game.” Accept what your opponent can do well and make small adjustments to your game plan. Don’t forget, the object is to win. If the way want to win isn’t working, then win the way that you don’t want. But WIN!
4. Don’t tell me that you’ll play the best that you can. I want to hear that you will play to win. This attitude won’t allow you to accept second place. PLAY TO WIN!
5. Surprise your opponent! Your weekly opponents know your game. They know exactly what you can – and cannot do! Why not come up with a drop shot, attack the net or attack their second serve? SURPRISE YOUR OPPONENT. DO THE UNEXPECTED!
6. Andre Agassi said, “The next point is the most important point.” You can’t change what happened, but you can try to make sure it doesn’t happen again! Clear your mind and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop looking for excuses and get ready for the next point. It is the most important point!
7. Any negative look can provide fuel for your opponent. Scream at yourself? Throw your racquet? Don’t empower your opponent by displaying this negativity. Losing is easy. Don’t make it any easier for your opponent to defeat you! Let that opponent – and every opponent to follow, know that if they’re going to win, it’s gonna take all day!