There are a number of key outcomes that the modern professional player tries to achieve throughout a match. The most common one now is that he or she has a plus number in the winners and forced errors to unforced errors. Eg Winners 8, forced errors 7, Total 15. Unforced errors 10. Giving a net return + 5 for the set or match.
This means that far more players are trying to influence a winning play than wait for their opponent to make a mistake. This is also true at a state and national junior level and if we wish to achieve a higher standard of tennis and improved results we have to follow those same rules.
With this I want to reiterate a few key things we discuss in training:
Get your patterns of play / point processes and structure right. Have a plan and play to your strengths. Create space in the court and have the courage to hit the open court.
There are a couple of phrases we use often in training – “Play to win”, “Play your game”, “Play with courage”.
A quote I recently heard, which I like a lot is – “Don’t make an error trying not to make an error”.
The best athletes in the world are there because they take educated risks and back themselves. These types of guys are in every sport and often sit at the top of their chosen sport.
In a tennis sense, when are the best times to take educated risks. It’s obvious, when you have the most amount of time and you have the most amount of control. There are 3 simple situations where this occurs.
Your 1st serve. You have control of the ball and your court position.
Your opponents 2nd Serve. It must be short. It is generally soft and you can hit it from well inside the baseline.
Short groundstrokes and volleys. The ball is slow you are inside the baseline and have a large amount of court to hit the ball in.
The above situations are the best times to be more aggressive.