Some players like to camp out on the baseline and send back a steady stream of deep crosscourt shots. When you are facing such an opponent, never let him get in a groove – he’s just waiting for you to make the error that’s going to give him the point. Remember that most tennis matches are decided by who makes the least errors, not the most winners. So, instead of trying to out-hit your opponent, mix up your shots and keep your opponent guessing. Hit some shots crosscourt and others down the line. Also, bring in the steady baseliner. If your opponent prefers to play from the baseline and likes to engage in endless rallies, give him the shot he’ll hate. Hit a short ball that will force him to come to the net. Take a little pace off your own ground stroke and aim the ball lower over the net so that it bounces close to the service line. You’re not trying to hit a drop shot (that’s too risky from the baseline), just a short ball that will bring him in. The chances are that he’ll be uncomfortable in the forecourt and will mis-hit the ball or give you an easy set-up. Of course, you can always surprise your opponent with well-timed lob for a clean winner.
Posted by Steven White, Author of the Bring Your Racquet Series
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