Your first encounter with tennis strategy and tactics probably happened early in your tennis career. You quickly realized that there is more to tennis than just fancy technique.
Actually, you realized that technique doesn’t mean anything against experienced players.
Some of them play all sorts of shots with sometimes awkward, sometimes funny movements and yet they win matches. And some of them have great technique and can make you realize that you are a tennis padawan.
They are masters of tennis strategy. They know how to deal with any situation and know how much they can adapt their style of play so that they are still successful. They don’t beat themselves and if they happen to lose, the opponent was really the better player.
What is their secret? First, they are crystal clear on how they play the game to be most successful. They know exactly what their style of game is, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are and how to make the best of both.
And what they also know is what their opponent’s preferred style of play is and how they will likely play. They realize that even in the first few minutes of the warm up.
When an experienced player – a tennis master strategist – starts his warm up, he attentively watches and observes his opponent. He looks for weaknesses in technique, movement, weight transfer, reaction time and overall tennis knowledge of his opponent.
He makes mental notes about strengths and tendencies about the preferred type of shots that his opponent is using. He also observes the mental characteristics – whether his opponent is nervous, over-activated, quickly annoyed and how he approaches the match – is he overconfident, respectful or not believing that they have a chance.
Yes, all these nuances can be spotted with a good eye and lots of experience in tennis in the first 5 minutes of the warm up. Many more information will come during the match, but an experienced tennis strategist will already have a plan before the first point is played. His plan will be based on his preferred tennis strategy and perceived opponent’s preferred strategy of play.