Tuesday, 06 February 2007 10:21
Sérgio Cruz is an ex # 1 National Champion, Davis Cup Player from Portugal and former Coach Jim Courier ATP World Ranking # 1.
And every month I will be putting on the site an interesting article from Sergio.
You can visit his site at http://www.tenniscruz.com/
Don't Make Your Opponent Look Good!
A couple of days after the match Roddick - Federer at the Australian Open 2007, a friend of mine said "it is impossible to beat a 'Mister'...like Federer..."
My friend I watched the match and I think that it is still more impossible for his opponents;
When the attacks to the net are made cross court, instead of down the line.
When the same attacks are made with topspin perfectly set within the striking zone of your opponent, instead of sliced and low!
When the low volleys at the net are a misery.
When you can not make a put away volley unless you are inches from the net.
When during a whole match, the variations of a service of 240km do not include reducing the first service to 190km with "extreme kick " (high on the backhand) and going behind it to the net from time to time.
When a player is limited to hitting the ball inside the "striking zone" of the adversary, with a perfect rhythm for the adversary to give it a spanking at will.
When the player did not understand that the most vulnerable point of Federer in a rally is the deep high ball with a lot of topspin that jumps above the shoulder of Federer (especially on the backhand side).
When the player does not know that when he engages in an exchange of slices on the backhand, he should have the consistency to maintain the duel until the other player loses patience and gives you a topspin and by doing so by raising the ball, this will permit you to unleash a conclusive strike!
When the player did not understand that the most vulnerable point of Federer on the serve is his second service and you MUST pressure it by getting inside the court and mount down the line attacks!... until he breaks down, double faults or misses passing shots! But this has to be done the whole match from point one!
When the player did not understand that the most vulnerable point of Federer on the volley is that Federer is prone to errors on the forehand volley, amazingly his baseline stronger side. A smart player, would have picked up this weakness, give Federer short low balls to bring him into the net and go for the pass on the forehand side.
When the player is not prepared not to give up an inch of the court acquired, instead of running hopelessly backwards like a crazy butterfly 3 to 6 yards behind the baseline.
Finally, when someone talks like a loser he is going to lose like a loser!
When everything is done like this, it is really impossible to beat that "Mister"!
All in all you can make your opponent look as good as you are willing to! Those were my words to my friend.
But what is in all of this for you?
Simple, never, never, ever let your opponent feel comfortable with his game!
If you are losing badly, change tactics, find a way to bother and get him out of rhythm.
If he likes high balls, play low balls.
If he likes pace, give him no pace.
If he likes flat shots, play them with plenty of spin, top or slice.
If he likes to run, play to his body!
If he likes low balls, play deep and high heavy topspin balls!
If he likes to attack and get close to the net give him a series of lobs for good measure and when he decides not to get too close to the net pass him instead...or take the net away from him by going there yourself!
If he likes to serve and volley, return to his shoe laces, make him volley high and then pass him.
If he is impatient and likes to finish points quick, be steady, play deep and be patient, make him play long rallies.
If he rushes between points, use your full 20 seconds, slow him down!
If he is a net rusher, play deep and pin him to the baseline.
If he returns wide balls well, serve to his body!
If he is slow, play the corners and make him run!
If he likes to run side to side on the baseline (Nadal) a smart play is to hit short low balls to bring him into the net unwillingly and go for the pass.
Yes, always do the opposite of what your opponent likes, frustrate him, rile him, get him off balance and out of the comfort zone and you will win more matches like this then with the most beautiful strokes you may produce!
Keep on working on your game on a daily basis, be smart, learn to find your opponents weaknesses, dislikes and present them to him on a consistent basis.
Enjoy your tennis!
For comments or ideas about this article please email the author Sergio Cruz