When I ask a new student what strategies they use in tennis when they are playing singles, I am surprised at how few of them have any clear ideas on what to do. Unless you are a very advanced player, there are some very simple yet very effective and very easy singles strategies that you can use to help you win more matches. And yes, there are always variations but I know that if you just used these 4 steps and did them consistently you would win many more matches. For you more advanced players, I will also touch on some of the variations.
- After you serve or return serve, hit a minimum of 3 balls in a row to the backhand. When serving, you will want to hit a vast majority of the balls to your opponents back and but no matter which side you serve to, you will it the next 3 balls in a row to the backhand side. When returning serve, it is most important to get the ball back into play. So no matter where your return goes, you will hit the next 3 balls in a row to the backhand. When you hit 3 balls in a row to the backhand, you may find that you will win the point within these 1st 3 hits. Because most players have a better forehand and sometimes it is a powerful weapon for them, by keeping it away from the forehand for a few hits and then hitting to their forehand it just might cause them to be more inconsistent. Variation: if your serve causes your opponent to hit you an easy short forehand, you can choose to hit your forehand crosscourt. Just don’t get in the habit of doing this on every point. It is meant to be a surprise placement.
- Keep hitting to the backhand until you get an easy forehand, then hit the easy forehand crosscourt to make them run. Variation: if you hit a really wide shot to the backhand on the 1st or 2nd shot and your opponent is obviously way out of court, then you can hit the ball to the forehand side. The same applies if you hit a very strong deep shot to their backhand and you get an easy forehand. Again, this variation works better if you have already hit numerous balls to the backhand side so that your opponent is not expecting the shot going to the other side.
- If the ball comes back, hit the ball to the backhand so that they have to hit a running backhand. The idea here is to hit balls where it is most difficult for your opponent to return and running and hitting is certainly more difficult for everyone than a standing ball. So you have hit balls to the backhand side, which is the weaker side of most players, you have been made them hit a running forehand and now you have made them hit a running backhand. Variation: instead of hitting the ball back to your opponents backhand, hit the ball again to the forehand side and maybe you’ll catch them off balance. Again, this works better after you have worked the play a few times and your opponent thinks he/she knows where you’re going to hit the ball.
- Start over by hitting a minimum of 3 balls in a row to their backhand.
One last variation: if any of your balls cause your opponent to hit the ball short and easy, you can then hit an approach shot and come to net. This approach shot should be hit 95% or more to your opponents backhand.
To recap this strategy, after the serve and return of serve, hit 3 balls in a row to the backhand then keep hitting to the backhand until you get an easy forehand then hit the ball crosscourt. If your opponent returns your crosscourt forehand just start over again by hitting the balls to their backhand.
Because the strategy is not complicated or involved with a lot of decision making, you should be able to begin to utilize it fairly easily. Obviously, you will still need to practice it in order to get comfortable with it, but if you will use it you will find that it works big time.
For more winning tennis strategies for both singles and doubles that will work and that you won’t find anywhere else, you may want to purchase my book Playing Zen-Sational Tennis.