How to play when your opponent is “in the zone”

tennis tactics tipsOk, this situation has happened to me many times in my over 27 years of playing tennis:

You play an opponent whom you have competed against before, but in this particular day everything “connects” for him: the ground-strokes are consistent, perfectly placed and timed drop-shots, his lobs are “magically” finding the baseline, the first serves are at a high percentage… and whatever you do the ball finds it way to come back for another shot. In short, your opponent has one of those days when everything connects. So frustrating for you…!

What should you do and how do you play?

One lesson I’ve learned in my entire tennis career is: no matter how good your opponent is playing you should always care for these three things:
1. How long can she/he maintain this level of play?
2. Whatever it takes, I should stay positive and show no sign of frustration to fuel my already confident opponent.

3. Stick with whatever strokes you feel you have control over. It is not the time to try something new. Be humble in your play.

Really, all it takes to win most of the matches against “in the zone” players comes down to the above three mental points.

However you play, always keep in mind that the mentally stronger players always (or at least most of the time) prevail when the balance of technical skills is levelled between players.

Have fun on the court!

Cosmin Miholca
Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

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