April 20, 2017
I remember giving a lesson at a public court to a middle school student (now playing varsity for his team) that wanted to learn tennis. There was a guy I knew playing a 3.5 match a few courts down. I wanted to emphasize the importance of starting the point off on your terms (meaning serving or returning the ball so your opponent has a difficult time hitting it back) so we watched two games of the 3.5 singles match. Not once did a rally last longer than three hits. I know this is not the case all the time but at the recreational player, most points will be decided by fewer than 4 combined strokes between the two players. So if that’s the case, why do we work on rallying back and forth for most of a practice? Maybe there is a better way! And who better to learn from than a world favorite Roger Federer.
“Best 1 – 2 Punch in Tennis”
Roger Federer’s consistent domination that has spanned over a decade has been unmatched in a time where the level of tennis has been at an all time high. So how does he do it? Listen to a recent victim of a Federer win. Nick Kyrgios, a top 20 player in the world, said it perfectly with: “His serve and first shot is, I think, by far the best on tour," Kyrgios said. "I've played all the top four, a lot of the top guys, and his first two shots, it's so hard to do anything against. You feel like you're making a return, and then he's right on it and hits a winner. You don't get that much rhythm. He's a great player."
How to Convert this to Match Play
There needs to be more of an emphasis and focus on the first two hits you do in every practice. Do this by only hitting a serve/return and the next ball. See where you are in the point after those two hits. Are you missing? Are you behind in the point? This is an indication that you need to work more on these shots to give you a better chance at winning. The more you can connect this between practice and play the better you will get!
Want to hit like a forehand like the pros? Check this out!