14. That’s how many points Roger Federer won more than his opponent Novak Djokovic in the men’s Wimbledon final. He was also only broke twice in the entire match while Djokovic was broken 3 times in the second set, twice in the fourth set and once again in the fifth set. All those statistics should have pointed to Federer as the winner of the match. The problem is that statistics can be deceiving. Instead of trying to win all the points, it’s better to look at winning the important points. Let’s take a look….
Know the Score
There are obvious scores that are important to bring you A game. Facing a break point while serving or getting a chance to break your opponent’s serve is going to require extra concentration to win the next point. There is another score to keep in mind that I feel is underappreciated with recreational players. When you get to 30 in a game, there needs to be a heightened awareness of just how important the upcoming point is. Getting to 40 before your opponent gives you a sizable advantage in winning the game. For example, having a 40-30 lead gives you one point to win while your opponent now needs to win 3 in a row. That makes 30 a very important point to consider!
Know the Situation
In the second set of today’s final, Djokovic was down a break and lost a lot of energy. Instead of putting more energy into trying to comeback, he conserved his energy for the next set. This allowed him to give himself a better chance of winning the next set as he had a lot more energy to put into it after such a horrible second set. Figure out your situation in the match. This doesn’t mean to tank when down but to make calculated risks to give yourself the best chance to win. A more realistic example of this would be when you have a break of serve. Focusing a lot more on the next game while serving will allow you to avoid a letdown and give the break back to your opponent. Another example is when you are having easy holds on your serve. This allows you to take more risks on the return by stepping in and putting pressure on your opponents serve. It also can allow the points to shorten up and give you more energy to put on holding serve. Pete Sampras did this very well in his prime.
Know How to Win a Match
What is the only way to lose a set if you hold serve the entire time? I ask this to so many of my students and it takes quite a while for someone to give me the correct answer; through a tiebreak. If you don’t win a single point on your opponents serve and you are barely holding (giving up at least 2 points a service game), you still are in the same situation as your opponent. You both have won your service games. Total points do not matter. Raise to the occasion to win the big points (like Djokovic did) and you will find yourself on the winning side even if you are not winning as many points as your opponent!
Want to work on your serve? Grab a towel and watch this video: