Every now and again we’ll see a tennis match that reminds us of why we fell in love with the game. At its best, it can be a thrilling chess-like game; offense versus defense, probing for a weakness and looking for the right time to hit that killer shot. Whether you’re inspired by the man on top or the person refusing to be beaten, here are some tips for playing both offensive and defensive tennis with good racquet .
Three Offensive Tennis Tips
1. Keep your opponent on the move
If you’re in control, you’ll want to stay that way, and there’s no better way to do that than to keep your opponent moving. It’s easier than it sounds; just hit the ball into space, forcing your opponent to scramble and not have time to hit an accurate return. You’ll tire them out in no time, and victory will be yours.
2. Attack the net
Once your opponent is hitting those defensive floaters, it’s time to attack the net. By anticipating such a shot and moving towards the net, you can hit a powerful overhead shot and potentially win the point, or at least force a wild and inaccurate reply from your foe. Go in for the kill – go in to the net.
3. Serve and volley
Whilst a hard technique for even many professionals, having a good serve and volley game can be an effective offensive technique. Hitting a hard, accurate serve will see little in way of a return, giving you a great chance to volley home to victory.
Three Defensive Tennis Tips
1. Get into position
If your opponent has the upper hand, don’t worry about hitting a point-winning return – it’s unlikely to come off. Instead, try for a high lob-type return with plenty of topspin. Whilst not a hard shot for your opposite number to attack, it can buy you valuable time to run into position whilst the ball’s in the air, giving you a better position to win the point from.
2. Make your opponent pay
An opponent rushing towards the net is an opponent who smells blood and wants to go in for the kill – don’t give them that satisfaction. By hitting a lob or shot close to the net, you’ll have a good chance of winning the point, or at least force them back to the baseline with their tail between their legs.
3. Practice your footwork
Footwork is essential in tennis, especially if you’re in a defensive phase where you’ll have to move around the court. By improving your footwork, you’ll have a better chance of getting to your opponent’s shot and then getting into a better position to attack from.
In truth, it’s impossible to say which of offensive and defensive tennis styles is the “best” way to play. Whilst offensive players may look better on the screen, the better players are capable of playing both styles and, more importantly, they know when to play each style. By practicing both, you can become a better all round player and a player to be feared.