An Introduction to Tennis Matches
Are you a tennis enthusiast looking for ways to win more matches? Then read on for some useful tips that will help improve your tennis match record. Tennis is a sport that is both mentally and physically challenging and tennis matches are usually lost through a mental battle rather than a physical one.
Whether you play once a week, are a weekend team match warrior or playing competitively, this blog includes tried and true methods to winning more tennis matches. By following a few of our simple tips, you can send your win-loss record soaring.
Why your mindset is stopping you from winning Tennis Matches?
When it comes to winning tennis matches, mindset is everything. The first mistake normally made is by players who don’t have the right mindset going into a match and without starting correctly, how can you expect to sustain a high-performance level for your ability?
There are a few things that players can do to make sure they have the right mindset going into a tennis match. First, they should visualise themselves winning the match (if you play for fun you can still complete this mental exercise but only for 30 seconds to a minute). This will help them to believe that they can win, and it will also give them a mental image of what success looks like.
Second, players should focus on the process rather than the outcome. If they focus on playing each point as well as they can whilst controlling the things they can, the result will take care of itself. Lastly, players should stay positive throughout the match, even if things are not going their way.
In our introduction above, we used two key words that are instrumental in winning tennis matches – “High Performance.” Our team here at Active Away are avid listeners of the High Performance Podcast where Star athletes and world renowned Business Professionals speak about all things High Performance whilst telling their story. We also love the phrase and popular tennis podcast, “Control the Controllables” – another riveting podcast hosted by Soto Grande Tennis Academy Director Dan Kiernan which took off during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Listening stories from ex and current professional athletes can give some serious motivation and a new mindset before stepping on court for your next tennis match.
We must also include a famous book which you may have heard of before, The Inner game of Tennis written by Timothy Gallwey. As an avid tennis player, it is a must read for those who strive for greatness and are looking to win their next tennis match.
How to become a more confident and competent Tennis Match Player
1) Practice your serve
The serve is arguably one of the most important shot in Tennis as it is how you start every point with one. Tennis matches are won and lost on percentages and without regularly practicing your serve, it can become difficult to hold in a game play situation. Serving with power and accuracy within a match makes a huge difference. A strong serve is essential in tennis, but the most important part to focus on when serving is keeping your first serve percentage as high as possible (especially in doubles) as it can be the difference between winning and losing a close match.
Having a first serve percentage of above 70 will mean your opponent is able to attack less and should put you in a better position, especially in doubles. The reason for this is because a player tends to stand further back on a first serve than they do on a second.
2) Stay calm and focused
It’s easy to get tense and nervous during a match, but the best players know how to stay calm under pressure. Learning meditation or breathing exercises can help you keep your cool when the match is on the line and knowing how to play your game rather than your opponents will allow you to stay more relaxed as well as go for your shots.
“Tightening up” (getting nervous and timid with shot selection) in a tennis match leaves you feeling frustrated afterwards as you did not allow yourself to reach the level that you know you can play at and it is a common issue for all tennis players, including professional ATP Tour competitors.
3) Use momentum effectively
Winning a tennis match is all about how long you can use momentum in your favour for and the player who takes control for the longest duration of the match, usually ends up winning. When we say taking control with momentum, this could mean if your opponent begins to make a few consecutive unforced errors, not giving away any “free” points to keep applying the pressure for example. Another way you could use momentum effectively is when things are not going your way, you could change your tactics so that the rhythm of the match is disrupted and it can lead to your opponent doing something differently to what has been working for them leading up to that point. Essentially, if during a tennis match, you don’t let your opponent get comfortable and they have to work for every point, you will increase your likelihood of coming away victorious just by keeping them on their toes.
4) Join us for a Tennis Holiday
Here at Active Away, we have worked alongside doubles “guru,” Louis Cayer to create our very own doubles specific program, enabling us to teach club level players to become a more confident and competent tennis player during matches. You can find us in the UK, Europe and in Dubai where we deliver unique tennis experiences with no doubt that after an event on court with us, you will leave with some new tips on how to win more tennis matches.
Finding Tennis Matches near you
Having trouble finding where you can start competing in tennis matches?
To compete in regular tournaments, you can use the Lawn Tennis Associations Website to find a tournament near you. Alternatively, by joining a local tennis club, you will have the opportunity to get involved with their team tennis matches. Team matches are a great way to get involved with a tennis club and meet new people. You have the opportunity to play tennis matches against other clubs in your league to see who comes out on top and you can be promoted or relegated to a new division based on how well you do. Most local clubs will also have a box league where you arrange to play tennis matches against everyone in the league to see who is the overall winner at the end.
How to win most Tennis Matches?
Compete hard. You won’t win all of your matches, but you can give yourself the best chance of doing so. Even the best in the world (Rafael Nadal) only win 83.3% of their matches – so even they lose sometimes! Here is a list of the Top 10 best ATP Win Percentages of all Time!
There’s no ‘one’ answer to the question of how to win more tennis matches. But there are some key values that all of the greatest tennis players do to give themselves a winning edge:
Never give up attitude
They trust their game and stay loose throughout the match
Capitalise on mistakes by their opponent
The greatest of all time could be argued to be Roger Federer as he has the most singles match wins and does all of the above perfectly. Andy Murray is another tennis match winning genius, not far behind on career wins in the leader board and he most recently celebrated his 700th career win.
Why more Tennis Matches are lost rather than won
Statistically speaking, at club level, over 90% of tennis matches are lost rather than won but what do we mean by this? It means that more points are won by the opponent making an error rather than a winning shot. Even at professional level, although they hit harder and with better quality, the number of errors is much higher than you would think if you looked at the end match statistics.
So, what does this tell us about winning tennis matches?
Simply put, the player who puts more balls in the court and has the mindset to make their opponent play one more extra ball tends to win the tennis match. Check out our top tips below for more tactics.
Winning Tennis Matches – Top Tips
It takes more than just hitting the ball over the net to win a tennis match. It requires stamina, focus, and mental toughness. Here are our key takeaways and methods on how to win your next tennis match.
Make sure you are properly rested and have eaten a nutritious meal to give you energy. Having a sugar crash on court will stop you from sustaining your speed and stamina, whilst over eating before a tennis match can leave you feeling heavy on the court. The United States Tennis Association have an excellent article on preparing meals before, during and after a tennis match which you can check out by clicking the link above.
2) Warming up before a tennis match.
Players need to warm up properly in order to avoid injuries and perform their best. A good warm-up will increase your heart rate and blood flow, loosen up your muscles, and help you mentally prepare for the match. A good warm up contains…
- Light cardio exercises such as jogging or jumping jacks.
- Dynamic stretches such as lunges and arm swings. Our team highly recommend using bands to warm up your arms and avoid common shoulder and elbow injuries. Find out more about Tennis Injuries and how to prevent them here.
- Finally, hit some balls back and forth with your partner or coach to get your muscles ready for the match and gain some rhythm / feel for the ball. It is important to have an on court warm up before the tennis match begins if you are not feeling prepared or ready because guess what? It happens and we don’t always feel ready to step onto the court but arriving early and having a warm up gives you a chance to feel more comfortable before the tennis match begins.
Remember to listen to your body during the warm-up and don’t push yourself too hard. You should be feeling energized and loose by the time your tennis match starts, not exhausted or tight.
3) Have a game plan.
You don’t need to completely analyse your opponent’s game and spend hours before a match preparing but there are some simple analysis tricks to being prepared before and during a tennis match to give you a winning edge.
- Know what your strengths are and think of plays to bring them into the game.
- Use the warmup and first game to find your opponents favoured shots and begin to exploit their weaknesses.
- Make your opponent play your game. You will have heard this before from commentators and top-level coaches and if you can put your opponent in situations which you prefer to be in, they will most probably be uncomfortable and frustrated.
- Stay focused and don’t let anything distract you from the task at hand. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lose focus, but if you can stay calm and collected, you’ll be better able to play your best game.
- Take your time in between points to reflect. You can use your 25 seconds before the next point to analyse what just happened, if you missed in the net, add more height to your shots or top spin if you missed the ball long. We can always analyse our game and the opponents based on the last few points to be ready with a new plan for the next.
- Give yourself some leeway when hitting so that if you miss your target slightly, the ball still goes in the court.
- Use the wind to your advantage. Play with margins on a very windy day and notice which way the wind is blowing and how you can use it depending on which side you are on.
- Finally, remember that although we are talking about winning more matches, winning isn’t everything. Sure, it’s great to win, but don’t let it consume you. If you can walk off the court feeling like you gave it your all, then in a sense you have still come away with a win.