10 Point Beginner’s Guide to Tennis Tactics – #2 Attacking a Wing
New to tennis tactics? Curious how you can analyze a match? Wondering why your favourite player tends to win or lose against a specific style of opponent? You’ve come to the right place. The following is part 2 of the 10 Point Beginners Guide to Tennis Tactics. The explanation of the segment can be found above, as well as all other 10 parts as they are completed and archived.
Now that you’ve picked a single player to focus on while watching a match, you have likely started to notice patterns already. One of the easiest thing to watch for is how your player attacks an opposing player’s wing (forehand, backhand).
Particularly on the men’s side, the backhand is often the weaker or shots, and by some margins. It can be less obvious, but often players will constantly hit to an opponents backhand, especially if they have to deal with a tricky deep or high bouncing ball.
Other times this can result in brutal abuse. Nadal/Federer is the greatest example. Even in their older matches, Nadal was often able to consistently hit to Federer’s backhand with incredible patience; he knew he wouldn’t be burned by it, and could wait for a ball he could punish.
Other times, especially in the women’s game, it will be more of a dare. Radwanska began hitting nearly everything to Sloane Stephens in their 2013 Miami match. Sloane had trouble creating off this wing, and started making errors as she pressed. She quickly got frustrated and made even more errors. Even though hitting to this side might not have always been the best choice in the rally, it was a safe and effective one.
This particular choice is almost entirely a conscious decision by the player, and therefore can be a pretty easy one to spot at any point of a match.