One of the most important aspects of match play toughness is
to understand some of the subtle but match-breaking decisions
a player must make. To be aware of these subtle moments and
to make correct choices is the key to winning a higher
percentage of your matches. When closing out a set or a match
there are many mental traps a player can fall into. In this
quick tip I will explain a mental trap that deceived me, in
hopes that you will not do the same. I will also explain the
rationale behind my bad decision.
I was just about to close out a match. I was up a break and
serving at 5-4. I had been holding my own serve by simply
serving down the middle to the backhand on the deuce side
and wide to the backhand on the ad side. I was in a battle,
but everything was going according to my game plan. It was
now my serve to close it out. All of a sudden this crazy
thought came over me. I had been serving to the same spot
the whole time, so maybe I should change my serving placement
and surprise my opponent. My rationale was that it seemed too
predictable and obvious to continue serving to the same spot.
It's funny what often happens when you are about to win. In
essence, the importance of the moment made me change my
thinking! Nevertheless it cost me the game, set and match.
The strange thing is that I knew NOT to change a winning
game, but did it anyway! I remember at the time something
inside was telling me to not do this. From that catastrophe
I learned not to be afraid of doing the obvious when you are
about to close out a set or a match.
The bottom line: Never let the moment of victory deceive your
mind into thinking that this moment requires something
extraordinary, something spectacular to win. If the obvious
tactic is winning - STAY WITH IT! Principle: "If it ain't
broke, don't fix it!"