nodot nodot
Wild Cards
January 2007 Article

Latest Wild Cards Article

Wild Cards Archives:
2004 - Present
1998 - 2003

Tennis Server

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

Tom Veneziano You will join 13,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano.
Best of all, it is free!

Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:

Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
Tennis Server Match Reports
Editor's Letter
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
Tennis Links on the Web
Wild Cards
Green Dot
Tennis Warehouse Logo
Green Dot

The Game's Most Important Points:
Developing a Pressure Point Game Plan
by Mike Uretsky


It is 5-4 and 40-30 in the third set of a tough two out of three set match. You have been in this position numerous times, but have often failed to close out tight matches. As you step towards the baseline to serve, self-doubt begins to creep into your mind. Should you go for an ace and try to end the point early? Maybe it is best to play it safe and try to draw an error from your opponent? More doubt enters your mind as you try to figure out what to do. Your mind is moving very quickly and you continue to second guess your strategy. As a high school coach, I have watched many players face this situation and end up squandering a lead in a close match. These players have been unable to figure out the best strategy when they reach the most crucial point in a match. In analyzing pressure situations in a tennis match, there really is not a single strategy that works best for everyone as they face the most important points in a match. Instead, the most effective strategy lies in having a decisive plan to use for these types of points that has been developed prior to stepping on the court. Players who have spent time thinking about and developing a game plan to use for the key points in a match are much more likely to find success when they are faced with a pressure situation. A plan that is developed to be used during the most pressure filled points in a match is called a pressure point game plan. Having a pressure point game plan is often the key to winning the big points and pulling out the close matches.

A Pressure Point Game Plan

As many players can testify, tennis matches are often won and lost by a few key points. Many players decide how to play these pressure points on the spot. However, the key to finding success involves developing a plan that can be used before you find yourself doubting what to do just as you are about to play a crucial point. This involves developing a pressure point game plan for yourself. Your pressure point game should coincide with your style of play so that you feel comfortable employing it when a point needs to be won. For example, if your style involves playing attacking tennis by rushing the net, it would be a good idea to have a pressure point game plan that takes advantage of this aggressive style of play. A sample pressure point game plan for an attacking player would involve hitting a first serve to the wide side of the service box and then following the ball to the net right off the serve. By serving and volleying on a big point, you may draw an error from your opponent who will often try for a difficult passing shot and have little chance of succeeding under pressure. Conversely, if you are more comfortable as a steady baseline player, your pressure point game should reflect this style. When a big point arises, your plan may call for you to sit back behind the baseline and hit safe high clearance shots. You can utilize your patient play on the key points to bate your opponent into trying to go for too good a shot and making an error. Players can find success on the crucial points in a match regardless of their style as long as they have pressure point game plan that they can rely on. What is most important is that players develop a pressure point game plan well before facing a tight situation in a match.

Developing a Pressure Point Game Plan

It is a good idea to take some time while you are not on the tennis court and reflect on your own style of play. Think about the style of play or a specific pattern of play that best suits you. Then choose a style of play or even a specific point pattern for your pressure point game plan that you will use during the most important points of a match. Once you choose a pressure point game plan the key is to implement it decisively when a big point arises in a close match. The more you learn to instinctively use your pressure point game plan for the critical points in a match the more confident you will become and the less self-doubt you will have to face. Even if your pressure point game plan does not work initially, it should not be given up on. Over time as you gain confidence in your pressure point game plan and learn to use it during important points it will become even more likely to be effective.


Overall, the key to the 5-4 and 40-30 points is to have a plan that is already developed and then implement the plan confidently. It is during the most crucial points in a tennis match that self-doubt is most likely to creep into a players mind and have the largest impact. By having a pressure point game plan that can be used in tight situations, a player can be confident and decisive during the most important points in a match. The implementation of a pressure point game plan will lead to increased self-confidence, better tennis, and improved results during the matches most crucial stages.

Mike Uretsky played high school tennis in Columbus, Ohio and then played college tennis at Ohio Wesleyan University. He became a head high school tennis coach when he was 21 years old and went on to coach many excellent players, including players who have played division I college tennis. One of the high school teams that he coached won three conference championships and the team won a state championship in 1999. He has also taught tennis lessons to students of all ages. Mike has a bachelors degree in psychology and masters degree in education and allied professions. He currently writes articles about tennis based on his experiences as a player and a coach.

If you wish to provide a comment to the author of this Wild Cards column, please use this form. Tennis Server will forward the comment to the author.

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Wild Cards Archives:
1998 - 2003 | 2004 - Present

If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by the author, all rights reserved.


Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
Terra Wortmann Open - Halle, Germany Tickets
Wimbledon Tickets
Infosys Hall of Fame Open Tickets
Atlanta Open Tickets
Hamburg Open Tickets
Mubadala Citi Open Tennis Tournament Tickets
National Bank Open Women's Tennis Canada Tickets
National Bank Open Men's Tennis Canada Tickets
Cincinnati Open Tickets
Winston-Salem Open Tickets
Tennis In The Land Tickets
UTS - Tennis Like Never Before Tickets
US Open Tennis Championship Tickets
Laver Cup Berlin Tickets
Erste Bank Open - Vienna, Austria Tickets
Dallas Open Tickets
BNP Paribas Open Tickets
Miami Open Tickets
Laver Cup San Francisco Tickets


Popular Tennis books:
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
Most Recent Articles:
October 2022 Tennis Anyone: Patterns in Doubles by John Mills.
September 2022 Tennis Anyone: Short Court by John Mills.




"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

The Tennis Server receives a commission on all items sold through links to Amazon.com.


Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
791 Price Street #144
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy