nodot nodot
Hardscrabble Scramble
April 1996 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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
Hardscrabble Scramble Banner


Green Dot
Tennis Warehouse Logo
Green Dot

Closing Your Match

Mike Whittington Photo
Mike Whittington

One of the most difficult times in a set or match can be when you are given the opportunity to serve for the win. One of the main reasons for problems at this time in the match stems from your own attitude. Many players assume that the set or match is over and that they've already conquered the problem just by being able to serve for it. Others fear that they won't be able to finish off the opponent.

In addition to the things going on in your own mind, you must also consider what your opponent might be thinking. Their back is against the wall and are about to be closed out so they obviously are playing out of desperation. When an opponent fears that it is slipping out of hand, they will frequently play their best tennis because they know they must. If they feel like they've already lost then they can be very dangerous.

There are a few things you can do to combat those nervous times in your matches. First remember that your are the one that is in the lead and probably for good reason. You don't want to change a winning game plan. If serve and volley has brought you to this point, continue to do so. If hitting to their backhand has worked, don't play to the forehand. The basic concept is to maintain a winning plan and everyone should have a plan.

Remember that you are to play every point as an important one. Casual points played while assuming you've got it wrapped up can really mount up against you. Continue to play smart tennis and stay focused. Never assume it's over until after the handshake.

Take note that your opponent's game will probably change. Just as you have recognized that you need to maintain your winning plan, they must now change their losing tactics. This can be very rattling to some players but you should be prepared for it. If you are hitting winner after winner off the forehand side should they continue to hit there? They will remember these things in desperate times!

Practice being in these situations. Play against a team or partner and start every game at 30-love. See how you react when your ahead. Try it down love-40 and a few other scenarios. Find out exactly how you play and think through such situations. Practicing this way will only prepare you more for the actual match situation and help you to stay calm and focused.

Remember the saying, "Champions visualize what they want to happen and everyone else visualizes what they fear will happen". Work on closing out your matches and see which applies to you. Adding a little mental toughness at critical times in your matches might give you the confidence needed to play better under pressure.

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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 Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
Australian Open Tickets
Dallas Open Tickets
Delray Beach Open Tickets
ATX Open Tickets
Mexican Open Tickets
BNP Paribas Open Tickets
Miami Open Tickets
Credit One Charleston Open Tickets
US Men's Clay Court Championships Tickets
Wimbledon Tickets
Citi Open Tennis Tournament Tickets
Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Tickets
National Bank Open Womens Tennis Canada Tickets
Odlum Brown Van Open r Tickets
Tennis In The Land Tickets
US Open Tennis Championship Tickets
Laver Cup Vancouver 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