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Tennis: Strategy

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Players on tennis court playing doubles
Author: Joop van Bilsen
Source: Dutch National Archives
Winning in tennis can take more than just being able to hit the ball hard or get a first serve in most of the time. Although, these basic skills are important, most expert tennis players also have strategies by which they play the game.

The first tennis strategy any player needs is one that emphasizes the players strengths. These strategies usually fall into three groups called volleyers, baseliners, and all-court. We'll go over each of these strategies in more detail below.

The second tennis strategy is to analyze one's opponent and to exploit their weaknesses. An example of this may be an opponent that is tall and slow, but can hit the ball very hard. Instead of trying to out hit this player, a good strategy may be to hit the ball away from the player and make them run. They will get tired and eventually not be able to run as fast to get to your shots. You may also try to hit a lot of hard shots directly at their feet making them bend and not be able to extend their arms to make that hard shot.

The Serve and Volley Tennis Player

These tennis players tend to have a great serve and good play at the net, or volleying. They utilize a tennis strategy that emphasizes these strengths. When they get a good serve in, they charge the net and try to get a quick winner off of the service return.

The Baseliner Tennis Player

Baseline tennis players tend to play on the strength of speed and accuracy. They try to wear down their opponents. Baseliners themselves may employ different strategies that go from purely defensive play to aggressive play. The defensive player will just try to run down every shot and get it back. They seldom try to hit winners and hope to win the point when their opponent makes a mistake. The aggressive player will try to hit winners from the baseline attacking with a strong ground stroke like a powerful forehand.

In professional tennis the surface of the tennis court can have a lot to do with the strategy employed by the player. Defensive baseliners tend to do well on slower surfaces like clay, while aggressive baseliners do well on hard court and grass. Serve and volley tennis players do well on the fast surfaces as well, especially grass courts.

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