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What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal

What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal

Novak Djokovic has succeeded in winning his second Masters 1000 tournament in a row and beating Rafael Nadal for the second time in a row.

Djokovic beats Nadal in Miami 2011 final
Djokovic beats Nadal in Miami 2011 final / Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

This time it was even more close than in the the Indian Wells final as Djokovic won in the tie-break in the third set.

What was very interesting when we look at the stats of the third set is how aggressive both players were on their serve.

(Note: the official stats do not record forcing shots – only clean winners. I do since they show how the point was made.

The problem with official stats which contain only clean winners and unforced errors is that if you add them up you realize that a lot of the points played were not recorded.

That’s because they are neither winners or unforced errors – but they are shots that force the opponent into errors.)

Djokovic made 25 winners and forcing shots – and 20 of those were made on his serve (but only 1! with the serve) and 5 of those were made on Nadal’s serve.

Nadal has similar stats: he made 24 winners and forcing shots in total, where 18 were made on his serve.

This shows us that both players used their serve well to set up the point and immediately started to attack and keep the opponent under pressure.

When we take a look at Federer’s stats in the loss against Nadal in the semifinals here and in the loss against Djokovic we see that he also was very aggressive in his service games, but he was also forcing the game too much – he made too many unforced errors.

His unforced error count was much higher than the winner count – which is not the case with Djokovic and Nadal.

Federer was not willing to fight it out and find a way back into the rally with hard work but was looking for shortcuts with risky forehands mostly.

But eee what Djokovic said in his official interview after the match:

I had lots of winners and I decreased the number of unforced errors coming into the second set, which was important to me. I wanted, you know, to make him play an extra shot, not give him a lot of free points, and try to get some free points out of serve, which wasn’t happening that much.

So while Djokovic quickly realized that he needed to make Nadal work for every point and get a free point here and there, Roger remained stubborn and refused to change his tactics.

My gut feeling is that this is much more about the ego than intelligently choosing the right tactic…

I also believe that Roger is really not motivated that much to exert himself 100% for a Masters tournament. Remember – he won both Indian Wells and Miami back to back in 2005 and 2006 and over 60 tournaments in his career.

So what we see now as Djokovic’s amazing achievement is what Roger found a normal thing in his best years. 😉

We’ll see how Roger plays in the Grand Slams this year and especially how he fares on slower clay courts where you really need to work hard for a point.

Great run for Nole and some tough luck for Nadal. But the better player prevailed in the Miami final as Nadal made 3 unforced errors in the tie-break including a double fault and Nole made none.

That’s how it goes in tennis and Nadal will surely get his share of wins now on clay courts. He better, as he needs to defend 5000 points in the next 2 months…

Related posts:

3 Reasons Why Djokovic Beat Federer In The Dubai 2011 ATP Final
A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010
Detailed Analysis of The Federer-Nadal Final of the Australian Open 2009
Novak Djokovic Remains Unbeaten In 2011
Federer – Djokovic Match Analysis From The Basel 2010 Final

Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011 at 3:27 pm and is filed under Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal”
anonymous Says:
April 4th, 2011 at 10:13 pm
I think you’re right about Fed’s motivation, and this is probably reduced even further on the very slow hardcourts used at the last two tournaments. The low winner/UE ratios in all these matches shows how difficult it was to hit through the court. Scrambling, defending, power grinding clearly paid off for the two best power grinders in history. Fed is not a power grinder. He played high-risk against Nadal and it didn’t work for him, but he wasn’t going to beat Nadal playing like Djoker anyway. I think he’s focusing on the faster surfaces. Two masters semis is good work for him, rankings-wise, during this slow-hard swing. It will be interesting to see what he brings to the claycourt season. He might take it kinda easy. I would.

[Reply]

anonymous Says:
April 4th, 2011 at 10:26 pm
BTW, both Indian Wells and Miami were played on acrylic courts with ITF classification 1 (Slow). This is the same rating as clay.

[Reply]

Oleg Says:
April 4th, 2011 at 11:27 pm
I think that nadal did not serve well. If I remember well he only got in 60 % of his first serves and made 6 double faults, some in crucial moments. That’s what really helped him lose the match cause it also affected his confidence.
I think that when someone plays a very difficult opponent we have a tendency in trying to hard, and that was the case of nadal with his first serve; trying to serve to hard and perfect, made him lose the match.

[Reply]

Gil Utanes Says:
April 5th, 2011 at 2:42 am
I think that except for these two world most outstanding tennis players today (Nole and Rafa), Roger is a world class by his own. Now, that’s why he lags behind too. He looks too much of a gentleman out there with those two. He seems much too careful the way I see it. As if he’s afraid of committing his shots as he does not, when he is not playing any of the two. There seems to be many “simple shots” by his forehand that he kind of “babies” as well. His approaches are seemingly tentative too, and just when Rafa or Nole expects him to make one. I cannot see anymore his stealth and daring do when he plays any of the two. He has to change his “mental game” with those two.
His “normal” no longer work with them. I don’t know how he should do it. But I’d like to cheer him with a 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th GS. Regards, gil

[Reply]

vinay belsare Says:
April 5th, 2011 at 2:45 am
Hi i agree on why u say federer is losing.because he wants to dominate and makes more unforced errors.But one more thing i feel abt federer is his service isnt working like before.He dosent get any aces during a big match.Especially his centre serve.And due to no free points he gets in pressure.What do u think?

[Reply]

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Thoughts On Federer’s Loss To Julien Benneteau

Thoughts On Federer’s Loss To Julien Benneteau

Roger Federer lost his 2nd round match at the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 to Julien Benneteau 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. I watched the whole match and here are some tennis thoughts on it:

Roger Federer’s backhand (Photo by AP)
Roger Federer’s backhand (Photo by AP)
1. Roger Federer played many more drive and top spin backhands than he did last week in Basel.

Some possible reasons can be:

a. The court in Paris is slower and Roger had more time to set up for his backhand

b. Roger saw that his slice backhand didn’t do much damage to Djokovic in the final and wanted to start working on the backhand to get it in form for the Masters Championship in London where he has to be in top form to win.

2. Roger still isn’t in his top form but it seems to be improving. He missed some very important shots (forehand approach shots) and was unwilling (afraid?) to play winners down-the-line with his backhand when he had a chance.

3. Julien Benneteau played the match of his life. He took many chances on his returns and on many shots from the baseline and it was one of those nights where almost ALL of the high risk shots went in.

Julien Benneteau (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Julien Benneteau (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

It can be very frustrating if you’re on the other side playing good tennis and someone is just going for broke and scoring time after time.

I personally believe that Roger was willing to lose this match if needed but he decided that he will play a top spin backhand no matter what. He returned many more serves with the drive backhand and he played many more drive backhand from the baseline.

His backhand needs to be in working very well if he is to beat Djokovic, Murray and Nadal at the London Masters who will all play to his backhand over and over again.

Julien Benneteau had his match of life and Roger had a minor hickup which is insignificant compared to what he has already achieved – and what lies ahead of him.

Your thoughts on Roger’s loss?

Related posts:

Roger’s Revenge
Roger Federer – Rafael Nadal ATP Finals 2010 Match Analysis
3 Reasons Why Djokovic Beat Federer In The Dubai 2011 ATP Final
Roger Federer Keeps His Hopes Alive
Why Djokovic Keeps Winning Against Nadal

Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 at 5:39 pm and is filed under Roger Federer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Thoughts On Federer’s Loss To Julien Benneteau”
Jonas Lindgren Says:
November 11th, 2009 at 11:53 pm
As always Tomaz, I find your take on matches the most interesting around. I didn’t see the match, but I’m happy to hear that Federer’s working on the drive backhand. It’s something I’ve felt that he should have used much more throughout the season – especially when returning second serves. I’ve felt that his chip backhand returns often lets the opponent off a bit too easily, when he had the opportunity to apply pressure.

Not too upset about the loss, keeping my fingers crossed that Robin Soderling will find his range quickly after missing Valencia last week with a wrist injury. I would like to see all the top guys in London, and in my view Robin is more of a threat to the top 5 than is Verdasco. Davydenko and Soderling both have the ability to beat most guys in the top 5, whereas Verdasco seems to come close but never quite gets there.

Keep up the good work, looking forward to your next match analysis!

/Jonas (Göteborg, Sweden)

[Reply]

Leonard Griffie Says:
November 20th, 2009 at 6:31 pm
I did see the entire match and I honestly think it was just a case of Benneteau playing inspired tennis, way above his usual level. Once in a while you’re just “in the zone”. I think Benneteau was able to feed off the Paris crowd. We’ve seen this time and again during Davis Cup matches, when lower ranked players play way above their usual level with the emotional support of the home crowd. You could literally see him gaining more and more belief as the match progressed. I like Roger and all, but I must admit I couldn’t help rooting for Benneteau. That win meant far more to him than it would have to Roger.

[Reply]

Feizai Says:
November 21st, 2009 at 1:13 pm
Interesting analysis. Always an enjoyable learning from your thoughts. Personally, I didn’t catch the match, so I can’t analyse much (in fact, anything).

Nontheless, I have followed Federer’s post match interview snippets, and I think it’s pretty evident that he’s turning down a gear notch or two. Don’t get me wrong, not to discredit Benneteau’s success, but Federer is obviously less tensed up about winning nowadays. He still has that inner desire to win, but he’s got less to prove now. And judging from your observations about he working on his backhand, I think it just shows how he intends to modify his future game plan as he enters the mature phase of his tennis career.

[Reply]

Nior nti Says:
November 21st, 2009 at 11:53 pm
That is a question that lingers in my mind everytime I lose to player with a lower ranking than me. I need more mental practice to see the problem. Or possibly, I understimate the opponent that I lower the quality of my game.

I don’t know what was in Roger’s mind at that time but I think the age factor is coming to the fore. Benneteau’s win was probably due to his inspired play before a home crowd.

Thanks to your analysis that Roger really needs to improve his backhand. More power!

[Reply]

Tomaz Reply:
November 22nd, 2009 at 2:59 am

Hey Nior,

As you can see, all players sooner or later lose to lower ranked players. You cannot play every day at your 100% and sometimes you lose.

The first thing is to accept this as normal and not dwell on it. If you keep thinking and worrying about, it won’t be just a small chance that it happens, but now YOU will be the cause of the defeat.

[Reply]

Peter J. Marc Says:
November 22nd, 2009 at 4:39 pm
I watched this match in Paris. My impression was that Roger wanted a quick out from this tournament in order to rest for the Masters in London. He did not seem very unhappy in loosing.

[Reply]

Jean Landry Says:
November 23rd, 2009 at 11:17 am
I saw part of the match and I have to agree with J.Marc
Federer seemed to have his mind wondering, probably in a hurry to rejoin his new family members and to refocus himself for London. I dont agree with Nior on the impact of his age. He is a fit and still youg man.

[Reply]

Leo Says:
November 25th, 2009 at 4:13 am
Just saw Federer beat Murray last night at the O2 arena. What an amazing venue and a breathtaking atmosphere. It was a great match and fulfilled a long ambition to see the great man (Federer) play live..it’s just not the same on TV is it? Somehow I had always ‘missed’ him when going to Wimbledon each year.

As the O2 will be staging the World Championships for the next 5 years I urge anyone to visit, you will NOT be dissapionted.

Federer’s display of tennis was awesome. What struck me most watching him live was his incredible and graceful movement. He was rarely ever caught out of position, always in the right place, and his shot selection and execution…out of this world.

If you are a die-hard tennis fan, like me, and enjoy playing the game, then
watching Federer ‘in the flesh’ is a surreal experinece, you can learn so much from it!

[Reply]

Nishant Says:
June 13th, 2010 at 3:51 am
Hey Leo,

Your comments reminded me of my visit to the Arena to watch the same match. And I used precisely the same word (‘surreal’) to describe my experience to a friend. I’d bought the ticket thinking that there was a 50% chance that Fed would play in the evening slot. He did and it was really a superb match and truly one of my best experiences. It was the first live match I’d seen and to get to see my Tennis Hero play in person was a dream come true.
The best thing was that since Murray was playing as well, there was equal support from the crowd for both players. The atmosphere truly was electric. And the way Roger moved and his sublime backhands and the precision and control of his forehands were really, as you put it, out of this world. I hope you get to see him at Wimbledon this year.

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A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010

A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010

Rafael Nadal has beaten Roger Federer for the 14th time in their 21st meeting at the Madrid Masters 2010 by 6-4, 7-6 (7:5).

It was a rematch of the Federer-Nadal 2009 Madrid final which Roger won 6-4, 6-4.

Rafael Nadal beats Roger Federer in the final of the Madrid 2010
Rafael Nadal beats Roger Federer in the final of the Madrid 2010 / Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafa and Roger have not played since last year’s final and it was evident that they were both searching for the most effective tactic against each other.

I’ve analyzed the match and here are some interesting facts when it comes to unforced errors:

1. Both players made 33 unforced errors together in the first set and yet 15 of those were committed in the first 3 games. So almost 50% of unforced errors of the first set were committed in the first 30% of the set.

This points to high level of nervousness of both players where Federer mostly made errors by forcing too much and Nadal made them by simply not being relaxed enough.

2. Nadal managed to play from 2-2 to 4-6 making only 3 unforced errors. He was still playing aggressively though as he hit 11 winners and forcing shots. Roger was not that consistent and that difference decided the first set.

3. The start of the second set produced more unforced errors again but both Roger and Rafa found their game and from 2-1 until 5-4 made together only 9 unforced errors (in 7 games). They also traded breaks which were mostly won by good shotmaking.

4. Tie-break was played poorly by both players as Federer comitted 5! unforced errors and Nadal 2.

For comparison Agassi and Sampras played a tie-break at the Australian Open 2000 where none of them made any unforced errors in that tie-break. All shots were made by winners or forcing shots.

5. Despite Federer’s poor play Nadal couldn’t really pull ahead and only had a match point at 6-5 on Federer’s serve.

Federer hit a first serve, Nadal returned a short ball and Roger prepared to attack it on the rise with his big forehand. But a terrible bad bounce changed the direction of the ball so much that Roger missed the whole ball.

If the ball hadn’t bounced badly Roger would have won a point 8 out of 10 times from that position and would have another serve at 6-6 and everything would be wide open. But such is the game of tennis and it was Rafa who was the luckier on that day.

Roger Federer did not find good answers to Nadal’s loopy top spin forehands – as it happened many times in the past.

Nadal can simply stick to his favorite forehand-to-backhand shot while Roger needs to play a much more versatile game to hurt Nadal.

Drop shots worked well for Roger today but he also needs to get into control of rallies much sooner with his forehands and hit an ocassional backhand forcing shot to neutralize Nadal’s attacks.

Nadal seems close to unbeatable on clay again this year and I doubt anyone will challenge him for the 5th Roland Garros crown.

Related posts:

What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal
Learning From Federer – Soderling Rematch
3 Reasons Why Djokovic Beat Federer In The Dubai 2011 ATP Final
Novak Djokovic Remains Unbeaten In 2011
Thoughts On Federer – Haas Wimbledon 2009 Semi-Final

Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 at 9:14 am and is filed under Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010”
Quinn Says:
May 22nd, 2010 at 11:06 am
That is an interesting analysis of the match. What do you use to record the unforced errors during the match, or do you access some end of match statistics?

[Reply]

Tomaz Reply:
May 22nd, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Hi Quinn,

I record the unforced errors, winners and forcing errors myself. I use the modified Aggressive Margin system to record the stats.

[Reply]

Julian Says:
May 22nd, 2010 at 9:47 pm
Sometimes I have to wonder if the calm, cucumber cool Federer, the one who NEVER allows himself to show much excitement at all until the LAST second (and that is if he wins…) helps him with his game at all. Call me crazy, but my opinion is that it doesn’t… If there was one thing I’d tell Roger about his game that he should change it would be that which Rafa oozes tons of, which is that fighting passion, that emotional fire, that unbridled and unapologetic DESIRE to win that puts him in that state where I believe he actually forgets (or doesn’t care at all) that he pulls his shorts out of his behind (in front of the world) every single time he serves… Fed on the other hand seems so composed, so emotionally restrained, that watching him unnerves me… and you know why? Because he seems helpless in that regard. As if his depurate technique and strategy are not working, he’s done and helpless to go get some fuel somewhere else. Wouldn’t it help him to show a little more desire, a little more emotion? Instead of the same old icy formula? Did it occur to him that just maybe, his tennis would benefit for an infusion of some positive, maybe even explosive emotional fire? But that’s just me…

[Reply]

Tomaz Reply:
May 23rd, 2010 at 3:29 am

I agree, Julian. Federer looks like a boiling pot ready to go off and he keeps everything inside.

Roger was a very expressive and negative teenager and lost many matches because of his temper. At some point he decided he will not allow his emotions to control him.

But he may have gone too far in controlling his emotions. A higher activation state would definitely help him but he may unconsciously or consciously block his emotions because of what happened in the past. Nadal is helping him find the balance.

The question is whether Roger “gets it”.

[Reply]

mk Says:
May 23rd, 2010 at 8:32 am
Tomaž, can you please elaborate a bit on how Roger “At some point … decided he will not allow his emotions to control him”.

I understand, how you decide something like that “one time”, but how do you persevere in this decision in every match / practice, what do you do? I am not familiar with Roger’s path from an “expressive and negative teenager” to an emotionally controlled player he is today, but I am quite sure it must have been a constant battle in his mind, especially up until the point when he started to see and internalize positive effects of more controlled behaviour.

What I find fascinating is, that it is possible at all to transform from “choleric” to “Budha” – I can imagine how you start the process, but am not really sure how to stick to it, when you are not doing that well on the court…

[Reply]

Julian Says:
May 23rd, 2010 at 4:32 pm
Thanks Tomaz for your reply and the link to the “activation state” article, it’s a must read. I can’t count the times that I’ve started playing wonderfully and as the match wears on (obviously inadvertently because I don’t want to!!) I start buying into a negative emotional state. I’m positive this is cumulative in nature and that it has a sneaky way of getting to your head. It might stem from a few silly unforced errors, maybe a double fault when trying to close a set, or the fact that my opponent saved a couple of great shots that I thought should’ve been winners. The next thing you know you’re not the same player but don’t know exactly why… 😉 So anyway, thanks for a method on how to help keep an ideal emotional state in check.

On the subject of Roger’s emotional state against Rafa, the thing I see about Roger that troubles me is that here we have a 16 Grand Slams’ champion, (who btw has the reputation of being quite stubborn..) I mean the guy won 16 GS doing what he’s been doing and largely without a coach. I don’t know what kind of influence his current coach may have on him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if coaching what will most likely be considered the GOAT, puts a bit of a question mark on how forcefully or how many times you can stress an issue…

Who or what will make him consider a change in this regard? Hopefully continuing losing to Rafa will. But like you said about whether he “gets it”, I also wonder If at this point in his career he will have the presence of mind to see the benefit of unleashing himself more emotionally, when early on in his career this in itself was the culprit of painful losses and bad experiences. A player whose experience was that emotional restrain helped him become the champion he is, will he now see that actually implementing the opposite could help him (against Nadal particularly) ?

[Reply]

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Roger’s Revenge

Roger’s Revenge

Roger Federer got the better of Rafael Nadal in today’s final of the Madrid Masters 2009. And this win was a long time coming…

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Masters 2009 on clay
Roger wins against Nadal on clay
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
The last time Federer beat Nadal was in 2007 Masters Cup semifinal, when Roger won 6:4, 6:1.

If you want to check all the matches they played, then check this excellent website: Federer – Nadal rivalry.

I watched the first set today (I also watched 2 hours of Nadal – Djokovic match yesterday and the first set of Federer – Del Potro), then had to leave since I played tennis for 1 hour 😉 , but here are my thoughts on Federer and Nadal…

Rafael Nadal

1. Rafa seemed tense today and he also seemed tense yesterday against Djokovic almost until the last few games.

How can I tell that he was tense? Because he made some uncharacteristic unforced errors when he played in the net. He attempted a rally shot down the middle, was set up well and hit the ball into the net.

This happens when a player grips the racquet too tight (because of tension), and the racquet slightly turns downwards. Perhaps it was playing in front of the home crowd or perhaps it was the possibility of another record (winning 3 Masters Series tournaments on clay in the same year) or perhaps it was something else…

2. Nadal also didn’t handle returns well. He had some problems yesterday against Djokovic (more than normal) and he didn’t return well today. I think this is a combination of excellent serving by Federer, playing at high altitude and the tension mentioned above.

3. Rafa did well to neutralize Federer with his high bouncing forehands. It was very obvious that Federer has more problems with these high balls than Djokovic has with his two-handed backhand since Djoko can use the other hand to »push« the ball down and control it better.

Roger Federer

1. Federer reminded me of Sampras today. Why? Because he focused much more on his serving and attacking with the big forehand instead of trying to out-rally Nadal from the baseline with his groundstrokes.

I think Federer in the past tried to hit good backhands against Nadal’s super top spin forehands and all his focus was on how to solve that backhand problem.

Today, Roger accepted that he will lose most rallies when Nadal gets 3 or 4 forehands to his backhand unless Roger can run around and play his forehand. Roger was not upset when missing a backhand or when Nadal scored with his forehand against his backhand.

»Fine, those are your points anyway. But let’s see how you handle my serves, forehands and the all court game!« I believe that’s how Roger was thinking today and that’s how Sampras used to play…

2. Roger did well to mix up the game today; he served and volleyed more (even on some second serves), changed rotations and played a drop shot (in the first set) to disrupt Nadal’s rhythm.

3. Roger did not handle the high backhands well again and if he wants to beat Nadal at the French Open, I think he needs to practice hitting those high balls over and over again.

Roger still has a long way to catch up with Nadal in the head to head score, but he got his revenge today. It’s great to see the rivalry become more interesting again, especially since Federer got his win on clay.

The rest of the 2009 looks very exciting and it will be interesting to see how this result affects both player’s mentality (and others; Djokovic and Murray will definitely believe more that they have a chance against Nadal on clay…) and their performance in the rest of the season.

Related posts:

A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010
Thoughts On Federer’s Loss To Julien Benneteau
What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal
Roger Federer – Rafael Nadal ATP Finals 2010 Match Analysis
Novak Djokovic – Rafael Nadal Wimbledon 2011 Match Analysis

Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 3:05 pm and is filed under Roger Federer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Roger’s Revenge”
Anthony Says:
May 17th, 2009 at 6:09 pm
nadal didn’t move well today, he was late on the ball…surely, the match against djokovic took its toll plus he never really adjusted to this type of surface.
the semifinal match was excellent with so many aggressive and high quality shots, dusting the lines from both sides. it was delicious. a real tennis treat. the way they both fought till the very end was gracious. unforgettable match.

federer served great and played well today.

[Reply]

Ronen Says:
May 20th, 2009 at 4:27 am
I agree with Anthony and partially with what you said, about Nadal not being himself. Being, tense, not moving well, for me it all looked the same – Nadal was very slow and slugish.

It’s hard to know what the reason is, but I think in a sense another contributing factor was that he was wining a lot lately. If you ever competed in the past and had a long sequence of victories you should know it can make you bored, lose attention, less interested. In a sense, I think this is part of what happened to Nadal in Madrid.

It will be interesting to see Nadal at the French after this loss. If he will pickup his fighting spirit, or just remain the same…

[Reply]

john Says:
May 22nd, 2009 at 4:15 pm
Hi all,

I honestly believe that at The French Open if Rafa and Roger meet again it will be a win for Rafa.

A few reasons –

1) You have had to play in Madrid to understand how fast the ball moves there.
I played there 2 years ago at the Casa Campo and for me coming from Tenerife, it was like playing on a different planet.

2) The clay at the new centre in Madrid is very different to the clay in Paris – as you know clay courts can vary so much in the “depth” of the clay.

3) Madrid suited Roger, it was fast and so his serve proved dominant – second serve aces!!
Apart from his win over Rafa, look how he took out Del Potro in an hour and a bit.

So roll on The French and let’s see if The Fed can do it again.

[Reply]

Leonard Says:
May 22nd, 2009 at 6:28 pm
I agree both the altitude and the long match with Djokovic were major factors. But I don’t believe those factors alone would have cost Nadal the match. You can’t ignore how well Federer was serving and how improved his tactics were. Overall, his game was looking better than it’s looked in some time. His level took a real nosedive last year after Wimbledon and, despite prevailing at the US Open, it’s taken a long time for him to get back on track. I know I wasn’t the only one who was beginning to wonder if he ever would, especially with players like Andy Murray getting better all the time.
And what is it about Madrid? I still think about that great match where Rafa was beaten by Simon last year. Ironic the greatest Spanish tennis player would loose twice fairly recently in Madrid.

[Reply]

Jessey Says:
May 23rd, 2009 at 1:51 am
Thomza,
Maybe Roger won because—-he’s been reading your analysis : )

[Reply]

saleem Says:
May 24th, 2009 at 12:18 pm
hi,
as u said it is sweat revenge for federer especially beating nadal on his favourite surface. in my observation the winning factors as follows
1.nobody expecting federer to win (it makes feel no pressure)
2. this time he used his slice back hand to defend the high topspin shots of nadal
3.the drop shot was most successful shot to spoil nadals rhythm.
4.see the match again nadals return of serves and passing shots has no bite.
5.same tactics works but 5 setters i am doubtful.

[Reply]

A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010 | How To Play Better Tennis – Tips From A Professional Tennis Coach Says:
May 22nd, 2010 at 9:19 am
[…] was a rematch of the Federer-Nadal 2009 Madrid final which Roger won 6-4, 6-4. Rafael Nadal beats Roger Federer in the final of the Madrid 2010 / Photo […]

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A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010

A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010

Rafael Nadal has beaten Roger Federer for the 14th time in their 21st meeting at the Madrid Masters 2010 by 6-4, 7-6 (7:5).

It was a rematch of the Federer-Nadal 2009 Madrid final which Roger won 6-4, 6-4.

Rafael Nadal beats Roger Federer in the final of the Madrid 2010
Rafael Nadal beats Roger Federer in the final of the Madrid 2010 / Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafa and Roger have not played since last year’s final and it was evident that they were both searching for the most effective tactic against each other.

I’ve analyzed the match and here are some interesting facts when it comes to unforced errors:

1. Both players made 33 unforced errors together in the first set and yet 15 of those were committed in the first 3 games. So almost 50% of unforced errors of the first set were committed in the first 30% of the set.

This points to high level of nervousness of both players where Federer mostly made errors by forcing too much and Nadal made them by simply not being relaxed enough.

2. Nadal managed to play from 2-2 to 4-6 making only 3 unforced errors. He was still playing aggressively though as he hit 11 winners and forcing shots. Roger was not that consistent and that difference decided the first set.

3. The start of the second set produced more unforced errors again but both Roger and Rafa found their game and from 2-1 until 5-4 made together only 9 unforced errors (in 7 games). They also traded breaks which were mostly won by good shotmaking.

4. Tie-break was played poorly by both players as Federer comitted 5! unforced errors and Nadal 2.

For comparison Agassi and Sampras played a tie-break at the Australian Open 2000 where none of them made any unforced errors in that tie-break. All shots were made by winners or forcing shots.

5. Despite Federer’s poor play Nadal couldn’t really pull ahead and only had a match point at 6-5 on Federer’s serve.

Federer hit a first serve, Nadal returned a short ball and Roger prepared to attack it on the rise with his big forehand. But a terrible bad bounce changed the direction of the ball so much that Roger missed the whole ball.

If the ball hadn’t bounced badly Roger would have won a point 8 out of 10 times from that position and would have another serve at 6-6 and everything would be wide open. But such is the game of tennis and it was Rafa who was the luckier on that day.

Roger Federer did not find good answers to Nadal’s loopy top spin forehands – as it happened many times in the past.

Nadal can simply stick to his favorite forehand-to-backhand shot while Roger needs to play a much more versatile game to hurt Nadal.

Drop shots worked well for Roger today but he also needs to get into control of rallies much sooner with his forehands and hit an ocassional backhand forcing shot to neutralize Nadal’s attacks.

Nadal seems close to unbeatable on clay again this year and I doubt anyone will challenge him for the 5th Roland Garros crown.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 at 9:14 am and is filed under Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010”
Quinn Says:
May 22nd, 2010 at 11:06 am
That is an interesting analysis of the match. What do you use to record the unforced errors during the match, or do you access some end of match statistics?

[Reply]

Tomaz Reply:
May 22nd, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Hi Quinn,

I record the unforced errors, winners and forcing errors myself. I use the modified Aggressive Margin system to record the stats.

[Reply]

Julian Says:
May 22nd, 2010 at 9:47 pm
Sometimes I have to wonder if the calm, cucumber cool Federer, the one who NEVER allows himself to show much excitement at all until the LAST second (and that is if he wins…) helps him with his game at all. Call me crazy, but my opinion is that it doesn’t… If there was one thing I’d tell Roger about his game that he should change it would be that which Rafa oozes tons of, which is that fighting passion, that emotional fire, that unbridled and unapologetic DESIRE to win that puts him in that state where I believe he actually forgets (or doesn’t care at all) that he pulls his shorts out of his behind (in front of the world) every single time he serves… Fed on the other hand seems so composed, so emotionally restrained, that watching him unnerves me… and you know why? Because he seems helpless in that regard. As if his depurate technique and strategy are not working, he’s done and helpless to go get some fuel somewhere else. Wouldn’t it help him to show a little more desire, a little more emotion? Instead of the same old icy formula? Did it occur to him that just maybe, his tennis would benefit for an infusion of some positive, maybe even explosive emotional fire? But that’s just me…

[Reply]

Tomaz Reply:
May 23rd, 2010 at 3:29 am

I agree, Julian. Federer looks like a boiling pot ready to go off and he keeps everything inside.

Roger was a very expressive and negative teenager and lost many matches because of his temper. At some point he decided he will not allow his emotions to control him.

But he may have gone too far in controlling his emotions. A higher activation state would definitely help him but he may unconsciously or consciously block his emotions because of what happened in the past. Nadal is helping him find the balance.

The question is whether Roger “gets it”.

[Reply]

mk Says:
May 23rd, 2010 at 8:32 am
Tomaž, can you please elaborate a bit on how Roger “At some point … decided he will not allow his emotions to control him”.

I understand, how you decide something like that “one time”, but how do you persevere in this decision in every match / practice, what do you do? I am not familiar with Roger’s path from an “expressive and negative teenager” to an emotionally controlled player he is today, but I am quite sure it must have been a constant battle in his mind, especially up until the point when he started to see and internalize positive effects of more controlled behaviour.

What I find fascinating is, that it is possible at all to transform from “choleric” to “Budha” – I can imagine how you start the process, but am not really sure how to stick to it, when you are not doing that well on the court…

[Reply]

Julian Says:
May 23rd, 2010 at 4:32 pm
Thanks Tomaz for your reply and the link to the “activation state” article, it’s a must read. I can’t count the times that I’ve started playing wonderfully and as the match wears on (obviously inadvertently because I don’t want to!!) I start buying into a negative emotional state. I’m positive this is cumulative in nature and that it has a sneaky way of getting to your head. It might stem from a few silly unforced errors, maybe a double fault when trying to close a set, or the fact that my opponent saved a couple of great shots that I thought should’ve been winners. The next thing you know you’re not the same player but don’t know exactly why… 😉 So anyway, thanks for a method on how to help keep an ideal emotional state in check.

On the subject of Roger’s emotional state against Rafa, the thing I see about Roger that troubles me is that here we have a 16 Grand Slams’ champion, (who btw has the reputation of being quite stubborn..) I mean the guy won 16 GS doing what he’s been doing and largely without a coach. I don’t know what kind of influence his current coach may have on him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if coaching what will most likely be considered the GOAT, puts a bit of a question mark on how forcefully or how many times you can stress an issue…

Who or what will make him consider a change in this regard? Hopefully continuing losing to Rafa will. But like you said about whether he “gets it”, I also wonder If at this point in his career he will have the presence of mind to see the benefit of unleashing himself more emotionally, when early on in his career this in itself was the culprit of painful losses and bad experiences. A player whose experience was that emotional restrain helped him become the champion he is, will he now see that actually implementing the opposite could help him (against Nadal particularly) ?

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Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?

Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?

Hello, I have been playing tennis on and off for a few years, but now I want to start playing with more decision.

My goal is to win a “class 4″ category in Italy this summer. I have already written down all the dates and I have been practicing every day.

I still have not found a coach with whom I really get along with. Don’t you think that a coach should help his student to “think big” rather than just “being realistic”?

Yesterday I asked my coach what I have to do to win a class 4 tournament. He told me that to win a class 4 tournament you have to be a 4.1 or 4.2 ranked.

I am not even ranked because I have never played any tournaments. In everything I do I think big.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Interesting question.

I don’t know what level is the class 4 tournament so I cannot judge that.

Whether a coach should be realistic or think big?

The reality is this: NO ONE knows everything for sure. Except in extreme cases…

I know for sure that you cannot play ATP tennis. But whether you can play a level 4 tournament, that can be different.

The reason why a coach is realistic (in general) is because he wants to protect you from disappointment if that happens.

And there’s something you need to consider from our – the coaches – point of view: 99% of serious tennis players that we coach achieve less than they hoped for.

Read that again please. 😉

In other words, 99% of tennis players are disappointed after a few years (or 15 years) of training tennis.

Their wishes of becoming something end up only as wishes.

The competition in the International tennis field is so tough, that someone who hasn’t been in the International scene (either as a player, coach or a parent) for a few years, cannot imagine it.

So your coach may have assessed your skills and the skills of players at level 4 tournaments and concluded that you probably won’t make it.

If someone asks me (and this happens very often) whether they can make it in the International tennis, then I tell:” I think that … (has chances or doesn’t have chances or …) BUT this is only my opinion. It’s NOT the fact.

I have been wrong in the past with these predictions and have realized that I cannot predict the future.

“So my opinion is this and this but if you wish to pursue your goal (of winning a level 4 tournament, being ATP top 100, …) then I will give my best to help you REGARDLESS whether I think you can make it or not.”

That’s the whole point of coaching.

If someone asks for my services and I decide to accept their offer, then I give my best no matter whether they are realistic or not. If they later realize that they are not realistic, they will adjust their goals or quit.

I accept both these outcomes.

And if they make it, then even better. 😉

So in summary: should a coach be realistic or think big? The coach should give you their honest opinion if asked. But the coach should give 100% effort regardless of what are your goals.

When I coach on the court, it doesn’t matter to me what you want. I am just trying to improve your game the best I can.

I cannot control the outcome – how well you will play and how well you will use my instructions. I can only control my effort – giving my best.

Related posts:

How To Improve Your Motivation For Playing Tennis
Analyzing Your Effort In Tennis Matches
How Are Juniors Training Tennis In Europe And Why Are They Better Than Americans?
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Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Friday, April 4th, 2008 at 2:57 am and is filed under Tennis Coaching. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?”
David Contois Says:
April 5th, 2008 at 6:36 am
A coach should on average, think conservativly. Most players-recreational ones, are not highly talented, or motivated. It is such a low percentage.
One would liek to think big…
David Contois

[Reply]

Arturo Hernandez Says:
January 15th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
How about another approach? Keep the big goal in mind and then setup a bunch of mini-goals to reach on the way there. Make the mini-goals realistic and then just let things happen. At some point the player will either stop improving or just keep getting better. This allows the coach to be conservative but at the same time let’s him or her map out the road to the bigger goal.

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Analyzing Your Effort In Tennis Matches

Analyzing Your Effort In Tennis Matches

One of the main reasons why you lose games and eventually matches is because you don’t give 100% of effort all the time.

You may feel down, frustrated or disappointed (you’re in a low activation state) or you may feel angry, upset or nervous (you’re in a high activation state). In either case, you’re not giving 100% of effort at that moment.

You may also feel somewhat tired and your body’s natural response is to save energy. If you’re not mentally strong enough to overcome those impulses, you’re again not giving 100% of effort.

I am currently working on the mental game with a 13 year old girl tennis player, who competes in National junior tennis tournaments.

The score from a few of her matches suggested lots of ups and downs and I decided to check what’s going on with the effort level in those matches.

I simply asked her to mark the games where she gave 100% effort and mark the games where she didn’t put 100% effort.

She lost one match 6-4, 1-6, 5-10 (final set was a tie-break) and I instructed her to make a table where in one column she marked the games where she played 100% and in the other games where she didn’t play 100%.

This is what she wrote:

100% effort less than 100% effort
until 4-3 4-3 to 4-4
4-4 to 6-4
0-0 to 1-1
1-1 to 1-2 1-2 to 1-6
And in the tie-break about 50% of the time…

Then I asked her to add all the games where she played 100% so that added up to 7+2+1 = 10. She did the same for the games whe didn’t play 100% and that added up to 1+2+4+1 (tie-break) = 8

So she played 10 games with 100% and 8 games with less than 100% effort.

Then I asked her how many games she wins if she plays with 100% and how many if she plays with less than 100%.

Out of 10 games she won 7. And out of 8 games where she didn’t give her 100% she won 1 game.

That really helped her understand the cause which is effort and the consequence which is the score.

She won 7 out of 10 games when playing 100% and 1 out of 8 games when playing less than 100%.

We met next week after another tournament and did the same type of analysis.

She played 15 games with 100% and 5 games with less than 100% and still lost the match.

One week later we met again a day after her loss in the second round of under 16 tournament and she was very pleased. She said that she played well and felt good about her game.

We did the analysis and she played (2-6, 3-6) 17 games and ALL of them were played with 100% effort.

She then realized that giving 100% effort is the key to playing well and it’s the key to feeling good about yourself even if you lose the match.

By giving 100% effort you cannot blame yourself for losing (the feeling of guilt destroys self-confidence!) since you cannot give more than all you’ve got.

The opponent was simply better and it’s easier to accept that and accept the loss as a normal part of competitive tennis.

What was really interesting in her case was that she remembered very clearly which games she played with full effort and that she was honest about that and shared that with me.

Only by being totally honest with yourself you can grow and move forward in this part of the mental game of tennis.

Once you know the relationship between effort and the likely outcome, you are free to choose 100% effort or not. Note that I never forced her to play with full effort, I simply made her aware of the relationship between effort and the score.

She is free to choose whatever she wants as long as she knows the cause and effect.

And what may be so trivial to a coach or a parent watching the match – seeing that your player is not giving 100% and therefore losing more games – is NOT so logical and trivial to the player especially at this age and under stress on the court.

Have your player go through the effort analysis shown in this article and they’ll become much more aware of the cause and effect when it comes to giving full effort.

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Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?
A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010
Why I Don’t Like to See Nadal At #1
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This entry was posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010 at 2:59 am and is filed under Mental Tennis, Tennis Coaching. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Analyzing Your Effort In Tennis Matches”
Arturo Hernandez Says:
January 15th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Interesting! It is possible to give too much effort? Sometimes a player can try too hard.

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How Are Juniors Training Tennis In Europe And Why Are They Better Than Americans?

Example Of How Tough Tennis Can Be On The Mind

Marin Cilic defeated Igor Andreev today in Monte Carlo but there was a game at 4:1 in the second set that can demonstrate what kind of situations happen in tennis and how mentally tough one has to be to overcome those.

Marin Cilic backhand
Marin Cilic backhand – Photo by MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

It was 4:1 for Cilic and he was also serving.

Here are 3 critical situations where Marin Cilic had basically won the the point but immediately “lost it” because of some external factor which he couldn’t control:

1. Cilic was facing a break point and hit a winner first serve. The score would be 40:40 but the line judge called the ball out. The chair umpire checked the mark and corrected the call.

So Marin had basically won the point but because of the line umpire’s mistake he was still facing a break point. He then served an ace. 😉

2. A minute later, Cilic was facing another break point. Again, he served a great first serve which resulted in a missed return by Andreev but the chair umpire called a let – which none of the players heard.

The net device signaled to the chair umpire that there was a slight touch of the ball and the net. Very unlucky for Cilic again.

3. A few points later (in the same game!) the players found themselves at deuce. Cilic served a first serve winner and for a second everything looked ok but then Andreev complained to the chair umpire that he was distracted by the line judge.

The chair umpire asked the line judge if he called the ball out and he confirmed. The call was so quiet though that only Andreev had heard it.

So the chair umpire told Cilic that the point had to be replayed. So Cilic lost another already won point because of line judge’s mistake.

All credit to Marin Cilic for staying cool, calm and collected despite all these unfortunate events that were against him. He was mentally tough and focused and did not allow himself to get distracted by these unfortunate calls.

Marin eventually won the match.

This is what can happen in tennis and it’s very important that you notice these events and realize how tough and unfair this game can be.

But if one if focused, knows that these things can happen and accepts them as the necessary part of the whole game of tennis, then even such situations can be overcome and that in the end gives you even more satisfaction and confidence.

If you have experienced some tough situations in a tennis match, please share them below!

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Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 at 1:30 pm and is filed under Mental Tennis. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Example Of How Tough Tennis Can Be On The Mind”
Arturo Hernandez Says:
April 13th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
Great Story. I used to play someone that always beat me. I would drive to his courts and we would play on Sundays. After we played he would always talk to me for a little while about whatever was on his mind. One time we were playing and I won the first set and was leading in the second. The games were close and I was up 6-5. At 6-5, he quickly blurted out that he needed to get his other pair of shoes because the shoes he had on were no good. I sat at the court and waited patiently. He showed up ten minutes later with another pair of shoes. I proceeded to lose the 6-5 game on my serve. But I kept telling myself to stay calm and just play through it. I ended up winning a tightly contested tiebreak. I went up to shake his hand. He mumbled something about his shoes. I tried to engage him in small talk like I normally did. He was curt and just walked off the court. He barely said bye to me. We never played again…

[Reply]

mk Says:
May 23rd, 2010 at 8:11 am
For me tennis matches used to be very mentally demanding if somebody cheated on me (like, big time cheating), I would usually completely loose focus and many time lose a match even if I was winning…

I would dwell on cheating incident, thinking, how can this nice mum lie in to my face on a nice sunny day, this is not fair-play, where is this world going to end up – I know, totally naïve!

What really helped me was the advice from my coach – the best one in the world! 😉 – he said, now imagine, every time you play a match, all the players at the tournament try to cheat on you and you know it in advance. So what will you do? Fight, of course, every time they try to steal a point from you, your word against theirs! So now I am much more confident defending the “stolen” points, plus it really amuses me to see that my opponents have to cheat on me to get points! Sometimes I even say to them: “Look, you don’t have to cheat, because I think you play really well!”

The other challenging situations, like bad ball bounces or unforced errors, “bad” day / luck – I am more and more accepting them as a part of the tennis game and statistics and am trying not to judge myself. I just try to go on, play the next point…

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Tennis Is Not About NOT Missing, It’s About Winning The Match

Tennis Is Not About NOT Missing, It’s About Winning The Match

HI! Your book is great and you have amazing tips!! Thank you so much for writing it and for sharing w/the rest of us your vast knowledge!!! You are awesome.

I have a question about mixed doubles. I am 32 and I am a very consistent player (or I was and most of the time that is what my team members always say about me and playing w/me) but I don’t have a hard shot and the greatest technique.

I guess that my “technique” had just been to get the ball back no matter what, and keep it in play.

The level that I had been playing at this actually worked ! Usually they hit it out or in the net after one or two.

Now my women’s doubles team has moved me up from playing positions 3 or 4 or 5 the lowest of the five matches to 1 or 2.

Same w/my mixed doubles team except we have just moved up in level . Long way to say my consistency is gone feeling now and what I used to do , just get the ball back, is not working.

So I am working on my shots w/a tennis pro and working on getting more strength but I also now feel, b/c of my defeats and losses , (the last two matches I played I lost and b/f that I had a pretty good history of winning most matches played) that I now feel that I am in a mental rut b/c of my last few matches losing and getting slammed in mixed by the guy when my slow ball goes over the net and he poaches and kills my partner.

I know how and can get it over the guy or around the guy but in a match once it happens once it seems my racket just keeps doing it and feeding him i just get more and more and more down and frustrated w/myself and then end of feeding him overheads basically.

I know to get it over him or away from him and i know how i just dont’ seem to be able to do it no matter how hard I think I am trying in a match after it happens once.

I have lost all confidence now in myself in general as a player and marked myself out for the rest of mixed doubles season while I practice w/the pro to improve and I have lost the enjoyment of the game too?

Can you help me? Thank you

Hi,

What I suspect is going on is that you don’t want to miss. You mention your “slow ball” and feeding balls to him.

Which means you are avoiding sidelines and baseline as your target.

Here’s what you can do:

1. You need to go for riskier shots.

The game of tennis is not about NOT MISSING, it’s about finding the balance of going for your shots and winning more than you lose.

Example with numbers:

Scenario 1 – SAFE PLAY: you play the safest shot 20 times with 90% balls going in. That means that you lose only 2 points on unforced errors.

But since the ball is so safe, it’s too easy for your opponent. They make 15 points and miss 3 times for the remaining 18 points.

So they won 15+2=17 points and you won 3 points when they missed.

Scenario 2 – RISKIER PLAY: You increase the risk and make 6 unforced errors. But your shots are now so good that when they go in, you win 6 points. And you opponent wins 4 points on their shots and also make 4 mistakes.

So now you won 10 points and your opponent won 10 points.

If you just think about mistakes, you made 6 now and when you played safer you made only 2.

But no one counts mistakes. It’s whether you win the match that counts.

And winning a tennis match is a long term statistical game.

Note that if you risk too much, you’ll make too many unforced errors and not enough points.

How much risk to take?

You learn by experience. See what works and what doesn’t work.

And sometimes nothing will work because you just play a better player. 😉 Enjoy and learn.

2. Explore your feelings and thoughts that arise when you miss.

Missing can be perceived as making a mistake.

What happened in your life when you made a mistake? What happened in your childhood when you made a mistake?

Because right now you are subconsciously choosing to play it safer and not make mistakes EVEN if you lose the point or lose match. (or lose match after match after match …)

See if you can find a similar connection in your life and make it conscious.

Then you will have a choice whether you listen to that inner voice trying to protect you from mistakes – and at the same time from success, or are you going to listen to your logical mind that tells you to go for the shots

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Dealing With The Fear Of Missing

Hi Tomaz, I have a 11 year old daughter that is ranked no. 2 in our city.

$I have a problem with her, fear.

She protects herself from looking incompetent by playing safe as opposed to smart, aggressive tennis.

What can I do?

You’ve already made an interesting and deep observation. Could you also say that she is afraid to miss?

If she is afraid to miss and thinks that this is a mistake that she could avoid, you need to show her videos of top players missing shots, especially easy ones.

11 year old kids don’t understand that tennis is out of their control. They almost always think it’s their fault.

One of the reasons are of course we, coaches and parents who constantly try to correct mistakes.

So the child thinks mistakes are correctable.

They are not.

We can only DECREASE the number of them happening in the match, but they WILL ALWAYS happen.

It’s also quite tough for her to take more risks if she is #2. This confirms to her that her tennis is good. (right now)

She of course needs to combine smart play with aggressive play.

What you can do:

1. Show her that mistakes are inevitable and part of tennis. (with videos)

2. Encourage her to play more aggressive and ACCEPT her way of playing TOO.

We are all different and your daughter is a free person, she is not your property. So is she wants to play it safe, show her the consequences in the long term. The decision must eventually come from her.

She may have to lose many matches before she changes her game. That’s how life works.

3. Be patient. Children don’t understand the probabilities and risks and so on.

She needs to mature to make more logical choices. Now she is making decisions based on emotions.

When she makes a mistake, it hurts a lot. You need to figure out why.

Where does this pain after a mistake originate from? Who scolded her?

She LEARNED that a mistake is a bad thing, she didn’t bring this into her life by herself.

Find the reason, and you will find the solution