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The Best Tennis Strategy: 5 Ways to Win More Tennis Matches

Updated: Sep 3

Tennis Strategy

Are you fed up with losing Tennis Matches?, Just starting and keep hitting the ball down the middle of the court? Are you completely focused on technique and the perfect first serve?

Tennis is a sport, and you win by applying pressure on your opponent. This article will show you the five most straightforward ways to win points in tennis using a fundamental tennis strategy. Most new players will play without a game plan, will play on reaction, and try to get the ball back one more time than their opponent. The biggest flaw in this tennis strategy is that it creates tension, anxiety and stress; the longer the rally, the tighter you get. You will often see children giggle as the rally goes on, which is a natural reaction to a stressful situation in kids.

This article will show you the five best forms of tennis strategy and how they can help you win more matches.

Let us start right now!

Tennis Strategy: Consistency

Steve Whelan, Bucks County Tennis Team

Consistency is often mistaken for just keeping the ball in. As I have just mentioned, this is a poor tennis tactic. Tennis is about not waiting for your opponent to miss but making them miss. You can do this in several ways, which we will look at in this article today. Consistency in tennis strategy terms is becoming hard to beat, not making unforced errors and being very comfortable playing in long rallies.

Players may increase their consistency in three main areas, rally threshold, rally accuracy or rally tempo.

Rally threshold means becoming like a tennis wall; no matter what happens, you will get the ball back. Commonly referred to as a 'hacker', players with a high rally threshold will use their opponent's speed, spin against them, and get the ball back repeatedly. This tactic requires high levels of concentration, movement and excellent technical skills to adapt to various speeds, spins and heights of your opponent's shots.

Rally accuracy is all about being very accurate with your shots. Can you keep the ball in a neutral position, i.e. between the service line and baseline, when rallying from the back? Can you effectively change direction and not give any short balls away to your opponent? Most beginners think tennis is about being an aggressive baseliner, but precision or accuracy is a huge part of the game.

Rally tempo controls the speed of the rally, players can hit lower, flatter and quicker to increase the tempo, or they can hit higher, more spin or slower to lower the tempo. Both rhythms have a part to play, and you may improve the rhythm on a short ball or slow the tempo down under pressure.

Tennis Strategy: Control Space

LTA Regional Camp

Space is the final frontier, in tennis terms, the key to winning| Control the space, and you will be on your way to victory.

If you watch any two beginners play a match, you will see them hit the ball up and down the middle of the court, that's a great way of avoiding the outside lines and losing the point, but from a tennis tactics point of view, it's not great. To hit a tennis ball, you need one major thing, balance. If you have no balance hitting a ball efficiently and effectively is very difficult. The open nature of tennis, with the ball being able to travel at various heights, speeds, spins, depths, and directions, is why players make mistakes.

You can make the rally very difficult just by hitting the ball to the side of the court away from your opponent, and this can be achieved by hitting cross-court or down the line. The best high percentage shot is the cross-court groundstroke in tennis. By hitting the cross-court shot, the ball travels across the lowest part of the net, into the most significant court area and will make your opponent move. If you try to move your opponent by hitting down the line, you must remember that this is a smaller angle, the highest part of the net, and the smaller space, therefore a higher risk.

You can also control space with your serve, and if you have a classic tap-it-over second serve, you should still be looking to hit towards the corners of the box to make your opponent move. If you target the backhand with either first serve or second serve, the odds of you winning the point will increase. You don't need big serves to win a tennis match. Remember, accuracy or precision will outperform power, especially if you are a beginner and can't generate vast amounts of speed or spin.

The return of serve is an excellent opportunity to make your opponent move at the club level. Most club players will hit an aggressive shot on their first serve but will tap the second serve over an in. You now have an excellent opportunity to hit the ball into space on the tennis court and apply pressure to the server.

You can also control your space; if you stand, ball watch, and leave a significant gap on the court, you are in trouble. An excellent strategy to use in your game is to recover back to the middle at the back of the court after every shot.

The top players in the world, such as Novak Djokovic, will look to make their opponent move with every shot, and so should you!

Tennis Strategy: Control Time

LTA Assistant Course at David Lloyd Enfield

With all this talk of time and space, you may feel like a time lord or Dr Who fame, but these two essential factors can make or break a match. If you can control time and space, you can control the game. You can take time away from your opponent by changing your shots' flight path or rhythm. Unlike holding space, this is more difficult and should be for more advanced players.

Aggressive players may take the ball earlier by stepping onto the court and hitting the ball as it rises, hitting flatter by making the oath of their swing more side to side or increasing the swing speed. This generally is the go-to tennis strategy for beginners as they believe the best players in the world hit every ball hard, and the truth is, they don't. The best players in the world will use many different strategies and mix them up depending on the situation.

If you have great movement, timing and a sound technical base, you may take time away from your opponent by being more aggressive with your court position or hitting the ball back.

A great tactic to use if you haven't got huge groundstrokes is to come into the net. Moving forward to the net takes time away from your opponent as you will hit the ball earlier and come back to your opponent quicker. If you hit an approach shot (a shot in which you hit the ball and move into the net), you could hit a drop shot or force your opponent to hit a passing shot with you at the net. If you have no idea about shot names, check out my article on every tennis shot explained.

For a beginner, you can control time in defence, which are my most crucial tennis strategy tips. The vast majority of tennis players focus on attacking the ball or offence, and the truth is, like any sport, there will be times in the rally when you have to defend! You can buy time or regain time by hitting the ball higher, slower, and slicing; this will give you time to recover. You should practice playing in defence just as much as you practice being in the attack. In my experience, most errors are made because players have no clue how to defend.

Tennis Strategy: Use Your Strengths

Wimbledon Tennis

It may sound straightforward but play to your strengths! If you read my ultimate tennis statistics, you will see the world's best players hit more forehands than any other shot. Why? It's their strength! By using your strongest weapon you will be more confident and if you focus on your own game, you have. better chance of winning. If you speak to any sportsperson in the world, they are so focused on what they do well, and what they will bring to the match that they ooze confidence. The best tennis players look to express their style of play to their opponents. this could be done by using a forehand to hit an attack with a weak return or net rushers hitting deep shots that will enable them to move into the net and use their volley game.

You should have a good idea of where your comfort zone is and find different approaches to set up your best shots.

The majority of modern-day tennis is dominated by serve + 1, which is the serve and the next shot the server hits. This plus one is 70% of the time their strength ie forehand. If good players are looking to use this tactic in singles tennis, then so should you!

Tennis Strategy: Focus On Your Opponent's Weaknesses

LTA Coach Education

On the flip side, you should look to target your opponent's game, just like you they will have strengths and weaknesses. if your opponent is very comfortable at the back of the court, hit a drop shot and bring them into the net and test out their net play. If your opponent has a huge forehand but your backhand is poor, you should aim the majority of your play towards their weaker groundstroke.

By highlighting their weak shot, you not only win more matches but you will destroy their confidence, increase frustration and win the mental game.

Tennis Strategy: Conclusion

Steve Whelan with two winning junior tennis players

Tennis is a sport, and like any sport, you need to find a way to win. The majority of tennis coaching is focused on how we hit the ball but at the end of the day this is irrelevant, it's what we do with the ball and less about how it looks. If you are playing a match, focus on these five basic tennis strategy outlines, move your opponent, take time away from them, use your strength and attack their weakness and you will win more points. The more points you win, the more games and matches you win, and the happier your tennis becomes.

You can download my tactical framework right now and improve your tactical development.

Read These Next To Improve Your Tennis

If you have enjoyed this article on the best tennis strategy, you must check out these great articles to help you win more tennis matches.

  • 7 Tips to Improve Your Tennis Volley (with Drills Video)

  • 7 Tennis Serving Tips

  • The Best Tennis Drills For Beginners (With Video)

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Steve Whelan with Barry Cowan

Written by Steve Whelan

Steve has developed thousands of tennis players and tennis coaches over the past twenty years as a coach and educator.

Steve has over 20 million social media views in 2022 alone.

Read About Steve's fantastic career here.

Contact Steve direct at or

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