Tennis Tactical: adaptation, essential quality in tennis

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Roland Garros is just coming to an end as players on the circuit must already be thinking about Wimbledon.
Philippe Dehaes, Belgian coach of Daria Kasatkina, analyzes on this occasion one of the great strengths that the tennis players must have: the adaptation

Roland Garros is just coming to an end and players on the circuit must already be thinking about Wimbledon.

The biggest concern, for some, is the short time of adaptation to the changes of game between the two tournaments. Because, after all, the only thing in common between the two tournaments is that they are both Grand Slams.

For the rest, everything is different: the regulation of the seeds of the series, the organization - no match on the first Sunday - the atmosphere, and of course the surface.

The key is to play with the surface, not against it!
Philippe Dehaes
Professional Tennis Coach

1 / Adaptation, a permanent obligation of the player

Players must demonstrate a high level of adaptation to be effective from the beginning of the tournament. The characteristics of grass are numerous but the most important is obviously the very low bounce. It is for this reason that one speaks of a fast surface because the player has very little time to return the ball. Regarding ground acceleration, the tournament is judged as an intermediary. Surprisingly, in terms of speed, it only comes in third place after the US Open and the Australian Open!

So is it necessary to radically change the way one plays? Become another player? No, the main thing is to play with the surface and not against it!

Daria Win at Roland Garros


2 / Adaptation, the key for getting results

Whether you play your club's tournament, your region's tournament or you play casually on weekends, you'll never find the same conditions twice.

The reasons are numerous:

  • The climate: does it rain or not? For example, the clay will be slower or faster.
  • The surface: your match was scheduled outside and the referee sends you to play indoors on a surface that you do not like.
  • Balls: you forget your balls and you have to play with your opponent’s
  • The conditions: there is a strong wind, the sun is bright, and there is too much noise next to your court
  • The strings: you break your strings, you must finish your match with your friend’s racquet
  • The unexpected: an improvised party and a night too short.
  • etc ...

Always remember that you must play with the conditions and never against them. You have an opponent to beat today and that is the only thing that matters. If you cannot run at full capacity for any of the reasons above, nothing stops you from trying!

Do not play with the mood of the day, do not look for excuses, but look for ways to win!
Philippe Dehaes
Professional Tennis Coach


3 / Adaptation, according to your profile

Just like the Champions, stay focused on your strengths by trying to get as close as possible to your opponent's weak points. Keep in mind your game, your player profile.

Here is a table that will allow you to draw your player profile. Just check the box that corresponds to the reality of your game. Then you can build your game plans. The goal is to play as much as possible with your strengths trying to hide your weak points. Seek advice from your club's coaches to refine your game plans.

Be aware that your strong shot is not necessarily a lethal shot but a shot in which you feel able not to miss, to be strong and very consistent even under pressure.

Player Profile Tennis


Two examples of tactical schemes

You are an attacker with:

Strong forehand, weak backhand, strong volley, bad footwork, poor concentration and good service.

My tactic: after my serve, I always try to play with my forehand. I do at least twice serve and volley in each game. I try to shorten the points by getting as the net as soon as possible because I do not move very well; moreover, my level of concentration does not allow me to stay in rallies for a long time.

You are a defender with:

A weak forehand, a good backhand, a bad volley, a good footwork, good concentration and bad service.

My tactics: my service prevents me from winning free points, I favor the percentage of first balls in the field to avoid being attacked on my second serve. I play as many balls as possible in the backhand of my opponent to prevent him from playing in my forehand. I make the rally last long because I have a good physique. I vary the zones in order to exhaust my opponent. I give no free points.

Philippe Dehaes

After having coached many Belgian players like Xavier Malisse, Kristophe Vliegen and Christophe Rochus, as well as the Davis Cup national team from 2006 to 2008, Philippe Dehaes is now coach of Daria Kasatkina, the rising star of women's tennis.