How players get ready for grass season
Grass is here! Check out how Olivier Malcor (professional coach) prepares his players
The grass season is finally starting, as we look towards Wimbledon. Playing on the Wimbledon lawn is always a very special moment of the year for each player. There is of course the main draw for Wimbledon, but for Mathias Bourgue and Tristan Lamasine, the first step will be the qualifications at Roehampton.
What is the best way possible to prepare for grass?
Generally, it takes a miracle.
However more practically, first, it is important to note that some games are adapted to this surface better than others. If you have long preparations, but a bad server and spinning strokes, you will be at a disadvantage. However, in the last ten years the grass has been lower making the bounce higher. Nowadays it’s easier to play the game and stay in back of the court.
The hardest thing you have to learn is the movement. During your first practice sessions, you’ll feel like you have to “walk on eggs”. You have to learn to adapt your footwork. Long runs with slides are forbidden. If you make these long runs, coming back in the point will be extremely difficult. A good movement relies on the grass to help make it.
As far as a more tactical plan, you have to remember to see the game from the other player’s point of view. Your ability to play with the ball is still very important. Be percussive in order to dictate the point. Serve and return are crucial as well.
However, the return is the key point in this modern form of tennis.
For the men, due to scheduling and purposes, Wimbledon is not a priority for us. The season is often too long and choices have to be made. The men will play Challengers in Lyon and Blois which are clay tournaments.
Once those are over, based on the results, we will go to the Deauvile’ site, one of the few where you can find grass in France. From there, we will focus on rehabilitation for the best reactivity and the most movement in the back.
What are the physical consequences of the drop in the center of gravity and the multiplication of braking steps?
- More activity on your quadriceps.
- Pelnis’ stabilizations (Small, medium and tall gluteal) and ischios which are working in different “angulation” from the rest of the season.
- More work on the poster and the whole run of the muscular groups.
- Multiplied lunge work.
- Working frequently with a rhythm ladder
On the tennis side, take markers based on your strength. Be used to the bounce and your first two shots (serve-second shot or return-second shot) will be part of the schedule.
For Mathias Bourgue and Tristan Lamasine, there are similitudes in the patterns and sessions. They focus on the serve and dictate the point with the forehand.
For practice, the first days are always about basic exercise. Time is mostly spend on serve and return. The best idea is to make thematic points. Most of the time players have practice matches without any goal or progress.
- An entire set where you make serves and volleys on all your first serves
- Every return on 2nd serve will be made in a specific zone.
- Work on your attack shots by following them at the net.
Because after all, what use is practice if there isn’t true intention behind it?
Ultimately, all this will be garbage if you don’t mentally come to the grass with a good attitude. It’s very easy to become frustrated. In this way, you have to take risks but also remember keep playing with pleasure.
Be creative in order to be efficient.
The hardest thing on grass is to adapt footwork. No more slides!Denis KudlaTennis Player
Olivier Malcor: Former #160 ATP and winner of Wimbledon with Arnaud Clément and Mickael Llodra as a coach