Tennis’ Critical Point

I believe the most important point in tennis is the 15-30 point. Whether you are serving or returning serve, what happens then is critical.

Who wins that determines whether it is at a non-threatening 30-30 (usually the server’s advantage at that point) or high pressure 14-40 game.

As the server, you want to take a little off your first serve to be sure to get it in – and to a good spot; and then play the point as if it really mattered.

As the returner, you MUST get the return of serve back in play: you should not over-hit or over-play it; but with controlled aggression, get the ball back over the net and in play. Then, like the server, play the point like it really counts. If you win it, you now have double break point!

5 thoughts on “Tennis’ Critical Point

  1. The most critical point is the first point. Since this could determine the way a game and or set should be played inorder to get the desired result!

  2. I think the most important point in a game is the setup point i.e. the one that gets you to within one point of winning the game. It’s the next point when you are at 30-30 or 30-love or at deuce.

  3. I know it’s common among coaches like Gilbert to identify and coach the “critical points” in a game. But I don’t think you want to follow any formula on this. I think how you talk to yourself during a game (for strategy or motivation) is an individual thing.

    When I feel a point is important I may tell myself to relax more looking for more consistency. I may tell myself to stop thinking and just play.

    If I tell myself the score is now “critical” by some predetermined formula, that’s when I lose a nice shoulder rotation on my serve.

    Good discussion. Thanks.

  4. Yes, one of the techniques i have read about is to ‘fool yourself’ by telling yourself that the score is different than it actually is … to either concentrate harder or relax. i have never really been able to do that.

  5. Brad Gilbert discusses this in Winning Ugly, a great strategy book. I think it works well, and potentially gives you more break and hold chances. Among physically equal players, the mental edge certainly helps and focusing on strategy may help you not to focus too much on mechanics.

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