The weather is my friend

The weather is my friend: How many times have you heard someone complain they ‘just couldn’t play their game because it was too windy/sunny/cold/hot’?

Today’s tennis was a fun doubles match outside, on a very windy day up on a hill in New London, New Hampshire. Several times the wind was a factor in moving the toss, serve, lob, or even groundstrokes; and it struck me that for many people the weather becomes an enemy (or an excuse for losing).

We have all heard the disclaimer afterwards, ‘I guess it was the same for him as it was for me; but I …’  My feeling is that you should treat the environment as your friend and one of the weapons in your game that day.

Not only accept the situation you are given, but even use it to your advantage:

The Wind:

  • If it is a strong side wind, adjust the target for your serve to allow for the ball to be moved in flight.
  • And use a slower spin at times and plan for the wind to move the ball into the body of your opponent, or away from him.
  • On overheads and high volleys, you really need to stay on the balls of your feet, taking little adjusting steps, and really watching the ball as it flutters towards you.
  • On groundstrokes with the wind to your back, I try to put extra topspin on the ball to keep it in play.

The Sun:

  • On the serve into the sun, I sometimes try using a John McEnroe type of stance to move the ball toss out of the sun.
  • And on hitting overheads, you can try to move your body position to the side, so that the ball position moves it to the side and not head on into the sun.
  • And if you know the sun really bothers your opponent, try to arrange the initial serving rotation so that he will be facing his nemesis on a critical 4-4 or 4-5 game.

The Heat:

  • There all the obvious tips about hydrating before a match, taking electrolytes, etc; but if someone knows they will be playing a tournament in a hot climate, they really should get used to it by playing longer and longer in the heat.
  • And during the match, you have to really pace yourself and know when to put that extra effort into critical points.
  • We are not young or strong enough to be like Nadal and give 110% on every single point.

The Cold: Move to Florida and avoid it at all costs!

What added tips or techniques do you have? Hit ‘Comment’ below and add yours.

2 thoughts on “The weather is my friend

  1. One of my favorite expressions is “Let the Wind be your friend”! In doubles, with the wind coming toward you, the team can get extra close to the net as the probability favors opponents’ lobs sailing out. When hitting into the wind, I always check wind velocity during warm-up and assign a 1-club, 2-club or 3-club rating for the wind as one does in golf. This reminds me during the match to hit the ball that extra amount to keep the ball deep especially if not hitting topspin. This only works when the wind is fairly constant. Under gusty conditions, keep the feet moving and you must watch the ball hit the racquet.

  2. Bob – I like the wind rating idea! It gives you a little more definition on what you are working with. Thanks.

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