After losing a close tournament singles match, I was bemoaning the fact that my opponent was a lefty and I had real trouble with that spin, especially going wide in the add court. A tennis friend simply asked, “What did you DO about it?”
He was right. I didn’t do anything, except struggle to get the ball back in play (which he then drove cross-court to the open court).
The lesson for me was to always think: What is happening here? And come up with some action to take away (or at least minimize) whatever winning strategy my opponent is using.
In this case, I should have stood in the add court alley, thus saying to my opponent, “You want to hit your favorite lefty-spin wide in the add court… well, I am standing here waiting for it.”
Sure, he can try to serve you down the middle; but that is not his favorite shot and you are making him change his game.
Or if your opponent is killing you with drop shots, stand inside the baseline; so you can easily get to them.
Or if you’re playing doubles and the returner is successfully lobbing over your head for winners, stand back three steps and take that shot away.
Or if your doubles opponent is beating you with cross court returns of serve, play Australian and take away that shot.
I find there is always something you can do to react to the situation, as long as you ask yourself, “What is happening here?” You may not change to final outcome; but you surely won’t by just letting them play their favorite shots all day long.