Poker players watch their opponent’s eyes, hands, and body language in critical situation to spot any “tells” – indications what the player is thinking or doing. The same can be true in tennis.
After playing the consolation finals at University Park, my #1 fan, DeDe said, “Did you notice that before your opponent hit a drop shot, he raised his right leg?” No, I had not.
Several years after retiring from the tour, Andre Agassi disclosed that Boris Becker had a “tell” on his service motion. Andre said Boris stuck out his tongue during his service motion; and he knew which way Boris was going to serve based on which way his tongue was pointing!
Pete Sampras’ early coach, Pete Fischer had him practice tossing the ball in the same spot each time and then yelling which way he should serve the ball. By doing this, he had Pete create a constant ball toss that did NOT give away where he was going to serve.
After losing a tournament match to one of the top players, Hank Irvine counseled me that he could read my backhand down the line vs. cross court, based on how I set up to hit it.
So I worked on having a common motion for both; and then two years later, I lost to another top player, Hugh Thompson, who said, “I really had trouble reading your backhand down the line vs. cross court”!!
For those of you have played against me, what other tennis “tells” have you spotted?
What have you seen in others?