It’s the same in every sport… they talk about a great basketball point guard as “seeing the whole court,” or a great quarterback as “seeing the field” and knowing where the pass coverage is going to be. Well, it is really the same in tennis.
Some players see the whole court — especially in doubles — and are aware of where the play is … and where it is going. These players are like chess masters: they are actually thinking two or three strokes ahead.
The really good singles player will see his opponent standing slightly over into the deuce court and visualize…
• I will hit my slice backhand, low and crosscourt,
• And then I will come in behind it,
• Because my opponent will probably hit a weak reply,
• And then i will volley into the open deuce court.
The “one shot wonder” will hit a big ball down the line and stand there watching it fly (and checking to see if it stays inside the court), while his opponent is chugging to get there … and then hits his next shot cross court, where our guy should have been headed in the first place!
Now is this a born-with skill, or can you learn to develop more/better court sense?
In football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an excellent rookie running back named Doug Martin. He started out the season doing ok; but then his coach looked at game film and told him, “When you are hitting the hole, you have your head down. Keep your head up and you will see the field better.” He has … and is on pace for a solid thousand-yard season.
For an excellent article on John McEnroe’s great court sense, check out nationally-known tennis writer Joel Drucker’s piece for the Tennis Channel by clicking HERE.
Then, come back here and answer the question: Is it “Nature or Nurture”?