Kramer writes that when he was young, his then coach Cliff Roche advised him to save his energy on some return games, in order to have it when you need it on your serve. He writes,
“The first set was a toughie. I won 9-7. Then I went up 5-2 in the next set. Here was a perfect time for a kid to lose his head and go for the break. You’re so close to 6-2, two sets to love, you can taste it. But for what purpose: you fail to break him; he’s 5-3, you’re tired, your hands are sweaty, he’s got a good chance to break you, and then he’s got a rest and dry hands before his serve. Boom, like that: 5-5.”
“I let him have the game for 5-3 without a struggle. Then I looked up and saluted Roche, and he nodded back. It was as if I were saying: ‘I lost that one for you.’ And my energy spared, I served out the set at 6-3 and then closed out the match at love.”
We all have probably done this – at least on a subconscious level – by not trying our hardest when the score was against us (young Australian Krygios has brought this to a new level!); but is it a good idea to do it on purpose?
What do you think?
P.S. Thanks to Willy Hoffmann for the loan of the book.
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