Break Point Puzzle

You work hard during a return game to finally get that critical break point … but then you blow it on a bad choice of shots.  What should you really do instead?

Too Much Offense – Some players see this as an opportunity to really attack the serve; but then they overhit the return and either bury it in the net or sail it long.  Or during the rally that follows they go for the winner – or an ill-advised drop shot – too soon.

Too Little Offense – Some other players go way too conservative and just try to float the ball back in play, hoping the server will make the error.  Think of John Isner, who would normally run around the backhand in the ad court and hit an inside-out forehand; but on a critical break point chooses to just poke back a forehand slice return and give up the offense.

Just The Right Amount – You know who the top three male pros are on winning return games?  Rafa Nadal is #1 … Argentinian Diego Schwartzman (at 5’7” and 141 pounds) is #2 … and Djokovic is #3.  What do they all have in common?  They ALWAYS get the return back in play; but with something on it.

Where’s The Fed? And Roger Federer?  He is #70 on the list!!!  And this is nothing new for him … he has a strange history of poor performance on break points.  In his victory vs. Thiem at Indian Wells, he was only 2 of 11 on break point opportunities; and last night vs. the nobody Albot, his poor break point stats were the same.

Why is that?  Why does the greatest player of all time struggle on break points?

And what should players do to have a better outcome on break points?

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2 thoughts on “Break Point Puzzle

  1. I used to love how people said that Borg played great on big points. The fact is: He played every point the same. (I don’t think he often even knew the score.)
    Those who play the big points well are those who victimize their opponents who either tighten up or “go for it” on big points.

    Spike, so, be calm, relaxed and play “normally”! thanks, george

  2. So true. Rodger’s back yesterday must have been in spasm, have never seen him make that many errors. He was standing straight up on his BH and wasn’t much better on FH…

    Paul, he surely wasn’t the Roger we all know (and love to watch)! Thanks. George

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