In this new series of ‘Tennis Questions and Answers’, Peter Farrell responds to some of the most common queries that players put to their coach.
Q. I can generally hit a good lob. I usually get it over my opponent’s head in such a way that she cannot smash the ball. But even my best lobs rarely seem to help me ultimately win the point. My opponent is able to track the lob down and loop a reply, and suddenly we’re back to square one again. What can I do to keep the initiative I have seized by playing a good lob?
A. Your opponent is running towards the baseline, with her back to the net – you are definitely in command of the point. And you will continue to dominate the rally if you do one little thing – move to the net position as your opponent moves towards her baseline. Your moving in for a volley forces an opponent who has her back to the net to attempt a good lob or passing shot, by no means an easy thing to do. Players will often miss in this situation, or present you with an easy volley. But if you stay back at the baseline, she will not be under pressure to do something aggressive. Any half-decent shot will see the rally “back to square one”, as you put it. So as your opponent moves towards the baseline – follow her!