Announcer Mary Jo Fernandez practically gushed that Bethanie Mattek-Sands was “controlling” the match yesterday against Agnieszka Radwanska – and yet Mattek-Sands lost.
That isn’t to say Mattek-Sands played a poor match. I personally think her strategy was excellent and she played great, but in the end she lost to a better player. But I think those of us who play tennis at the club level and who watch these matches and listen to the commentary can be fooled into thinking what’s best for the pros is also best for us.
Too often I see 3.5 and even 4.0 level players who appear to believe that it is better to hit all out and win or lose “on their racquet” – and lose is what they most often do. To be fair, usually these are guys, so ladies this isn’t directed at you as much, though there are a few of you out there 😉
Almost to a man, these players are usually playing at the level they’ve reached because they have developed a potent serve. At the 3.5 level a killer serve can win you a lot of matches. And you might even be able to win a few at 4.0, but that’s about as far as it can get you (unless you have a Roddick serve, but if you have a Roddick serve you probably aren’t reading this).
Now, I don’t mean to denigrate these types of players. Everybody plays tennis for their own reasons and if you enjoy going for broke on nearly every shot – win or lose – then by all means have at it.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy improving your game and winning more matches then you should learn to tune out the commentators and tune into the idea of working points with consistency and placement and going for the jugular only when you’ve achieved an offensive position.
Have a ball, and see you on the courts.