The Psychology Of Match Play In Tennis

The Psychology Of Match Play In Tennis

The first and most important point in​ match play is​ to​ know how to​ lose .​
Lose cheerfully, generously, and like a​ sportsman .​
This is​ the first great law of​ tennis, and the second is​ like unto it​ to​ win modestly, cheerfully, generously, and like a​ sportsman .​
The object of​ match play is​ to​ win, but no credit goes to​ a​ man who does not win fairly and squarely .​
a​ victory is​ a​ defeat if​ it​ is​ other than fair .​
Yet again I​ say to​ win is​ the object, and to​ do so, one should play to​ the last ounce of​ his strength, the last gasp of​ his breath, and the last scrap of​ his nerve .​
If you do so and lose, the better man won .​
If you do not, you have robbed your opponent of​ his right of​ beating your best .​
Be fair to​ both him and yourself .​
The Play's the thing, and in​ match play a​ good defeat is​ far more creditable than a​ hollow victory .​
Play tennis for the game's sake .​
Play it​ for the men you meet, the friends you make, and the pleasure you may give to​ the public by the hard working yet sporting game that is​ owed them by their presence at​ the match .​
Many tennis players feel they owe the public nothing, and are granting a​ favour by playing .​
It is​ my belief that when the public so honours a​ player that they attend matches, that player is​ in​ duty bound to​ give of​ his best, freely, willingly, and cheerfully, for only by so doing can he repay the honour paid him .​
The tennis star of​ today owes his public as​ much as​ the actor owes the audience, and only by meeting his obligations can tennis be retained in​ public favour .​
The players get their reward in​ the personal popularity they gain by their conscientious work .​
There is​ another factor that is​ even stronger than this, that will always produce fine tennis in​ championship events .​
It is​ the competitive spirit that is​ the breath of​ life to​ every true sportsman: the desire to​ prove to​ himself he can beat the best of​ the other man; the real regret that comes when he wins, and feels the loser was not at​ his best .​

The keen competitive spirit that stimulates a​ match player also increases the nervous strain .​
This should be recognized by tournament committees, and the conditions of​ play should be as​ nearly standardized as​ weather permits .​
The first thing to​ fix firmly in​ your mind in​ playing a​ match, is​ never to​ allow your opponent to​ play a​ shot he likes if​ it​ is​ possible to​ force him to​ make one he does not .​
Study your opponent both on and off the court .​
Look for a​ weakness, and, once finding it, pound it​ without mercy .​
Remember that you do not decide your mode of​ attack .​
It is​ decided for you by the weakness of​ your opponent .​
If he dislikes to​ meet a​ netman, go to​ the net .​
If he wants you at​ the net, stay back and force him to​ come in .​
If he attacks viciously, meet his attack with an​ equally strong offensive .​
Remember that the strongest defence is​ to​ attack, for if​ the other man is​ occupied in​ meeting your attack, he will have less time to​ formulate his own system .​
If you are playing a​ very steady man, do not strive to​ beat him at​ his own game .​
He is​ better at​ it​ than you in​ many cases, so go in​ and hit to​ win .​
On the other hand, if​ you find that your opponent is​ wild and prone to​ miss, play safe and reap the full crop of​ his errors .​
It saves you trouble and takes his confidence .​
Above all, never change a​ winning game.
Always change a​ losing game, since, as​ you are getting beaten that way, you are no worse off and may be better with a​ new style .​
The question of​ changing a​ losing game is​ a​ very serious thing .​
It is​ hard to​ say just when you are really beaten .​
If you feel you are playing well yet have lost the first set about 3-6 or​ 4-6, with the loss of​ only one service, you should not change .​
Your game is​ not really a​ losing game .​
It is​ simply a​ case of​ one break of​ service, and might well win the next set .​
If, however, you have dropped the first set in​ a​ 2 out of​ 3 match with but one or​ two games, now you are outclassed and should try something else .​
Take chances when you are behind, never when ahead .​
Risks are only worth while when you have everything to​ win and nothing to​ lose .​
It may spell victory, and at​ least will not hasten defeat .​
Above all, never lose your nerve or​ confidence in​ a​ match .​
By so doing you have handed your opponent about two points a​ game a​ rather hard handicap to​ beat at​ your best .​
Never let your opponent know you are worried .​
Never show fatigue or​ pain if​ it​ is​ possible to​ avoid, since it​ will only give him confidence .​
Remember that he feels just as​ bad as​ you, and any sign of​ weakening on your part encourages him to​ go on .​
In other words, keep your teeth always in​ the match .​
Don't worry .​
Don't fuss .​
Luck evens up in​ the long run, and to​ worry only upsets your own game without affecting your opponent .​
a​ smile wins a​ lot of​ points because it​ gives the impression of​ confidence on your part that shakes that of​ the other man .​
Fight all the time .​
The harder the strain the harder you should fight, but do it​ easily, happily, and enjoy it .​

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