Tennis players all have certain tendencies. In other words, each of us have certain shots that we feel more comfortable hitting in a specific direction.
Many servers like to serve out wide and some like to serve down the "T". Serving into the returner's body is another popular placement. The same can be said for groundstrokes. Many players love the crosscourt or favor down the line, while others use the inside out shot often.
Pay attention to where your opponent seems to hit most of their shots. They may be hitting a lot of crosscourt forehands and down the line backhands. You should position yourself slightly on that side of the court when recovering after hitting your shot. Make the opponent play more shots to the side that does not seem as desirable for them. This can be done on the return of serve by standing towards their favorite spot before they even start their motion. If they show you that they are capable of hitting the serve in another direction, you can move as they start their motion and split step right before the racquet makes contact.
Using this idea throughout the match can save you a lot of steps on the court and really frustrate your opponent. Don't be afraid to position yourself based on your opponent's tendencies to make them hit a less comfortable shot.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at email@example.com