| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Getting your opponent on the run is one of the best ways to get them to make some errors. Usually this means hitting your shots to the opening as much as possible. If you keep hitting the ball away from your opponent, it would seem that they will be running all over the place.

The problem is that the very good players cover the opening. Right after hitting their shot, they move towards the open part of the court and unless the ball is hit well and very accurately, they are often within a couple of steps of where they need to be to hit a good reply. In addition, this can make you go for too good of a shot and create errors on your side of the court. If your opponent shows you that they are capable of covering the opening well, try hitting a couple of balls to the opening and then try hitting behind your opponent. This will slow down their recovery and make it difficult for them to run down your shots.

My rule is that if you are playing a fast, fit, and young player, try hitting behind them a little more often. Hit the ball to the opening whenever you are playing someone who does not move as well, if their fitness is suspect, or if their age is a factor. Be careful though—those older players are smart!


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 info@annaconetennis.com