Play Safe 

One of the most successful actions of Ivan Lendl in his career was to start a match playing safe.

He would clear the net by two to three feet with a lot of topspin and would not play close to the lines until he felt he had control of the match and also until his nerves had settled.

Interestingly, he lost a lot of tight first sets in his career but would then steamroll his opponents.

His overall unforced errors would be few.

Everyone watching thought he was made of steel, but the truth is that beneath he was nervous.

Proof of it is that it took him quite a while to win his first Grand Slam final, just like his present protegee, Andy Murray, who has not won one yet.

Lendl had the perfect plan to work himself into a match.  He played hard, with heavy topspin, wearing his opponents down a la Nadal.  If you can muster plenty of topspin, you can do that yourself.

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