Play Safe   

One of the most successful actions of Ivan Lendl in his career, which Andy Murray has learned well, was to start a match playing safe.

Not that he would soften his strokes.  He would hit hard.

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 then steamroll his opponents.

His 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 won the US Open today.

Lendl had the perfect plan to work himself into a match.  He played hard, with heavy topspin, wearing his opponents.

If you can muster plenty of topspin, you can do that yourself.

Comments (3)
  1. John Frausto Reply

    Oscar, what a difference Lendl has made in Andy’s play. This could be the single most important tip I have ever seen. In the 2012 U.S. Open Final, 80% of Andy Murray’s shot were neutral strokes. Meaning, he wasn’t looking to hit winners, he was simply looking to neutralize anything Novak sent his way and waited for his opportunities to strike or for Novak to FAIL. Not that he pushed the ball, he had good racquet speed but he was hitting a heavier ball with good margin. He used his legs, mind and will to win the championship. Great tips Oscar, keep up the good work!

    John Frausto
    MTM Professional

    1. Oscar Wegner Reply

      Thank you, John. You got it, he was hitting the ball really well and hard, just like Lendl, but without risking and waiting his chance. It is a pity that Djokovic was too spent in the final set, otherwise we would have had more fireworks in this match. Today, with such great, grinding tennis, for 5 sets you need a day off in between. Best wishes, Oscar

  2. Matthew C.Pangborn Reply

    Oscar: How true is this method of play……I know fora fact that had I had someone who had told me to play it safe I would have won a lot more critical matches in my younger days of tour playing. Knowing what I know now to be a safer player would have offered me more victories that is for sure. Thanks for the tips…..I m all in to this thanks!!!.

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