Wind is the one of the uncontrollable conditions in tennis that gets on the nerves of many casual and competitive tennis players. It makes everything that much harder.
Good players need to play more conservatively by being more consistent than usual in putting balls in, which makes a lot of aggressive style players less effective.
Like all players, even professionals will make more mistakes as the wind moves the tennis ball in the air before any contact with the racket happens. Top spin tennis shots will slow the ball down when going throw the air but are much easier to control and reduces your chance of error.
Hard and fast shots that skid through the court are riskier and harder to control. Wind, as well as many other weather conditions have a huge impact on a tennis match. They force tennis players to change tactics and strategies, and force them to play outside their comfort zone.
This makes for a more equal match. So how does one play tennis in windy conditions? Here are some tips as well as tactics to help you play tennis in the wind.
How to play tennis in the wind:
- Notice which way the wind is blowing
- Pay attention to your footwork
- Attack the net
- Counter aggressive volleys with 1 – 2 punch tactics
1. Notice which way the wind is blowing.
From Behind you
When you play tennis with the wind coming from behind you, toward your back. The speed of your shots will naturally increase. You will need to control your shots from flying out of the court. Thus putting spin will help you tremendously.
Use low slices or heavy topspin to keep the balls in and not worry about the speed because the wind will make it faster naturally. Slice skids quickly through the court and heavy topspin makes the ball drop fast and bounce up faster.
Both of these shots are amazing for pushing your opponent back, making them move side to side and all while keeping the ball in the court despite the wind behind you.
From in front of you
When playing tennis with the wind coming from in front of your face, the speed of your shots will slow down depending on the speed of the wind. Many players will try to hit the ball harder and miss because they lose control and over hit.
A better choice would be to give yourself less risk of making an unforced error and flatten out your shots to keep the ball deep but still penetrating.
If you do not have the strength to do this, just get the ball as deep as you can!
If the wind is blowing sideways make sure you adjust your shot selection based on which side of the court the wind is blowing towards.
When defending ensure you’re aware of the advantage your opponent has based on what shot he/she is hitting and which direction the wind is blowing.
2. Pay attention to your footwork.
Always pay attention to your footwork during tennis, but when there are insane winds, this is extra extra important.
If the wind is going crazy and all over the place be prepared to take more small adjustment steps than usual before hitting the ball.
The secret is to keep your movement smooth and relaxed and adjust your position quick if the ball moves suddenly.
If you are not paying attention to the wind and not prepared to adjust your footwork, you run the risk of being flat footed and setting up for your shot too early. This results in countless errors.
It is also of utmost importance that you try to predict the ball’s path of travel when playing in the wind to help you gauge when you should stop to adjust to hit the ball.
3. Attack the net.
It is a known fact that it is very hard to cleanly hit an accurate passing shot while playing in the wind. It is also very hard to lob accurately. Take advantage of this by moving to the net on your shots.
With the wind at your back a heavy kick serve or topspin approach will make it very difficult for your opponent to generate enough pace to pass you accurately. Remember the ball is moving in the wind, they’re probably off balance and they risk mis-timing their shot when trying to get power.
With the wind against you, a low, short and perhaps even soft approach shot is highly effective.
Follow a shot like this aggressively forward and get close to the net. Your opponent is now in an awkward position and forced to hit upwards. With the wind at their back they’ll be tempted to hit a hard shot to get past you.
This will be tough to control with the wind wanting to blow the ball long.
4. Counter aggressive volleys with 1 – 2 punch tactics
To counter players who attack the net, learn from the pros. By watching top players, you can do many different 1-2 punch tactics against aggressive volley style players.
You can try hitting the first shot down to the feet of the incoming net rusher and then finishing the point with an easy passing shot as the shot at their feet makes them lift up the ball resulting in a defensive volley that you can easily attack.
Practice this technique by taking some pace off your first passing shot, don’t go for angles and dip the ball at the opponent’s feet.
Another tactic you can use is lob straight away to keep them on their toes, so they never know if you might lob or hit a normal height shot so they will not come too close to the net.
I hope these few tips help you during your sessions in the wind!
The tennis classic from Olympic gold medalist and ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert, now featuring a new introduction with tips drawn from the strategies of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Andy Murray, and more, to help you outthink and outplay your toughest opponents.