They’re dogged. They run everything down. They fight for every point and never give up. They are what I would like to call the persistent counterpuncher. What are you supposed to do against an opponent like this? Well, I have concocted a six point strategic plan to tell you how to beat a persistent counterpuncher:
- Be patient. You don’t have to go for outright winners. Wait until your opponent is on the defence i.e. on the back foot or stretching and then make your move.
- Be prepared to take the ball in the air. Volleying or swing volleying takes time away from your opponent and allows you to be in charge of the point if not win the point outrightly.
- Be in control from the first shot. That means making plenty of first serves in as well as attacking your opponent’s (second) serve. Use that first shot to set up the point i.e. serve out wide and then attack into the open court or attack the second serve down the line and approach the net.
- Run like the wind when you’re on the defence. Let your opponent know that they are not the only one that is prepared to run down that extra ball.
- Stay calm when you’re in control of the point. Don’t panic if your opponent gets another one, two or three shots back. You are still in the ascendency. In the famous words of Maria Sharapova while she was playing Agnieszka Radwanska at the 2015 End of Year Championships, let your opponent “run, run”.
- Stay aggressive. Play the way you want to play and don’t get sucked into playing your opponent’s style of game. Again, to reiterate the first point, you don’t need to hit winners with every shot. Move your opponent around the court and wait for that shorter, more attackable ball.
And there you have it – a six point strategy for how to beat a persistent counterpuncher.
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