I hear many players complain about windy conditions when playing a tennis match. What players seem to forget is that their opponent is playing in the same conditions. Only one player can win the match. So what are the secrets to making the wind your friend?
1) Your serve can be affected greatly by the wind.
One tip I like to give players is to keep your toss lower when serving in windy conditions. Keeping the toss lower doesn't allow the wind to alter the ball's trajectory. Stay away from the Steffi Graf toss. Your toss may land in the bleachers with a good gust of wind.
2) Learn how to hit a drop shot.
With the wind blowing in your face, a good slice drop shot turns into a great slice drop shot. Make sure you are inside the baseline when attempting this shot. Your margin of error is greater. Also, it helps that your opponent is off the court or behind the baseline. The key to any good drop shot is how close you can land the ball to net. The wind will assist in knocking the ball down and force your opponent to run farther to retrieve the shot. If your opponent does happen to get the ball in play, often times they are running so hard forward that it is easy to lob or pass them with a firm shot.
3) Get better on your feet.
Wind can wreak havoc on your stroke production. Make sure you are always on your toes and making minor adjustments to hit the ball clean. Too many players plant their feet too soon and end up stretching for shots and making errors. I tell my players to "double" their footwork in windy conditions.
4) Hit with more topspin.
When the wind is behind you, it can be easy to float balls long. Use increased topspin or "roll" the ball to keep the ball in play. The wind will often times carry the ball deep into the court€¦..coupled with topspin, the ball becomes a "heavy" ball causing players to spray balls and make more mistakes.
5) Turn lemons into lemonade.
Just having a positive mind set can make all the difference. Tell yourself that you are the best player in windy conditions. If you go into a match telling yourself that you don't enjoy the conditions, you probably won't. But if you go into the match knowing that your opponent may not like the conditions and that you do, you might have the slight edge to win in the end!