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What do I do when I’m facing a higher ranked opponent?

Facing a higher-ranked opponent can be daunting. The key to it is how you approach the situation. Four Aussie Tennis Players give their insights on how they manage their nerves and keep their cool against higher-ranked players. To read the full article click here Ready for Battle.

1. Control what you can control

John Millman speaks first about how “you’ve got to control the controllables”, which helped him get his first top 10 win against Roger Federer at the 2018 US Open.

John is correct here in that too many tennis players are worried about things they can’t control e.g weather, sun and the end result. 

What you can control is your effort levels, preparation and attitude which in turn will have an influence on the match!

2. Focus on your own game

Storm Sanders played world no.4 Elina Svitolina earlier this year and got caught up in the occasion, rather than what she wanted to do on the court. She ended up losing the match, but sometimes losing can be a gift as it shows you what you can work on, or what you would do next time in that same situation. 

The lesson Storm learned is to “focus on my style and do what I do best.”

3. Don’t be timid

Jordan Thompson’s best advice to him was “when the ball is there to be hit, give it a nudge.” Thompson would fall back on this advice when he felt he was being too passive against well respected opponents. It allowed him to swing freely and play aggressively.

4. Embrace the nerves

Nerves are normal to our game; there’s no point trying to ignore it! 

Alex De Minaur embraces the nerves that come and has learned to channel it into his intensity, particularly in his warm up. “The way I try to get rid of my nerves is to bring out as much intensity as I can. Especially in the warm up.” 

This method seems to have worked for Alex and he continues to do it as part of his preperation.

Every player has their own method on how to deal with facing a higher-ranked opponent. What’s important is for juniors out there to experiment for themselves and find what method suits them best!

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