Wimbledon guarantees a number of things. Gazillions of strawberries get munched, and fashion editors develop a legit professional duty to watch sport (no but seriously, did you see Kate’s dress at the semi-finals?). Oh – and everybody starts playing tennis.
But, getting a spot on your local court on a sunny Saturday morning is one thing – actually being any good at the game is quite another. However, if you want to brush up your tennis skills, you’re in luck.
We’ve rallied up some top tips – from none other than Andre Agassi, former world No. 1 and global ambassador for Lavazza, who recently announced a new three-year deal as Official Coffee of The Championships. And with a whopping eight Grand Slam singles titles under his belt, and now a coach and mentor for the likes of Novak Djokovic, he’s certainly the man for the job.
Here, he shares 3 ultimate tips for taking your tennis to the next level…
1. Think about what’s going wrong
Sure, you might be naturally better at certain shots or angles than others, but don’t just write it off as hopeless if you ‘keep’ repeating the same mistakes.
“There’s always something that people struggle with and they don’t know why. Like, ‘I always miss this shot’,” says Andre, 47. “But the good news with tennis is there are always reasons for why you feel what you feel on a tennis court.”
So keep your cool, take time to look for that reason – and then you can take steps to improve it.
2. Learn to trust
It can take time to get good at tennis, but as frustrating as it is when you aim the ball towards a certain spot – only for it to end up hitting the ground half a mile away, having conviction will help (eventually, at least).
Agassi says it’s all about trust. “It’s trust in execution. To execute properly, you have to not hesitate, you have to be clear,” he says. “You have to be calculating but reactive. You have to eventually trust that what you’re doing is the right thing. That is the difference between ‘the best’, and the best on any given day.
“Confidence is a by-product of that. You can’t get confidence until you do that.”
3. Don’t be in a hurry…
… to get rid of the ball. Yes, of course, you have to whack it back to your opponent; that’s the whole point. But Andre says “control and power in tennis comes from how long you keep that ball on your strings towards your target”.
“So your swing might be flat, it might be up, but the time that ball spends on the racket is the same, and that’s where you get the control from. That’s why they [coaches] tell you to follow through, because then you’re keeping it [the power] in the strike zone.”