Hard Court Tennis: 7 Strategies to Win on Hard Courts
Do you play on hard courts often but don’t always have the best results? We are going to walk you through a number of strategies so you can dominate the court like Djokovic.
Hard courts are popping up all over the place and are arguably the most popular court surface in the modern game.
So, let’s dive deeper into how you can start winning more tennis matches on hard courts.
Why is it Important to Learn How Play On Hard Courts?
Hard courts are arguably the most popular tennis court surface in the world today. They are easy to construct, maintain, and offer a universally consistent playing surface for tennis players of all levels to enjoy.
Therefore, it is important to understand how to play effectively on hard courts and win matches, since most likely you’ll have to play in them at some point soon!
Hard courts are the most predictable of the tennis court surfaces, as their bounces tend to be the most uniform. This is great for players learning the game and need a more consistent playing surface to develop their strokes and footwork.
Since hard courts are the most consistent playing surface out there, they lend themselves to all-rounder game styles. Therefore, it is essential to understand how to attack, defend, move, and boss your opponent around on hard courts to get the best out of the surface.
As he has gotten older and more experienced, Novak has relied less on his defensive capabilities and looked to shorten the points and use his incredible ball-striking abilities to take the heat to his opponents.
We can emulate Novak’s success on hard courts as recreational players, but following the 7 simple strategies listed below.
7 Strategies to Win Tennis Matches on Hard Courts
Here are 7 key strategies that you can take to the court today to improve your game on hard. You need to be proficient in a number of different areas to do well on hard courts, but upping your aggression and taking charge of the points is a great place to start.
So, let’s dive in!
Strategy 1: Hit the Ball at the Top of the Bounce
The first step to upping your game on hard courts and winning more matches is to start taking the ball a bit earlier. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hit the ball on the rise or hit half-volleys every other shot, as that makes it very difficult to time the ball well consistently.
However, taking the ball at the top of the bounce can help with your timing, take time away from your opponent and help you maintain your court position more easily.
Taking the ball at the top of the bounce is a hallmark of an aggressive baseliner, and will give you the upper hand when playing on hard courts, particularly fast ones!
Taking the ball at the top of the bounce means you aren’t letting the ball drop hardly below its peak. Effectively, you are hitting the ball as it is just losing its momentum and starting to drop. This means you are hitting the ball earlier and taking time away from your opponent, without compromising your own timing or consistency.
Bear in mind that if you are used to hitting the ball as it is falling, this will take a bit of getting used to. However, with some dedicated practice and perseverance, taking the ball at the top of the bounce will make a big difference to your game on hard courts.
Strategy 2: Maintain Your Court Position on the Baseline
Mastering movement is a key part of improving your performance on hard courts. Fortunately, hard courts tend to be pretty universal in their traction compared to clay and grass courts, so becoming a better mover on hard courts, in general, will definitely help your game, no matter where you are playing.
In terms of the second strategy on this list, maintaining a strong court position will go a long way towards improving your ability to be aggressive, since you’ll be able to take the ball earlier. This links back to the first strategy but focuses more on using court positioning and footwork to your advantage.
Staying relatively close to the baseline when trading with your opponent will give you the edge since you can get inside the court more quickly and boss them around.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to focus on cutting off angles when moving from side to side. This will not only help you cover the court more efficiently but also open up more angles on the court for you to hit into.
Instead of just running parallel along the baseline, think more about moving in diagonal patterns. If your opponent pushes you wide, cut the corner and take the ball earlier with a flat, hard shot back down the middle of the court.
If you are pushed back behind the baseline, move diagonally back and away from the ball, to give yourself space and time to take the ball on and then recover to your position near the baseline.
Using small steps and early preparation to maintain your court position is a great way to dominate the points on hard courts.
Strategy 3: Flatten Out Your Shots
Another key strategy you can implement on hard courts is flattening out your shots. This helps you use the quickness of the court to your advantage and rushes your opponent, forcing them into errors.
Be careful not to flatten the ball out too early in the rally or too often, as you will have less margin for error. But, when your opponent presents you with a slower mid-court ball to be attacked, flatten out your shots and punish them.
Strategy 4: Build Points with Big Forehands
A great strategy to implement on hard courts is to use your forehand as a weapon of attack. Serving and returning are important shots in tennis since all points start with one or the other.
However, hitting your forehand with intensity, power, and spin and using this to open up the court and push your opponent back behind their baseline is a great way to dominate points.
Focus on being quick with your feet, hitting through the ball, and using the added racket head speed that most players’ forehands possess to take time away from opponents.
Using various forehand strokes to keep your opponent on their toes is also a great way to win more matches. Hitting a few heavy topspin forehands into your opponent’s backhand, and then following this up with an angled forehand crosscourt will draw them inside the court into an uncomfortable position.
Strategy 5: Use Your Serve to Your Advantage
Another key element of dominating opponents on hard courts is to use your serve to set up points the right way. Serving effectively is one of the biggest advantages you can bring to a tennis court, and this is definitely true on hard courts!
Accurate, powerful serving is the key to softening up your opponent, taking advantage of the court speed, and making it easier for you to hit a strong second shot and put your opponent under pressure straight away.
Focus on hitting high-quality serves to big targets, rather than going for aces every time. This will take the pressure off and help you feel relaxed in tight moments.
Strategy 6: Look at The Tennis Bros Singles Tactics Online Course
Another strategy that will definitely advance your ability to outsmart your opponents on the tennis court is to check out our Singles Tactics online course. You’ll learn how to implement patterns of play effectively which makes it easier to have a clear game plan under pressure.
And the best part is, you don’t even need to step onto the tennis court to learn more!
You may think hard court tennis is all about hitting the ball hard and rushing your opponent, forcing them into errors. But, our singles tactics guide will give you specific strategies to help develop your tactical awareness. That way you’ll be able to use your intense footwork and great ball striking more effectively.
We have worked with Ex ATP Professional turned master tennis coach Dave Ireland, to bring a new dimension to your game. Dave has countless hours of experience in both playing and coaching high-level tennis, so is the perfect training partner to take your singles game to the next level.
We’ll help you get the better of your opponent’s using your brain rather than just power.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out our singles tactics course today.
Outsmart your opponents and make an immediate difference to your game
Strategy 7: Early Preparation For The Win
Finally, another strategy that is a very important performance tip is to prepare your racket and body early at all times! This is especially important on hard courts as the ball tends to come through a bit quicker than on clay for example, so you’ll have less time to react.
Early preparation always starts with reading the play. This means recognizing early what shot your opponent is likely to hit, moving into position, and getting your racket back early so you have the best chance possible to hit the right shot.
If your opponent is off balance and has opened their racket face, it is likely they are about to hit a slower, higher shot in the middle of the court. Therefore, moving to get your forehand in play, getting your racket back early, and being prepared to hit a flatter shot are all crucial steps in taking your court awareness to the next level.
Be sure to shorten up your backswings a little bit if your opponent is hitting with good pace and depth too, as this will make it easier to time your shots and take the ball early, without sacrificing your consistency.
Once You’ve Learned How to Play on Hard Courts, It’s Time to Work On Your Serve
Using the strategies above will help you dominate your opponents from the baseline, especially when playing on hard courts. But, adding a powerful, accurate, and reliable serve to the party will only take your game from strength to strength.
This is why we have developed our Secrets of the Serve online course, to help you improve your biggest weapon and take your aggressive game to the next level.
So, if you want to make the game of tennis easier and start acing your opponents more often, check out our secrets of the serve course today.
Unlock more power and get more out of your technique
Simple Guide to Winning on Hard Courts
Playing better tennis on hard courts requires quick thinking, intense footwork, and a willingness to play aggressive tennis consistently. You have to have an all-round game to do well on hard courts. Being able to take your game to your opponents and force the issue in baseline exchanges will really help you win more matches on the surface.
Use these strategies to take your game to the next level and start stamping your authority on the court!
We hope this simple guide will help you take your hard-court tennis to the next level.
Want more free resources to help you improve your game?
We’ve got you covered:
- Types of Tennis Court Surfaces
- 5 Best Hard Court Tennis Shoes (Men’s & Women’s Top Picks)
- Tennis Court Zones
- How to Add Power to Your Serve (in No Time At All)
- How To Boost Your First Serve Percentage (in 4 Steps)
- The Serve Plus One Tactic
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