In some places players have nice weather all year long, in other venues people are waiting for the summer time to get outside, to wear shorts and enjoy playing tennis. It doesn’t matter if you compete in sunny conditions regularly or you have to wait for these four hotter months, you have to be ready for that. Sun can be a more dangerous opponent than you think.
One of the skills that top players possess is adaptation: they know how to adapt when they have a bad day, they know what changes they have to make when the opponent wins the first set, and they also know that many things are not under their control, weather conditions being one of them. When the day is sunny we have to take proper approach to get the most of this opportunity. If we think about the sun as an obstacle that is going to hurt our game, we are going to underperform. On the other hand, if we take the sun as a tool to win the game, we will make decisions to use these conditions in our favor.
Sunny conditions are demanding, so proper preparation is crucial. Below I am giving you three areas that you should focus on to never again let this hot factor ruin your game.
During each game we are in offensive, neutral and defensive situations. Sun gives us a big opportunity to get out effectively from the defensive position and force the opponent to go for more risky shots. Every time you are in trouble, hit the ball up. It is really difficult to hit overhead or offensive shot while looking directly at the sun, so you will get a lot of time for recovery while your opponent will wait to let the ball bounce and move back.
This strategy is especially effective for players without solid endurance. If your fitness preparation is not great, sun will challenge you. Body gets tired quicker in hot environment, so it is important to take more time between points to rest, lower your heart rate and plan your next point. Top players have routines and they use them all the time to be perfectly prepared for the next ball. Wiping sweat away can buy you time and a cotton towel is a great item that you should incorporate into your routine to help you focus and make sure that your grip is not slippery.
There are many great items available on the market that can help you play your best tennis in sunny conditions, such as hats/visors, head and wristbands, grips, sunglasses. One little detail can decide who will win a match between two competitive players, so preparing before the match can make us play well from the first to the last ball.