It’s always difficult to play tennis opponents which are ranked higher than you. Of course, you’ll feel excited and nervous and it’s easy to allow your fear to overcome you. However, there are certain key mental points that you can use in order to overcome this fear rather than succumbing to it. Here are those mental points and how to utilize them to play strategically against a higher ranked opponent.
Realize Who the Pressure Is On
Hey, when you go out there to play this great opponent, you need to realize one thing. Although you might think that all the pressure is on you, the fact is it’s not. The pressure is on your opponent because people expect him or her to beat you. Your opponent knows this as well. He understands that he’s the one who has to ‘make it happen’ and that he’s the one who’s got everything to lose. You, on the other hand, have nothing to lose and everything to gain by playing strategically and realizing who the pressure is really on.
You’re Not Playing the Player
You’re playing their reputation. In fact, you very well might be just as strong as they are in different areas of the game. However, because they have a better ranking than you, they’re favored while you are not. So, use this to your advantage. Realize that they’re simply a player just like you are. They also make mistakes just like you do. Remember that you’re not already defeated simply because they are the favorite.
Control Your Nerves
If you’re playing a higher ranked opponent, you need to realize one thing: they are used to playing lesser ranked opponents. They understand that you’re going to be nervous and they have most likely learned how to take advantage of those nerves. Rather than playing as if you were the weaker player, just play like if you were playing against any other opponent. It’s easy to allow your nerves to make you feel like you have to make serious super hits every single time. Instead, play normally and only make those super hits when you are absolutely sure that they will be successful.
Don’t Show Your Fear
Because your opponent is accustomed to taking advantage of nerves, you should definitely not show the fact that you’re nervous. There are ways to do this, and one of them is to minimize the eye contact between you and your opponent. Not looking at them will reduce the realization that they are ranked higher and will help you hide the fact that you’re nervous from them. This will give you an upper hand in the game. In fact, if you appear to be as calm as you can be, your opponent might start wondering why you’re not nervous. If you’re lucky, in turn this will make your opponent get a good case of the nerves. This will also help you take control of the game.