Anne White on Playing Effective Tennis on Fast Courts
We all know that playing effective tennis requires an immense amount of concentration. Concentration becomes even more critical when playing on a fast court. Players must be 100-percent focused because the speed of the ball and pace of play is often so frenetic.
If there is one authority on this topic, it is Anne White, the former world No. 9 in doubles and world No. 19 in singles about playing on fast court.
White has always preferred playing on fast courts. And winning three USTA gold balls in one day at the U.S. Amateur Clay Courts as a junior and reaching the doubles semifinals at the French Open have not changed her mind! “I liked playing on fast courts because I was able to get to the net and win the point quickly,” she recalls.
TennisPAL recently spoke with White as she shared some tips based on her years of experience as both a player and Director of Tennis. Following is what she shared with us.
How to succeed on a fast court:
- Get ahead: “It’s extremely important to get off to a quick start on a fast court. If you get behind, especially when someone is serving really well, you get to the point where you have to play uphill,” said White. “You’ve got to get ahead and make sure you’re not hitting the ball late. Construct those points and really try to put pressure on your opponents because if they start putting pressure on you, you feel like you’re being suffocated.”
- Get to know the court: According to White, tennis players must also devote adequate preparation to adjusting to the specific court they will be competing on. “Although the ball is typically very fast on hard courts, particularly indoors, it all depends on the court, your timing, how you feel on the court, and how you’re moving. Every court is different,” she said.
- At a minimum, allocate two days to adjust: The amount time needed to adjust is dependent on the individual player, but White believes that two days is the standard. “Every player is different, and you have to know your own standard in terms of what you need in preparation. Time zone comes into play as well. I think the more balls you can hit on the court you’re going to play on, the better,” she said.
- Shorten your strokes: There’s no doubt that tennis players have to be on top of their game at all times, but particularly when on a fast court. “Be razor sharp because the ball is fast. Shorten your strokes and make faster decisions. You just don’t have the luxury of time on fast courts,” White said.