First, you need to recognize and accept, that you are entering the second phase of your career. Which leads you to acknowledge, that there are certain acts on the court, which may lose their sting or may gradually leave your arsenal completely.
If those two parameters are not in place, no one is having fun anytime soon. But if they are, here is where it should all go.
If your opponent’s name is not Nadal, Djokovic or Murray, you need to take your feet off the pedal. What do I mean?
I mean, the days to prove your athleticism and talent on the court are over. It has already been established. So now all that matters is the ‘W’, and it doesn’t matter how you get it, because your credentials as a ‘best ever’ player is carved in stone by now.
So what you need to do? Barring those three jokers I have mentioned, against the rest of the field, your goal should be to conserve energy. If you are down 15-40 on their serve, and you get a drop shot at the net, just let it go. Same applies to any shot that requires extra effort on similar scores.
I can see some of the fans jumping up and down already, claiming they are not witnessing the best effort. These fools will be more than compensated, by having you around for those extra years, due to this strategy.
You have enough talent to break anyone and keep that cushion to win the set. You don’t need to burn unnecessary fuel to prove anything now. All that matters is the W. Whether you delivered a bagel or how long it took, are irrelevant to history, if you want longevity.
Why do you think Agassi wanted to hurt opponents right at the service return? He wanted no rallies, to tip the scales in his favor against younger opponents.
I know, once you are in the game, it is the adranaline that takes over and you get carried away. Besides, your ego prevents you from losing a point in front of everyone. You don’t want to give your opponent any belief etc etc and all that blah blah.
That scenario is ideal, if you are starting out and have to prove yourself. That phase is long over with you, and you now have to use your experience and head, more than your physcial attributes, and just play SMART.
Play to the score, with the intention of getting the most out of your buck. What do they call that – ‘best result with least effort’ or some such crap?
Are you getting this or do you want me to come down there and ‘explain’ it?
There is just no need to pull off that super shot with super human effort, just to receive the applause or make the highlight reel, if you already have a break. Just use those service games as target practice or go for broke to move quickly to the finish line.
Any strategy to resist this will backfire in the long run. Well, it will be a pretty short ‘long’ run.