Tennishead magazine brings you the very best tennis articles, interviews with the great players, tennis gear and racket reviews, tennis coaching tips plus much more

Get tough on court: 20 tips from the top


Originally published on: 26/02/10 16:33

You can have access to all the coaching in the world, but sometimes its a simple thought, idea or sentence that does the trick when you step on court.

Even the top players take lists onto court with them to read before the first point or at the change of ends.

Serena Williams famously re-read a note that simply said ‘Yetunde’ during the final of the 2007 Australian Open after her sister had been killed prior to the tournament.

That powerful motivational trigger helped Serena thrash Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2 that day.

Here are our favourite 20 nuggets of tennis wisdom from some of the greatest ever to have swung a racket.

If one of these appeals to you, jot it down and stick it in your racket bag. You never know when you might need it!

Learn from the legends…

If you can win one set, you can win two! JAMES BLAKE

Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. ANDRE AGASSI

“Great players raise their level of play and maintain it. Lesser players just play great for a set. PETE SAMPRAS

If you’re up against a girl with big boobs, bring her to the net and make her hit backhand volleys. BILLIE JEAN KING

The time your game is most vulnerable is when you’re ahead, never let up. ROD LAVER

You don’t have to play great every day. You just have to play better than the guy on the other side of the net. BRAD GILBERT

You have to find it. No one else can find it for you. BJORN BORG

Put defeats into perspective. Take the positives from matches, work out what you need to practice and get back on court. TIM HENMAN

Take a lot of deep breaths – and remember anything can happen. That’s what sport is all about. John McENROE

Tennis is a psychological sport, you have to keep a clear head. BORIS BECKER

I never look back, I look forward. STEFFI GRAF

Losses are always a relief a loss gets me eager again. CHRIS EVERT

The ideal attitude is to be physically loose and mentally tight. ARTHUR ASHE

The mark of great sportsmen is not how good they are at their best, but how good they are at their worst. MARTINA NAVRATILOVA

A strong body listens. It obeys. ANDRE AGASSI

If I don’t practice the way I should, then I won’t play the way that I know I can. IVAN LENDL

The next point — that’s all you must think about. ROD LAVER

When you look too hard, you don’t find it. When you let it happen naturally, it comes. MARAT SAFIN

It doesn’t matter who is playing or how old they are. I just worry about what I can control. MONICA SELES

Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. ARTHUR ASHE

“If we can hit one shot we can hit 25,000. Longest rally world record holder ANGELO ROESSETTI


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.